Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart

Spirit of God, descend upon my heart; 
Wean it from earth, through all its pulses move. 
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as you are, 
And make me love you as I ought to love. 

Teach me to feel that you are always nigh; 
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear, 
To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh; 
Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer. 

Teach me to love you as your angels love, 
One holy passion filling all my frame; 
The baptism of the Heaven-descended Dove, 
My heart an altar and your love the flame. 

(from a hymn by George Croly, slightly revised)


Oh, Eternal Christ, 
understandable to even me, 
I thank you for putting the latchstring so low 
I can reach it. 
I can reach the Highest, 
for you are the Highest become lowly, reachable. 
And so I come, for in You I "see" everything I need. I thank you.

(a prayer of E. Stanley Jones)

I Come to You for a Remedy

O, most sweet and loving Lord, whom I devoutly desire to receive, you know my weaknesses and my sufferings, my evil thoughts and actions. I am often weighed down, tempted, disturbed, and defiled. I come to you for a remedy. I beg you for comfort and support. I speak to you who knows all things, to whom all my secrets are open, and to whom alone is able perfectly to comfort and help me. You know what good things I need and how poor I am in righteousness. 

And so, I stand poor and naked before you, needing grace and praying for mercy. Whet my appetite for righteousness, kindle my coldness with the fire of your love, illuminate my blindness with the brightness of your presence. Turn all earthly things into bitterness for me, all sorrowful and opposing things into patience, all things worthless and created into contempt and nothingness. Lift up my heart to you in heaven, and don't allow me to aimlessly wander over the earth. Be my only satisfaction from this day forward forever, because you alone are my food and drink, my love and joy, my delight, and my whole good.

(from The Imitation of Christ: Classic Devotions in Today's Language, by Thomas à Kempis, compiled and edited by James N. Watkins; photo by TheVirtualDenise via pixabay.com)

For Transformed Desires

Not the goods of the world, but You. 
Not riches, but You. 
Not honors, but You. 
Not distinction, but You. 
Not dignities, but You. 
Not advancement, but You. 
You always and in everything. 

(from lines written by St. Vincent Pallotti, slightly revised; photo by Free-Photos via pixabay.com)

O Love That Will Not Let Me Go

O Love that will not let me go, 
I rest my weary soul in you; 
I give you back the life I owe, 
That in those ocean depths its flow 
May richer, fuller grow. 

O Light that follows all my way, 
I yield my flickering torch to you; 
My heart restores its borrowed ray, 
That in your sunshine’s blaze its day 
May brighter, fairer glow.
(a hymn by George Matheson, updated and revised; photo by conger design via pixabay.com)


Today's prayer from the "31 Ways to Pray for Your Kids" app for iPhone and iPad...and my prayer today for my kids and my grandkids.


O Holy Spirit, rush upon me. 

(a prayer based on 1 Samuel 16:13, ESV: "And the Spirit of The Lord rushed upon David"; photo illustration by Sponchia via pixabay.com)


God, save me
from the desire--
and my tendency--
to be a self-made man
instead of
a Spirit-made man.

(photo by "white bird," courtesy of photoXpress)

That We May Be Children of Light

Our loving Father, from Thy hand have come all the days of the past. To Thee we look for whatever good the future holds. We are not satisfied with the world as we have found it. It is too little the kingdom of God as yet. Grant us the privilege of a part in its regeneration. We are looking for a new earth in which dwells righteousness. It is our prayer that we may be children of light, the kind of people whose coming and ministry the world is waiting. Amen.

(from the Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers Project, "Prayers" section)

Before and After

Today, O Lord — 
let me put others before self; 
let me put things of the Spirit before the things of the body; 
let me put the attainment of noble ends before the enjoyment of present pleasures; 
let me put principle above reputation; 
and let me put you before all else. 

(a prayer of John Baillie, from A Diary of Private Prayer; photo by Arcaion via pixabay.com)

Stir the Embers

As I stir the embers of my daily fire, I ask you, living God, to stir the embers of my heart into a flame of love for you, my family, my neighbor, and my enemy. Amen. 

(an ancient Celtic prayer, used each morning as the embers in the household hearth were stirred; photo by Conanil, courtesy of everystockphoto.com)

To Accurately Understand Things as They Truly Are

Strengthen me, O God, by the grace of your Holy Spirit. Give me discipline to be strengthened with power in my inner person. Free my heart from all care and trouble, so I may not be drawn away by various desires after anything with little value or great. But may I look on all things as passing away and myself as passing away with them, because there is no profit under the sun, and all is futile and troubling to your spirit. "But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless--like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere" (Ecclesiastes 2:11). Oh how wise are those who understand this!

Give me, Lord, heavenly wisdom, that I may learn to seek you above all things and to find you. Help me desire you above all things. May I love you. Grant me, according to your wisdom, to accurately understand things as they truly are. Help me to wisely avoid the flatterer and patiently to bear with the one who opposes me. It is great wisdom, not to be carried by every wind of words, nor to give ear to the wicked flattering seductress. With this mindset, we go safely on in your way, Lord. 

(from The Imitation of Christ: Classic Devotions in Today's Language, by Thomas à Kempis, compiled and edited by James N. Watkins; photo by Caniceus via pixabay.com)

A New Psalm 57

Have mercy on me and mine, O God, 
have mercy on us;

You are our refuge. 
We hide in the shadow of your wings 
and await your vindication.

We cry out to you, God Most High,
begging you to fulfill your purpose in and for us. 
Send your hosts from heaven and save us, 
scattering those who lie, slander, and attack.

Send your love and faithfulness
as our defense against hateful beasts, 
who snarl and claw, 
rant and rage.

Just do your thing, God;
show your strength and glory.
Make our hearts steadfast, O God; 
let us sing and make music,
praising you so loud
and serving you so passionately
that we will keep the day awake
and prevent the night from getting any sleep.

We will praise you, O Lord, no matter what;
we will serve you to our last breaths. 
For your love stretches all the way to the heavens; 
your faithfulness extends from our little place
to the outermost reaches of the universe.

Just do your thing, God;
show your strength and glory.

(based on Psalm 57; photo by Tama66 via pixabay.com)


Almighty and everlasting God, who has made known the incarnation of your Son by the bright shining of a star, which, when the wise men beheld, they presented costly gifts and adored your majesty; grant that the star of your righteousness may always shine into our hearts; and that, as our treasure, we may give ourselves and all we possess to your service, through Jesus Christ our Lord, amen. 

 (from the Gelasian Sacramentary; image by Pancho_2323chivas via pixabay.com)

For Richard

Lord, as you know, today is Richard Wright's funeral and committal in his hometown of Chillicothe, Ohio. I know that you've already welcomed him into your gracious presence and his eternal reward, with (I hope) a Dixieland band, a raucous party, and a table spread with lots of coffee, potato salad, banana cream pie, milk shakes, Hershey bars, and every homemade dish that ever made his eyes light up. Let his final sendoff be a fitting tribute to the man who was a loving father to my wife, a second father to me, and the hardest working man I ever knew. Amen.

In This New Year

In this new year, 
I abandon myself into your hands. 
Do with me whatever you will. 
Whatever you may do, I thank you. 
I am ready for all, I accept all. 
Let only your will be done in me, 
and in all your creatures. 

Into your hands I commend my spirit. 
I offer it to you with all the love that is in my heart. 
For I love you, Lord, and so want to give myself, 
to surrender myself into your hands, without reserve 
and with boundless confidence, 
for you are my Father. 

(a prayer by Charles de Foucauld, slightly revised; photo by Myriads-Fotos via pixabay.com)

Unknown Waters

O Lord,

Length of days does not profit me except the days are passed in thy presence, in thy service, to thy glory.

Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides, sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour,
that I may not be one moment apart from thee,
but may rely on thy Spirit,
to supply every thought,
speak in every word,
direct every step,
prosper every work,
build up every mote of faith,
and give me a desire
to show forth thy praise,
testify thy love,
advance thy kingdom.

I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,
with thee, O Father, as my harbour,
thee, O Son, at my helm,
thee O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.

Guide me to heaven with my loins girt,
my lamp burning,
my ear open to thy calls,
my heart full of love,
my soul free.

Give me grace to sanctify me,
thy comforts to cheer,
thy wisdom to watch,
thy right hand to guide,
thy counsel to instruct,
thy law to judge,
thy presence to stabilize.

May thy fear be my awe,
thy triumphs my joy.

(from The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers, edited by Arthur Bennett)