Deepen in Me

O Lover to the Uttermost,
may I read the meltings of thy heart to me
in the manger of thy birth,
in the garden of thy agony,
in the cross of thy suffering,
in the tomb of thy resurrection,
in the heaven of thy intercession.
Bold in this thought I defy my adversary,
tread down his temptations,
resist his schemings,
renounce the world,
am valiant for truth.

Deepen in me a sense of my holy relationship to thee,
as spiritual Bridegroom,
as Jehovah's Fellow,
as sinners' Friend.

I think of thy glory and my vileness,
thy majesty and my meanness,
thy beauty and my deformity,
thy purity and my filth,
thy righteousness and my iniquity.

Thou hast loved me everlastingly, unchangeably,
may I love thee as I am loved;
Thou hast given thyself for me,
may I give myself to thee;
Thou hast died for me,
may I live to thee,
in every moment of my time,
in every movement of my mind,
in every pulse of my heart.

May I never dally with the world and its allurements,
but walk by thy side,
listen to thy voice,
be clothed with thy graces,
and adorned with thy righteousness.

(from The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers, edited by Arthur Bennett; photo by 8moments via

Like Jacob in the Garments of Esau

I come to you
like Jacob in the garments of Esau--
that is, in the merits
and precious blood of Jesus Christ.

(a prayer by Thomas Merton, from his book, Dialogues With Silence, p. 113)

Yet You Hold Me

I do nothing, I give you
nothing. Yet you hold me

minute by minute
from falling.
Lord, You provide.

(excerpt from "Psalm Fragments (Schnittke String Trio)," by Denise Levertov, The Stream and the Sapphire, p. 23).

The Only Happiness

God, You are the highest good of the reasonable creature, and the enjoyment of You is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied.

To go to heaven fully to enjoy You is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here.

Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows. But the enjoyment of You is the substance.

These are but scattered beams, but You are the sun.

These are but streams, but You are the fountain.

These are but drops, but You are the ocean.


(from God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse by James Weldon Johnson, by way of the Daily Prayer blog)

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Lover of My Soul

Let Me Not Forget

I bewail that my apprehensions are dull, 
my thoughts mean, 
my affections stupid, 
my expressions low, 
my life unbeseeming; 
yet what can you expect of dust and levity, 
of corruption but defilement?

Keep me ever mindful of my natural state, 
but let me not forget my heavenly title, 
or the grace that can deal with every sin.
(excerpt from The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers, edited by Arthur Bennett; photo by mzmatuszewski0  via


(photo by mandj98 via; prayer added by Bob Hostetler)

After I Have Managed to Shut Up

I'm starting to think 
you prefer to speak 
after I have managed to shut up. 

My Refuge

You alone are my refuge, 
my place of safety. 
You are my God, 
and I trust you. 

(Psalm 91:2, paraphrased; photo by Manuel_Miranda via

Showers of Blessing

Lord, please send down 
showers of blessing a la Ezekiel 34:26 
to the dry places in me 
and around me
both figuratively 
and literally. 

(photo by Fifaliana-joy via

To Use All the Circumstances of My Life

Teach me, O God, to use all the circumstances of my life today that they may bring forth in me the fruits of holiness rather than the fruits of sin.

Let me use disappointment as material for patience: 
Let me use success as material for thankfulness: 
Let me use suspense as material for perseverance: 
Let me use danger as material for courage: 
Let me use reproach as material for longsuffering: 
Let me use praise as material for humility: 
Let me use pleasures as material for temperance: 
Let me use pains as material for endurance. 

(a prayer of John Baillie in A Diary of Private Prayer; photo by anajbrown via

Deliver Me From the Cult of Personal Experience

Father God, I want to believe in you when I feel like it and when I don’t. I want to triumph in you when the fig tree buds and when there is no fruit at all on the vine. I want to love you when times are good and when times are bad. I want to rejoice in you even when the crop fails and there are no sheep in the pen, no cattle in the stall, and no money in the bank. I want to worship you not primarily to bring pleasure to me, but to give pleasure to you, and to give the glory that is due your name (Psalm 29:2). 

Deliver me from the cult of personal experience, and help me to learn anew how to worship you and enjoy you forever, in Jesus’ name, amen.

(the prayer that closes chapter eight, "The Cult of Personal Experience," in American Idols; photo by JACLOU-DL via

On Her Birthday

Abba, you have granted me the loveliest bride, 
the perfect woman for me, and I am grateful. 
Bless her abundantly, extravagantly, today, on her birthday. 
As your beauty and grace lives in her 
and exudes from her, 
let her feel your approval in every way 
on this day and in all the days to come.
Smile on her. Rejoice over her. Thrill her and fill her
with the awareness of your pleasure
and the rich appreciation of her husband, family, and many friends,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Prepare a Road

Omnipotent God, whom through the worship of my heart alone I know, to the wicked unknown, yet known to every devout soul, you are without beginning and without end, more ancient than time past and time to come; your fashion and extent no mind can ever grasp, no tongue express....

Son of the All-highest, bringer of salvation to the human race, you to whom your Begetter has committed all the powers of his Fatherhood, keeping none back in envy, but giving freely, open a way for my prayers and safely convey them to your Father's ears.

Grant me a heart, O Father, to hold out against all deeds of wrong, and deliver me from the serpent's deadly venom, sin....

Prepare a road that I, being freed from the fetters of this frail body, may be led up on high, where in the clear heaven the Milky Way stretches above the wandering clouds of the wind-vexed moon--that road by which the holy men of old departed from the earth; by which Elias, being caught up in the chariot, once made his ways alive above our lower air; and Enoch, too, who went before his end without change of body.

Grant me, O Father, the effluence of everlasting light for which I yearn, and bring to your altar the offering of a stainless life.

Grant me your pardon, Father, and relieve my anguished breast...and when the hour of my last day shall come, grant that the conscience of a life well spent cause me not to fear death, nor yet long for it. When, through your mercy, I appear cleansed from my secret faults, let me despise all else, and let my one delight be to await in hope your judgment. And if that day delays, keep me far from that fierce tempter, the serpent, with his false allurements.

Claim these prayers as your own before the eternal Father, Son of God to whom I pray, Savior, God and Lord, Mind, Glory, Word and Son, very God of very God, Light of Light, who remains with the eternal Father, reigning throughout all ages, whose praise the harmonious songs of tuneful David echo forth, until respondent voices rend the air with "Amen."

(a prayer by Ausonius, shortened and updated slightly; photo by fietzfotos via

For All the Things

Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom,
you know my necessities before I ask
and my ignorance in asking:
Have compassion on my weakness,
and mercifully give me those things which
for my unworthiness I dare not,
and for my blindness I cannot ask;
through the worthiness of your Son 
Jesus Christ my Lord,
who lives and reigns with you 
and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.

(photo by Tama66 via

Little and Great

help me to do great things
as though they were little,
since I do them with your power,
and little things as though they were great,
since I do them in your name.

(a prayer of Blaise Pascal; photo by Free-Photos via

For Answered Prayer

Lord God, I praise you again because you answer prayer.
You answered prayer for me and my little ailment.
You answered prayer for my family's travels this past weekend. 
You answered prayer for my travel and my meetings last week.
You answered prayer for my grandchildren's health. 
You answered prayer for sick friends and suffering friends.
You answered prayer for my work.
And all of this in just over a week. 
I praise you because you deign to answer prayer.
I praise you because you love to answer prayer.

(photo by Himsan via

On Our Nation's Birthday

Lord my God,
I worship you today,
on this 245th birthday of this nation,
these wonderful United States of America
in which I live.

I thank you for the freedom
to worship you publicly...
even as I ask you
to show kindness and mercy
to those who lack that freedom
because they live elsewhere.

Thank you for all those
who have sacrificed for my freedom,
for those who risked
(and many who gave) their lives
to make this a free and independent nation,
for those in my nation's armed services, past and present,
and for all who have served the cause of liberty in other ways...
even as I pray for those who even now
are in harm's way,
far from home,
in this nation's service.
Please meet their needs,
watch over them and their loved ones,
and grant them your favor in every way.

And, Father, on this Independence Day 2021,
I pray for the people in this land
and every land
who have not yet discovered the freedom
that is offered to them in your Son, Jesus Christ.
Draw them to you,
set them free
from sin and sadness and strife,
and grant them the eternal freedom
that is found only in trusting you,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(photo by Free-Photos via


Lord, thank you for 
winds of refreshing, 
showers of blessing, 
streams of mercy, 
and peace like an ocean. 
Now, Lord, please unleash 
a monsoon of your goodness; 
deluge me and mine, 
in Jesus' name, amen.

(photo by bhuwanpurohit via