July 4th Prayer

Lord my God,
I worship you today,
on this 246th 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 some 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 2022,
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.

Hear, O Hear My Prayer

Unto thee will I cry,
Shepherd, hear my prayer!
Poor and needy am I,
Shepherd, hear my prayer!
Deep is calling unto deep,
Rugged are the heights, and steep:
Guide my steps and keep;
Hear, O hear my prayer!
Hear, O hear my prayer!

Where the tempest is loud,
Shepherd, hear my prayer!
'Mid the darkness and cloud,
Shepherd, hear my prayer!
Let me hear thy voice afar,
Coming with the morning star,
Hear, O hear my prayer!
Hear, O hear my prayer!

Let the foe not prevail,
Shepherd, hear my prayer!
My resources would fail,
Shepherd, hear my prayer!
Order all my steps aright,
Carry me from height to height;
Yonder shines the light!
Shepherd, lead me there!
Lead me safely there!

(a prayer by General Albert Orsborn of The Salvation Army)

Consolation

Grant to all who mourn a sure confidence in your fatherly care, that, casting all their grief on you, they may fully know the consolation of your love.
Amen.

(revised slightly from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer)

Tell My Soul

Lord, my God, you gave me life and restored it when I lost it. Tell my soul that so longs for you what else you are besides what it has already understood, so that it may see you clearly. It stands on tiptoe to see more, but apart from what it has seen already, it sees nothing but darkness. Of course it does not really see darkness, because there is no darkness in you, but it sees that it can see no further because of the darkness in itself.

Surely, Lord, inaccessible light is your dwelling place, for no one apart from yourself can enter into it and fully comprehend you. If I fail to see this light, it is simply because it is too bright for me. Still, it by this light that I do see all that I can, even as weak ees, unable to look straight at the sun, see all they can by the sun’s light.

The light in which you dwell, Lord, is beyond my understanding. It is so brilliant that I cannot bear it, I cannot turn my mind’s eye toward it for any length of time. I am dazzled by its brightness, amazed by its grandeur, overwhelmed by its immensity, bewildered by its abundance.

(a prayer of Anselm)

Ten Times More

I love Thy skies, Thy sunny mists,
   Thy fields, Thy mountains hoar,
Thy wind that bloweth where it lists--
   Thy will, I love it more.

I love Thy hidden truth to seek
   All round, in sea, on shore;
The arts whereby like gods we speak--
   Thy will to me is more.

I love Thy men and women, Lord,
   The children round Thy door;
Calm thoughts that inward strength afford--
   Thy will than these is more.

But when Thy will my life doth hold
   Thine to the very core,
The world, which that same will doth mould,
   I love, then, ten times more!

(a prayer by George MacDonald, from Poetical Works, Vol. 1)

Overflowing Hope


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

Good Beyond All Good

O God the Father, Origin of divinity,
good beyond all that is good,
fair beyond all that is fair,
in whom is calmness, peace, and concord;
make up the dissensions 
which divide us from each other,
and bring us back into a unity of love,
which may bear some likeness to your divine nature.

And as you are above all things,
make us one by the unanimity of a good mind,
that through the embrace of charity
and the bonds of affection,
we may be spiritually one,
as well in ourselves as in each other;
through that peace of yours 
that makes all things peaceful,
and through the grace, mercy, and tenderness
of your Son, Jesus Christ, amen.

(a prayer of Dionysius the Areopagite, photo by Àlex Rodriguez via unsplash.com)

Summer with Me

I offer you these months, Lord,
my heart's July and August days...

Come summer with me, Lord;
summer deep down in my soul;
restore my faith in summer’s time,
in rest, in joy, in play, in you...

Summer in my heart, Lord,
and dwell there
as if time would never end,
as if all time were children's time, eternal time
when school is always out and joy is ever in…

And let others summer in my shade, Lord,
and share whatever summer’s peace is mine to give,
whatever summer’s light is mine to shed,
whatever summer's warmth is mine to share...

Good God of every season and every day this week,
come summer with me, Lord, and let the child in my heart
spend this summer in your love...

Amen.

(excerpted from a prayer on the Concord Pastor Comments blog)

A Prayer for Summer

Good morning, good God!

It’s summer, Lord:
the days are warm and the nights, too...

It’s a time to be grateful for the AC
everywhere, cooling to comfort
the places where we live and work
and play and rest and pray…

But some days, some nights,
I run from the heat,
from how the sun soaks in
and seeps its way through my pores,
through muscle to bone,
through bone to the marrow of my soul,
warming me through and through
until, from the inside out,
I’m baked in a light from light years away…

Draw me out from the shade and shadows
and warm me with your love
as with your summer sun...

Blaze a path into my soul:
pass through all that shields me
from the brilliance of your light,
the heat of your presence,
the burn of your desire…

Bake me in your love
until I sweat from every pore
the moist anointing of your presence…

Bathe me in the warmth of your grace
‘til I am burnished within and without
by your light touch…

Warm my heart’s desire for you, Lord,
and let no cool shade keep me from the peace
your heart burns to give…

I offer you my praise for summer days
when all creation warms to know
the light no darkness can extinguish...

And in the heat of the noonday sun
keep me mindful, Lord, of others
whose thirst I might quench,
whose shade I might provide...

So comes my prayer this morning, Lord,
as the sun rises to its noon day height
until it sets at this day's end, until tomorrow
when your sun will rise again,
upon a brand new day...

Amen.

(from A Concord Pastor Comments)

Even This I Cannot Do for Myself

Give me the grace, dear God, to adore You for even this I cannot do for myself. Give me the grace to adore You with the excitement of the old priests when they sacrificed a lamb to You. Give me the grace to adore You with the awe that fills Your priests when they sacrifice the lamb on our altars. Give me the grace to be impatient for the time when I shall see You face to face and need no stimulus than that to adore You. Give me the grace, dear God, to see the bareness and the misery of the places where You are not adored but desecrated.

(from A Prayer Journal by Flannery O'Connor; photo by Martin Walls via everystockphoto.com)

This is My Prayer

Help for the sick and hungry,
home for the homeless folk,
peace in the world forever.
This is my prayer, O Lord. 
Amen.

(prayer of a Jewish mother, 
quoted in Help Thanks Wow by Anne Lamott; 
photo by pisti via everystockphoto.com)

I Take the Vow

Blessed Son of God! Here I am. By Thy grace, I give my life to the carrying out of Thy last great command. Let my heart be as Thy heart. Let my weakness be as Thy strength. In Thy name I take the vow of entire and everlasting obedience. Amen. 

(a prayer of Andrew Murray from from The School of Obedience, end of chapter 8; photo by Oregongal via pixabay.com)

Comforts


Save us from these comforts. 
Break us of our need for the familiar. 
Spare us any joy that’s not of you,
And we will worship you. 

(a Puritan prayer; photo by Oldiefan via pixabay.com)

Joints


Abba, Father,

thank you for elbows that bend,
shoulders that swivel,
knees that work,
knuckles that move,
wrists and ankles that turn,
neck and vertebrae and hips that function
just as they are supposed to,
without thought
and without pain.

It is no small thing
for which I give thanks.

Amen.

(photo by Pure Julia via unsplash.com)

O for the Wings

Hear my prayer, O God, incline Thine ear!
Thyself from my petition do not hide.
Take heed to me! Hear how in prayer I mourn to Thee,
Without Thee all is dark, I have no guide.

The enemy shouteth, The godless come fast!
Iniquity, hatred, up on me they cast!
The wicked oppress me, Ah where shall I fly?
Perplexed and bewildered, O God, hear my cry!

My heart is sorely pained, within my breast,
my soul with deathly terror is oppressed,
trembling and fearfulness up on me fall,
with horror overwhelmed, Lord, hear me call.

O for the wings, for the wings of a dove!
Far away, far away would I rove!
In the wilderness build me a nest,
and remain there forever at rest."

(Anthem for soprano solo, chorus and organ or orchestra written by Felix Mendelssohn in Germany in 1844. The text, originally in English, written by William Bartholomew, is derived from Psalm 55)

At Every Turning

Purify my soul,
make my eyes keen and watchful,
in order that I may discern your purpose
at every turning of the way.

Help me to hallow all my circumstances
whether they appear friendly or adverse,
and may I subdue them all to my King's will.
Amen.

(from J. H. Jowett, The Whole Armour of God, p. 152; photo via everystockphoto.com).

At Fifteen


Lord, thank you for my first grandchild, my grandson, this young man after my own heart, 
Miles Jacob Hostetler, who turns fifteen today.

Thank you for all you have made him to be:
healthy, strong, charming, sweet, sensitive, smart, wonderful.

Thank you for all you have given him:
caring, wise, attentive, loving parents,
a sister who loves him and will even say so,
a family that loves to be around him and spend time with him,
an active and brilliant mind,
a fascination with bugs and beasts and birds,
and a warm home, good school, and lovely church.

Thank you that he's so great as to make missing him so hard.
Thank you that he's growing so fast and learning so much 
as to make me insanely jealous of those who get to watch it happen day by day and week by week.
Thank you that for the earliest years of his life I got to see him so often, almost daily at times.
And thank you that even with the physical distance between us, we still enjoy a closeness that brings tears to my eyes. 

Please bless him mightily on his birthday, and on every day that follows it.
Please shine on him, smile on him, and slather him with your favor.
Please preserve his sweetness even as he grows up.
Please give him a great summer this year, and a blessed rest-of-the-year.
Please grant that he may grow in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
Give him backbone, confidence, solidity, centeredness, and a feeling of comfort in his own skin.
Please draw him and keep him close to you, 
and grant his every need 
and make his dreams come true, 
in Jesus' name, amen.

For Mercies Day by Day

Lord of my life, whose tender care
Has led me on till now,
Here lowly at the hour of prayer
Before your throne I bow;
I bless your gracious hand, and pray
Forgiveness for another day.

Oh, may I daily, hourly, strive
In heavenly grace to grow;
To you and to your glory live,
Dead to all else below;
Tread in the path my Savior trod,
Though thorny, yet the path to God.

With prayer my humble praise I bring
For mercies day by day;
Lord! teach my heart your love to sing,
Lord! teach me how to pray;
And all I am, and all I own,
Entrust to you alone.

(a prayer by an anonymous hymnwriter, slightly updated and revised; photo by josemdelaa via pixabay.com)

Send My Roots Rain

Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend
With Thee; but, sir, so what I plead is just.
Why do sinners' ways prosper? and why must
Disappointment all I endeavor end?
Wert thou my enemy, O thou my friend,
How wouldst thou worse, I wonder, than thou dost
Defeat, thwart me? Oh, the sots and thralls of lust
Do in spare hours more thrive than I that spend,
Sir, life upon thy cause. See, banks and brakes
Now, leaved how thick! laced they are again
With fretty chervil, look, and fresh wind shakes
Them; birds bild--but not I build; no, but strain,
Time's eunuch, and not breed one work that wakes.
Mine, O thou lord of life, send my roots rain.

(a prayer and poem of Gerard Manley Hopkins; photo via pixabay.com)

For the Gift of the Holy Spirit


Most gracious God, I thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, pure as dew, cleansing as fire, tender and refreshing as the breath of spring. O blessed Trinity, ever engaged in giving Your choice things to us, Your unworthy children, accept my gratitude for which I have no words.

(from F. B. Meyer’s My Daily Prayer; photo via unsplash.com)

45

O Lord God, 
it's so hard to believe how long--
and how high and wide and deep--
you have blessed me with my bride, 
my wife, the lovely Robin:  
through forty-five years of marriage, 
and forty-eight years together.

Thank you for yet another year of life together.
Thank you for her faithful,
giving,
loving,
kind,
passionate,
sweet,
constant heart.

Thank you for all
the happiness we've known together;
the sorrows we've faced,
the struggles we've survived,
the children we raised,
and the grandchildren we've been so wonderfully given.

Thank you for our home, 
health,
laughter,
hopes and dreams,
our unfinished plans,
and our small accomplishments.

Thank you that she has stuck with me, never wavering in her support.
Thank you that I can still make her laugh, usually.
Thank you that she grows more beautiful every day.
Thank you for all of her perfections,
and all of my improvements.

Spare us another year to walk together,
and grant that for us it may be true
that the best is yet to be,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Creator Praise


Praise to you, Most Holy, Most High; praise and glory to your name. 

I praise you for bestowing life on your Creation; for granting reason to humankind, for making us a little lower than you, higher than the animals, for bestowing on us your likeness.

Thank you and praise to you for creating us as volitional creatures, though by that volition we fell.

Thank you for creating us as sensate beings, though in our sinfulness we serve our senses and sensation more than you.

I praise you for making us rational creatures, though our thoughts and imaginings are clouded by sin.

I praise you that you made us feeling, emotional beings, though we do not love you as we ought.

In all your works you are good and great, most excellent and most worthy of praise, which I offer you imperfectly, incompletely, but sincerely, in Jesus' name, amen.

Memoriam

 
In the quiet sanctuaries of our own hearts, 
let each of us name and call on 
the One whose power over us
is great and gentle, 
firm and forgiving, 
holy and healing…

You who created us, 
who sustain us,
who call us to live in peace,
hear our prayer this day.

Hear our prayer for all who have died,
whose hearts and hopes are known to you alone…

Hear our prayer for those who put the welfare of others
ahead of their own
and give us hearts as generous as theirs…

Hear our prayer for those who gave their lives
in the service of others,
and accept the gift of their sacrifice…

Help us to shape and make a world
where we will lay down the arms of war
and turn our swords into ploughshares
for a harvest of justice and peace…

Comfort those who grieve the loss of their loved ones
and let your healing be the hope in our hearts...

Hear our prayer this day
and in your mercy answer us
in the name of all that is holy.

Amen.

(from the Concord Pastor blog)

Though Dark Be My Way

Though dark be my way,
Since you are my guide,
'Tis mine to obey,
And yours to provide;
Though cisterns be broken
And creatures all fail,
The word you have spoken
Will surely prevail.

(a prayer of John Newton, excerpted and revised from the hymn, "Begone, Unbelief," photo by Sander Mathlener via Unsplash.com)

No Words

 

There are no words 
but thanks
and thanks
and more thanks.

In the Quiet

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

Pity My Unsettled Soul

Jesus, Shepherd of the sheep,
Pity my unsettled soul;
Guide and nourish me and keep,
Till Thy love shall make me whole.
Give me perfect soundness, give;
Make me steadfastly believe.

I am never at one stay,
Changing every hour I am;
But Thou art, as yesterday,
Now and evermore the same.
Constancy to me impart,
Stablish with Thy Grace my heart.

Give me faith to hold me up,
Walking over life's rough sea;
Holy, purifying hope,
Still my soul's sure anchor be.
That I may be always Thine,
Perfect me in love divine.

(Charles Wesley)

Forgive My Little Efforts


Father God Almighty, 
you inspired Moses, Samuel, and others 
to write when their best tools 
were papyrus and parchment, 
reed styli and ink made from crushed berries and plants.

For millennia, 
your servants have recorded 
stirring and soaring works 
in caves and cells, 
dusty rooms and mud huts, 
by lamplight and candlelight. 

So many have written so well 
in such circumstances 
as to shame my little efforts 
and shoddy craftsmanship.

So forgive me, Lord, 
when I let tiny obstacles
and minor inconveniences 
compromise my praying and writing. 
Forgive all those times when I could do better 
and make them less and less frequent 
until they sink forever beneath the waves of creativity
imagination,
and productivity,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(photo via unsplash.com)

Word

Your word is a lamp to my feet,
A light to my way,
A balm to my pain,
A comfort to my soul,
A guide in confusion,
A whisper in the night,
A spur to my spirit,
A melody of hope,
A correction, 
A plumbline,
A delight,
A friend,
A solace,
A shelter.
Amen.

Into My Heart

Give me, O Lord, I beseech thee,
firm faith, unwavering hope, perfect charity.
Pour into my heart the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and spiritual strength,
the Spirit of knowledge and true godliness,
and the Spirit of thy holy fear.

Light eternal, shine in my heart.
Power eternal, deliver me from evil.
Wisdom eternal, scatter the darkness of my ignorance.
Might eternal, pity me. 

Grant that I may ever seek thy face with all my heart and soul and strength; and, in thine infinite mercy, bring me at last to thy holy presence, where I shall behold thy glory and possess thy promised joys. Amen.

(a prayer of Alcuin of York)

Bundle of Life

O God, you have bound us together in this bundle of life:
give us grace to understand how our lives depend upon the courage,
the industry, the honesty and the integrity of others;
that we may be mindful of their needs,
grateful for their faithfulness,
and faithful in our responsibilities to them.

(a prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr; photo via everystockphoto.com)

The Word I Need


O Holy One, I hear and say so many words, yet yours is the word I need. Speak now, and help me listen; and, if what I hear is silence, let it quiet me, let it disturb me, let it touch my need, let it break my pride, let it shrink my certainties, let it enlarge my wonder. 

(a prayer from Ted Loder's Guerrillas of Grace; photo by Fa Barboza via unsplash.com)

Tracks


Lord God, let the tracks I leave behind be such as will guide and empower and bless all who come after me. Amen.

Calvary


Lord, make Calvary real to me.  
Lord, make Calvary real to me. 
Open mine eyes to see victory in Christ for me; 
Lord, make Calvary real to me.

(photo by Mateus Campos Felipe via unsplash.com)

To Rejoice in Your Mysterious Companionship

O Holy Spirit of God, abide with me;
inspire all my thoughts;
pervade my imagination;
suggest all my decisions;
order all my doings.

Be with me in my silence and in my speech,
in my haste and in my leisure,
in company and in solitude,
in the freshness of the morning and
in the weariness of the evening;
and give me grace at all times humbly to rejoice
in your mysterious companionship,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(a prayer of John Baillie, revised slightly from A Diary of Private Prayer)

Before Speaking


Lord, please speak through me. 
If you don't speak, it won't matter what I say. 
But if you do speak, it won't matter what I say.

Troparia of Thanksgiving


Now that the day has come to a close, I thank thee, O Lord, and I ask that the evening with the night may be sinless; grant this to me, O Saviour, and save me.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Now that the day hath passed, I glorify thee, O Master, and I ask that the evening, with the night may be without offence; grant this to me, O Saviour, and save me.

Both now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Now that the day hath run its course, I praise thee, O Holy One, and I ask that the evening with the night may be undisturbed; grant this to me, O Saviour, and save me.

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

For Their Mother

Abba, Father, 
I don't have to tell you how blessed I am 
by the wife you've given to me, 
and the kind of mother she has been--
and is--
to our children. 

She walks in beauty, like the night 
of cloudless climes and starry skies 
(to quote Byron). 

She showers blessing, like August rain, 
on every dry and needy place. 

She denies herself, like the pelican of myth, 
feeding her loved ones with her own lifeblood. 

She fights with passion, like a badger, 
to defend and protect her home and family. 

What a gift she is to me and to this family. 
Lift her up in our love, 
encourage her with our gratitude, 
and let her feel your favor 
flowing through ours, 
in Jesus' name, amen.