The Gift of Their Sacrifice

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.


(from the Concord Pastor blog)

Idle Sticks

God, I pray, 
light these idle sticks of my life 
and may I burn for you.

Consume my life, my God, 
for it is yours.

I seek not a long life, 
but a full one, like you, Lord Jesus.

(a slightly updated prayer by Jim Elliot; photo by Luke Porter via

The Quintessence is Small

Lord, how I am all ague, when I seek 
What I have treasur'd in my memory! 
Since, if my soul make even with the week, 
Each seventh note by right is due to thee. 
I find there quarries of pil'd vanities, 
But shreds of holiness, that dare not venture 
To show their face, since cross to thy decrees: 
There the circumference earth is, heav'n the centre. 
In so much dregs the quintessence is small: 
The spirit and good extract of my heart 
Comes to about the many hundredth part. 
Yet Lord restore thine image, hear my call: 
And though my hard heart scarce to thee can groan, 
Remember that thou once didst write in stone. 

(by George Herbert; photo by Levi Meir Clancy via

A Prayer of St. Francis de Sales


In You Alone

God of goodness,
give me yourself.
For you are sufficient for me.

If I were to ask for anything less
I should always be in want,
for in you alone do I have all.

(a prayer by Julian of Norwich;
photo of Julian by celesteh via

Lowest Depths

grant that I may rest
in your goodness,
knowing that
that goodness
can reach down
to my lowest depths
of need.

(based on a quote by Julian of Norwich)

Rouse Our Inattention

Grant, Almighty God, that, since you have hitherto so kindly invited us to yourself, and daily invite us, and often interpose your threatening to rouse our inattention, and since we have been inattentive to your reproofs, as well as to your paternal kindness--O, grant that we may not, to the last, proceed in our wickedness, and thus provoke the vengeance you denounce on men past recovery; but that we may anticipate your wrath by true repentance, and be humbled under your hand, that you may receive us into favor, and nourish us in your paternal bosom, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

(a prayer of John Calvin, in his Commentary on Hosea, updated by me into modern English; photo by waldemarbrandt67w via


Gracious God,
thank you that our vacation is finally here! 
Oh, how I need this. 
Thank you for a week to spend with my wife
and some of our loved ones.

Give us all safe travel to and from our shared destination.
Steer us away from dangers, cancellations, missed connections, traffic jams, and speeding tickets.
Deliver us from sickness.
Give us grace to travel well,
sleep well,
and eat well.
Give us a respite from work and weariness.

May gas, grocery, and restaurant prices not be too high,
crowds not be too large,
temperatures not too oppressive,
and rain not too frequent.

Help us all to enjoy each other,
the lovely surroundings,
and the time to read, rest, and play.

Go with us.
Keep us aware of you,
and of your kindness and generosity,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Let the Power of Christ Work in Me

Lord, your gracious favor is all I need. 
Your power works best in my weakness.
Let the power of Christ work in me
through weakness
by your gracious favor.

(based on 2 Corinthians 12:9, NLT; photo by Rick Barrett via

Like a Shepherd

Savior, like a shepherd lead me, much much much I need your tender care;
In your pleasant pastures feed me, for my use your folds prepare.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus! You have bought me, I am yours. 
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus! You have bought me, I am yours. 

I am yours, my Friend and Helper, be the Guardian of my way;
Keep me safely in your favor, seek me when I go astray.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus! Hear, O hear me when we pray.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus! Hear, O hear me when we pray.

You have been so gracious, Gentle Shepherd, saved my soul and set me free; 
You have led me into spacious pasture, daily shown your face to me. 
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus! I will serve you all my days. 
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus! I will serve you all my days. 

(from the hymn, "Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us," revised and updated; 
photo illustration by Patrick Schneider via

Your Ordered Gift of Life

God before and God behind,
God for us and God for your own self,
Maker of heaven and earth,
creator of sea and sky,
governor of day and night.
We give thanks for your ordered gift of life to us,
for the rhythms that reassure,
for the equilibriums that sustain,
for the reliabilities that curb our anxieties.
We treasure from you,
days to work and nights to rest.
We cherish from you,
days to control and nights to yield.
We savor from you,
days to plan and nights to dream.
Be our day and our night,
our heaven and our earth,
our sea and our sky,
and in the end our true home. Amen.

(from Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: The Prayers of Walter Brueggemann)

You Are Always First

First Speaker,
you whispered your love to me
in my mother's womb.

First Knower,
you knew me
long before I knew you.

First Finder,
you found me
before I looked for you.

First Lover,
you loved me
before I had the first chance to love you back.

And you are still speaking,
and loving me
every day,
every moment;
you are always
and loving
me first.

Thank you,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(photo by Calvin Craig via

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).

From the Tumult

Take me often from the tumult of things
into your presence.
There show me what I am,
and what you have purposed me to be.
Than hide me from your tears.
O King and Savior,
what is your gift to me?
And do I use it to your pleasing?

(a prayer of Hild of Whitby)

Strong and Courageous

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

May I Be Equal to Your Hope of Me

May I be equal to your hope of me.
If I am weak,
I ask that you send only what I can bear.
If I am strong,
may I shrink from no testing
that shall yield increase of strength
or win security for my spirit.
I trust in you, O Lord.
I say, ‘ You are my God.'
My times are in your hand,
my times are in your hand.

(a prayer of Hild of Whitby)

And We Yield

We arrange our lives as best we can,
to keep your holiness at bay,
with our pieties,
our doctrines,
our liturgies,
our moralities,
our secret ideologies,
Safe, virtuous, settled.

And then you--
you and your dreams,
you and your visions,
you and your purposes,
you and your commands,
you and your neighbors.

We find your holiness not at bay,
but probing, pervading,
insisting, demanding.
And we yield, sometimes gladly,
sometimes resentfully,
sometimes late...or soon.
We yield because you, beyond us, are our God.
We are your creatures met by your holiness,
by your holiness made our true selves.

And we yield. Amen.

(from Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: The Prayers of Walter Brueggemann, by way of the Daily Prayer blog. The background of the photo is explained here, on the Hither and Yon blog)

By My Side

Give me, O God, this day a strong and vivid sense that you are by my side. In multitude and solitude, in business and leisure, in my downsizing and in my uprising, may I ever be aware of your accompanying presence. By your grace, O God, I will go nowhere this day where you cannot come, nor court any companionship that would rob me of yours. By your grace I will let no thought enter my heart that might hinder my communion with you, nor let any word come from my mouth that is not meant for your ear. So shall my courage be firm and my heart be at peace.  

(a prayer of John Baillie, revised slightly from A Diary of Private Prayer; photo by Greg Rosenke via



I live in the shelter of the Most High. 
I find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 
This I declare about you, Lord: 
You alone are my refuge, my safe place; 
You are my God. I trust you. 
For you will rescue me from every trap 
and protect me from deadly disease. 
You will cover me with your feathers. 
You will shelter me with your wings. 

(Psalm 91:1-4, slightly revised)

The Almighty's Shade

I rest beneath the Almighty’s shade, 
My griefs expire, my troubles cease;
Thou, Lord, on whom my soul is stayed,
Wilt keep me still in perfect peace.

(a prayer by Charles Wesley; image by K. Mitch Hodge via

My Task

Almighty God, judge of all the earth,
keep me from ever supposing that I am the judge of others,
deciding their worth or conniving in vengeance.
My job is to sing your praises and love my neighbor.
Help me to stick to my task, for Jesus' sake, amen.

(a prayer of Eugene Peterson, from Praying With the Psalms; photo by kellysikkema via


Lord, feed me like Elijah,
raise me up like Lazarus,
restore my soul as you did David's,
in Jesus' name, amen.

If I'm Far Across the River

if anything happens
if you come for me
keep them from interfering
desperately trying
to tug me
from your grasp.
If I'm far
across the river
where you own shore
and all beyond
don't let them
bring me back
prolonging death
not life
delaying life
that never crosses
unreturning river

(a prayer of Joseph Bayly, from Psalms of My Life)

I am Still in Rags

O God of Grace,

You have imputed my sin to my substitute, and have imputed his righteousness to my soul, clothing me with a bridegroom’s robe, decking me with jewels of holiness. But in my Christian walk I am still in rags; my best prayers are stained with sin; my penitential tears are so much impurity; my confessions of wrong are so many aggravations of sin; my receiving the Spirit is tinctured with selfishness.

I need to repent of my repentance; I need my tears to be washed; I have no robe to bring to cover my sins, no loom to weave my own righteousness; I am always standing clothed in filthy garments, and by grace am always receiving change of raiment, for you always justify the ungodly; I am always going into the far country, and always returning home as a prodigal, always saying, “Father, forgive me,” and you are always bringing forth the best robe.

Every morning let me wear it, every evening return in it, go out to the day’s work in it, be married in it, be wound in death in it, stand before the great white throne in it, enter heaven in it shining as the sun.

Grant me never to lose sight of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the exceeding righteousness of salvation, the exceeding glory of Christ, the exceeding beauty of holiness, the exceeding wonder of grace.

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

Returning and Rest

You have taught us
that in returning and rest
we shall be saved,
in quietness and confidence
we shall be strengthened.
By your Spirit
lift us to your presence
where we may be still
and know that you are God.

(from the Book of Common Prayer)

Protect Them


Lord, protect them. All of them.
From bullies. Of all ages.
From predators. 
From oppressors, 
and users, 
in Jesus' name, amen. 

A Thief's Prayer

Lord, remember me.
Remember me when you feel like blessing someone.
Remember me when you're handing out strength for the day,
rest for the night,
hope for tomorrow.

Remember me when I forget you are near.
Remember me when the crowd presses in on me.
Remember me when others find fault, 
and demand what I cannot give. 

Remember when I'm stricken with fear,
and peace eludes me,
and I forget that you are in control.

Remember me, too, when cloudy skies clear,
and all seems well with the world.

Remember me, Lord. 
Remember me, in Jesus' name, amen.

(photo by Mika Korhonen via

All of Us are Taxed

On this day of internal revenue
some of us are paid up,
some of us owe,
some of us await a refund,
some of us have no income to tax.

But all of us are taxed,
by war,
by violence,
by anxiety,
by deathliness.

And Caesar never gives any deep tax relief.

We render to Caesar . . .
to some it feels like a grab,
to some it is clearly a war tax,
to some – some few –
it is a way to contribute to the common good.

In any case we are haunted
by what we render to Caesar,
by what we might render to you,
by the way we invest our wealth and our lives,
when what you ask is an “easy yoke”:
to do justice
to love mercy
to walk humbly with you.

Give us courage for your easy burden, so to live untaxed lives. Amen.

(a prayer by Walter Brueggemann, from his book, Prayers for a Privileged People; photo by Shutterbug75 via

For Purity of Heart

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

To Get Some Pleasure Out of Life

Give me a good digestion, Lord, 
And also something to digest; 
Give me a healthy body, Lord, 
With sense to keep it at its best. 
Give me a healthy mind, Good Lord, 
To keep the good and pure in sight, 
Which seeing sin, is not appalled 
But finds a way to set it right. 
Give me a mind that is not bored, 
That does not whimper, whine, or sigh; 
Don't let me worry overmuch 
About the fussy thing called "I." 
Give me a sense of humor, Lord, 
Give me the grace to see a joke, 
To get some pleasure out of life 
And pass it on to other folk.

(prayer hanging in a cathedral at Chester, England, 
shared by E. Stanley Jones in The Way to Power and Poise
photo by Vita Strawberrika via

Like a Mill

Lord God, make me like a mill beside a flowing stream. 
Let living water flow through me. 
Let your mighty power be harnessed and channeled 
and focused as it flows through my life. 
Let it flow out of me to bless and benefit all those around me, 
the whole community, rich and poor, big and small, 
those I know and those I don't, those I like and those I don't, 
making us all healthier and better, in Jesus' name, amen.

On Easter Monday

Lord Jesus, here on Easter Monday, let me not succumb to the lazy thought that Easter and your resurrection are in my rear-view mirror, for you are alive evermore, and you are in me and with me today and tomorrow and forevermore. Let me live and walk, sleep and wake, eat and drink in the awareness of your constant nowness. Amen. 

By Your Magnificent and Radiant Resurrection

It is only right, 
with all the powers of our heart and mind,
to praise You Father
and Your Only-begotten Son,
Our Lord Jesus Christ:
Dear Father, by Your wondrous
condescension of loving-kindness toward us,
Your servants, You gave up Your Son.
Dear Jesus You paid the debt of Adam
for us to the Eternal Father by
Your Blood poured forth in loving-kindness.
You cleared away the darkness of sin
By Your magnificent and radiant Resurrection.
You broke the bonds of death
and rose from the grave as a Conqueror.
You reconciled heaven and earth.
Our life had no hope of eternal happiness
before You redeemed us.
Your Resurrection has washed away our sins,
restored our innocence and brought us joy.
How inestimable is the tenderness
of Your love!

(Saint Gregory the Great's Easter Prayer; photo by Pisit Heng via

On Silent Saturday

Rest you well, beloved Jesus,  
Caesar’s Lord and Israel’s King,  
In the brooding of the Spirit,  
In the darkness of the spring. 

On Good Friday

Am I a stone, and not a sheep,
That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy cross,
To number drop by drop Thy blood's slow loss,
And yet not weep?

Not so those women loved
Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
Not so the thief was moved;

Not so the Sun and Moon
Which hid their faces in a starless sky,
A horror of great darkness at broad noon--
I, only I.

Yet give not o'er,
But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;
Greater than Moses, turn and look once more
And smite a rock.

(by Christina Rossetti)

On Maundy Thursday

not my feet only,
but also
my hands
my head.
my heart.
my mind.
my life.

(based on John 13:9).

On Holy Wednesday

Lord Jesus, gracious Savior, I come to you in this sacred week to ponder your great and wondrous love; love that led you to the cross that my sin might be blotted out and that I might be reconciled to my heavenly Father. O Christ, give me strength and grace to crucify my sinful desires and dedicate myself anew to you, who has loved me with an everlasting love and brought to me eternal salvation. 

I confess to You my sins. They are many, and You know them all. For each and every one of them you suffered the agony of the cross and shed your precious blood that I may be cleansed and made acceptable in your sight. Thank you for the forgiveness and cleansing that is mine. Thank you that none of the sins of yesterday cling to me. Humbly I come, grateful for your mercy. Daily let me fulfill the tasks and duties to which You have called me with joy, confessing you as my Lord and Savior, and being of service to my neighbor.

Grant that your suffering and death, proclaimed for the salvation of mankind, may by the power of the Holy Spirit awaken in many a deeper love to You. O Lord, have mercy upon me and all sinful mankind, and create in me and all that seek you a clean heart, holy desires, and an undying love. Hear my prayer, gracious Redeemer. Amen.

(borrowed and revised from; photo of Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona, Arizona, by Josh Ekstein)

Long Have I Loved You

Long have I loved you,
But not nearly as long or as much
As your great love deserves.
Each day I have left
Let me love and serve you
With more passion and zeal
Than the 23,741 (or so)
that have gone before.

On Holy Monday

God of love,
My prayer is simple:
Your son, Jesus, suffered and died for me.

I know only
that I cannot have real strength
unless I rely on you.

I cannot feel protected
from my many weaknesses
until I turn to you
for forgiveness and your unalterable love.

Help me to share this
strength, protection and love with others.

(from One Prayer a Day for Lent)