Show Me My Life's End

Deserve


Lord, please make me as good a man 
as my grandkids deserve. 

Distance and Company

Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say
"Look!" and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.

(excerpted from Mary Oliver's poem, "Mysteries, Yes," found in her book Evidence)

My Great Strides Prayer

Gracious Lord, you have been so good to bless me and the lovely Robin with the children and grandchildren we have. My cup runneth over. 

How blessed I am to count Calleigh and Ryder among my grandchildren. How they fill me with joy and pride. But as you know, they face the daily challenge presented by Cystic Fibrosis. So, Lord, I beg you for your help in my family's Great Strides efforts this year, that my family's efforts may play a part in the eradication of this disease very soon. 

Please guide me in my efforts to get the word out. Help me meet my goal for donations of $5,000 or more. Grant that matching gifts may multiply our efforts. Bless every kind and generous person who prays and gives to our efforts. Most of all, please make this year's Great Strides efforts a success from your perspective, and use our efforts--and every donation--to bring about a cure, in Jesus' name, amen. 

(Visit my Great Strides homepage here to learn more)
 

Adoring


At Thy feet I bow, adoring,
Bending lower, lower still;
Giving up my all to follow,
Just to do my Master's will.

Today's Surrender


Lord, take my lips and speak through them;
take my mind and think through it;
take my heart and set it on fire.
Amen.

(a prayer of W. H. Aitken; photo by Tobias Rademacher via Unsplash.com)

A Spacious Place

Abba, Father, you have indeed brought me into a spacious place (Psalm 18:19),
given me a dream wife--no, a wife beyond dreaming-- 
and children and grandchildren who make my heart swell,
set me among people who love you and long to serve you,
linked me with the best coworkers in the world,
and saved, sustained, helped, and prospered me every step of my way.

Lord, you are my rock and my salvation,
my God, in whom I trust. 
You have done marvelous, marvelous things,
and that my soul knows right well.

(photo by Maria Teneva via Unsplash.com)

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)

Gilded Clay


Lord...how do I despise 
What upon trust 
Is styled honor, riches, or fair eyes; 
But is--fair dust! 
I surname them gilded clay, 
Dear earth, fine grass or hay. 

(a prayer of George Herbert; photo by Nick Karvounis via unsplash.com)

Direct My Steps

May it be Your will, Lord, My God and God of my ancestors, to lead me, to direct my steps, and to support me in peace. Lead me in life, tranquil and serene, until I arrive at where I am going. Deliver me from every enemy, ambush and hurt that I might encounter on the way and from all afflictions that visit and trouble the world. Bless the work of my hands. Let me receive divine grace and those loving acts of kindness and mercy in Your eyes and in the eyes of all those I encounter. Listen to the voice of my appeal, for you are a God who responds to prayerful supplication. Praised are you, Lord, who responds to prayer.

(Photo: a copy, in Hebrew, of the Traveler's Prayer (prescribed in the Talmud), found in a 1940's era C-47B-5-DK plane, used in the Six-Day War and Yom Kippur War)

Keep Me Bent

Lord save me 
from myself 
my settled self 
unsettle me 
bring to end of rope 
but only 
if you 
are at the end. 
My procrastinating self 
that can so easy find 
side roads 
that are more interesting 
even ones where 
errands can be run. 
Send me back to 
my comfort loving self 
uncomfort me 
pull the covers from me 
on cold night 
that I may wake. Starve my body
that my soul may feast.
My proud self.
Give me grace to bend myself 
And keep me bent 
lest you should one day 
bend me to the breaking point.
My righteous self 
show me sin 
that lurks beneath 
my conscious thought 
motivating 
that pushes me 
to settling 
comfort pride 
and self 
rationalizing self 
that finds excuse 
for what I do 
and don't.
Save me from myself
Save me so that 
self may die 
and save me 
from pride 
that self is dead.

(a prayer of Joseph Bayly, from Psalms of My Life; photo by retepwal via unsplash.com)

Streams of Needful Grace

O God of grace,
I bewail my cold, 
listless, 
heartless prayers;
their poverty adds sin to my sin.
If my hope were in them 
I should be undone,
But the worth of Jesus perfumes my feeble breathings, 
and wins their acceptance.

Deepen my contrition of heart,
Confirm my faith in the blood that washes from all sin.
May I walk lovingly with my great Redeemer.
Flood my soul with true repentance 
that my heart may be broken for sin and unto sin.
Let me be as slow to forgive myself 
as thou art ready to forgive me.
Gazing on the glories of thy grace 
may I be cast into the lowest depths of shame.
and walk with downcast head now thou art pacified towards me.

O my great High Priest,
pour down upon me streams of needful grace,
bless me in all my undertakings,
in every thought of my mind,
every word of my lips,
every step of my feet,
every deed of my hands.
Thou didst live to bless,
die to bless,
rise to bless,
ascend to bless,
take thy throne to bless,
and now thou dost reign to bless.

O give sincerity to my desires,
earnestness to my supplications,
fervour to my love.

(from The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers, edited by Arthur Bennett; photo by leorivas via unsplash.com)

Tell Me a Story



Abba, hold me in your arms. 
Shield me. 
Rock me. 
Tell me a story. 
And take me on new exciting adventures with you, 
in Jesus' name, amen.

From Your Fountains


Justify my soul, O God, but also from Your fountains fill my will with your fire. Shine in my mind, although perhaps this means “be darkness to my experience,” but occupy my heart with Your tremendous Life. Let my eyes see nothing in the world but Your glory, and let my hands touch nothing that is not for Your service.

Let my tongue taste no bread that does not strengthen me to praise Your great mercy. I will hear Your voice and I will hear all harmonies You have created, singing Your hymns. Sheep’s wool and cotton from the field shall warm me enough that I may live in Your service; I will give the rest to Your poor. Let me use all things for one sole reason: to find my joy in giving You glory.

Therefore keep me, above all things, from sin. Keep me from the death of deadly sin which puts hell in my soul. Keep me from the murder of lust that blinds and poisons my heart. Keep me from the sins that eat a man’s flesh with irresistible fire until he is devoured. Keep me from loving money in which is hatred, from avarice and ambition that suffocate my life. Keep me from the dead works of vanity and the thankless labor in which artists destroy themselves for pride and money and reputation, and saints are smothered under the avalanche of their own importunate zeal. Stanch in me the rank wound of covetousness and the hungers that exhaust my nature with their bleeding. Stamp out the serpent envy that stings love with poison and kills all joy.

Untie my hands and deliver my heart from sloth. Set me free from the laziness that goes about disguised as activity when activity is not required of me, and from the cowardice that does what is not demanded, in order to escape sacrifice.

But give me the strength that waits upon You in silence and peace. Give me humility in which alone is rest, and deliver me from pride which i s the heaviest of burdens. And possess my whole heart and soul with the simplicity of love. Occupy my whole life with the one thought and the one desire of love, that I may love not for the sake of merit, not for the sake of perfection, not for the sake of virtue, not for the sake of sanctity, but for you alone.

For there is only one thing that can satisfy love and reward it, and that is You alone.

(from New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton; photo by nmarquina via unsplash.com)

God My Help

O God, my help in ages past, 
My hope for years to come, 
My shelter from the stormy blast, 
And my eternal home.

Under the shadow of your throne 
Your saints have dwelt secure; 
Sufficient is your arm alone, 
And my defense is sure. 

Before the hills in order stood, 
Or earth received her frame, 
From everlasting you are God, 
To endless years the same. 

A thousand ages in your sight
Are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun.

O God, my help in ages past, 
My hope for years to come, 
My shelter from the stormy blast, 
And my eternal home.

(a prayer by hymn writer Isaac Watts, slightly updated)

On His 40th Birthday

 

Lord, thank you for my son-in-law, Kevin.
Thank you that my daughter found him. 
Thank you for the man he is, 
the husband, 
the father, 
the friend, 
and son. 

Thank you that he loves well, 
laughs often, 
works hard, 
fixes stuff, 
and makes life better for those around him.
Thank you that he's a Reds' fan (on his best days). 

Please bless him today on his birthday, 
and every day, 
with health and favor, happiness and joy. 
Draw him close to you, 
keep him safe on his daily commute, 
and give him every blessing, today and every day, 
in Jesus' name, amen. 


Like Sheep Who Go Astray

God of hope and safety, like sheep who go astray, we have wandered from your paths of life and light. We have heard the Shepherd's voice calling us by name, but we have turned instead to our own way. Show us your tender mercy; restore us in the security of your fold. Lead us back to still waters, seat us again at your bounteous table. Fill us with your Spirit, that we might bear glad witness to your saving mercy, revealed to us in the Great Shepherd, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

(a prayer from beliefnet.com; photo of Myeongdong Cathedral, South Korea, by Bundo Kim, via unsplash.com)

Whet My Appetite for Righteousness

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.

(a prayer by Thomas à Kempis, from The Imitation of Christ: Classic Devotions in Today's Language by James Watkins; photo by abelmarquez via unsplash.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)