Bring Me

Lord, bring me today to your holy mountain, 
to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, 
the heavenly Jerusalem, 
to God himself, to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which graciously forgives.

(based on Isaiah 66:20, Hebrews 12:22-24; painting: Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, by David Roberts in 1842, Library of Congress)

For Grateful Lives

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

A Writer's Breastplate

I bind to myself today 
The strong Name of the Trinity, 
Invoking the same, 
The Three in One 
and One in Three. 

I plead for my thinking and writing today 
The power of love, the power of faith, 
Christ’s incarnate immanence, 
The passion of his holy death, 
Awareness of His imminence, 
His power bursting from the spiced tomb,
His exaltation up the heavenly way,
His princely coming at the day of doom
I plead for them all today. 

I invoke for my words the power
Of angels' shout, 
The sweet ‘Well done’ in judgment hour,
The voice of the seraphim,
The certainty of the Apostles, 
The backbone of patriarchs, 
The certainty of prophets, 
And all good work done 
as to the Lord and not for men. 

I ask for my work today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun’s lifegiving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea
Around the old eternal rocks. 

I beseech for my sentences, paragraphs, and pages, 
My grammar, style, usage, and punctuation, 
My concepts and conceits, advances and retreats, 
The power of God to inspire and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward;
The word of God to give them speech,
His heavenly host to be their guard. 

Against the demon snares of sin,
The lie of judgment, lack of grace, 
The haunting doubts that war within,
The lazy word, the easy phrase,
Such fatal flaws as these in me, 
In every place and in all hours,
Against all unChristlike tendencies
I ask, in Jesus’ name, these powers. 

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart’s idolatry,
Against the world's deceitful thrills, 
Against the lure of pleasing men, 
Against dependence on my own skills, 
Protect me, Christ, as you alone can. 

Christ be with me, be all to me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ flow through me,
Christ to empty and restore me. 
Christ my waking, Christ my sleeping, 
Christ my thinking, Christ my feeling, 
Christ my laughing, Christ my weeping, 
Christ concealing and revealing. 

I ask all this in the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
By Whom all nature has creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord. 

(adapted from the Breastplate of St. Patrick; photo by sandim10 via

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.