|New Book now Available|
Here is an anthology of over 1100 brief prayers and thought-starters, for each day of the year, with almost 400 original prayers by Bruce Prewer.
Included is both a subject index and an index of authors-- an ecumenical collection of about 300 different sources.
| Title: Brief Prayers for Busy People.|
Author: Bruce D Prewer
Available from Australian Church Resources,
web site www.acresources.com.au
or by order from your local book shop
or online on amazon.
Luke 2: 1-20 (Sermon 1: “An ET Reports Home”)
Isaiah 62: 6-12 (Sermon 2:”Peace on Earth”)
(In this service I have preferred the reading for Christmas Eve, Isaiah 6:2-7.
Hence Sermon 2: “Peace on earth?”)
John 1: 1-14
Hebrews 1: 1-4
Isaiah 52: 7-10
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness, on them has the light shined.
To you is born this day in the city of David
a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.
The joy of Mary and Joseph, and of the holy angels, be with you all!
And also with you!
I bring you good news of overflowing happiness,
which has come for all the people:
For to you is born today in the city of David,
a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.
And this will be the only sign you will see:
You will find the baby wrapped in a bunny rug
and lying in a manger.
O sing to God a new song,
sing to the Lord all the earth.
Sing and bless the name of God,
Publish salvation from day to day.
God of wonders, in your mercy please break through the clutter of Christmas trivia, and lead us again to utter wonder in the presence of your Holy Child, Jesus.
Shock us anew with this gloriously foolish thing you have done for us and our salvation. Liberate thanksgiving in our souls and songs on our lips, that with all our being we may love and adore you.
In the name of Jesus, the Saviour who has come indeed.
Because of Emmanuel, God-with- us, in the midst of Christmas celebrations we can boldly face our sin and to affirm our salvation.
Let us pray together:
we are not worthy of Christmas.
We are not worthy of your saving deeds in Christ Jesus.
We are sinful and foolish creatures, who even on our brightest days,
fail in faith, hope and love.
By coming to us in Christ Jesus, you have recognised our deepest need
and refused to give us up as a lost cause.
We ask now for your mercy in Jesus, well aware that even before we get the words out,
you have already answered our prayer with grace heaped upon grace.
** Silent Prayer**
Blessed are you, God of good tidings and great joy.
Blessed are you, Helper of the poor and the meek.
Blessed are you, Friend of shepherds and sinners.
Blessed are you, Healer of the weak and the diseased.
Blessed are you, Seeker of the neglected and lost.
Blessed are you, Peace of the repentant.
Blessed are you, Saviour of the world.
Blessed are you, Joy of loving hearts.
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace and goodwill
to people who are greatly favoured.
PRAYER FOR CHILDREN
thanks a million!
the birth of Jesus;
it’s like….. awesome!
Thanks too for all
the birthday parties
that are being held
today in his honour.
We love you God
because you first loved us
(freely adjusted for Christmas)
The God of Bethlehem is supreme;
let earth be glad and far islands rejoice!
Through the dark clouds of human ignorance,
God’s saving justice has come among us.
With a fiery love comes the Holy One,
consuming all negativity and evil.
Like lighting the truth lights up the world,
the earth sees it and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax
in the presence of earth’s true Lord.
Even the stars witness to God’s saving justice,
all races are in awe of such humble glory.
Those who worship idols are lost in shame,
every god must bow down before a Child.
The city of God rejoices to hear the good news,
the daughters of faith delight in this event.
God goes far beyond our earthly ideas,
transcending all gods that could ever be.
Our God cherishes those who hate wickedness,
the saints live abundantly, saved from evil.
The Light has dawned upon the pure in heart,
and happiness fills all sincere souls.
Rejoice in Emmanuel, you true believers!
Praise this Name above all others!
This extravagant thing
that God has wrought
seems bound to fail and die
and come to nought.
Why did the Holy One
become so reckless
as to be born among
creatures so feckless?
Surely there must have been
a shrewder way
to put the world’s wrongs right
and win the day?
What kind of holy love
goes to such length
and at the very end
spends all its strength?
Sing all choirs of angels,
sing you poor and lost,
adore this saving love
which counts no cost!
Ó B D Prewer 2000
and Matthew 1: 5-6
The Word in the beginning,
with God, of God,
yet now sharing Ruth’s genes,
that pagan woman of Moab:
I will go where you go,
your God will be my God.
The Word became embodied,
full of grace and truth!
And the Word was God,
Light of True-Light,
yet a descendent of Rahab,
prostitute of Jericho:
Your God is Lord of heavens
and of all the earth.
He came to his own people,
full of grace and truth!
Ó B D Prewer 1997
God of unconfinable glory, you constantly surprise us with grace heaped upon grace! We praise you for your astounding Bethlehem Word: Jesus, born of Mary, bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh!
Because of this most sacred birthday, all other days have become sacred. Now we find your glory flaming forth from ordinary people and common circumstances.
Blessed are you, God of Christmas, our hope and our joy, Immanuel! Glory belongs to you, our Friend most high!
SERMON 1: A REPORT ON CHRISTMAS BY AN E.T.
What are the beliefs behind Christmas as it is actually practised?
If a visiting ET from Mars (male of course) or one from the planet Venus (female no doubt) should arrive incognito in our midst and observe all the frenetic activity, what would be their conclusion about the meaning of this annual festival?
What are the activities that mark this event as different from other special days in the calendar?
The answer might be found in a secret report that has come into my hands. A report from an extra-terrestrial creature to his home world.
LETTER FROM MAJOR BEN CORCAVIM
From Ben Corcavim, space explorer and researcher on planet Blue Waters,
To the great high council of planet Tranmere, solar orbit 3, solar disk Alpha Bilyarra.
Report number 1765 lodged at 11 hours after noon, on the earth day December 25th
in the earth year commonly numbered as 2004.
Salutations to your illustrious personages.
From my base in a secluded, metal-roofed structure, called a tool shed, set in an overgrown garden within this large, busy hive which the natives call a city, on continent Australia,
I send this special report to your Excellencies.
I do so with considerable sadness. For it seems that these creatures on planet Blue Waters are not as spiritually advanced as I had hoped when I first observed their technology shortly after my arrival.
THE XMAS GODS
From my extensive electronic monitoring facilities, and from close observations of these creatures from discreet hiding places, it appears that today has been one of their greatest festivals in the year. Most refer to this festival as Xmas.
For days, indeed for weeks, they have been building up to this day. Streets have been festooned with colourful symbols, shop windows decorated, many of their homes and gardens have been ringed with strings of little coloured lights, and the no-work day of Xmas has been spoken about with much anticipation.
For about a week preceding the main event, there have been numerous small congregations of creatures (they call them “parties”) gathering in their accommodation structures, or outside in the small parklands at the rear of their dwellings. There, at sacred shrines called barbeques, burnt offerings have been assiduously made to their deities.
However the main preparation has been the ingestion of a readily available drug, in liquid form. This results in subsequent hilarity, increasingly unintelligible language, and bursts of manic laugher. They quickly lose control of mental and bodily functions, and utter some course sounds and perform gross actions. The drug most preferred has been that beverage which our scientists have identified as containing the depressant drug we call dork. They name it alcohol; but their popular name for it is “grog”. The quantities consumed are quite unbelievable. I have even seen their adolescents drink themselves into a coma.
Observing this, I wondered if this Xmas festival is an orgy of tribute to a god named Grog?
However, on sober reflection (pun intended) I realise that cannot be the whole truth.
During weeks preceding this day, people have rushed around inside extensive provision silos, named “department stores”. They used their plastic card tokens to procure numerous possessions, which are called in their tongue “pressies” or more commonly “things.” Most of these things are toys, selectively manufactured for both children and the adults of this weird species. Other much prized procurements have been body garments, or the sweet, brown substance labelled chocolate.
Their behaviour while making purchases of numerous “things” can only be described as often desperate and maniacal. This is unquestionably a religious fervour at work. The females caught up in this ritual often became glassy eyed, and some fell into deep emotional states, even sobbing and secreting fluid from they visual orbs, a substance called tears The males responded to the activity by first appearing bored, then frustrated, then angry. Many began to exude from their skin the odious fluid they call sweat.
Considering the massive scale of this frenzy, I have concluded they worship a second God named Things. That made at least two: Grog and Things.
What is more, during this preparation period, they stored up large amounts of perishable body-fuel, which they call “food.” Sometimes, with a gleam in their eye, they refer to it as “pigout”. Taken in moderation, this food provides the energy for their computation functions and their mobility. But in this season the quantity of pigout which they stored away in refrigerated compartments and in cupboards, was amazing. I wrongly deduced they were either preparing from a mighty influx of visitors or taking precautions against a possible famine. Again, there is a religious fervour to their preparations of pigout.
Therefore at this stage I tentatively added a third God to the list, titled “Pigout” What a strange pantheon: Grog, Things and Pigout.
Which brings my report to this day, Xmas itself. It has been extraordinary.
From an early hour, even before the solar rising, the young of the species have been awake and worshiping the god Things. They do this by ripping the coloured wrappings off their new possessions, and yelling and shouting for joy, some small juveniles blowing praises on toy wind instruments or beating on percussion barrels, all to the glory of Things.
At the same time many also opened small packages of sweet or salty substances, and ingested them at a prodigious rate. I am sure I am right in deducing that even from and early age these creatures do in truth honour the god Pigout. Consuming fuel in a frenzy must be a sacramental ritual into which even the very young have been initiated.
A little later in the day, the mature aged creatures left their sleeping berths and also started opening up their gaily wrapped possessions. They did this with willing devotion, although with less noise and excitement than the very young. Some like their progeny, also commenced ingesting sweet substances, and quite a number began to take in large quantities of the drug alcohol, or Grog. Concerning the latter, some laughed and commented: “I know it’s early in the day to start on this stuff, but hell, why not, it’s only Xmas once each year.”
Such activities consolidated my opinion that Xmas is for the worship of the three dominant gods: Things, Grog and Pigout.
If I had any doubts, they vanished shortly after midday. Young and old began to gorge on enormous quantities of fuel, which had been placed on trestles which they call tables.
This formidable ingestion was assisted by sucking in copious volumes of their grog. The result was greater noise, and after a while a disintegration of the gathering. Some lay down and began snoring. Others became irritable and argued among themselves. Some rushed to the waste disposal closet and ejected much of the food and alcohol which they had consumed. It was not a pretty sight. Especially as a number did not make it to the disposal closet, but egested on floor or even on their companions.
In all, it seemed a most gruelling ritual. They must adore their three gods exceptionally, to put themselves through this tough religious trial.
The day ended more quietly. Some more alcoholic fluids and food-fuel were consumed, even by those who had already egested into the waste disposal closet. The dialogue became more weary and spasmodic. Some yawned a lot and others held their heads as if they were in pain. Finally, the religious gatherings broke up. The creatures went their separate ways, clutching their new things as if their salvation depended on it.
Such is my account of Xmas.
I remit this report immediately to you, your Excellencies. It has been both one of the most remarkable, yet most pathetic happenings I have yet witnessed. To observe these benighted creatures perform their bizarre Xmas day rituals, in honour of the gods Grog, Things and Pigout, has filled me with sadness. They seem to have so little to believe in, and not much to look forward to.
I shall proceed to examine whether there is any significant follow up to this festival day.
Yours in humble service.
(Research officer first class, third division, operation Cosmic Neighbour).
I apologise, your Excellencies, for neglecting to mention a small sub-group of people in the body of the report as above. In my fascination with the gross behaviour of the devotees of the three popular gods, Grog, Pigout and Things, I forget the smaller sect whose activities my surveillance cameras recorded.
You may remember I have previously (reports 267 and 1039) described the existence of a strange cult of those who call themselves Christ-yns. These are the ones who, in spite of their typical dim human wits, appear to have some inkling of the True Light.
On this festival day, they gathered in their temples for some formal celebrations. It was marked by much singing (that harmonious noise they make by expelling air through their upper plumbing) The theme was about the birth of a person named Jesus, or Christ. They also read from their Holy Book, then a speech was made by their priest, and is many cases there followed an ingesting of tiny amounts of liquid and food from the Trestle which they call the Holy Table, (see report 1039: Sacraments) or Altar.
On this special day they also contributed some of their wealth tokens, which were blessed by the priest at the altar and dedicated to help those of their species who were hungry or homeless.
After such sacred rituals, they clustered outside their temples, with much hand touching and body hugging, smiling and laughing. The most common greeting seemed to be “Mary Christmas”
I am still not able to determine what “mas” means. I think Mary is a name used for some females. The first part of the word Christmas, Christ, is obviously the name of the baby whose birth they celebrate today. . It also gives them the name by which they are known: Christ-yns. I suggest it is at least possible that they, like us, believe in only one god.
When these Christ-yn creatures left the precincts of the temple, and journeyed back to their dwelling edifices, they also engaged in considerable eating and drinking, and opening of possessions. However, as a general rule I don’t believe they displayed the same fervour as the majority who worship the gods Things, Grog and Pig-out.
I am still nonplussed as to why those believers in those more popular gods, Things, Grog and Pigout, call this day Xmas. What does the X stand for in this context? I shall be most interested in what an expert like Professor Pinaroo thinks when he considers this report in conjunction with the earlier report, 1039.
In future I must make a closer examination of this minority sect of Christ-yns. I would really like to know whether this God they worship induces them exhibit a life style that is different from their three-god neighbours. Is their ethical behaviour changed, or are their rituals only a gloss?
When the feast day is over, what difference remains between the many who celebrate Xmas and the few who celebrate Christmas?
The answer to that question will reveal either a sad or joyful truth.
Always your humble servant,
SERMON 2: PRINCE OF PEACE?
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulder. And his name shall be called: Mighty God, Wonderful Counsellor, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Glory to God in the highest. and on earth peace and goodwill among men. Luke 2: 14
Prince of Peace? It looks as if Isaiah got it wrong. And also Luke, with his “peace on earth and good will among men” Does that sound ‘real” among the disasters of recent years?
Since Christ’s birth, life, death and resurrection, alienation and violation have not ceased, terrorism and war have rolled on across the centuries. There has not been one day in the last hundred years when war has not been happening somewhere in the world. On that score, the recent years have been especially miserable.
Prince of peace looks good on Christmas cards and it sounds nice in carols; but is it for real? Even the church of Christ has not been safe from schism, distrust, hatred and violence. Terrible crimes have been committed in the name of Jesus.
So what do we make of it on this glorious Christmas morning? Are we playing at make-believe for twenty four hours before returning to the real world?
One way out of the dilemma is to spiritualise the whole idea of Jesus as the Prince of Peace. If we do this, we shall not be totally in error. In fact we may be 60% right.
Thus we can truly say that the peace of Christ is peace between God and humanity; it is the spiritual reconciliation of sinners with their holy God. In Jesus, God takes the initiative and brings forgiveness, harmony, peace, joy, faith and love. Like a bridge over troubled waters, Jesus lay himself down, so that foolish, rebellious, corrupt humanity might find peace with its Creator. As the Carol sings it:
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled.
On this Christmas Day, certainly let us celebrate in this aspect of reconciliation. Without it this church would not be standing here, and this congregation would not exist. Christ Jesus is the perfect Lover who casts out all shame and fear. We are at one with God.
I pray that all of you have entered into this priceless gift. Miss out on it and no matter what other expensive gifts are placed in our hands this Christmas season, we will in truth remain paupers.
For this aspect of peace alone, we would eagerly join with the angels in singing Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards the people who experience God’s favour.
However, we dare not stop there. We dare not limit the Prince of Peace to spiritual matters. In those magnificent visions of the prophet Isaiah, which we love reading at Christmas, there is promised a new creation where people shall live together in harmony. As we noted earlier in Advent, this peace of God will include the whole creation;
the wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid.
The Gospel is not only: “Be reconciled to your God.” Jesus also says: “Be reconciled with one another.” Peace on earth means peace among the people on earth. And that is what rarely happens.
Why not? Where have we gone wrong?
It would be a simple, but pathetic thing, for me to now berate you and berate myself for not trying harder. To say that the reason why there is not world peace is that Christians have been too timid, pathetic, weak, and lukewarm. It would be easy to say that it is not Jesus who has failed but his church. Although such words would contain an element of truth, it would a sly cop-out for me to fire a few volleys across your bows and finish the sermon with plenty of noise.
That will not do. The truth is that Jesus had limited success as the Prince of Peace. He was not able to reconcile enemies to one another. There is no record of Jesus getting Romans, Jews, Greeks and Arabs together in one happy family.
In fact, he made enemies. Many distrusted him, feared him, and hated him. Nor did he go out of his way to endear himself to all. That caper of turning over the tables in the Temple was not very diplomatic. His invective against the Scribes and Pharisees was hardly a chapter out of How to Make Friends and Influence People.
Peace comes at a cost. Jesus was not a peace keeper but a peace maker. He knew that there could be no peace until the injustices, hypocrisies of people were unmasked. People had to face their prejudice, bigotry, cowardice. There could be no peace on earth with honest repentance.
Jesus was not a nice, pretty fellow, running around pouring oil on troubled waters. His way was to challenge the evils that separated person from person. He was a peace maker not a peace keeper. The Prince of Peace is the Prince of Confrontation!
If Jesus were physically here today he would still encounter formidable obstacles. He would not be able to jet into Northern Ireland, the Middle East, The Indonesian Archipelago, Afghanistan or Macedonia, Africa or Colombia, and bring instant peace. He would first confront the things that cause division, alienation, injustice and cruelty. Only then could he be the Prince of Peace. If he had been on a “Council for Reconciliation” with our Australian aboriginal people, it would not be all smooth sailing. He would confront us all, both white and black with our hypocrisies and injustices.
The Prince of Peace is a peace maker, a creator of peace; and that is a costly business. The Cross is testament to that.
GET WITH IT
Isaiah did not get it wrong when he predicted the coming of the Prince of Peace. That is his mission. We Christians have experienced a foretaste of it. One day, it will be full-filled.
We rightly celebrate both the foretaste and the fulfilment today. He has come among us, full of grace and truth, showing the way ahead. And those who would worship him, must commit themselves to the costly business of peace making in this obdurate world. Get with it!
Because of the Child in the Manger, it is time to party! Revel in this Christmas celebration. And allow the festivities to re-establish your commitment to working for that glorious day when the words of Isaiah, and the songs of the angels, will be totally fulfilled in the entire world.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be upon his Shoulder. And his name shall be called: Mighty God, Wonderful Counsellor, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
We believe in Christmas.
We believe in God who prepared through long ages for this day,
who spoke through law givers, poets and prophets,
who chose Mary and Joseph for a most unlikely mission,
who for our salvation became one with us at Bethlehem.
in the Son of Mary, the True Son of True God,
Emmanuel, bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh,
O yes, we believe!
Glory be to God!
We do believe!
Lord hear our prayer.
On this Christmas day, with the carols of people and angels ringing in our ears, we pray for those unfortunate people who are not able to celebrate as we do:
We pray for hard-bitten cynics who are suspicious of all good news and regard Christmas as sentimental nonsense for the weak minded.
We pray for those whose friendships, marriages families have been torn asunder and for whom today arouses a special anguish.
We pray for those sorrowing people whose lives seem to be on hold as they wait for a funeral that is delayed until after Boxing Day.
We pray for the war-ravaged places on earth where faith can readily be overwhelmed by fear, and love dispelled by hatred and thirst for revenge.
We pray for all the homes where sorrow will be acute this Christmas because of the events of September 11th.
We pray for refugee camps, detention centres, shanty towns or slums where it seems that the only word that is made flesh is misery.
We pray for the church in places where to openly celebrate Christmas brings either political persecution or social scorn and rejection.
We pray for your help with those worries, heartaches or fears that may be uppermost in some of our minds this morning, that we may know the peace of Christ.
God our Saviour, Holy Friend, be with all your children across the face of the planet today, and may more of the peace of Christ take root, grow strong and flourish to your glory.
This is the right time to be truly merry.
There is born this day in the city of David,
a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.
His name is Wonderful Counsellor,
Prince of peace.
Go out into the world to celebrate and serve with overflowing happiness.
Grace, mercy and peace, from God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
will be with you this day and forever.
THREE BOOKS BY BRUCE PREWER
THAT ARE CURRENTLY AVAILABLE
BY ORDERING ONLINE
OR FROM YOUR LOCAL CHRISTIAN BOOKSHOP
My Best Mate, (first edition 2013)
ISBN 978-1-937763-78-7: AUSTRALIA:
ISBN : 978-1-937763-79- 4: USA
Third edition May 2014
ISBN 978-1-62880-033-3 Australia
Jesus Our Future
Prayers for the Twenty First Century
Second Edition May 2014
Although this book was written with young people in mind, it has proved to be popular with Christians or seekers of all ages. Through the eyes and ears of a youth named Chip, big questions are raised and wrestled with; faith and doubt, unanswered prayers, refugees, death and grief, racism and bullying, are just a few of the varied topics confronted in these pages. Suitable as a gift to the young, and proven to be helpful when it has been used as a study book for adults.
Australian Prayers has been a valuable prayer resource for over thirty years. These prayers are suitable for both private and public use and continue to be as fresh and relevant today as ever. Also, the author encourages users to adapt geographical or historical images to suit local, current situations.
This collection of original, contemporary prayers is anchored firmly in the belief that no matter what the immediate future may hold for us, ultimately Jesus is himself both the goal and the shape of our future. He is the key certainty towards which the Spirit of God is inexorably leading us in this scientific and high-tech era. Although the first pages of this book were created for the turn of the millennium, the resources in this volume reflect the interests, concerns and needs of our post-modern world.