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.
Prayers for Busy People
        Title:  Brief Prayers for Busy People.
          Author: Bruce D Prewer
        ISBN 978-1-62880-090-6
        Available from Australian Church Resources,
web site
        or by order from your local book shop
        or online on amazon.







Matthew 3: 13-17                                  (Sermon 1: “A Puzzling Baptism”)

Acts 10: 34-43

Isaiah 42:1-9                                        (Sermon 2: “For Bruised Reeds”)

Psalm 29




Today we celebrate a special baptism;

the baptism of Jesus of Nazareth.


God says:

Look! See my chosen servant,

the One in whom I utterly delight;

I have placed my Spirit on him,

he will bring true justice to the nations.


When Jesus was baptised, the heavens opened up,

and Spirit came down like a dove;

and there was a voice from heaven saying:

“This is my dearly loved Son,

with whom I am delighted.”


The joy of the Lord be with you all.

And also with you.


OR -



Jesus was baptised in the waters of the Jordan river.

That is the event which we celebrate today.


The Voice of God is upon the baptismal waters,

the glory of God, thunders across the living waters.

O children of the gods, give God the glory!

Give to our God all glory and might.

Give glory to God’s loving name,

worship your Lord in all congregations.




Most wonderful God, foolish and flawed though we are, we too delight in your beloved Son.

As in his name we gather in the house of many praises, may the heavens be opened for us, that we may catch a glimpse of that Light and Love that transforms our common days with a beauty not of our making. Through Christ Jesus our Lord.



            OR -


Please fully baptise us, loving God, not just once with water but continually with your Holy Spirit. Saturate every congregation with your buoyant grace, that worship may be a time of liberty and joy. Immerse our daily lives in the love of Christ Jesus, that our deeds, words and attitudes may declare your praise.


Through this same Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit are to be loved and enjoyed forever!





Let us be honest to God in our prayers of confession. Let us pray.


God our Saviour, we bring to you, as honestly as we can, our mixed record as people of faith.

Some of us feel ashamed of particular sins that have marred the quality of life for others and for ourselves.


Others of us are not so much ashamed of sins

but frustrated by our ineptitude as ambassadors for Christ

in the busy world around us.


Yet others among us are exasperated by the choices we have been forced to make, not between light and darkness but between shades of grey.


All of us feel compromised and sullied to some degree,

knowing that we have fallen short

of the high quality of love shown by Jesus.


We pray for your absolution and cleansing, your rehabilitation, encouragement, your peace and for a renewed enthusiasm for the Gospel and its works of light and love.


By your grace, liberate us from all that holds as back,

and assist us to go forward with a debonair trust

in your wisdom and goodness.

In the name of Christ our Redeemer,





My sisters and brothers, forgiveness is for real! You are a baptised people. In Christ Jesus you were washed clean, and are being washed clean, and will forever be washed clean. Those who are washed by Christ need no other cleansing.

Thanks be to God.






See “Australian Prayers” Bruce Prewer.  page 45

            Ó B D Prewer & Open Book Publishers




In the common herd

            he is numbered,

            bowing his head.


Heaven opens to him

            as he stands amazed

             at his true home.


The Spirit is moving,

            dove-wings enfolding

            him in her loving.


Arise and be glad,

            child of the people,

            true Child of God!

                              Ó B D Prewer 2000




God of Jesus and our God, call us back to those early days when we visited the holy, baptismal waters. Open up the heavens to us. Shine through the clouds that we may see the Spirit resting on the head of your true Son, Jesus of Nazareth. Re-awaken our first joy in him and assist us to follow him with undiluted love and loyalty. For your love’s sake and to your endless glory.






Matthew 3:13-15.


Then Jesus came down from Galilee to the Jordan River, to be baptised by John. John did not want to do it. He said: “Why do you come to me? It is I who need to be baptised by you!”


Jesus replied to John: “Let my baptism happen right now. It is important for me to do the right thing.”   So John agreed.”        


The early Christians wondered why Jesus needed to be baptised. John’s objection mirrored their attitude: “Why do you come to me? It is I who need to be baptised by you.”


Ever since that day, Christians have asked that same question, “Why did Jesus, so sincere and loving, need to be baptised?”


John called people to repentance. To admit their sins and make a new start. How did Jesus fit into that picture?




The baptism that John preached and practised would scandalize  righteous Jews. It was an insult.


Although there was a history of baptism among the Jews, it was not a widespread practice. Some sects used one or more baptisms as ritual cleansing prior to initiations into various levels of their religious communities.


However, the most common practice of baptism was for converts from paganism to the Jewish faith. If a Greek or an Egyptian, a Samaritan or a Roman, wanted to become a Jew, baptism was the preliminary rite of purification


Remember that the Jews regarded non-Jews as defiled creatures. They were polluted, morally and spiritually. No righteous Hebrew would not invite a pagan into their home or share a meal with them. They were dirty untouchables.


Such creatures needed washing and cleansing before they could even  to be initiated into the Jewish community. For a man who wanted to convert, instruction in Jewish religious and moral law would be given. If then the baptised candidate seemed worthy, ritual circumcision would follow. Note: the candidate had to be thought worthy.


That is the background. Against it John called on his fellow Jews to repent and be baptised. That is, he classified the chosen race as being as polluted as the pagans. They needed washing in body, mind and spirit, if they were to have a place in the coming kingdom of God.


Nor did they have to prove worthy before baptism. In a foreshadowing of the inclusive love of Jesus, John simply asked the people to humble themselves, repent and accept the washing away of their sins in the Jordan.


Highly offensive to good Jews. According to Luke’s Gospel, John the Baptist went so far as to invite respectable Pharisees and Sadducees to be baptised alongside hated tax-collectors, and even pagan soldiers. He classed them all in the one bag of sinners.




This brings us back to Jesus. Why did he join in that public baptism?


We have been taught that Jesus lived a perfect human life. Repentance is therefore surely inappropriate?


We may even have been fed the idea that Jesus was born complete: perfectly good and completely wise. Like us but not one of us. From this doctrinal platform, some deduce that Jesus, by seeking baptism was just doing the right thing in the eyes of the watching public. A valid public relations exercise. He needed to be seen to be doing the right thing.


Others suggest Jesus wanted the common people to accept him as one beside them, not standing over them.. Therefore at the Jordan he went into the waters with the common mob. Thus he made himself approachable and accessible. This baptism, then, was an act of loving identification with common humanity


No doubt there is some truth in these interpretations. I readily, indeed eagerly, admit that opinions contrary to mine hold aspects of the truth. When it comes to Jesus of Nazareth, the full truth will always elude our pitiful, small minds.




In spite of this limitation, I now put another possibility to you: Maybe Jesus did not see himself as beyond the need for repentance. Maybe he had so identified himself with our human condition, that he was indeed one of us?


He was content to be classed along with tax collectors, pagan soldiers and other sinners. Maybe he felt an acute need to be share the baptism of repentance.


Truly good people are unaware of their own goodness. The loveliest human beings in my experience, the ones who are genuinely godly, are oblivious to their own spiritual beauty. In fact, if the true saints were called good, they are puzzled and will protest. Not out of modesty, mind you; they would object in all sincerity.


Do you remember the occasions when a rich young man came up to Jesus and asked: Good Master, What must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus replied: “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God.”


Jesus was not being modest. He simply did not see himself as good.


When at the Jordan River, John protested, saying that he would rather Jesus baptise him, Jesus replied: “It is right for me to fulfil all righteousness.”


Jesus was baptised along beside the common human herd, because he was one of us and saw himself as one of us. He did not play the role of being a human being; he was one. His dipping in the river was neither setting a good example nor a public relations exercise for the best of reasons.  He was wanting to do the right thing in God’s eyes. “It is right for me to do this.”


If this leaves us in a doctrinal tangle about the so called sinlessness of Jesus, too bad. I would far prefer a tangle, a dilemma, a paradox, than compromise the essential humanity of our Lord Jesus. Jesus my divine Lord, is also my true brother. Jesus felt the need to repent, to have evil washed away from him in baptism. He thought h e needed it. It was, as he said, the right thing to do.


Just as on the cross Jesus was content to be numbered among the ungodly, and wear the shame of human sin, so in baptism he was willing to be numbered among sinners and seek cleansing.




As I see it, Jesus asking to be baptised was typical of this particular holy man. This is the person who never gave himself airs. The fellow who grew up as the son of a village craftsman. Who became an itinerant Rabbi and chose disciples from among fishermen and tax collectors. Who socialised with the low life of Galilee. The rabbi who dared to deal graciously with foreigners, and praise a Roman military man as example of true faith. The young man who was executed between two brigands.


It should not surprise us at all, that Jesus was there that day by the Jordan sharing baptism with repentant souls. In fact, if he invites people like you and me to share bread and drink at his own table (and he certainly does that!) then his baptism is wonderfully in character.


Thanks be to God.





Behold my servant, whom I uphold,

my chosen, in whom my soul delights;

I have put my Spirit upon him,

he will bring forth justice to the nations.


He will not cry or raise his voice,

or shout in the street.

A bruised reed he will not break,

and a smouldering wick he will not quench

                                                                                                                        Isaiah 42: 1-3


On the day when the heavens opened, it was Jesus who was baptised. No other person opened up the heavens. Only Jesus.


It was not Moses, Ruth, or Plato; not Elijah, Julius Caesar or Mary.  Not St Claire, Isaac Newton, Einstein, or Mother Theresa of Calcutta. And certainly not Cathy Freeman or Leighton Hewitt, Nicole Kidman or Russel Crowe.


It was Jesus on whom the Spirit alighted in unique fullness. It is Jesus to whom the Divine word is spoken: This is my much-loved son, with whom I am delighted. Thank God that it is Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith, and no other. He is the one with whom we must deal. What a relief for all the ordinary people of the earth; people like you and me.




The Isaiah who poured out his heart in chapter 42, that most profound soul among the prophets, looked forward to the day when God would send his people a special Servant.  This Servant would be directly chosen and upheld by God. Although he would be one of us, he would be utterly unlike any other leader, prophet, teacher, hero or liberator.


For those people who looked for a saviour made in their own likeness (and many people do want just that!) the Servant anticipated by Isaiah would be a disappointment.  He would not be a charismatic politician, soldier, scientist, business manager, sporting star, actor, inventor, or pop singer.


He would in truth be a new kind of human being. A person who would challenge our basic assumptions about success, happiness and greatness. Therefore many would reject God’s long- suffering Servant. Others, especially the poor, the oppressed, the outcaste, the sorrowing, the blind, the prisoners, and all the others millions who get a rough deal in this world, would trust and welcome this special Servant of God.




Today we read the 42nd chapter of Isaiah as a part of our celebration of Jesus’ baptism. We recognise Jesus as the fulfilment of the prophet’s yearning and promise. He is the new kind of human being.

            Behold my servant, whom I uphold,

            my chosen, in whom my soul delights;

            I have put my Spirit upon him,

            he will bring forth justice to the nations.


In the waters of the Jordan, when Jesus humbly placed himself alongside all those who repented and looked for the coming of the kingdom of God, God set the seal of approval on Jesus: This is the One!


Like the prophet had understood, the Spirit of God was poured upon Jesus. “The heavens were opened, and He saw the Spirit of God coming down like a dove, and alighting on Jesus. And then, a voice came from heaven saying “This is my much loved Son, in whom I am delighted.” This was the chosen One.


The man from Nazareth, nurtured in the home of Joseph the carpenter and his wife Mary, a rare person who looked for no honour, no wealth, no praise, no power, is chosen by God to be the one in whom extraordinary power is invested.


In my fertile imagination, as the Spirit like a dove of peace alights on Jesus, I see and hear all the poor, neglected, misjudged, maimed, handicapped, hungry and terrorised people of the world rising up with one mighty sigh of relief!


Here is one whom they can trust in their innumerable needs.

            He will not cry or raise his voice,

            or shout in the street.

            A bruised reed he will not break,

            and a smouldering wick he will not quench




Thank God that Jesus of Nazareth is the chosen one. It is his baptism that we celebrate above all other.


Here is a leader who does not “break the bruised reed or extinguish the smoking lamp.”


This metaphor of the lamp is easy to understand, even in our age of electricity. A lamp that no longer burns brightly is readily discarded. But the God of Jesus does not discard the smoking lamp.


The image of the bruised reed is not so obvious. Some scholars suggest it means a fractured walking staff. Maybe, maybe not. In my mind’s eye I simply picture a reed at the edge of waters, bend over, no longer holding its head up like those around it. Whatever the exact picture Isaiah had in mind does not matter. The intention is plain. Both images refer to people who bruised and discouraged.




In a world where “market forces” and “survival of the fittest” hold sway, a bruised reed or a lamp wick that is merely smouldering, are destined for the scrap heap. All around us people are being disposed of as soon as they cease to perform at the optimum. Whether it is in business, the entertainment industry, or sport; yesterday’s stars can overnight become expendable stock. There is no room for sentiment and no respect for services once rendered. Should the light start to flicker or the reed become bruised, it is out with the old and in with the new.


We see women and men who have given their all, then maybe becoming a fraction slower at their work, or some becoming burnt out in their forties. They arrive at work one day to be told to clear their desk; a security officer stands by, and then escorts them from the premises like some criminal.


The older ritual of a handshake and a gold watch was little enough, but what happens these days is grossly obscene!  It has been my sad privilege to counsel folk from such situations and I can tell you: the human travail is immense.


Similar things can be said about the way some husbands or wives discard their spouse when they become a bit worn and frayed. Similarly some young adults exploit and then neglect their aged parents. It is regarded as a virtue of the post-modern age “not to be sentimental” about one’s fellows.


It is almost like a reversion to pre-Christian society (for example, the Greek society) where to be humble or compassionate was seen not as virtue but as serious character flaw.




Thank God that the Lord Jesus is one who does not measure people in this way.  The bruised reed and the smoking lamp are safe in his hands. They are not disposable.


If there is one thing the church should be offering this post-modern world is a respect for the significance of each individual; a significance not based on their “productivity” but on their intrinsic value in the eyes of their Creator and Redeemer.


Because of Jesus, all that he was and is, did and does for us, we have it within our power to grant the gift of significance to bruised reeds and flickering lamps.


Isaiah was “spot on” in his anticipation of God’s chosen Servant. Our wounds and bruises and fractures are safe in the hands of Christ. The one who stood in line with the common horde of humanity to be baptised, welcomes bruised reeds.




I count myself among the bruised reeds and the smouldering lamp wicks.  I say this not out

of some sense of pious humility, but as plain fact. It is the unavoidable truth. I am a bruised reed.


I would like to be able say I am a strong, well-balanced Christian: bold, humbly capable, theologically sophisticated, wise in the faith, diligently scholarly, profoundly confident, exceptionally prayerful, and unwaveringly faithful. But I am not.


I am a bruised reed. That is the blunt truth.


If it were not for that quiet Jesus (note that the Servant in Isaiah does not shout orders like a military officer, or harangue people in the street like some politician with a megaphone) on whom God set his seal of approval, my life would be a sorry mess.


From the hour when I first handed my life over to Christ unconditionally, this bruised reed has been nursed and nurtured, stretched and strengthened.  My Lord has not miraculously taken away all my infirmities. I carry with me (and no doubt will to the end of my days) more than one ‘thorn in the flesh”. But Christ Jesus has used me in spite of the pernicious thorns. No, better than that! He has utilised my very weakness to the greater glory of God.




Why am I telling you this?


Maybe one reason is that I am warning you not to lean on me too heavily; I might collapse and take you with me?


The more important reason is that I don’t want you to miss out.


Maybe for the thousandth time some of you may need reminding of the truest Lover who has time for flickering lamps and bruised reeds.


Or perhaps for the first time, you are at a point in your life where you dare acknowledge your frailty and need of a Saviour. To all such I say: What God can do with one bruised reed he can do with another. 


But you’ll never ever know if you never ever give Christ a go.


            Behold my servant, whom I uphold,

            my chosen, in whom my soul delights;

            I have put my Spirit upon him,

            he will bring forth justice to the nations.


            He will not cry or raise his voice,

            or shout in the street.

            A bruised reed he will not break,

            and a smouldering wick he will not quench





I believe in God who speaks through the prophets and lifts our gaze up to high and beautiful paths and peaks.


I believe in Christ Jesus, free of corruption yet willingly numbered among the sinners, baptised in the waters of the Jordan.


I believe in the Spirit who rested on Jesus like a dove, and who inspired him with such love as the world has not seen before or since.


I believe that those who are baptised into Christ shall share his Spirit, his mission and his ultimate victory over sin and death.


I believe that there is no human ability that cannot be enlarged, and no weakness that cannot be used by Christ to the praise of God.


I believe that this believing is a gift from God, not to be used for self gratification but for the building up of the church and for humble service the world


I believe in myself as a baptised child of God, the recipient of a healing grace which precedes and supersedes all my efforts to be true.

With the help of God, I will attempt to live my belief all the days of my life, and by his grace,

dwell in the house of the Lord forever.





Most compassionate God, give us sufficient love and commitment to reach out with prayer and compassionate action to people both in and beyond the church.


For those of many races who on this Lord’s Day are being baptised into the faith and family of Christ Jesus. Lord of love, light and peace,

Hear and use our prayer.


For Christians baptised long ago, but whose first faith has been eroded by the secular acids of greed and cynicism. Lord of love, light and peace,

Hear and use our prayer.


For the unbaptised whose first, urgent need is not words and rites, but food, medicine, employment and housing. Lord of love, light and peace,

Hear and use our prayer.


For young people who are being are being drawn away from Christ by the glitter and dazzle of cunningly marketed pop culture. Lord of love, light and peace,

Hear and use our prayer.


For embittered older folk who live so much in the past, and in church culture of earlier times, that they cannot see any good in the faith and practice of younger Christians. Lord of love, light and peace,

Hear and use our prayer.


For all the insecure and wistful souls, who go looking for a better way of life but are exploited by false messiahs. Lord of love, light and peace,

Hear and use our prayer.


Loving Friend, our prayers also reach out to those among us this day, who through sickness, grief, severe setback or cruel disappointment, are feeling the anguish and the tiredness of the bruised reed and flickering lamp. Lord of love, light and peace,

Hear and use our prayer.





Let the flickering lamp not languish,

let the bruised reed never despair;

God’s chosen Servant is among you,

full of grace and truth.

Thanks be to God.


Go on your way celebrating.

The love of Christ inspires us.


The love of God will bathe you body, mind and soul.

the joy of Christ will uplift you,

the peace of the Spirit will indwell you,

today and evermore.



** Additional resources on



              BY ORDERING ONLINE

My Best Mate,  (first edition 2013)

ISBN 978-1-937763-78-7: AUSTRALIA:

ISBN :  978-1-937763-79- 4: USA

Australian Prayers

Third edition May 2014

ISBN   978-1-62880-033-3 Australia

Jesus Our Future

Prayers for the Twenty First Century

 Second Edition May 2014

ISBN 978-1-62880-032-6

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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.