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.



John 11:1-45                             (Sermon 2: “Behind the death mask”)

Romans 8: 6-11

Ezekiel 37: 1-14                        (Sermon 1: “Can these old bones live?”)

Psalm 130




                        * Combining verses from Ezekiel 37 and psalm 130


To these old human bones, thus says the Lord God:

I shall cause breath to enter you, and you shall live.

We wait for the Lord, our souls wait,

and in God’s word we place our hope.


O my people, when I open up your tombs

and raise you from your graves,

you shall know that I am the living Lord.

Our soul waits for the Lord,

more than nightwatchmen for the dawn,

more than watchmen for the dawn.



                        * Combining verses from Deut 30 & John 11.


Jesus said: I am the resurrection and the life

all who believe in me, though they die yet shall they live.


Choose this day whom you will serve.


   God has set before us life and death,

   praising the light or cursing the darkness,

   loving others or cultivating selfish indifference.


Therefore choose life,

loving your God,

obeying God’s voice,

and cleaving to God all your days.

  By the grace of Christ Jesus

  we this day choose life.




Loving God, ruler of life and death, please look with compassion on this congregation as we come before you. As we worship you in the glory of all your love, please multiply the sources of abundant life within us, that we may live boldly, and at the end of this earthly journey, die into your arms without dismay or regret. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.





Two voices:


God has set before us life and death. The choice is ours. Let us acknowledge our misuse of the liberty of choice.


Let us pray, first silently, then in spoken words.


                                                ---- silent prayer----


Let us ask to be forgiven for the times when we have chosen badly, opting for the easy way of habit and social convention, rather that the higher and harder ways of Christ.


Let us confess that sometimes our choices have been made from rank selfishness, with scant concern for those around us, even for those who love us dearly.


Let us ask to be forgiven for putting off decisions, for dithering and avoiding choice until opportunity has gone by.


Let us confess that we have at times made outwardly good decisions for the wrong reasons, driven by sordid motives.


Holy God, Saviour and Friend, we thank you that long before we face up to ourselves and frame our confessions, your mercy in Christ Jesus is here waiting for us. We rest our mortal lives in your immortal Life, allowing your grace, mercy and peace to cleanse, refresh and straighten us.


Breathe into our humanity, loving God, that we may fully live.

Please breathe your Spirit in our brains, that our decision making may be pure and wise.

Breathe your Spirit on our lips, that our speech may witness to life and light and holy joy.

Breathe your Spirit on our hands, that in their busyness they may serve you before all else.

Breathe your Spirit on our feet, that we may tread this earth with gentleness and respect.


Through Christ Jesus, our Saviour.





Sisters and brothers of Christ, it is written: “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set us free from the law of sin and death.”


You had better believe it, guys!

You are a forgiven and liberated people.

Thanks be to God!





Loving God,

when people we know die,

it makes us both sad and a bit scared.

Please fill our hearts

with the eternal life of Jesus,

so that on earth or in heaven

we shall live

your wonderful life.







Out of deep anguish I cry to you, God;

            Can you hear me?

To the groaning of my prayers

            please carefully listen.

If you, Holy One, keep a record of sins,

            then none of us dare face you.

But in you we find forgiveness,

            therefore we can adore you.

I wait, with all my soul I wait,

            and hope for the word I need.

With all my soul I long for my God,

            more than night-watchmen waiting for dawn.

Like the weary waiting for sunrise,

            Let all your people wait in hope.

With you, God, there is pure love,

            with you is abundant liberty.

You alone can set us free

                        from all our sins.

                                                                                    From “Australian Psalms” page 111

                                                                                    Ó B D Prewer and Ó Open Book Publishers




     John 11: 1-45


Lazarus, come out!

Come out from the career crypt

     where frenetic ambition

     leaves you no time

for family, prayer or contrition.


Lazarus, come out!

Walk from the burial chamber

     that is your mega dollar home

     with its security system

and prison-like grills in chrome.


Lazarus, come out!

Escape from the tomb

     of academic games you’ve won,

     where you dissect many creeds

but trust and follow none.


Lazarus, come out!

Rush from the crematorium

     of contemporary lust

     that burns you up

and turns your life to dust.


Lazarus, come out!

Break from the pretty tomb

     of fashion, where you rob

     your own true self

to blend with the shallow mob.


Lazarus, come out!

Forsake the religious coffin

     where the pious pray

     for a better world

yet don’t live it day by day.


Lazarus, come out!

Come out of the white-washed grave

     of voluble churchly word

     and pious self-serving.

Follow again the living Lord.

                                                                                    Ó B D Prewer 1999




Loving Lord, you are resurrection and life. Register us among those who commit themselves to the faith that we have already crossed over from defeat to victory, from death to life. Let us live with good humour among the cynics who mask their own despair with witty sarcasm. Let us celebrate the heaven that has already come among us and share it fruits with one another.  For your love’s sake.





     Ezekiel 37.


When a baby is born, and lies in its adoring mother’s arms, there is only one prediction about that child that we can make with absolute certainty: It shall die.


Death is our universal fate. It is the fate of individuals, families and nations. When Ezekiel had his extraordinary experience of a valley filled with human bones, it was the death of the Jewish people that he was seeing. His people were either dead or dying: decimated by conquering armies, a few surviving in a ravaged countryside, a few thousand surviving as captives in a far land. He saw the death of his people, the death of hope.




We all have a basic fear of death, genetically passed down from our distant ancestors. I don’t believe people who claim that death in no way disturbs them. Just put them in a doctor’s consulting room, and watch them being told that they cancer or aids, and you will see the veneer crack.


Unless we are worn down by long, painful illness, or suffer acute depression, we won’t easily settle for death. By nature we revolt against it. The Welsh poet Dylan Thomas hit a universal nerve:

     Do not go gentle into that good night,           

    Old age should burn and rave at the close of day;

    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


With each of the 7 stanzas in that poem, covering wise men, good men, wild men, grave men, and his own f

ather, he concludes with those stinging words:

     Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


I find his protest, his anger against death, far healthier than the multitudinous denials with which our culture tries to hide from the fact of death.


Death is either our fate or our destiny, depending on your view point. Not many of us look forward to it. Most pretend is not going to happen; not soon, anyway.




When we do honestly face death, there comes the question: “Can these bones live”. Take note that in our reading from Ezekiel it is God who puts that question to the prophet: “And the Spirit said to me: Mortal man, can these bones live?”


I appreciate the logical response of the prophet to God: “O Lord God, only you can answer that.”  Ezekiel gives the only sane response available. Only God knows.


Unless the Mysterious and Holy Source of all life speaks the word, the dead shall be dead forever and ever.


With Ezekiel, God takes the initiative. Ezekiel is asked to preach the word of God to the valley of dry bones: “Preach to these bones and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Behold I will cause spirit to enter you, and you shall live. ”


So Ezekiel did the one of the most stupid things imaginable. He preached to a valley filled with dry bones. As he tells us: “As I preached, there came a noise and a rattling; and the bone came together, each bone to its right partner.” Then followed sinews and flesh, but they remained lifeless bodies.


Ezekiel preached the word God to them again, and “the spirit came into them, and they lived, and they stood up, an exceeding great host.”


The most probable interpretation of Ezekiel’s vision, given his situation, is that through the word of God preached by loyal prophets, the Jewish nation would be reborn and live again. The Holy Spirit, who like a fecund mother brought life at the beginning, would bring life again.




Christians, naturally enough, have seen Ezekiel’s vision as a foreshadowing of the new life that would come through the word of Christ Jesus and the outpouring of his Spirit.


As we move nearer to Good Friday, we are coming up against ugly death, as it dealt its most malignant blow against humanity. For the grim reaper will soon cut down the life of even the most beautiful and godly man who ever lived. Jesus, our Lord, will be crucified and placed in a stone tomb.


At the end of Good Friday the question will be: “Can these bones live?”


In our lectionary readings we prepare for that moment by reading from St John’s Gospel about the raising of Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha.


Lazarus dies and is entombed while Jesus is absent. A grieving Martha comes to meet Jesus as he travels down the road to Bethany. There follows a dialogue around the theme of the dead being raised up to life. Martha believes it in a general sort of way- some time, in the future, on judgement day. John then passes on the words that have been subsequently used at millions of Christian funerals: “I am the resurrection and the life. They who believe in me, though they die yet shall they live, and whoever believes in me shall never die.”


In the story, Jesus backs up this message with the word of command. Standing in front of the tomb, Jesus cries: “Lazarus come out!” And the dead man came out, his hands and feet trailing the burial clothes, and a napkin still across his face.”

This story was very precious to the early Christians. Jesus was not only raised from the dead on Easter Day, but with him came the promise that we too would be raised. “Because I live, you shall live also.”


Can these bones live? By the word of God, yes. Maybe not literally these same bones, but definitely the same person shall certainly live again. Resurrection was not a natural “right”. It was a gift. That is what the early church lived and preached.


Death was still very real It could not be postponed. It would still come to us all as it had from the beginning. It still makes us anxious. It still separates us from those whom we love. But death is not the final word. The last word is always with the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of Life.




That which Ezekiel saw was for the Jewish nation. Jesus offers a resurrection gift for us all. Can these bones live?  Yes!


Don’t ask me how, when, where. I am merely a much smaller and obscure prophet in succession to the prophet Ezekiel, preaching the word of God.  I am just the very junior and inept brother of Jesus of Nazareth, preaching his gospel. I cannot provide the answers.


The fact is, John shows us a Jesus who, in the context of his own certain death, raises the dead. We shall really, really die. But we shall also really, really live.


I cannot even begin to imagine how this can be. What does it mean to live in the timeless world of God, where past, present and future are all together in one glorious, deathless celebration?  I am without words.


But I will stake my living, and stake my dying with its last moments of consciousness, on the words of Jesus.

:  “I am the resurrection and the life. They who believe in me,

      though they die yet shall they live,

      and whoever believes in me shall never die.”





John 11: 1-45


Then Jesus cried with a loud voice: Lazarus, come out! The dead man came out, his hands and feet swathed in linen bands, and his face wrapped in the cloth. Jesus said: Loose him go A dramatic scene. On one hand it sounds like nothing you and I have experienced. Yet if we delve a little, I think you will find it is more familiar than you first think. It is like a metaphor for our own lives.




The dead man came out, his hands and feet swathed in lien bands; and his face wrapped in a cloth.


The death cloth, or bandage, was like a death mask. It was in truth a masking of death.


Long before we die, in fact from our early years, we begin to wear masks. We keep our true face either fully hidden or partly hidden from those around us.


By true face, I mean our real identity, our soul. What you really are under the skin. The real you. This is the face that human beings assiduously mask.


We meet some who are heavily masked. We meet others who are lightly masked. But all of us to some degree hide the naked truth of our real being. Maybe we do so because we are afraid no one would like us if they could see the real thing. Maybe we keep hidden because we are afraid others might take advantage of us, and hurt us, if we laid bare our soul.


This masking applies even to those couples who are deeply in love. In time, the deeper the love the more will be revealed. In a healthy relationship, bit by bit pieces of the mask are removed. If the partner still accepts and loves us, then a little more is uncovered. And so on through the years. But rarely is every piece of the mask totally discarded.


Some would like to romantically believe that in a good marriage all masks are put aside.  Tot ally. It is not that simple.


Many years ago when I was speaking at the marriage of my niece Wendy to Grant, I said: “Wendy, you believe you know Grant very well, perhaps more than anyone else in the world. In this you may be correct. But before you take your vows I want you both to take this into account. To some degree you are both marrying a stranger. In the months and years ahead, you will discover more about each other that as yet you have not seen. Sometimes these discoveries will delight you, as lovely new beautiful aspects of your natures are revealed. Other times what you discover, rather nasty stuff, will disturb you. Maybe they will make you anxious or angry. It will not be what you expected at all.


When I made those comments I did not see Wendy and Grant looking surprised. But some of the guests were. It jolted them. Enough to want to talk with me about it during the reception.  You see, it is true. Even in the most beautiful marriage, rarely is every bit of the person revealed. I guess this is so because no husband or wife can in truth offer unconditional love to their partner. There are some aspects of the real face hidden behind the mask


I will push this mask business even further. As very psychiatrist and counsellor knows, there are some things in our nature which so frighten us or disgust us that we even hide them from our own conscious minds. Should a counsellor attempt to peel the bits of mask aside so that we can truly see ourselves, we resist.  Shame or anxiety within us motivates some internal “censor” to cling on to remnants of the mask. Like Adam and Eve clinging to their fig leaf, we try to hide some things.




Who can we trust to help us?


Our need is deep.. Masking ourselves is not some innocent game we play. It is lethal. I see the death cloth covering the face of Lazarus is a metaphor for the death masks we wear.


Putting on a front is inviting infection. Behind the mask, things are always in danger of decay and death.  No matter how cunning or how attractive the mask we wear over the face of our soul, it is a cause for deep sadness.


The more we cover up our real self, accuse it, squash it, or hide it, the more we foster a process which is a slow dying of the soul. Masks imprison us in solitary confinement where there is no light for the soul or fresh air. Masks harbour infection, decay and death.


When in the company of significant others, we have a profound need to remove as much of the mask as possible.


Unfortunately it is difficult to find people whom we can trust enough to reveal the secrets of the soul. As I said earlier, often we don’t even trust ourselves enough to be honest with ourselves. As a result, many choose to start believing that the mask they wear is the real thing. It seems easier that way.


We all could do with loved ones and friends who are not fooled. We need folk around us willing to cope with what we really are. Often we need to uncover much of that ugly stuff which we hide from public view. If we are lucky, we might find a non-judgmental friend, spouse, minister, priest, or counsellor with whom some of this is possible. But even then, we encounter limits as to how far we dare go.


We are afraid. To reveal all of our true selves is to give others power over us. That frightens us.


Wouldn’t it be marvellous if we could meet some unconditionally loving person who could accept the totality of our unmasked good and evil with out the slightest hint of disgust or rejection?  Unless there is such a person, we remain cramped and infected souls, hiding even from ourselves. Without help, we remain among the tribe of the living dead.




Thank God for Jesus of Nazareth, friend of sinners. He knew what was in the hearts of men and women. He understood the corruption that was there. He also knew there was unclaimed beauty within us.


When Jesus went to the tomb of Lazarus and asked for it to be unsealed, Mary protested: “By this time he stinks.”


That was true for Lazar us. It is true for us. There is much that stinks behind long-worn masks.


But Jesus was not put off by that. When the tomb was opened, Jesus in a loud voice commanded Lazarus to come back from the dead.

     Then Jesus cried with a loud voice: Lazarus, come out! The dead man came out, his     hands and feet swathed in linen bands, and his face wrapped in the cloth. Jesus said:            Loose him free!


So they unwrapped the cloth from his limbs, and the linen bands from his face.


Would you be daring enough to look at the face of the man who had been dead for some days and stinking with decay? I imagine the bystanders steeling themselves before looking into the face of Lazarus.


When they did lift up their eyes and look, I hear a loud gasp of astonishment. For the skin and face of the man who was unmasked by the word of Jesus was smooth, pure and totally healthy, like the face of a young man in his prime.


That’s what the Friend of sinners can do. When we allow the Spirit of Christ to unmask us, whether in deeply personal spiritual moments or with the aid of those whom Christ has asked to do the unmasking, then the removal of the mask leads to a healing of our true face.


The word of Christ, who embodies the unconditional love of God, is a word that is far mightier than sin, decay and death. The word orders us to step out of the tombs where we have lived and step into the sunlight. In the light of his presence, even before the mask is removed some of that light penetrates through and begins the healing process.


For you and me, unlike Lazarus, I am not suggesting that this unveiling and healing must take place all in the one dramatic moment. The more common pattern is a slow, unmasking and healing process over the years. Often with the aid of many of our fellow disciples who, spurred on by Christ’s word, peal back little bits of the mask from our true face. Bit by bit, month by month, year by year, healing replaces fear, decay, and slow death.


Don’t be afraid. Anything the Friend of sinners uncovers is not for harsh criticism and condemnation but for salvation. It is cared for by the salve of Christ’s grace, mercy and peace.  hen we allow Christ to do the uncovering, there is nothing to fear. He will never abuse the trust we give him.




Christ speaks to all of us who have something to hide. Lazarus come out!


Come out from the graves you have dug for yourselves, come out from the place of darkness and fear, come out from the hiding place where things fester and deform, come out into the light where love amazing and divine waits you with open arms.


Lazarus, come out! Remove that cloth from your face. Live in the freedom and joy of redeemed people!





·    For 2 speakers


We thank you, loving God, for the vulnerable yet wonderful gift of life. To be alive and to know it is an unspeakable honour.

We thank you that from birth to growth and maturation, and into decline decay, our life is precious in your sight.


We thank you God of faithfulness, that our movement towards physical death and decay is not the final sentence in our story.

We thank you that by faith we are born to a new and living hope in a future where love will never be terminated.


We thank you, holy Friend, that in death, as in life, we are in the hands of a Lover who knows our names and treasures our identity.

We thank you for the authority given to Jesus of Nazareth to command the dead to move           out of their tombs into greater life.


We thank you that those who believe in him have already passed from death to life, and are even now fed with the bread of heaven.

We thank you that in out heavenly home there is room even for us, where in an abundant          life than we can ever imagine, we shall love you better and adore you  eternally.


Most Holy Friend, for this gift of resurrection life, defined by the very being of Christ Jesus, we give you thanks and praise this day and forever.





God is more ready to hear our prayers than we are to utter them.


Let us pray for other people.


Source of life, God of love, let your salvation surround the living who walk under the shadow of death and the dead who are gloriously alive.

Great Spirit-Friend,

Come with your life and light.


Be close to your dying children. By simple faith in your undying grace may they have peace in the hour of their departing.

Great Spirit-Friend,

Come with your life and light.


Be close to people who caught up in the rawness of a new grief. Enable them to weep well, free from bitterness or despair.

Great Spirit-Friend,

Come with your life and light.


Be close to all who care for the dying; in hospitals or at home, in a hospice or on a battlefield; give them your quiet strength.

Great Spirit-Friend,

Come with your life and light.


Be close to ministers, priests and lay pastors, who pray with the dying, minister last rites, or sit holding a hand.

Great Spirit-Friend,

Come with your life and light.


Be close to those who fight against untimely death. Those who spend their days working for the elimination of cancer, aids, many diseases; the carnage on our highways, and the butchery of warfare.

Great Spirit-Friend,

Come with your life and light.


Be close to the preachers of the gospel of peace. By your tireless Spirit, may inadequate words take flesh and become powerful agents in helping people to begin living eternal life now. Through Christ Jesus our Lord.





God has set before us life and death.

That you may not dither or sit on the fence, but choose whom you will serve,

I bless you!


That by the grace of Christ you may continue to choose the life that is boundless,

I bless you!




God will bless you and keep you,

the Spirit will smile upon you and be gracious unto you.

the Christ will send his own light upon you

and give you his peace.






              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.