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 18:1 to 19:42                                            (Sermon 1: “The Scandal of the Cross”)

                                                                                                            (Sermon 2: “Paint the Cross White”)

Hebrews 10:16-25.

  or Hebrews 4:14-16 & 5:7-9

Isaiah 52:13 to 53:12

Psalm 22




So they took Jesus, and he went out carrying his own cross,

to the place of a skull, called in Hebrew, Golgotha.

There they crucified him.


This is not a day for mourning but for awe,

wonder, love and gratitude.

All you who bow in reverence, praise Him.

All you daughters of faith, glorify him.

All you sons of faith, stand in awe before him.


OR -


Today, with chastened thanksgiving, we remember

Christ Jesus, crucified for the world he loved.


My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?

Why do you seem so far away from helping me?


In the days of his flesh, Jesus prayed and begged,

with loud cries and sobbing,

to the God who was able to save him.


Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through all he suffered,

and being made perfect he became the source of salvation

to all who trust and obey him


Let us worship this Christ and his God.




Holy, most holy God, You are the source and power of the starry galaxies that wheel through space-time, yet you are also the humble Lover who cares about the smallest child, and the most unwashed vagrant, and the most arrogant fool.

We bow in wonder before you.


We put ourselves in front of the cross, and look upon your true Son with a familiarity born of many Good Fridays yet also with the wonder of those who are there as if for the first time. Your prodigal outpouring of love shocks us, quietens us, shames us, makes us ache with longing, and then with incomprehensible grace, heals us and redeems us.

We bow in awe before you.


Holy, most holy God, we adore you with an almost painful joy, far beyond all other adoration that can ever possess our heart and mind. Holy, holy, holy are you, God of Christ Jesus. The whole world is filled with your glory.





Holy and long suffering Friend, two things stand out clearly on this holy day:

            the untiring humility that lies at the heart of your glory, 

            the stubborn, proud arrogance that lies at the heart of human shame.


We are appalled by what evil things arrogant people did, and continue to do, to genuinely good

men and women.


For the Lord my God helps me,

 that’s why I am not in despair.

I have sent my face like a flint

and I know I shall not be ashamed,

for my vindicator is near.


Yet, merciful God, not one of us can say for certain that if we had been there at Golgotha,

we would not have been among the many who mocked him, or maybe with the             respectable people who did not want to get involved.


Nor are we sure that we living in this world today are not being grossly insensitive

to sickening evils happening right now in our own nation and community.


Save us, holy Friend, from the evil

            that persists in our thoughts, words, deeds or our inaction.

Rescue us from the sins of which we repent

            and from those of which we may be still quite unaware.

Please follow up the saving work of Christ Jesus begun in our lives;

            forgive and cleanse, mend and heal,

            reclaim and strengthen, guide and inspire.

Let the unique glory of the cross draw us closer to that grace 

            which is our joy and salvation.


Through Christ Jesus our Saviour.





My Friends, remember today and everyday,

“While we still sinners, Christ died for us.”

“ If God is so much for us, what then can stand against us?”


Please, my sisters and brothers, please take up God’s offer of new life,

for you are a forgiven race, a new humanity, destined for the glory of God.


Thanks be to God!




Dear Lord Jesus,

you must love us

            with a big, big love

            to die on a cruel cross

for our sakes.


Our love is much smaller,

but please take it into your hands

and make it tougher

and yet more gentle.

For your name’s sake.





  [Some selected verses only]


My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

   Why don’t you save me from this agony?

This day I beg for help but you are silent,

   alone I cry out in the darkness


Aren’t you that most holy One

   wrapped in the praises of the faithful?

Our grandfathers trusted in you

   and you brought them through.

Our grandmothers cried to you

   and they were not let down.


But my life is bleeding away,

   every bone is torn out of joint.

My heart is hardly beating,

   it has melted like candle wax.

My tongue sticks to my mouth,

   dry with the dust of death.


You can’t be so absent as you seem!

God-Friend, come quickly and help me!

Deliver me from this torture,

   from the cruelty of mongrels.

From the lion’s jaws save me,

   and from the horns of wild bulls.


No matter what, I will yet speak your name,

    and praise you in the congregation.

All you who love God, still sing praises!

    All you children of faith, sing of God’s glory!

                                                                                                            Ó B D Prewer 2001


                                                                                                            A more comprehensive text is found in “More Australian Psalms”

                                                                                    .                       Ó Open Book Publishers. 




And the Word became flesh

and was then dragged

roughly like a piece of dog’s meat

from High Priest’s court

to Pilate’s judgement seat.


He came unto his own

as a light upon the path

to those whose light was deeply dim,

but his own chosen people

would not receive him.


Despised and rejected

flogged and paraded

spat on and scorned without relief;

the young man of sorrows

was acquainted with grief.


At the end was the Word

and the Word was with God;

the Word was made to seem uncouth;

but we behold his glory

full of grace and truth.

                                                                        Ó B D Prewer 1999





John 19: 17-18a


“So the soldiers took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross,

  to the place of the skull (in Hebrew, Golgotha). There they crucified



If that happened to Jesus, what hope is there for any of us? 


God does not dramatically intervene at Golgotha. If God stays aloof and allows his one, true Son to suffer and die so horribly, what hope is there for us in our sufferings and griefs? What’s the use of trusting God, and praying, if when the chips are down, we are left to suffer without rescue?


These are questions not easily shuffled aside. Moreover, they become focussed on each Good Friday.




Human suffering, especially the suffering of the innocent, causes the deepest rift between faith and unbelief.  It is a stumbling block; a scandal (skandalon). Millions find it opens up an uncrossable chasm between faith and scepticism.


The logic is simple: If there is a God of love, or one of any decency at all, how can he allow suffering such as we have seen in this world?



Those little girls in Belgium in the hands of cruel paedophiles.

African massacres, and the brutal amputation of limbs, noses, ears or genitals?

The elderly here is Australia, in their own homes, robbed and tortured for a few dollars?

The terrorist bombings in New York, Baghdad, Bali and Madrid?

Cancer and cruel arthritis in children, cystic fibrosis, and those appalling, flesh-eating bacterial infections.


Where is God in all these situations?  Where is any sign of an overriding loving kindness? Can one believe when untold pain rises from this planet every day?


God’s apparent absence is a scandal.




So it is with the cross of Jesus, the cruel death of the most loving person every to grace this world. Where is God?


It is grievously true:  the cross may for some confirm their doubt and turn it into deeper agnosticism or atheism.


Yet, the other also is true. The cross may lead you from despair to hope, from bleak doubt to warm faith.


Christianity has always refused to see a divide between Jesus and God.  When Christ Jesus laughed, God was laughing. When Jesus told parables, God was lovingly teasing us with new enlightenment. When Jesus placed his healing hands on lepers, God was in that touch.


This is always at the heart of the Gospel, the good news. “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself.” Trust it. God was in Christ. God was not aloof, allowing Christ to die. God shared that dying.


I search for some adequate analogy. Nothing fits. So I must offer you a poor analogy, the best I can do.


Think of parents watching a child suffering from excruciating box jelly fish stings. Every bit of that pain is registered by a parent. Just imagine how much more so, if by some miracle, a parent could be even closer to the child; if the parent’s very being could overlap into the child’s being, so that every cruel dagger of pain was fully shared.


God was that close to Jesus. God was in every breath he took, every dinner he shared, every smile he gave, every self-doubt he challenged, every threat he feared, every grief he endured, and every pain Jesus suffered.


At Golgotha, God was totally involved.


In and through Jesus, God was fully identified with us. Not at arms length, but through every throb of the nails, every twitching muscle, every screaming burst of agony, every struggle for breath against the chest constricting torture of crucifixion. All this is felt by God. the deepest Being of our loving Creator.


In the most profound sense, it the Spirit of God is there on the cross, with Christ, and through him, with us.




This God of the cross is rightly called Emmanuel. God-with-us.


We don’t know why people must suffer in God’s best possible world. Christians do not have the answer to that question: “If God is love, why does God allow so much misery and pain?”


But from the hill of Golgotha, we do know who is with us in the worst possible scenario. For all time the crucified God is here with us, sharing the worst that can happen; bearing every fear and pain and grief.


What is more we do know that just as defeat, suffering and death could not vanquish Jesus, so defeat, abuse, suffering and death can not ultimately conquer us. God is with us in our moments of deepest misery and woe, and even crosses become paths to a greater glory.


Let me quote from a book by Paul Doherty “The Soul Slayer”, set in Elizabethan England.


Rebecca with the hair lip says:

 “It’s hard to believe there’s a place of light and a God who cares. If he does, why doesn’t He intervene?”


St Clair, the priest replies:


“God is good. A loving mother and father. And the world is a beautiful place but men turn and twist it all. The rich amass wealth and let the poor go hang. But what can God do? He gave us free will, Rebecca. He respects that freedom. If he kept intervening, what would man be but a puppet? And God would be just some master of revels telling everyone what to do. He allowed his own Son to be reviled and killed. In the end, Rebecca, it will all be transformed; not a tear shed that will not be wiped away, not a child’s cry that won’t be answered. Not a woman abused that won’t be put right. Oh, and it will be a terrible reckoning! God is coming again.

He’s like the air around us, in all things and yet outside all things. When a man starves, God starves with him. When a woman is raped, God is raped. When love is betrayed, God is betrayed.”


That I understand. Some people lose faith at the cross. Some people find it.




The question of a loving God contrasted with human suffering, is not an intellectual game for me. This preacher finds the suffering of the innocents the hardest thing of all to cope with


Like the Old Testament figure Job, sitting on the town trash heap and protesting to God, I likewise protest to God about the apparent unfairness of life. (Not for my own sake: I am one of

the “lucky ones” who have received a blessedly wonderful life!)


Yet deep in the labyrinth of my turbulent soul, where qualities as lovely as orchids and lyre birds exist alongside evil threats like scorpions and red-back spiders; where good and evil, faith and doubt, wrestle; there inside me the struggle between faith and doubt can at times be intense.


I tried to express this in my poem-


            ONE THING SAVES ME


            Just inside the shanty town

                        of this labyrinthine me,

                        where scorpions roam

                        and red-backs lie,

            lurks a high treason:

                        a rebel’s outraged cry

                        of philanthropic anger

                        against whatever reason

            schemes this wild world

                        where wanton pain is allowed

                        to cruel the poor and meek

                        more than the rich and proud.


            A Job festers within this slum,

                        on my personal muck heap

                        for his new stage.

            My Job wants to stand

                        shout and bitterly rage

                        and roar with Mahler’s

                        symphonic storm

                        from drums and brass:

            “How can Omnipotence above

                        justify this cruel norm

                        or madman’s scheme

                        unless he is not love?”


            Shout I would, and should,

                        except there hangs

            that forsaken Thing

                        on two bits of wood.

                                                            (From More Australian Psalms, Ó B.D.Prewer and Ó Open Book Publishers)


That apparently forsaken THING. My scandalous hope!  God in Christ Jesus, hanging on two slabs of wood, is place where my faith both starts, and where in my harried and sorely tempted moments, my faith holds fast.


Thanks be to God for Good Friday!





Isaiah 53 and John 19 


This is not a day for remembrance, but not for mourning.

The time of Christ’s suffering on a cross is long past.

This is a day for wonder, contemplation, and chastened thanksgiving.


Wonder because this most bloodied human event is also the most divine event.

Contemplation because usually we barely touch the surface of this holy mystery.

Thanksgiving because this day of the greatest human shame is also the day of greatest divine glory.




Some years ago I was involved in the restructuring of the sanctuary of a church building. The furnishings were being made by a highly skilled tradesman who had migrated from the Netherlands. One day when I called at his workshop to see how things were progressing, he was working on the large cross. He was not happy that the design called for it to be painted white; he argued that it should be painted black. I attempted to make the case for it being white, but  to no avail. Nothing would shift him from the conviction that the crucifixion of Christ was the blackest episode in history.


Of course he was right. Partly right, that is. There is no darker event than the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth.  Even for agnostics like that Dutch carpenter, who see Jesus just a remarkable loving human being, the story of the betrayal, swift trial and brutal execution of this good man Jesus, remains the nadir of human depravity. For those of us who go much further and believe that God was uniquely present in Christ,  the shame is even more monstrous. 


The world went into deep darkness when Christ was crucified. Therefore one could with integrity paint the cross black.




However, that is only half the story. The other half far outshines the black side of things.


Last Sunday we were in Isaiah territory. Again we are there, even closer to the very heartland of the prophet as he tells of the servant of God who will die for his people. Here again are just a few of the verses:

He was despised and rejected by men

a man of sorrows and familiar with grief.

Like one from whom we turn away our faces,

he was despised and we did not stand up for him.


Certainly he has borne our sorrows

and carried our sufferings;

yet we allowed him to be struck down,

as if punished by God with affliction.


Yet it was for our sins that he was wounded,

and for our wrongs that he was bruised;

on his shoulders fell the pain that saved us,

with his broken body we are healed.


He went to his death with the wicked,

and was laid out in a borrowed grave;

although he never committed violence

or spoke a false word from his mouth.


At a first reading, these words could seem most depressing stuff! If this is what happens to good people, to God’s very best servant, then how can this world ever be rescued from its depravity? 


Like the Dutch carpenter wanting a black cross, many people would see in Isaiah’s poetic outpouring, a damning indictment of the general run of humanity, and a justification for being cynical. What is the use of trying to play by God’s rules in this devil’s playground?


They would be wrong. For Isaiah is full of hope. He sees the humble suffering of God’s chosen servant as breaking new ground, as being a victory for the reclamation of humanity. God is personally involved in the “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”


There is a paradox at the heart of such sacrifice. Those who lose life for God’s sake shall find life. Not new life just for themselves but for those around them. Suffering for God’s sake is like the pain of a woman giving birth. It is a positive travail not an agonising disaster. Chapter 53 finishes with strong affirmation:

The will of God shall prosper in his (servant’s) hand;

he shall see the fruit of his soul’s travail and be content.

By his wise ways my worthy servant

shall enable many more to be counted as worthy

as he carries away all their wrongdoing.

Therefore I will give him share of my greatness,

and he will share it with those who remain true.


Isaiah is optimistic, with an optimism which stems from his faith in God. Here is loving travail, not tragedy. Here is light that shines through the darkest hour and helps bring a new glory. Here is a saving action initiated by a God of deathless love, humility, power and glory.




Now to John’s Gospel.


Among the Gospel writers, John is the one who most likes using the word “glory”. Doxa is the word from which we derive doxology. Throughout his account of Jesus, John highlights situations where we get glimpses of the glory of God in Christ.


John does not bother to include the story of the transfiguration on the mountain in Galilee, when Jesus shone with the glory of God. The transfiguration, for John, was happening all the time. They glimpsed his glory. However, the supreme transfiguration takes place at the end. Not on a mountain in Galilee, but on Mt Zion, on a knobbly crest called Golgotha. When Jesus is lifted up on the cross, the light blazes!  The supreme glory flames from the darkest event.


For John, and even for a very distant disciples like us, the death of Jesus is certainly the supreme disclosure of glory.


During the week leading to Good Friday, Jesus says: “The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified.”  And a little later: “Should I say ‘Father save me from this hour? No, this is the purpose for which I came. Father, glorify your name!”


On Thursday evening, after Jesus and disciples had left the upper room, Jesus says: “Now is the Son of man glorified. And in him God is glorified.”


All that John tells us about the passion and death of Jesus is not to emphasise suffering and win our pity, but to reveal the divine glory.


When from the cross Jesus cries out: “It is finished!” (tetelestai) he is not saying “I’m about to die”, or in our idiom “I’m done for!” or “This is it!” There is nothing of abject defeat or stoic resignation here. It is a cry of accomplishment; fulfilment. His work and life, which stem from the heart of God, are successfully completed. The glory of God has been revealed. The cross is radiant white.




Most of our ideas of glory are unbearably silly and tawdry stuff in comparison: They derive from self aggrandisement.


For example:  First prizes. Academic distinction. Olympic gold. Managing Director. Prime Minister. Oscar winner. TV personality. Football premiers. High Court judge. Another QE2 cruise. A $5 million dollar lotto win. Conductor of Symphony orchestra. Super model. Pop star. Melbourne Cup. Nobel Prize. Stawell Gift. Toorak mansion. Operatic diva. Father of the year. Media mogul. Gold Logie winner. Major General.  A 100 goal full forward. Archbishop. Queens Counsel. Champion wine maker. Governor General. Basketball hero. Chief Justice. Top jockey. Police Commissioner. Millionaire adventurer. High roller. Miss Universe (ah! Isn’t that last one absolutely ludicrous! Miss Universe indeed!).  


Add to these sought after glories, tier below tier of the so called ‘winners,’ coming down the scale from Chief Justice to school prefect, from state Premier to our local little aths, under 9 years, long jump winner. There are thousands of baubles of glory for which people hanker, and for which many will sacrifice time, health, love and even life. We are deluded by a false sense of glory.


None of us, had we not been touched with the Spirit of Christ, would look for supreme glory in an ancient Jew crucified between two thieves.


The glory of God is the inverse to our common notion of glory. It is the glory of a power that is utterly humble and a love that it totally self giving. It is a glory before which we bow, yet of which we are afraid when God asks to share in it.


Here is God’s glory in the highest!

Christ shows us the true glory of that mighty Creator, who summoned our colossal universe into existence,

who resources the power of a host of galaxies,

who shines more brightly than a billion, billion suns,

who created not only space but also time, and who could have stayed safely outside this space and time,

but chose to be on the inside, travailing over every need, sharing our joys and achievements, and our manifold sorrows;

A God who does not wipe out the bedevilled, rebel human species that inhabit planet earth, but gives everything to suffer and die for it’s healing and liberation..




This may be a day for entering into the sorrows of Christ. But it is not a day for mourning.


The time of Christ’s suffering on a cross is long past.


This is a day for wonder, contemplation, and chastened thanksgiving.

            Wonder because this most obscene human event is also the most divine event.

            Contemplation because usually we barely touch the surface of this holy mystery.

            Chastened thanksgiving because the day of the greatest human shame is also the day     of greatest glory.


Paint the cross white! For the light most wonderfully outshines the darkness!





We believe in the God of Good Friday,

   who sent us Jesus of Nazareth

   to be wounded for our transgressions

   and bruised for our iniquities.

While some seek more knowledge,

   and others look for signs and omens,

   we place our trust in Christ crucified.

We believe that those who hoard their life will lose it,

   yet those who lose life for Christ’s sake will find it.

We believe that Christ crucified is the power of God

   and the saving wisdom of God.

We believe this foolishness of God is wiser than earthly knowledge,

   and the weakness of God is stronger than human arrogance.

This we dare to believe because we have seen the glory of God

   in the face of Jesus Christ.




“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son”


Let us pray.


Most Holy Friend, especially today we pray for the human race humanity in all its brokenness.


For the many who bear the burden of sin and guilt without any faith in, or even knowledge of, a divine Saviour.

Lord in your mercy,

Hear our Prayer.


For the many who this day may feel forsaken by old friends, wounded by loved ones, and deserted by God.

Lord in your mercy,

Hear our Prayer.


For the many who are still being wrongly arrested, falsely accused, and who are incarcerated in prisons and subject to abuse.

Lord in your mercy,

Hear our Prayer.


For the many who are suffering for the sake of the Gospel; scorned by family and community, or persecuted by enemies.

Lord in your mercy,

Hear our Prayer.


For the many who are dying in agony, and those who have no friend or loved one to be close to them in the hour of death.

Lord in your mercy,

Hear our Prayer.


For the many in this congregation who have secret burdens and long-standing wounds, and who look to Christ for encouragement and strength.

Lord in your mercy,

Hear our Prayer.


Holy Friend, loving Saviour, please gather us all up into the amazing grace and glory that we have seen in Christ Jesus, the crucified One. In his name we pray.





By faith in the One who was “despised and rejected,”

take courage to live for the truth he taught and showed us.

            Should you fail and fall, let his grace pick you up,

            tend your wounds, and set you on the road again.


The God of the Cross can be trusted to go on doing this,

until his Christ “shall see the fruit of the travail of his soul

and be satisfied.”


The costly grace of Christ shall redeem you,

the priceless love of God shall support you,

the precious fellowship of the Spirit shall encourage you,

now and ever more.





** Additional resources can be accessed 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

b_mbm.jpg b_ap2.jpg b_jof.jpg
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.