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.



14-20 August


Matthew 15: 10-28                                            (Sermon 2: “Bread for the Dogs”)

Romans 11: 1-2 & 29-32

Genesis 45: 1-15                                               (Sermon 1: “God the Quiet Achiever”)

Psalm 133




The love of Christ Jesus fill your hearts with the joy of believing.

And also fill your heart!


This is a time for loving awe.

“How deep is the wealth of God’s wisdom and knowledge?

How unfathomable are the divine purposes and ways of working!


Who could ever read God’s mind or give advice?

Who could give or do anything that placed the Holy One in our debt?

In God rests the cause of all the things, and the continued existence of all things.

To whom be glory forever!”





We all need to belong.


Christ has broken down all barriers;

we are all as one in Christ Jesus.

How good it is and how lovely it feels

when sisters and brothers can live together in unity.


God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself

and has committed to us the ministry of reconciliation.

How good it is, and how lovely it feels,

when we come into the house of God as one people




Our small minds, little lives, and scanty understanding, we bring to you, Holy Friend. But what we are we bring to you with the most profound devotion of which we are capable. Yours are the truth we crave, the beauty we worship, and the love we adore. Please bless us as we gather, for with your blessing we are the poor who have immense riches to celebrate and share. To your honour and praise.

Through Christ Jesus our Brother and Lord.





Let us bring our fallen ways before the Lord of all mercy.


Let us pray.


With you, loving God, is the beauty that shows up the defects in us,

with you is the goodness which shames the evil in us.

Yet also with you is the love that embraces us,

that Christ-love that welcomes common sinners and eats with them.

Many are the times we have turned our back on you,

but never has there been a time when you have turned your back on us.


Today we come again,

some of us feeling guilty,

some feeling frustrated with ourselves,

some feeling despondent,

and maybe some feeling apathetic.


Enfold  us all, we pray, within your saving love.

Please deal with us in the way we most need;

speak comfortable words or rebuke us,

tend our wounds or lance our infections,

awaken our conscience or calm our nagging anxiety.


Holy Friend, give to the timid the courage to accept your mercy,

and give the proud the humility to seek your forgiveness.


Please touch every person with the redeeming love of Christ Jesus.

In whose name we pray.





Family of God, God knows your need before you ask for help. There is enough mercy to cover all your sins, and not yours only, but those of the whole world. Therefore put the past and its errors behind you. Live as forgiven people, for in Christ, such you truly are!

Thanks be to God!


The peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all!

And also with you!




It hurts, you know, God,

when we are treated like outsiders;

when know one wants to play with us

or even notice us.


Because we know what it feels like,

help us take special notice

of those kids who seem awkward

and are without friends.

Please help us to include them,

even though it often isn’t easy

to help them fit in.


In Jesus’ name.





What a wonderful happiness it is

            when Christians get on together!


It is like precious water from the Font

            flowing down across a face;

like the baptismal waters

            poured by the hand of God’s servant.

It is like dew on mountain slopes,

            falling from the heights of God.


It is what our Lord has commanded;

            the blessing that will last forever.

                                                                                                                        Ó B D Prewer 2001




          Matthew 15:21-28


He came unto this alien shore,

this weary Christ.

He looked to work no wonders here,

just take some rest.

My neighbours saw him as a crank

a weirdo priest.


I saw him as my one last hope

to save my child.

And followed him along the street

with my face veiled.

I needed to get close to him

and would not yield.


His friends thought me an unclean thing

too foul to touch.

They asked him to get rid of me

a pagan wretch.

I flung myself down at his feet

within his reach.


He placed his hand upon my head,

all heaven was there.

I told him of my daughter’s plight

and felt his care.

He send me dancing down the street

light as the air!

                                                                           Ó B D Prewer 1996




Loving God, you see beyond our diverse races and creeds to the value of each individual. Take from our minds and hearts the pride and prejudice that clouds our judgments and degrades our capacity to love others. Assist us to willingly and ably participate in the salvation which you have released through Christ Jesus for every creed, class and race on earth. And to you be all praise and glory, now and for ever.





Genesis 50:20


 “Your intention and actions were evil, but God meant it for good, to make things             happen so that many lives should be saved, as you are today”


There is something in us which hankers for a God who is the very visible mover and shaker, the dominator, the public enemy of evil, and even, maybe, the exterminator.


The God we have, however, is very different. The God of Jesus is the quiet achiever





This is underlined in the story of Joseph.


God did not dramatically rescue Joseph from the deep pit into which he was tossed, he did not send angels to rescue him from the slave traders, and he did not miraculously rescue him for the Egyptian guards when he was falsely imprisoned. But that does not mean that God had forgotten the young, mistreated Jew.


The story of Joseph reaches its climax there in Egypt. By his integrity, his faith, and a series of providential events, Joseph the teenage slave languishing in prison, went on to become a successful man and hold the high position of Prime Minister; no one above him except the mighty Pharaoh. Joseph’s key responsibility was the management of the food supply of the nation during the seven years of famine that followed seven years of bumper harvests.


Those years of famine swept through the whole Middle East. Back in his original homeland, Joseph’s father Jacob (by then an elderly man) and his large family were facing starvation. Twice Jacob sent his sons to buy grain in Egypt. Each time they had to present themselves to the Prime Minister and beg his favour. Joseph knew them, but they did not recognise him.


At the end of the second visit, Joseph revealed his true identity to them. Not surprisingly the news dismayed them, and they expected to be savagely punished for their wickedness in selling him as a slave many years before.


Instead of punishment, they received mercy and forgiveness. Joseph hugged Benjamin, the brother closest to him in age, and wept for sheer joy. In the midst of those who had once foully treated him, he made this remarkable statement:

            `“Do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves because you sold me; for God has sent me on before you to keep you alive.” Genesis 45:5


Some time later, after his father Jacob had died, and the brothers maybe wondered whether now was the time when Joseph might let his rage loose on them he repeated his goodwill:     “Your intention and deed were evil, but God meant it for good, to make things so           happen that many lives should be saved, as you are today” Genesis 50:20


What a faith this fellow Joseph had!


He dared believe that God had been involved in the whole affair.


I do not believe that we should rush to the simplistic, crude conclusion that God has made the brothers sell Joseph as a slave. The brothers were not the innocent puppets of a manipulative God. Not that at all! Rather Joseph believed that in the centre of the maelstrom of evil, God had always been there for him, working with divine providence. Joseph’s God was the quiet achiever. In situations where humans plan evil, God plans good.


The Bible does have passages that may read like statements of rigid determinism; that is, as if God plans it all, both the ups and the downs, and we have no say in it. It seems to me that if we are foolish enough to read it the Bible this way, we might as well become like some simplistic followers of Islam, who shrug the shoulders and say: “kismet;” the pre-ordained fate will happen.





However, the Bible is most emphatic about free will.


It declares that from the beginning, man and woman, Adam and Eve, had the choice between good and evil. This element of free will is the basis of the great ethical teaching of Moses, the challenging preaching of the prophets, the faith of the psalms and the sound advice of the Proverbs. (The only book of the OT where there is overt, fatalistic determinism, is Ecclesiastes. Yes, there may be a bit of kismet there.)


Our responsibility is even more pronounced in the New Testament. Here the constant call for a decision for or against the Gospel of Christ, only makes sense if we have free will. Paul’s call to faith only makes sense if there is free will. The practical issues raised by the letter of James, and the emphasis on the role of love in John’s letters, would be meaningless if we are just puppets dancing on strings held by God.


As I see it, when the Bible seems to imply some sense of divine determinism (as when Joseph says: “It was God who sent me on ahead of you”) it is not fatalism but a kind of short-hand expression of faith. Bad things happen within the overall will of God. Many unpleasant things are permitted to happen. Not caused by God but permitted. There is a general sense in which everything that happens on earth happens with the permission of God. Evil events are not the express will of God, but they take place within the overarching purpose of God.


What is more, God himself is with us in everything. Not as an outsider but an insider. Moreover, God does not allow these bad things to proceed without redesigning options for redemption. That is what the God of the Bible is extra good at: redesigning options for redemption from the intimate inside of our existence.


God never gives up. God, for the devout Jews, was involved in everything. God allows us to make bad decisions, but remains in the situation, weaving from the results of bad decisions, even from evil deeds, new possibilities. These new possibilities in turn can be accepted or rejected by the free will which humans do possess. If we again chose badly, God shapes yet more new opportunities out of the mess we have made.


Joseph chose to use his free will to co-operate with the God was working in all the events that happened. In everything from his brothers foul deed, to his imprisonment in Egypt on a false charge, to the times of famine and his elevation to political power.  Note this: God uses Joseph’s unexpected success also for the greater providence. It’s not just our disasters out of which God reshapes new possibilities; he takes our successes and also uses them in ways we do not expect.


This is the element of providence, and of salvation, with which the Bible is saturated.




In the New Testament it is a part of what is meant by love.


The love of Jesus Christ is that active loving by God that is undeserved, unearnable, unpredictable, and uncontainable, and which breaks out in all kinds of situations for the rescue and healing of people. It stems from a love which is far deeper from anything we can imagine, and from a wisdom which is so profound that we can only finger the fringes of its garment.


The Gospel for today gave us the story of Jesus and a foreigner; a women of Phoenician blood, on the coast at Tyre and Sidon. Circumstances, not fate, had dealt painfully with the woman. She a pagan, despised by Jews, is the mother of a mentally ill daughter. Jesus came into that region not to do more healings but for a rest from crowded Galilee.  But God took those particular circumstances (on the surface they are incongruous circumstances) and used them for new possibilities. The pagan woman was drawn to Jesus the Jew and she received healing for her daughter.


The cross; that central cross on the hill called “The Skull”, stands as the central witness to God’s resourcefulness. That which from one angle seems like the greatest example foul human choice, becomes the very epitome of love; of the new redemptive possibilities which God brings out of human perfidy.




Joseph placed his life in the hands of God, the quiet achiever.


Joseph, a Jew who lived many centuries before Jesus and over three thousand years before us, can put us to shame with his faith in God the quiet achiever. He did not have Jesus to show his the way; he did not have a Christ to open up the most amazing possibilities of the Gospel. The providence he trusted was only a dim foretaste of what we know as love. But he did believe that God was with him through all the tribulations and was bringing good out of evil.


That is how it can be for us.

             Some of our intentions and deeds are evil, but God means to turn it around for good,

             To make things so happen that many lives may be saved.


From time to time I dabble in wood turning. Some timbers are unpredictable. At times the grain or faults in the timber force me to change my design.  But in some cases (not all by far! I’m no master turner!) I am able to take either flaws in the timber or my own errors, and out of them produce a finished piece, say a lamp base, which is far more beautiful than my original design.  Jarrah, has proved the toughest timber I have worked with, yet from it some surprises have emerged. I think that is how God works with out lives. God is the quiet achiever transforming flaws and errors into something more beautiful.


Back in 1982 I tried to express my faith in God the Master Woodturner , in this meditation:


            SONG OF THE JARRAH



            incomparable woodturner,

            you take tough jarrah

                        like me

                        and from it

            fashion things more beautiful

                        than eye has seen

                        or ear heard.


            Some days

            you uncover in me

                        a grain pattern

                        fine and elegant

            which I never knew

                        I possessed.



            you work patiently

                        through sap holes,

                        knots, or rogue grain,

            spinning contours of love

                        in spite of all.



            irrepressible craftsman,

            you even became jarrah

                        in the lathe

                        in order to share

                        the pain of the misshapen,

                        the joy of the new-shaped,

            and the love song

                        of jarrah’s Creator.

                                                                                          (Australian Prayers Ó B D Prewer and

                                                                                             Ó Open Book Publishers





Matthew 15: 21-28


“Even the dogs eat the scraps which fall from the master’s table.”


Racism is not a modern phenomenon. It is an age old curse.


For orthodox Jews in the time of Christ, and in particular those uptight men from the region of Judea, there were only two types of people in the world:  God’s chosen people and the dogs.


The dogs were anyone who was not a full-blood Jew. They were the despised Gentiles, the goyim; the “lesser breeds without the law” of Moses and without the blood of Abraham in their veins.


The woman in the Gospel reading for today was such a dog. She was a Canaanite woman living in the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon.


This was the region where the Old Testament people named the Philistines had lived.  That word Philistine is today still used as a derogatory label. For some centuries that coastal plain held the cities of those we also know as the seafaring Phoenicians. Throughout history, that stretch of territory has been the stamping ground of strong nations. It was regularly occupied by different armies.


It was especially the scene of battles between the Egyptians from the South and the mighty kingdoms of the North, from regions like Syria and Babylon. Also, at one stage the fierce Hyksos raged through this territory. At other periods it was the Hittites. For brief periods, the Jews made their mark here.


Rape of the native women was common. Also through the brief periods of stability, intermarriage happened. Mixed blood was the norm. The old word Canaanite became almost a synonym for mongrel. The dogs.


Jesus left Galilee and went into the region of Tyre and Sidon. There, a woman of that community came to Jesus and cried out: “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David. My daughter is frightfully possessed by demons.”




At this point we are in for a shock. Jesus, that compassionate soul, totally ignored her. What had gone wrong. Was Jesus at heart a racist guy?


The woman followed them; persisting in crying for help. His disciples asked him to order her to go away. Jesus made this comment: “I was sent to help only the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” That sounds suspect, doesn’t it? I would certainly seem in contempt of our “anti-discrimination laws” here in Australia.


What was Jesus up to? Was he racist or was he testing the compassion of disciples? Was he showing scorn for the Canaanite woman? Or was he testing her out, to see how she would let herself be pushed around?


She challenged his dismissal and came right up to Jesus. (I suspect Jesus was delighted at her daring.) She fell down at his feet and pleaded: “Lord, help me.”


Jesus did not send her away, instead he pushed her harder: “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”


Wow! That is racist, surely? He has come out in the open with it! Jesus of Nazareth, who said that love is what really matters, has actually implied that this woman is of no more value than a yapping dog. That she is a mongrel bitch?


How would she react to this crude description of her?


Bless her!  She does not give ground. This is one very formidable woman! She comes back at Jesus, saying:

            “True Lord. But even the lap dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”


What would Jesus do in response?  Well, he did not say: “Get lost!” We do have some of his words that followed but no description of his attitude or facial expression. How I would love to have descriptions of Jesus’ face when he said various things! I personally reckon (pure guess work) that at this stage a wide grin spread across his face:

            Woman, how great is your faith! What you have asked for will be done. At this very time             your daughter has been healed.”


As I see it, far from being a racist, Jesus had been asking this woman to affirm her own dignity, to assert her own value. Inviting her to reject the racist tag that orthodox Jews and even some of the disciples would have fixed on her. He was daring her to make a claim as an equal child of God. She may not have had much of the blood of Abraham in her veins, but she had equal claims on the Mercy of God.


I would like Jesus to one day be able to say of me: “Man, what faith you have!”


Wouldn’t you also find great joy in such an affirmation from the Master’s lips? But I fear that I have a long way to go before I catch up with this Canaanite woman of formidable faith.


If you go back one chapter from this story, set in the coastal reg ion of Tyre and Sidon,  we find Jesus saying to Simon Peter out on Lake Galilee (yes to Peter, the man with Jewish blood in his veins who was a corner stone disciple) “Peter, you have such little faith, why did you doubt me?”


Isn’t that a telling contrast?  Peter, who was to become one of the most renowned Apostles and a specialist missionary to Jewish peoples in the Roman Empire, is reproached for his lack of faith. Yet this mixed blood woman, despised by pure Jewish stock as a dog, is commended for her great faith...




What is really surprising is that this telling contrast between Peter and this “mongrel” was allowed to persist in the early Church and be written down.  The censors did not get to work and eliminate such stuff.


It implied revolutionary stuff in race relations. And it did not reflect highly on Peter and his Jewish friends.  I cannot but admire those faithful souls who helped treasure the sayings and deeds of Jesus and finally to place them in written form, for daring to show the folly and timid faith of those first disciples. They we not interested in a glossy, sanitised story. They told it as it was. Even though Peter became famous and perhaps had by then met his death as a martyr in the cause of Christ. A Canaanite woman had outshone him in faith.


Later, of course, Paul that proud, pernickety, full blood, Jewish Pharisee who unexpectedly became a humble convert to the Lord Jesus, and the chief  missionary to the Gentile “dogs,” would have loved this story. He better than anyone else in the early Church grasped the full meaning of the inclusiveness of the love of God in the Saviour Christ Jesus.

            There is no longer such a thing as Jew or Greek, nor slave of free citizen, male nor             female. For you are now all one in Jesus Christ.  If you are Christ’s then you are now the             legitimate seed of Abraham, and heirs of all God’s promises


What faith that woman had, so early in the history-changing event of Jesus Christ! She believed there was a place for her and her daughter in the Lord’s saving love. So she doggedly went for it!




What this congregation?


Well, the first truth we need to recognise is that we belong to the pack of so-called dogs. We are the Gentiles.


We have no hereditary place in the people of God. But it is there, by the overflowing love of our Lord Jesus Christ What a mighty and humbling truth to remember!  What a joy to savour and share with those not fortunate enough to hear or understand the good news. What a superb understanding of inclusive love to practice in this church and every other church.





Creator God, ground of my being and goal of my journeying,

I believe in You.


I believe in you more than I believe in my own complaints,

                              more than my anxieties and midnight fears,

                              more than my puzzlement and doubts.


Christ Jesus, source of my healing and joy of my desiring,

I believe in you.


I believe in you more than the boasts of the arrogant,

                              more than the duplicity of the cunning,

                              more than the cynicism of the embittered.


Holy Spirit, breath of my hoping and fire of my loving,

I believe in you.


I believe in you more than the myopia of the clever,

                              more than the evasions of the cowardly,

                              more than the apathy of the negligent.


Holy God, you are far too big for our minds yet humble enough

                              to reside with the meek and the poor

                              and to craft beauty out of disasters.


I believe in you.

Yes! I believe in You!




Holy Friend, hear our prayers for the salvation of many.


Where there are Christians whose faith has been shaken by suffering and tragedies,

Let there be light,

let there be trust,

let there be hope,

let there be peace.


Where there are cynics whose protective coating has been cracked by genuine love,

Let there be light,

let there be trust,

let there be hope,

let there be peace.


Where there are seekers who have come close to belief but hesitate on the brink,           

Let there be light,

let there be trust,

let there be hope,

let there be peace.


Where there are the dying and the bereaved who face the darkness without hope,

Let there be light,

let there be trust,

let there be hope,

let there be peace.


Where there are political leaders who admit their fallibility and now look for guidance,

Let there be light,

let there be trust,

let there be hope,

let there be peace.


Where there are church leaders caught up in a web of details but forgetting their first love,

Let there be light,

let there be trust,

let there be hope,

let there be peace.


Where there are welfare agencies and overseas aid groups who have become self-serving,

Let there be light,

let there be trust,

let there be hope,

let there be peace.


Where there are members of this congregation who carry deep hurts, fears, guilt or anger,

Let there be light,

let there be trust,

let there be hope,

let there be peace.


God our Holy Friend, help us to do for one another all those deeds of love which are within our capacity, and where the issues are beyond us, fill up our emptiness with your eternal wisdom and strength. Through Christ Jesus our Saviour,





The gathering of the people of God is ending,

the scattering to of the people of God

to be agents of Christ in many places

is about to begin.


Remember how great are your resources.


“How deep is the wealth of God’s wisdom and knowledge!

How unfathomable are the divine purposes and ways of working!

Who could ever read God’s mind or give advice?

Who could give or do anything that placed the Holy One in our debt?

In God lies the cause of all things, and the continued existence of all things.

To God be glory forever!”



Go in peace to love and serve your God.

In the name of Christ.






              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.