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        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.



23-29 October


Matthew 22: 34-46                                            (Sermon 2: “Get Hooked on Love”)

1 Thessalonians 2: 1-8

Deuteronomy 34: 1-12                          (Sermon 1: “Seeing from Afar”)

Psalm 90: 1-6, 13-17




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

And also with you!


Love has brought us here today.

Not our love for God but God’s steadfast love for us:

  the love of the Holy for that which is full of flaws.


  the love of the Healer for that which is dis-eased.

  the love of the Reconciler for that which is alienated.

Love has brought us here today.

We love because God first loved us.




God has been our dwelling place in all generations.

Before the mountains were raised up,

before the universe was even formed,

God has been there for us.

So let us live in him,

rooted and established in the faith of Christ,

and abounding in thanksgiving.


Love God, love your neighbour.

All the laws of Moses,

and all the teaching of the prophets,

hang on these two commandments.

May the love of God be upon us,

establishing whatever is loving in the work of our hands.

Yes, let God establish all that is loving in the work of our hands.





Great Lover of the world, in many separate ways and through many different people, you have conveyed your love to each of us. We bless you for finding us, embracing us, encouraging us, and releasing in our hearts a love for you. By your Spirit please foster our love, that our fledgling faith may soar high above dutiful worship into the realm of free delight. Through Christ Jesus our Lord.






God’s love is relentless; it is always seeking the forgiveness and restitution of the wayward, rebellious and the lost.


Let us pray


Relentless God of love, you have raised Jesus from death

to be the power of love always in our midst


We confess

our failure to fully entertain and trust his love.

We have not loved you, God, with his joyous enthusiasm.

We have not loved others with his burning compassion.

We have not even loved ourselves sufficiently to fully nurture

our own lives in the love and liberty of Christ Jesus.



our characters are stunted, our achievements flawed,

our peace is fractured, and our happiness is diminished.


God of indefatigable mercy, please overthrow those feelings and thoughts which

have become barriers against the inflowing of your truth and love. Please enter

the stubborn or fearful corners of our being with your light and your forgiveness.

Restore us to the joy of your salvation and renew a right spirit with us.

Through Christ Jesus our Saviour.



People of God, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be rescued and healed!

His mercy is not rationed out in qualified amounts, but overflows the banks of history

with prodigious generosity. You are a forgiven family.

Thanks be to God!


PSALM 90; 1-6, 13-17


            See two different versions in “Australian Psalms”

            pages 12-13 and 141

                                                            © B. D. Prewer &Open Book Publishers




 Matthew 22: 34-40


To love the Holy Friend

            above all else,

            and to love your neighbour

            as you love yourself,

was not some brand new product

            that arrived on the market

            from the house of Nazareth.


There had been similar hopes

            held by the meek and pure

            visionaries of Israel’s tribe

            in those kind seasons,

when the winter rains had gone,

            the orchards were in blossom

            and birdsong filled the air.


The thing that is stunning

            about this Nazarene

            Lover of true love,

            is that he actually lived it

and dared fulfil it utterly

            in and out of season

            when Roman nails tore deep.


It is not our semi-loving

            seasonal as springtime

            and shallow as sentiment

            that we christlings celebrate;

but the unswerving beauty

            of one young Man’s love

            through darkest dereliction.


The fulfilment of old Moses

            and the robust teaching

            of the great prophets

            hang on this awesome loving,

which now freely enters in

            through Christ-torn rents

            in our indifference.

                                             © B.D. Prewer 1996




Most loving God, may the Spirit of Christ subdue our feral ways. Send in his love to explore and transform even the secret and dark territory of our mind and soul. Let us grow in our passion for your glory, and in compassion for our neighbours. Let love be our code and our creed, our word and our deed. To your eternal glory and praise.






Deuteronomy 34:1-5a


And Moses climbed up from the plains of Moab to Mt Nebo, to the top of Pisgah which is opposite Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land.........and said to Moses: “This is the land which I swore to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. I will give it to you descendants. I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over into it. So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab.


Sad story? I reckon it is. This man, who had loyally given all that he had to God, for the purpose of returning his people to the Promised Land, was not to set foot in it. He could only glimpse it from a long way off.


Frankly though (tongue in my cheek!) I’m not surprised that Moses died on Mt Nebo. The silly old goat should have expected it. Mountain climbing as his age! Very elderly people should not go on such strenuous adventures. [As the memorial plagues to those who have died climbing Uluru testify!] In this case it was a very, very old man. The writer of Deuteronomy records that Moses was 120 years old when he died.


What a goer! What grit and determination! No wonder that this saviour of his people still stands as the tallest figure among the orthodox heroes of the Jewish people.


Stop for a moment and think about those 120 years.

During the first 40 years Moses spent being educated among the princes of Egypt in all aspects of that mighty civilisation.

The second forty years saw a most different education; he spent it as a shepherd in the Sinai wilderness learning how to live of the harsh land and coming to know in a personal way

the one God of heaven and earth.

The third forty years was spent in keeping the nomadic nation alive in the wilderness and slowly teaching them the ways of God and shaping them into a new community of faith.


I can’t resist suggesting to those of you who are about to turn 40 years of age: Maybe the first phase of your education is ending and the second phase about to start! Also I put it gently to those of you who are around the eighty year mark: What if the best work of your life is about to start now? It’s a bit mind boggling isn’t it!


Of course, God does not always work in the same way, he does not weave the same pattern for all of us. The composer Franz Schubert died in his thirties leaving some beautiful and haunting compositions behind, whereas Vaughan Williams did not compose anything noteworthy until his late thirties. The apostle James died for his faith as a young man, his brother John lived into at least his nineties and died of natural causes. John Wesley of the Methodist revival had the benefit of a classical education at Oxford, but William Booth of the Salvation Army learnt much in the University of Hard Knock Backs. God does not deal with us like the proverbial peas in a pod!





Moses is for me a symbol for all of God’s visionaries, pioneers and tireless workers. They see the Promised Land from afar but they themselves cannot enter it. Would it have made any difference to Moses if he had known earlier that his own feet would never walk in the land flowing with milk and honey?  I doubt it. People like Moses, unconditionally devoted to God, are content to leave such matters in God’s hands.


Of course he would have like to be able to set foot on the other side of Jordan. Of course he would have liked to sit by the well of his ancestor Jacob and drink its fresh water. Of course he would have wanted to pitch his tent where his great ancestress Sarah had baked bread for three angelic visitors, or sit in the shade of the oak trees of Mamre where Abraham rested.


Yet when it came to what God chose to do, Moses was content. He was content to see others reap the fruit of his labours. He was content to let Joshua, the son of Nun, lead the people into the Promised Land. I think it was enough that he had glimpsed it from afar.




What a contrast Moses makes with the mood of our current Western society. We are the neurotically impatient generation, whining “what about me?”


Selfishness wants results now. Shareholders demand big dividends this year. That is one of the reasons why there is so little long-term investment in Australian’s future. Our chronic self-interest has made us foolishly short-sighted, and our grandchildren will suffer the consequences of our impatience.


One professional fisherman on South Coast of Victoria fears for the future. He told me one day after church, how hard it is to get his fellow fishermen to plan for the future. One by one the stocks of certain species are over harvested until they are pushed to extinction. Among his various proposals to the local fishermen’s organisation, is that each fisherman negotiates a specified area for which he alone would be responsible. He could then farm it and either reap the rewards of good stewardship or go out of business. But the other blokes won’t agree. They want to rush in a plunder every area they can, now!


The concept of beginning a task that won’t be completed in our time is, in most quarters, an alien notion. This even afflicts the church. Many ministers want the fruits now. The concept of faithfully sowing seed, knowing only successors may reap rewards, is these days rare.



The same applies to some parishioners. There are some parishes that change their ministers with giddying rapidity. With each new induction they hope this is the sub-messiah who will bring success in a rush, without too much effort from the laity. They want the land flowing with milk and honey, now!




On the other hand, I am most thankful for those parishes and ministers who are in it for the long hall; those people, both laity and clergy, who are prepared to let God decide the timetable. Like Moses, they dream about the Promised Land, yet are willing to give their utmost for Christ and are content that maybe another generation (or the next minister!) will reap the harvest of their toil.


I want to affirm the excellent things that are happening in many congregations these days. Although church membership does appear be declining in Australia, a large amount of loving service for Christ is being offered.  Today’s Gospel reading commands us to love God and love our neighbours. Moreover, the First letter of John declares, we cannot love God unless we love our neighbour.


I doubt whether there has ever been a generation of the church where so many believers have been so committed to the hard task of “loving the neighbour.” If one moves around the churches one finds numerous, outreach projects based on compassion for the neighbour. Also we witness sterling examples of Christians really “fighting the good fight” for social justice among neglected minorities.


Such loving works do not always bring in “converts” to the church. Loving one’s neighbour may not put posteriors on pews. This leaves a few impatient folk disgruntled, because some more posteriors would be encouraging; I would be the first to admit that! But maybe the ground is being laid by these loyal servants of Christ for a period of wider fruitfulness that lies much further down the track.


We do not know the details of what is in store for the church.  The prime task is to be like Moses and be faithful to our calling now.




A couple of minutes ago I briefly touched on the point that we had been granted a glimpse of the Promised Land. When we see Christ at work, teaching, healing, encouraging, forgiving reconciling, we see the God’s future.


This vision of ultimate reconciliation through Jesus, and in the likeness of Jesus, is where we are heading. It is the view we glimpse from our mountain on clear days. It is our future.


When we love God, as the first commandment asks, and love our neighbour as we love our own lives, we have a foretaste of the Promised Land.




What then would be might be a prayer arising out of this sermon? Something like this:

            That we may have the faithful patience of Moses,

            and bask in the promise of Christ Jesus,

            and delight in each act of love which brings nearer the glorious fulfilment.





Matthew 22:34-39



Most of the things on which people become hooked, either diminish or finally destroy them. No so love. Love only enhances and fulfils.


Jesus cut through all the bulldust* stirred up by the religion of his day to get to the hub of the matter. Love. Love of God. Love for those around us. Love is what counts.


[*bulldust: Aus. for clouds of ultra fine dust created by the traffic of beasts or vehicles on dirt tracks or roads; common in the Outback.]


Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind. That is the first commandment. The second is similar: “Love your neighbour as you love yourself.

Everything thing in the Law and the prophets hangs on these two commandments.”



Jesus was not delivering a new insight.


He was reclaiming it from all the complex legalism, and avoidance games, that religion had become so infatuated with. Legalism led to silly things like paying to the temple a tenth (a tithe) on one’s mint and basil while ignoring flagrant situations of social abuse and injustice. Such legalism inspired Jesus to conjure up that cartoon picture of some pretentious Pharisees who strained every cup of wine, lest he swallow a tiny midge, yet swallowed a camel without even noticing it.


He came to loathe the self-serving gamesmanship of religious snobs. He had no time for what I have at times called “Mickey Mouse morals.” He was intent on the main game: Loving God and your neighbour.


Legalistic moralism tends to deal with what people should not do. Love deals with what we might be able to do. Legalism is on the defensive, hiding behind a shields and barriers. Love in on offensive, challenging the situations and that divide and maim and abuse our fellow human beings.


Jesus was hooked on love; on that gracious mercy to which the high points of the Old Testament bore witness. Love lay behind the Ten Commandments were given so that we might better love God and those around us. Love was also behind the grief and anger, and the glorious visionary hopes, of the greatest prophets.


If you like, you can call Jesus an arch conservative: He was intent on conserving the very core of Biblical religion.


Or if you prefer, you can call Jesus a radical: He was intent on driving back to the very roots of Biblical faith and practice.


He was hooked on love. Not on sentimental stuff, like being “nice” people. But on the costly, self-giving love which flows from the heart of God.



Love God. Love your neighbour.

            Everything thing in the Law and the prophets hangs on these two commandments.”



What does it really mean to love God?


We have some idea of what it means to love one’s husband or wife, to love one’s children or one’s parents, to love ones sisters and brothers. We learn love from those who love us. Through their nurture and respect, their kisses and their hugs, their sacrifice and their belief in us. From this we can love in return.


The roots of our Christian love for God resides in God’s self revelation in the man Jesus, the ‘very image of the invisible God.” The God of this Christ awakens love within us. A holy passion is created which is like no other passion.


To love this most loving God means to put God first in all things. Nothing can ever be permitted to come between us and God. Not family nor ambition, not political party nor sport. Neither money nor popularity.


One delightful Christian, who I will call Austin, told me of the defining point in his Christian development. One evening after a church meeting he said to his Minister: “Rob, I won’t be seeing you on Sunday. The football club I used to play for is having a special old members' day. It only happens once a year. I don’t want to miss it.”


It seems that his minister looked calmly into his eyes and gently yet firmly said. “Okay, Austin. I hear you. From now on I will have no doubt as to where your first loyalty actually lies. Thanks for telling me.”


That shook Austin to the core. It seemed to him that through that minister Christ was saying to him “Friend, shape up or ship out.” He made the decision to shape up, and never looked back. Loving God becomes the absolute first loyalty in his life.


When God is enthroned first in our lives, everything else can find its rightful place. Remove God for the centre, competing interests from many directions will soon “up the anti” and shuffle our other priorities. Love God, and all manner of things will be well.



What does it mean to love our neighbour?


Firstly, never neglect the words that follow: “As you love yourself.” When we permit the great love of God to embrace us, “no holds barred,” then we are enabled to love ourselves. Cherished by God, we can dare to respect and cherish ourselves. Out of that healthy love for self, springs the fountain of loving actions which is ready to spill into the lives of those around us.


To love others does not mean we have to like them all.  Love is not liking. It means seeking their best welfare just as we seek it for ourselves. A school teacher may not actually like certain children in her class, but as a conscientious teacher she will try and do her very best for those less likeable students.  Christian love for others is similar. It reaches out to the hard-to-like characters. As Jesus said: “If you love only those who love you, where is the profit in that? If you love only your brothers, what is extraordinary about that? Even the heathen will do that much.”


Love others as you love yourself.


True love does not ‘come cheap.”


It is not a cosy way to live. Loving one’s neighbours can be costly.  It often involves those two words which many “post-modern” people find distasteful: self sacrifice.


[I suspect that what passes itself off as being “post-modern” is often nothing short of abysmal selfishness. In fact, I fear in some cases it is a respectable term to cover a new breed of socio-paths!].


Sometimes we can love other people and at the same time please ourselves. But often we can only love them by putting our own pleasure to one side. Make no bones about it: love can demand a price.


There may be occasions when loving others can be an impulsive thing. A quick, almost reflex response to human need. That is okay.


More often loving will require re-arranging our priorities and programs, taking a reasoned approach. Some of the best loving is not undertaken in an emotional flush, but in calm, prayerful, calculated reflection. Efficiency and loving are far from being incompatible partners. They work well together in the ways of Christ.




I spoke earlier of Austin, and the turning point in his love of God. Now I want to speak of a wonderful woman, especially well known among members of the SCM in the twentieth century in Australia. A woman with a keen mind, well known on national radio.


Rosalie McCutcheon was the nearest thing to a saint I have ever known.  Like her Lord, she was hooked on love. She was a person of considered faith and wise counsel, without any pretension whatsoever. She lived simply with few possessions. She had suffered much grief. Her beloved husband died young, leaving her with one precious son. That son died in his middle years. Yet Rosalie yet remained a buoyant, creative person. No self pity; no closing herself off from the needs of others.


The quality about her which I found infectious was her genuine openness to other people. It was not some counselling technique she had learned. With her it was the real thing; it flowed from her being. She did not judge them, but allowed them to reveal themselves to her when they were ready. She truly loved others. 


This quiet, strong, compassionate woman valued friends among many races and faiths. And from among different political parties. She was treasured by both church and non-church people. In the extreme frailty of her last years, and in her loss of sight, she still received those who came to her for some insight and love.


Maybe you and I are a long way from that high degree of love. Maybe you, like me, are mere elementary students in the school of Christ.  Yet we can be inspired by Rosalie, and by others of like mind.




Let’s change for a moment the image of getting hooked to that of a line dance.

To dance the love dance of Jesus is both simple and difficult.


When we get into the rhythm, many of the steps come more naturally than we supposed. Yet the ground on which we must dance, has many up and downs, and quite a few stumbling blocks. When we set out to love, we find out that this world is in no way that “level playing field” that commercial interests like to recite as their mantra.


His dance involves us not only in welcoming the stranger, feeding the hungry, and visiting the sick. He leads us into confronting situations where evil reigns and injustices proliferate.

The dance of Christ may call for a lot of skill and considerable tenacity.


If you are not hooked on love as displayed in Jesus the Christ, then you are a long way from home.


If you are hooked, then enjoy and employ it, unstintingly. For in you the light shines and it can never become smothered.





The smell of the bush

after some rain,

the desert in flower

on a red plain,

the coming of sleep

after much pain;

   For gifts simple and profound,

   we thank you loving Friend.


The sound of waves

along the shore,

the children’s laugher

as they explore,

the promise of love

for evermore:

   For gifts simple and profound,

   we thank you loving Friend.


The sight of black swans

on a calm lake,

the taste of summer

in a fruit cake,

travelling by faith

after a mistake:

   For gifts simple and profound,

   we thank you loving Friend.


The scent of green grass

from the cut lawn,

the pure-white blossom

on a rough thorn,

the return of hope

with a new dawn:


   For gifts simple and profound,

   we thank you loving Friend.


The fragrance of bread

just freshly made,

the brimming cup

sipped in the shade,

the pardon of debts

never repaid:

   For gifts simple and profound,

   we thank you loving Friend.

                                                            From “More Australian Psalms” p 44-45           

                                                            © B.D. Prewer & Open Book Publishers




Let us pray.


You, wonderful God, whose glory the heavens declare

and whose handiwork the whole earth sees;

     be with astronomers and astronauts

     artists, photographers and bush walkers.


You, whose Spirit brooded over the face of the earth

and brought breath to all that lives and grows;

     be with health workers who control viruses and bacteria,

     or engineer genes and chromosomes.


You, for whom truth is not mere facts and figures,

but relationship and the gift of eternal love;

     be with those whose science has left them empty

     or whose technology has become a slavery.


You, who give us faith that leads to many doubts,

and deep doubts that lead to a larger faith;

     be with all agnostics and those who despair,

     and all the pure of heart who hunger for you.


You, who have created us for fulfilment and joy,

and do not rest while one lost person is in misery;

     be with those who are lost in amusement arcades



You, who should mother and father forsake us,

cherish us as your very own family;

     be with abused children and street kids,

     social workers, magistrates and foster parents.


You, who when thick darkness covered humanity,

leapt into the night bringing light and joy;

     be with night-shift workers and police,

     evangelists, counsellors and pastors.


You, whose first-born, perfect Child

covered our sins and bore our griefs;

     be with mothers and midwives,

     the falsely accused and sorely abused.


You, who banish fears and bring a new dawn,

who swallow up death in victory;

     be with those who risk their lives for others

     and all who today face death alone.


You, who know our needs before we utter them

and do far more than we can ask or imagine;

     be with us as we offer these prayers

     and with all who have forgotten how to pray.


Through Jesus Christ our Brother and Saviour.

     Amen and Amen!





We have been given this new week

in which to honour the God who is easy to love

by loving the neighbours who are sometimes difficult to love.

Not in our own strength are we so commanded

but in the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit

and in the love of the Lord Jesus

through whom all things are possible.


Go on your way rejoicing,

and the blessing of the Living God will always be yours.

Thanks be to God,






** Please remember… 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.