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.



Mark 1:1-8                                Sermon 1: “Wilderness Good News”

2 Peter 3:8-15a

Isaiah 40:1-11               Sermon 2: “Sheep May Safely Graze”

Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13




Mercy and faithfulness will embrace, righteousness and peace shall kiss.


Get ready. Turn, turn, turn! Prepare for the Coming One.

Level the high ridges, fill up the canyons,

make a smooth path for the One who is coming,

prepare a level highway for the Lord.


May the advent of Christ Jesus bring hope to you all!

And also to you!




Good news today!

The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.


The voice of John the Baptist is heard in the wilderness

“Prepare the way of the Lord,

make the paths straight for him.”

Comfort, comfort all my people,

speak tenderly to Jerusalem and say

her slavery is ended and her sins are all pardoned.


“After me comes a Mighty One

whose shoes I am not worthy to untie.”

Committed love and faithfulness will meet,

right living and peace will kiss each other.




God of flaming truth and burning compassion, give to your people the courage to turn to you with awe but without abject fear.

You are so great, we are so small. You are so holy, we are so common. You are so beautiful, we are so shabby. You are sublimely loving, we are creatures of inveterate self interest.

As we turn to you, turn to us we pray, and in the light of your Presence let us find our true love and worship. Through Jesus Christ our Saviour.





My sisters and brothers in Christ, our God does not ask for outpourings of guilt, but for repentance. Repentance means a determined, and often costly, about-turn from sin to the ways of God.


Let us pray.


If we feel sorry for ourselves when we sin, yet are rarely sorry for the damage done to others, and remain slow to make amends;

            Lord have mercy.

            Lord have mercy


If we outwardly apologise and put on a show of making amends, yet in our hearts remain far from radical repentance;

            Christ have mercy.

            Christ have mercy.


So that we may get real with ourselves, recognising and admitting how far we have may have wandered and how low we have fallen;

            Lord have mercy.

            Lord have mercy.


Holy Friend, God and Saviour, by the truth and mercy of Christ, bring us to a wholehearted repentance and a hunger for cleansing grace. Then please reinforce our will power to undertake whatever changes your Spirit and Word ask of us. In you may we find that peace which the world cannot ever give to us. For your love’s sale.





Hear is the good news: The living Word of God does not come to carp and condemn, but to rescue and recreate us. By the unique authority of Christ Jesus, I proclaim to you: Your sins are forgiven and your hope restored!

Thanks be to God!


The peace of Christ be with you all.

And also with you.




Remind us, dear God,

that you are full of good news.


When you say “yes” to our prayers,

it is good news.

When you say “no” to us,

it means you don’t want us to get hurt.

And when you say “wait” a while,

it is because you are preparing

the right time to bless us.




God, when you call us to “repent,”

it means you don’t want us to miss out

on your rich love.

When you discipline us,

it shows how much you care

for our happiness.

When you ask us to do hard things,

like loving other people,

it is the good news

that will help heal this world.

And when you tell us to get ready

for the coming of Jesus,

it is the best news in the whole universe!


Thank you, God.

for all the good news

you give us.



PSALM 85 1-2, 8-13


God, you have shown grace to your earth

and brought back your children to their fortune.

You have removed the shame of your people

and forgiven all their many sins.


Let us listen to what God has to say,

speaking of peace and well-being,

shalom to those who believe,

to all who do not turn back to folly.

Those who bow in awe will be saved,

and God’s glory will live in our land.


Mercy and fidelity will embrace,

justice and peace shall kiss.

Fidelity will rise up from the earth,

and justice bend down from heaven.


God will personally give every good gift,

and our land will produce choice fruits.

Justice will stride out in the vanguard

and peace will follow God’s footsteps.

                                                                                                                                                      Ó B D Prewer 2001




God, you have heaped grace upon grace

and made us heirs of an enormous fortune!

You have forgiven the evil we shared,

and pardoned our personal sins.


It is time we really listened to you,

and found the peace of your saints.

In awe of you we will find salvation,

and our land will discover its true glory.


Love and faithfulness will stand together,

and goodness will flow from the heavens.

You, our God, will give what is best for us,

and our land will show a love-profit.


A wave of righteousness will precede you,

and your footsteps shall create a new path.


                                                                                                                        Ó B D Prewer 2004




  Mark 1:1-8.


After the pioneers of faith

and the lawgivers and seers,

after the poets and prophets

            and those who fast

            in desert places


Comes a Person so grace-full

and gloriously unpredictable

that all predecessors are not fit

            to stoop and loose

            his sandal laces.


Prepare now a path for his coming,

level a smooth track for his feet.

For he will wash with the Spirit

            and God will smile

            on human faces.

                                                                                          Ó B D Prewer 1997




Advent Friend,

we want to be ready for you

but we are set in our bent and bumpy Ways.


Create in us

the capacity for repentance

and the vulnerable grace of openness.


Use our friends

and our critics to straighten

twisted motives and smooth rough moods.


Make us ready

for more and more

of your healing baptism in our lives.


Grant an increase

of your nurturing Spirit

in the ordinary affairs of each day.


For your love’s sake.





Most loving God, you sent your man John the Baptist to get things ready for the Christ. Help us, the stewards of the precious Mystery, to get ready for the appearance of Christ Jesus. When he comes among us, may we be found waiting, eager to stand with him and for him without fear or dismay? Through this same Christ who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, in the world that never ends.





Mark 1:4-5


John the baptiser appeared in the wilderness. preaching a baptism of repentance for the

forgiveness of sins. And there went out to him all the country of Judea, and all the people

of Jerusalem; and they were baptised by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.



Crowds, says Mark. Big crowds!


Not thronging to a football stadium or to Flemington for the Melbourne Cup, not to the latest Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, or to a pop concert, but to hear a prophet call them to repentance. Crowds of them, vast crowds, going out to hear John the Baptist.


I think is fair to comment that Mark might exaggerate somewhat; just as the enthusiastic supporters of a large rally usually report a crowd twice the size of the police estimate. Mark says that all the country people of Judea went, and all the citizens of Jerusalem made the pilgrimage out in the wilderness to hear John’s message. This is the language of an enthusiast. It is Mark’s hyperbole for a very big crowd indeed. John the Baptist was a person of widespread influence and power. That voice crying out in the wilderness bore a message of hope and joy.


The setting is unlikely by our standards. John appeared in the Judean wilderness. A desert place, not of drifting sand but a barren expanse of limestone country, with the occasional tiny valley when Bedouin would scatter a few seeds in autumn, and reap the meagre crop in spring before the whole place became seared by summer heat.


An outlandish place for a preaching mission. But then, John was an outlandish figure. Maybe he was on familiar territory. Maybe John had been a member of a desert community of monks, similar to those who had their monastery at Qumran. Or maybe he had been one of those religious hermits of the desert, submitting himself irrevocably to the will of God. We don’t really know.


What we do know is that when he became public, his mission to call his people back to faith was a sensation. The greatest sensation of his age, as he preached down there in the wildness, close to the Jordan River.


It had been hundreds of years since the Jews had been given an outstanding prophet. It was a part of their belief that near the end of the old era, before God sent his Messiah to usher in the new age, they would be given a prophet like Elijah.  And John was seen as that prophet. A powerful figure preparing the way of the salvation of the Messiah.  From every direction the crowds made their pilgrimage through inhospitable territory to hear John the baptiser say: “repent, and be baptised.”




It may not sound like it to you, but John’s message was one of hope and joy. Please don’t neglect this aspect of John’s preaching. Far too many people think of John as a harsh figure, a prophet of doom and gloom, demanding painful repentance and warning of dire consequences if they failed to repent.


That is only partly true. John was indeed a tough, fiery character. It is true that his warnings were stern. But the much larger truth is that John was proclaiming that something wonderful was about to happen.  He clearly saw himself as the herald of God, preparing the way for the promised Messiah. Great joy was going to break out. Hopes were going to be fulfilled. He  called on people to get themselves ready for massive joy.


He asked the people to repent. Again. we tend to think of repentance as a negative thing, of giving up pleasures. The aspect we forget is that repentance is an act of hope. Repentance is not merely feeling sorry and giving things up. It is a complete turn around in one life. It is turning from something disastrous to something wonderful.


I must emphasise this: it is turning to something far better.  It is like turning from eating lentil porridge to eating roast turkey, like turning from a dead end to an open highway, like turning from stagnant puddle to a bubbling spring.


For John, it is turning away from the insidious lies, false values, deceits, injustices, bondages and hopelessness of the old era, towards the beauty, justice, truth and peace of the new age which was about to dawn.  What they were turning to, gloriously exceeded even the very best among the things they were turning from.


For John the baptiser, the old era was doomed, and rightly so. It was decaying and destined for the scrap heap. God was in charge and therefore a new age was close at hand. Repentance is a message of radical hope and joy.




John was not sure of the shape of this new world. It was enough for him that it was of God and from God. It would have new values, with a fair go for all the neglected and mistreated people who had no champion or saviour.


When tax collectors, those disgraced Jews who were contractors for the hated Romans, asked John how they should express their repentance, John answered: “Collect no more taxes than are honest and fair.” To enquirers from soldiers who repented, he said: “No more wanton violence, no more looting, no false accusations.” To ordinary people in the crowd who asked John how to live in preparation for the new age, the baptiser advised: “If you have two coats, share one with the person who has none. If you have food, share it with the hungry.”


This was the future where, to quote today’s Psalm: Mercy and faithfulness will embrace, righteousness and peace shall kiss.


In repentance, they were not turning towards some stricter religiosity with burdensome restrictions, but to a radical life-style with wonderful opportunities for practical justice and love and peace.


John was positive and joyful about his better world that was to come with the Messiah. Of course, at this stage he appears to have no idea that the Messiah was in fact his own relative, Jesus from Nazareth.  In truth, he was astounded when the identity of the Christ was revealed to him.




Maybe it is time for us to travel into the wilderness and listen to John the baptiser. Sanity for us is to allow John to speak to us in the wilderness of our contemporary world. Let his challenge to repentance confront our present situation. Let the positive note outweigh the negative elements. Let the future he looked forward to entice us. Let the Messiah he longed for enthral us.


This remarkable prophet can lead us to a Christmas which is rooted in the radical issues of life, and which celebrates a joy which out-rates all other pleasure or happiness. Are we ready?





Isaiah 40:1-11


Here is some good news from the Old Testament as it looks to the future:


            Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and cry to her,

            for her servitude is ended and her iniquity is pardoned.


            Behold, the Lord your God comes with might,

            and his arm rules for him.

            Behold, his reward comes with him

            and his recompense goes ahead of him.


            The Lord will lead his flock like a shepherd,

            he will gather the lambs in his arms,

            he will carry them on his chest,

            and gently lead those that are with young.


This Isaiah is definitely a prophet of good news. A man of hope.  His times were disastrous. His people were in exile, Jerusalem and its temple lay in ruins, yet he never lost faith in his God; never stopped singing his visionary songs of hope. He trusted a God who never forgets his people. Even though they may be unfaithful, Yahweh’s steadfast love endures forever.


            Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.


            The Lord will lead his flock like a shepherd,

            he will gather the lambs in his arms,

            he will carry them on his chest,

            and gently lead those that are with young.


What a beautiful pastoral image. A loving shepherd carrying the lambs in his arms, and when moving his flock, slowing down to accommodate the needs of the pregnant ewe. The mighty God of the whole universe, whom Isaiah saw as working through the political events of strong nations, is also committed to the least and the lowliest among his people.


Whenever I read this moving passage, I want to also listen to the inimitable J.S. Bach’s music “Sheep may safely graze.” That music seems to me to express the faith and hope which forever flows from the Spirit of God, and embraces us with its blessing.  The music wraps me around like loving arms. It celebrates the same hope of which Isaiah was the most enthusiastic prophet.




Jesus obviously loved Isaiah and nourished his soul on it. He used it as his “inaugural address” in the synagogue at Nazareth. He dared to claim, “this day the word of the prophet is fulfilled in your midst.” Later on in his ministry, Jesus identified with the suffering servant of whom Isaiah often spoke; that holy person who would “bear our sorrows and carry our griefs,” and through whose redemptive suffering we would be healed.


Years later, among the spreading congregations of the young church, the Gospel writers, Mark, Matthew and Luke use Isaiah to announce the coming of their Messiah. Through the mouth of John the Baptist they introduce the good news of Christ Jesus.

            As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “Behold, I shall send my messenger before thy face,             who shall prepare thy way.”


For the Gospel writers, the visionary hope of Isaiah was being fulfilled, at first through the word and witness of John, and then through the life, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus.


Jesus was the supreme person of hope. The faithful Child of God who even on the eve of his betrayal, suffering and death, could say to his friends. “Don’t be afraid. Be of good cheer.




It is common to hear Christians of the Western World speaking as if recent times are among the most disastrous and insecure.  Urban terrorism has given us the jitters. Previously continents like Australia and North America were presumed to be safe. No longer. The citizens of countries like the USA and Australia have been suddenly awakened to the threat of terrorist violence.


Anxiety is now widespread in the Western world. It is so present and powerful that cunning politicians in Russia, France, Ireland, Australia and the USA, will employ it to their advantage. Whenever an election is in the offing, they press their finger on the sensitive “anxiety button” and get the knee-jerk reaction they desire.


We in this nation imagine our times have suddenly changed; and become most insecure. But if we look at it rationally, we have been extraordinary lucky to have survived this long with so little terrorist violence in our midst.


Ireland has long lived with the anxiety caused by terrorism. The Palestinians have suffered dispossession and continual violence (and have, sadly, learned to return it) since the late 1940’s. The people of the Balkan countries have suffered extraordinarily during the last decades of the 20th century. Most Latin American countries have endured misery and violence on a massive scale. The people of that land which Indonesia calls West Irian, like the East Timorese before them, know all about violence and death squads. Numerous African countries have endured violent atrocities.


I believe it is presumptuous of Australians to think that the world has gone suddenly mad. For the majority of this earth’s children, the world has long been a dangerous a savage place. Violence is not a twenty first century invention. It is rather that for the first time, we on this continent realise are no longer immune.




Yet we “have seen nothing yet!”  The prophet who wrote the fortieth chapter of Isaiah was speaking to a nation which had been conquered, humiliated, subject to war crimes. The surviving remanent was driven away from their homeland to live in exile in far away Babylon. Most of us in Australia have never suffered like that. Recent events are in the “little league” compared to what happened to the Jews in the sixth century BC.


Among migrants who have come to our land and have enriched our way of life, are many who can identify with the Jews of that era. They know what real calamity and fear is. What it is like to be surrounded by violence.


But the Aussies, who can most fully empathise with the humiliated Jews of Isaiah’s day, are our Australian aborigines. They were subject to violence every bit as bad, often worse, than that handed out by recent terrorists. They were brutally treated by their white conquerors; dispossessed, raped, enslaved, massacred. The tribes lost their family members, homelands, freedom, much of their culture, often their local language, and their dignity and hope. In places their humiliation continues to this very moment.


Put yourself in their shoes and you will get closer to the situation of the prophet Isaiah. It makes his prophecies all the more amazing. In exile, when most Jews felt despair, and passed hopelessness around like a bitter cup, Isaiah offered them a golden chalice of hope. This hope was grounded in the faithfulness of God.


When others stopped playing music, and hung their unused harps on branches of the willow trees by the canals of Babylon, and while they moaned “How can we sing the Lord’s song in an alien land,” this remarkable Isaiah sang his glorious songs of faith and hope. While some looked for temporary respite and comfort, Isaiah offered them the ultimate comfort of placing their full trust in Yahweh their God.


            Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and cry to her,

            for her servitude is ended and her iniquity is pardoned.


            The Lord will lead his flock like a shepherd,

            he will gather the lambs in his arms,

            he will carry them on his chest,

            and gently lead those that are with young.


They were really doing it tough!


And what about us?


Whenever we start feeling sorry for ourselves, we need a dose of Isaiah’s courage and vision. And we need him to direct us to that “suffering servant” of God who came that we might have hope; that irrepressible hope born in the darkest times imaginable.




Advent is a time for looking forward with hope. No deep valley or ravine in our journey is so dark that the guiding star of God cannot penetrate. No obstacle can be so mountainous that faith cannot shift or level it.  No event can be so calamitous, that God cannot use it for a higher purpose. No evil can be so entrenched that redemption is impossible. No suffering or sorrow is too heavy for the Divine Comforter to ease the weight from our shoulders. No threat can be so deadly that God cannot offer the promise of new birth.


Now it is time for some music.


At this point I invite you to stop listening to me, or to stop hearing the tumult of your vagrant thoughts. I want you to be still and mediate on God’s encircling, underpinning, and indwelling love. I ask you now to let go of your anxieties. To be as a lamb, resting in the arms of the Shepherd.


As we hear the music of Bach’s “Sheep may safely graze,” I ask you to renew you hope. After a few minutes of music, then while it continues, I will slowly read again words from Isaiah Chapter 40.


[Music: either organ/piano, music group or a CD]


Read aloud very slowly: Isaiah 40: 1-11 and 28-31




I put my trust in God.

I believe that this universe is a divine creation, from the beginning veined with purpose and destiny.

Nothing is meaningless and nobody is superfluous in God’s mystical regime.


I put my trust in Christ Jesus.

The long millennia of the human story led to him and it expands immeasurably from his advent.

His ways are truth and grace, and those who receive him become children of God.


I put my trust in the Holy Spirit.

This loving Energiser precedes the beginning, and fills the present with new possibilities.

In the Spirit there is a happiness which is the foretaste of the joy that will ultimately fill all.


I believe in One God

revealed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

whose glory fills heaven and earth

and whose love is inexhaustible.

I believe;

scatter my unbelief!





God of the forgiven past and the open future, inspire us to pray with our minds as well as our hearts, with our actions and well as our words.


We pray for your church around the globe, that it may repent, turning from all that is evil, and second-rate towards the abundance of the saving grace and the right-living of Christ Jesus.

            Then mercy and faithfulness will embrace,

            righteousness and peace shall kiss.


We pray for those who have no bread, no coat, no home, and no hope for tomorrow. Inspire us to embrace that better future where poverty and distress is never left without a generous response.            Then mercy and faithfulness will embrace,

            righteousness and peace shall kiss.


We pray a blessing on those who bring justice to the victims of greed, and who expose companies and ruthless managers, extortioners and drug barons, pimps and corrupt police officers.

            Then mercy and faithfulness will embrace,

            righteousness and peace shall kiss.


We pray for the downfall of the unrepentant who are set in arrogant ways, and for the uplifting of those numerous folk who have been crushed by circumstances and had their hope almost extinguished.

            Then mercy and faithfulness will embrace,

            righteousness and peace shall kiss.


We ask a blessing on your generous servants, who go the second mile, give without looking for reward, gladly serve without praise, and who see their own gifts as a bonus to be shared.

            Then mercy and faithfulness will embrace,

            righteousness and peace shall kiss.


We pray for your true prophets of this age, no matter what their race or religion, Please give them insight and courage, and turn our hearts to humbly hear, receive and obey your word.    Then mercy and faithfulness will embrace,

            righteousness and peace shall kiss.


Most merciful God, our holy Friend, may the wisdom and joy of your new age spread, and the fruits of your Spirit multiply, that your prophets may not preach in vain, your believers may not serve in vain, and your martyrs may not die in vain. May your new age fully come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Through Christ Jesus our Saviour.





Get ready. Turn, turn, turn!

Turn your faces to the Coming One. 

Today is the day, this is the day of grace

Now is the time; this is the hour of opportunity.


Level the high ridges, fill up the canyons,

make a smooth path for the One who is coming, 

prepare a level highway for the Lord.

Mercy and faithfulness will embrace,

righteousness and peace shall kiss.


By grace, through faith, I dare to bless you:

            With the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

            with the love of God,

            and with the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.



              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.