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 1:6-8, 19-28...                   (Sermon 1: “Sent for Joy”)

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24...

Isaiah 61: 1-4, 8-11...

Ps 126

or Luke 1:47-55                                    (Sermon 2: “Now That’s a Happy Thought”)




Joy is a sign of the presence of God.


When God restores the fortunes of his people,

it is like a dream come true.

Then our mouths are filled with laughter,

and our tongues with shouts of joy!


The joy of the Coming One be with you all

And also with you.


Rejoice always:

‘Nearer and nearer draws the time, the time that shall surely be,

When the earth shall be filled with the glory of God

as the waves cover the sea.’




May the joy of Advent be with you all.

And also with you.


In spite of your busyness, take time to be happy.

Find some space for peace,

make time for prayers of eager anticipation.

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,

my soul shall exult in my God.


As a bridegroom wears a garland,

and a bride adorns herself with jewels,

God has clothed me with salvation,

clad me in the robe of righteousness.





Holy Light, God of faithful witnesses, please shine in our hearts with all the joys of your coming Son.

May we be delivered from trusting the artificial lights of our generation, and from the ephemeral, decorative lights of this season.

Bring us into the open place where, dazed yet not afraid, we may praise you with wonder and adore you with profound joyfulness.

Through Jesus of Nazareth, our Christ and Saviour.





My fellow recipients of numberless mercies, let us confess our sin and place our redemption in the hands of God.


Let us pray.


If we have lived joylessly, as if Christ had never come among us weaving parables of grace and performing saving deeds of loving kindness;

            Lord have mercy. / Lord have mercy.


If we have lived as if Christ’s coming were a distant historical incident, failing to recognise his contemporary coming in the both the sorrows and the happiness of our experience;

            Christ have mercy. /.Christ have mercy.


If we have lived dutifully yet pessimistically, as if Christ will never come again in glory as the climax and fulfilment of redeeming grace, mercy and truth;

            Lord have mercy. /.Lord have mercy.


Most holy God, please forgive our lack of good humour.


Forgive our failure to be practical in faith, adventurous in hope, and celebratory in love.


Forgive the faithlessness within us which has made us dull, dismal, disloyal and delinquent.


Forgive the discouragement we have caused others, the slurs we have inflicted on Christ, and the misery we have served on ourselves.


Restore us again to the joy of your salvation, that with debonair spirits, we may infiltrate every situation with an optimism born of profound trust and devotion.


Through Christ our Saviour.





The One who comes again says to us: “Behold I make all things new.” In Christ we are a forgiven family, the old has certainly passes away and the new arrives abundantly. Embrace your salvation and live confidently to the glory of God.






Dear God,

whenever we become glum and grumpy,

whenever we become sad or sulky,

            help us to know how good it is

            to be loved by Jesus Christ

and how wonderful it is

            to be able to prepare for his birthday.


Please give us a happiness

             that is deeper than our moods,

and fill us with a joy

            that overflows into kind deeds.


For Jesus’ sake.





            See page 128 “More Australian Psalms”

                              Ó B D Prewer Open Book Publishers.



            Or the Magnificat




John 1:6-7


Sent from God; John,

            as we too are sent,

            heralds made of dust.

Yet with the sacred Breath

            inspiring our being,

            Light held in sacred trust.


Sent to bear witness

            to the unquenchable Light

            that shines through darkest dread.

John knew he was a sent man

            and for that Light of Light

            faithfully lost his head.

                                                                                                         Ó B D Prewer 1998




Most Holy Friend, you come among ordinary people, and call us to share around the peace and laughter of your new age. Continue to help us be alert, that the repetition of the familiar story may not dull our hearts to the wonder, and that we may enthusiastically bear witness to the Light that nothing can ever smother. Through Jesus Christ who lives and loves with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, forever one God of grace and glory!





John 1:6-8


There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came for testimony, to

bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.


Joy is the resounding note for this week.  Wait! A mere “note” of music can never be an adequate metaphor for that joy we are on about today. Much better to say a resounding chord or a bountiful symphony! This joy is profoundly complex and rich.


In this sermon I intend to link this chord of joy with the notion of being sent. Sent by God on a mission. These two things belong together in the Christian experience.


John the Baptist was sent with a message of joy.  You may recall that last week I suggested that in spite of John’s limited understanding, he knew that something better was coming. His listeners were urged to make an abrupt about-turn and face the dawning of the new age God was about to inaugurate.


When this new thing happened, in the baptism of Jesus, John was willing to stand aside and point his followers to Jesus: “Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”   Some of John’s disciples heard this and immediately followed Jesus.


What a wonderful person! Remarkable, mighty John! Not like us. We cling to disciples and friends like mad! But John relinquished them. He had been sent for a specific task, and when he knew the task had been done, he accepted his decline.


Think about the word “sent.”  Sent people are apostles. The word apostle means the sent one.  All of us are apostles.  We like John are the sent people.  We are sent to bear witness to the Light.  It is a message of joy.  Sent with joy.  Is that how we look to others? People on a mission of joy? Here are two incidents worth pondering.




Incident 1: Some time ago, I was in the company of ministers at a synod, which had set aside other business to hear from a noted visiting lay evangelist from overseas. This evangelist made his entry. In came the most doleful looking person you could possibly imagine. A person near me immediately saw the irony and “stage” whispered: “Now there’s a happy character!”  Believe me, it was hard to contain (out of courtesy) the laughter that wanted to surge from our bellies.


The visitor read from the Scriptures and then spoke urgently. But not once did he even come near to smiling. His message was dour, his appearance was sour. The Light he was on about in no way reflected through him. Where was the good news? He seemed to be devoid of the euaggelion that is so marked in the New Testament. 


Was this fellow just having a bad day? He may have done wonderful things elsewhere, he may have been a thousand times more effective that any of us. But that day in our presence he seemed the very antithesis of an evangelist.


I put it to you: Can the sent people, those sent from God to bear witness to the Light, afford to have many such bad days when our face and body language deny the good news we hold in trust?


Incident 2: Now to the second example.


Some time back our UCA newspaper, CROSSLIGHT, had an item about a new book published by the Rev. Dr Andrew Dutney of Adelaide. It mentioned a determining incident in that theologian’s earlier life. As a young man, Andrew was at a public session of the National Assembly of our denomination. He was profoundly intrigued by the countenance, attitude and words of the preacher (Rev Dr Rolly Busch) so that Andrew wanted to know: “Where did all the joy come from.”  How about that? “Where did all the joy come from?” That question led Andrew on the journey into the joy of faith.


John was not himself the Light. Nor are we!  Never! Our little flickering candle will never do! But we are bearers of the Light and if nothing of it shines through us, then something is drastically wrong.




We are all sent people. Sent to be joyful. We are ordered, “ordained” in fact, to share happiness. As St Paul says into today’s reading: “Rejoice always. Pray constantly. Give thanks in all circumstances.”


Question: How can you command an emotion? Is that possible?


Maybe joy is deeper than surface emotion; maybe it is the whole of one’s being responding to grace with persistent dedication.  Maybe we do have choice in whether we are people of joy or grumpiness.  Maybe what we choose to think about and aim for, does profoundly affect our state of well being. Maybe the things we talk about with others, and the things we keep whispering to ourselves, do shape us.  Maybe effort is required to live joyful lives. Maybe the feelings of joy are be the result of obedience to the Light.


Certainly the evidence would suggest this is so.  Look at others and see whether circumstances determine their joy or something deeper. Why is it that with many Christians joy seems to underlay, and break through, grief, pain, disappointment, failure, tragedy?  There seems to be a deep chord which is in no way dependant on either outward circumstances or inward dilemmas? Think about Jesus, the ultimate example of Light and joy. Jesus, when facing a most horrible death, spoke to his friends about his joy being within them through the trauma ahead.


This joy is a commitment to live in the Light, to enjoy the Light, to revel in the Light, to share the Light. It is not ephemeral. It is primeval Light. In fact, it is deeper than the depths of the universe, deep as the very soul of God. For us it requires a decision. This decision for Light precedes any emotion of joy. It is a life stance. It is a pledged way of living, with hope, not pessimism, with love not self-interest, with faith not cynicism. It is a decision that must be made every day of our lives. We are sent to be joyful.


Here is the joy that is sometimes seen on the faces of prisoners of conscience, the joy seen shining through grief at a funeral, joy that greets us from a patient in a hospice for the dying, the joy that is most profoundly presented when we are given a morsel of bread and a sip from a cup: ‘This is my broken body. This is my shed blood.”


The Light and joy of Christ and his new world, takes into account all the negativity, the sufferings, the betrayals, the cruelty of the world!  And still triumphs in the Light! “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”




Sent. That’s what we are about. Sent to be people of joy in this anxious, self-protecting, cynical era.  All of us are sent.


As we approach Christmas please think about the two incidents I mentioned earlier. Use them as a measuring stick:

            1: The doleful lay evangelist:  The ironic comment: “Now there is a happy soul!”

            2: The smiling Rolly Busch: Andrew Dutney’ comment: “Where does the joy come from?”

Which are we?




O Advent Light,  breathe on the smouldering wick which survives deep within us, that its small flame may rise to joint the radiance of your glory in Christ Jesus. Then let us bear a winsome witness to that creating and redeeming Wonder which is the Joy of the universe!

Through Jesus Christ our coming Lord.





Luke 1: 39-56


Today we read about two cousins, Mary and Elizabeth. Both are pregnant. Elizabeth’s is advanced; Mary’s is in a much earlier stage.


I invite you to receive this story from the pen of St Luke more with your heart than with your head. Forget for a time the critical questions some Biblical scholars pursue. Forget how much of the story is a word for word record and how much it might be Luke’s interpretation of the event. Simply let the story speak to your heart. After all, it stems from the very warm heart of the early Christian church.


It spoke profoundly to them. It can speak profoundly to us if we are humble enough to listen.




For various reasons, pregnancies are not always welcome. As I was preparing this sermon, a humorous story insisted on circling through my mind. It even mounted a coup de tat and took over my sermon title.


This story concerned the afternoon rest hour in a pre-school centre.  The children were lying down on their mats for an afternoon doze. One little girl named Jasmine was restless and was keeping others awake. The teacher whispered to her: “If you can’t sleep, Jasmine, just lie there and think a happy thought.”


It seemed to work for a few minutes. Later the teacher asked the child what was her happy thought. Jasmine replied:  Thank God I am not pregnant.” 


Trying to control her surprise, the teacher dared to ask “Why did you choose that, Jasmine?”


The little girl replied. “It was the first one that popped into my head. This morning Daddy met mummy as she was coming out of the bathroom. Mummy said, ‘Thank God I am not pregnant’. Daddy said: ‘Now that’s a happy thought!”




Was pregnancy a happy thought to these cousins?


Elizabeth was rather too old to be having her first child. Teenage Mary was perhaps too young, maybe only about 15 years old. Elizabeth, the wife of a priest called Zech, lived up in the hill country of conservative Judea. Mary newly married to a carpenter named Joe, some years her senior, lived in the liberal, cosmopolitan area of Galilee.


Both may well have been the victims of salacious rumour.


Zechariah was an old man, who never managed to father a child in his vigorous years. “How come?” the gossips would have insinuated. “How come Elizabeth gets pregnant now?” Do you reckon old Zech is really the father?” As a priest, Zechariah was rostered for temple duties in Jerusalem. From time to time he would be away from home. Did the village gossips speculate on who might have been keeping his bed warm while he was away in Jerusalem?


Mary’s case was even more dubious. She was pregnant before she tied the marriage knot with Joseph. What a juicy subject for vicious tittle tattle each morning as some of the village women swept their front door steps, or met each other in the market. Couldn’t Joseph wait? Or was it some lad, more Mary’s age? Or did she have an affair with one those handsome Roman soldiers in their smart uniforms?


It would not be only women who had nasty minds and tongues. Men don’t admit to being gossips, but they can be just as bad (or worse!) than some women are. What a opportunity for coarse men to nudge each other, cackle and hint at dubious paternity, as they shared a mug of Hebron wine.


Young Mary took leave of her home and travelled up into the hills to spend some time with her cousin. Luke says she “went with haste”. Maybe it was under pressure to get away from the town gossips in Nazareth. Maybe to save her respectable family from embarrassment.

It certainly would not be the first time a young woman has hastily sent off to make a sudden visit to some distant relative, to escape the cruelty of the locals.


When she arrived at Elizabeth’s house in the hills, Mary was greeted enthusiastically by her older cousin.  What did they talk about? That meeting of Elizabeth and Mary could have been the occasion for some shared self pity; for a big whinge about how cruel others can be.  Maybe it was a time for some tears.




But there was no self pity. Any tears were tears of joy. When these cousins met they shared in thanking God for the blessing and honour bestowed upon them.


Now that’s a happy thought! Life had become much more complicated for both of them. Yet thankfulness and praise was their united theme.


            Mary entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, her baby in the womb leapt for joy. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy    Spirit and cried out” “Blessed are you among women, and blessed the fruit of your womb             Why am I so favoured that the mother of my Lord should visit me.”


In response, Mary broke out into a majestic song of praise to God. Precious words which generation after generation of believers have repeated since the time of Christ.

            My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, from henceforth all generations

            will call me blessed.


Let us break this sermon right here, and sing together a contemporary version of this song of Mary:

                        SING - “Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord.” (Together in Song. 161)


Now that’s a happy thought!




Did you notice how startling are the words attributed to Mary. This reflects no meek and mild, simpering teenager. It is a manifesto of the new world order that God inaugurates through Christ Jesus. It is a hymn about the golden age that the illustrious prophet Isaiah envisioned and longed for. The age of new opportunity for all those forgotten, neglected, exploited, abused people of earth.


            You, Lord, have shown the strength of your arm

            You have scattered the proud hearts

             and all their vain pretensions.

            You have put down the mighty from their thrones

            and exalted those of the lowest status.

            You have filled the hungry with good things,

            but the rich you have sent away empty/


It has been said that familiarity breeds contempt.  In this case I suggest that in the case of the Magnificat familiarity may have bred boredom. We have heard the words so often that they no longer shock us. These truly are shocking words. Painful words for those who wield power or who live affluent lives while either perpetuating, or permitting, grave injustices to happen to vulnerable people.


This song of Mary is a good news song for the poor people East Timor and Bali, for minorities in Zimbabwe and Ethiopia, the aborigines of Australia and the Indians of USA and Canada, for the Baha’i in Iran and the widows in Palestinian camps, for the girls in Bangkok bars and rural workers in El Salvador, for the refugees our Aus. “detention centres” and the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.


Advent ushers in a revolution. Emmanuel brings disruption. Advent heralds amazing new opportunities and dangers. These two pregnant cousins are key agents in the mighty liberation deeds of God. Jesus came to fundamentally change things.


Dear people of the church, please don’t become agitated, don’t become frightened, and don’t become defensive. But do allow yourselves to be confronted and shaken by the good news that began with these two pregnant women.


This is a happy thought. Believe me, its a very happy thought!


Our wicked and foolish old world is being saved from its own corruption. God’s judgment is an arm of his mercy and his mercy is an arm of his judgment. We have nothing to fear except our own panicky desire to run rather than to stay still, repent, and be saved by God’s grace.




One must say that these were two remarkable women. Cousins with a divine mission. 


Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist; the prophet whom Jesus described as being unequalled in the history of the Jewish people.


Mary, the mother of that Lord of light and love and holy joy! Mothers have a considerable influence on their children. Especially on their sons. Just remember what these two sons became.


Today we praise God for these two exceptional women. Witness their courage. Share their hope. Participate in their committed faith and their happiness.


He who is mighty has done great things for us,

and holy is his name!


Now that’s a happy thought.





Receive thanks and praise, most loving God for all faithful souls who maintain their joy and express it through attitudes, hard decisions, and long term commitments.


For those who with joy adopt handicapped and unwanted children, and all who happily minister to misfits and the more unlikeable characters.

            Most generous God,

            Receive our thanks and praise.


For those who care for the demented with respect, and all who cheerfully nurse those whose miseries have been brought on by their own folly.

            Most generous God,

            Receive our thanks and praise.


For those who through personal tragedy maintain a smile, and all whose joy shines through pain, grief and tears.

            Most generous God,

            Receive our thanks and praise.


For those who dare give thanks even for their severest setbacks, and all whose laughter refuses to be quelled by misunderstanding, abuse or persecution.

            Most generous God,

            Receive our thanks and praise.


For those who by faith can jest at their own doubts, and all who in times of spiritual dryness commit themselves to positive deeds of justice and compassion.

            Most generous God,

            Receive our thanks and praise.


For those who can laugh at themselves without becoming cynical, and all who stay good humoured when fate seems to play bad tricks on them.

            Most generous God,

            Receive our thanks and praise.


Best of all we thank you for your Son Jesus, for the joy that flowed from Bethlehem and Nazareth, from Galilee to Jerusalem. We rejoice in his gracious humour that drew souls to him, and spread mercy and hope. We thank you that when enemies were closing in on him, and the cross loomed terrible ahead of him, he blessed bread and wine and shared his most profound joy with his friends.

            Most generous God,

            Receive our thanks and praise.


We thank you for the vindication of Christ’s joy. For Easter and the laughter that has echoed through the centuries. We thank you for the joy that is our inheritance, and pray that we may be possessed by it, ennobled through it, and share its wonder to the end of our days. Through Christ Jesus our Saviour.





            ** For 2 voices


As a sent people, we seek God’s blessing on the world around us.


Let us pray.


God of those special joys which have no boundary, and of grace which transcends all limits, we pray for our sisters and brothers in this diverse earth family.


We bring to mind those who are enjoying successes, and those who are taking stock after painful defeats. May neither success bring selfishness, nor defeat breed bitterness.


We bring to mind people who are celebrating the birth of a new child, and those who are mourning to death of a dear one. May your Spirit minister to each according to their need.


We bring to mind those who are just and compassionate, and some who are unjust and cruel. May injustice be brought down and mercy be blessed with greater mercy.


We bring to mind children who are spoiled by indulgent parents, and others who receive scant love within their homes. May your tough love correct errors and embrace the neglected.


We bring to mind those who rule over us, both the wise and the foolish, the altruistic and the self-serving schemers. May your will be done, using their virtues & in spite of their sins.


We bring to mind those who seek peace and those who are out to make enemies. May your Spirit meddle in human affairs and teach us the way of justice and peace.


We bring to mind the churches that appear to be flourishing, and those that seem to be wilting. By your grace may we neither be corrupted by success nor by faithless pessimism.


We bring to mind our relatives, friends or fellow church members who are right now going through upsetting experiences. May they be blessed by your enabling and guiding Spirit.


Holy God, Saviour and best Friend, what we have prayed for others we now pray for ourselves. No matter what happens, may we be blessed with that good humour which flows from a faith founded on Christ and nurtured by your Holy Spirit. For your praise and glory.





As a people possessed by a profound and irrepressible good humour, you are now sent back into the wider world.



Travel on your way without anxiety, and care for one another without reluctance.

I sent you out in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, sure that your God can do through you more than you ever expect or recognise.




              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.