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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
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Luke 1: 26-38                           (Sermon 1: “The Prophet Mary”)

                                                                        (Sermon 2: “The Virgin Birth”)

Romans 16:25-27

2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16

Ps 89:1-4, 19-26

or Luke 1:47-55




The joy of the Coming One be with you all.

And also with you.


Today the immanent birth of the Saviour is announced,

and Mary sings her famous psalm of praise:

“My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.

God has shown a very long arm, scattering the proud in their vain imaginings, and throwing down the mighty from their thrones, lifting up those who were treated as worthless, and sending the rich empty away.”




O Lord, I will always sing of your unwavering love,

My mouth will pass on your praise to future generations.

            My soul magnifies the Lord,

            and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.


Your covenant-love is reliable forever,

your faithfulness more secure than the starry universe.

            God who is mighty has done great things for us,

            and forever holy is our Saviour’s name.




Holy God,

the humble Love that fills all things,

we adore you!

Yes, you alone, God, we adore.

            By you the lost come home,

            with you the strong are weak,

            in you the poor find riches,

            through you the sad rejoice,

            on you the weak grow strong,

            to you the hungry turn,

            and for you we live and die.

You alone, God, we adore!

Through Christ Jesus our Lord.





In confession, we not only confess our own fall from grace, but we represent the fallen world before the throne of God’s saving grace.


Let us pray.


God and Saviour, our Holy Friend, you bring down the arrogant and lift up the fallen, please deal with us according to our diverse needs, for the power of evil is pervasive, and we need a Saviour.


If we have filled our minds with vain imaginings, or puffed up our souls with pride,

confront us and decontaminate us, redeeming God.


If we have openly professed you, yet inwardly preferred our own crooked ideas and prejudices to your Word in the Son of Mary,

confront us and straighten us, redeeming God.


If like the foolish rich we have surrounded our lives with numerous possessions, and have reaped insecurity and discontent,

confront us and reclaim us, redeeming God.


If we have spent so long among our own broken vows and failed visions, that we have stopped caring and made a cynical pact with greed and injustice,

confront us and deliver us, redeeming God.


Merciful God, by your relentless compassion, expose our sins and deliver us from all evil. Go to work on that shining likeness to Christ that is deep within us, and which too often becomes denied or defaced, and by your saving grace restore us. Give us the faith to leave the past behind, and to again name ourselves as your children. In the name of Christ Jesus, your True Word.





My friends, do not burden yourselves with the slag of guilt. We are not called for fear and trembling but for love and liberty. In Christ’s saving grace we have the remedy for the defilement of all evil. 

By faith, receive today that remedy and go on your way as forgiven and uplifted people.



The peace of Christ Jesus be always with you.

And also with you.





We thank you, loving God,

for the strong brave love of mothers,

and especially for the love of holy Mary,

the Mother of the Lord Jesus.


She was so young yet so brave,

ready to do lovingly do your will

no matter how much trouble

or pain it might cause her.


Help us to also do your will,

and to be happy about it.

In the name of Mary’s son,

our Saviour, we pray.



PSALM 89: 1-4 & 19-26


Your love, O God, will be my song for ever;

to coming ages I will praise your faithfulness.

Your saving love is established,

your faithfulness outlasts even the stars.

You have made a pledge to your people,

an oath given to the house of David:

“I will secure your children forever,

and build a kingdom for all generations.”


You have promised this a long time ago,

to your faithful people you have said:

“I have given my backing to special person,

exalting one from among the common people.

Like David, I have found my true servant,

with oil I have anointed him as Messiah.

My hand shall ever be in his hand,

my arm shall be his constant strength. “


“The old Enemy shall not outwit him,

the powers of evil shall not humiliate him.

I will crush whatever evil confronts him,

and strike down all that is hateful to him.

My loyalty and my love shall be with him,

and in my name shall his fame be exalted.

His hand shall stretch over the seas,

and his arm shall bless the living waters.”


“He shall call me my Father,

my rock and God of my salvation.

I will make him my first-born Child,

higher than the kings of the earth.

My love will always be there for him,

my pledge to him will never waver.

His new family will last for ever,

his reign shall outlast the stars.”

                                                                                                                              Ó B D Prewer 2005



PSALM: Luke 1:46-55

 (The words of this passage are so hallowed that I hesitated long

     before trying to compose another version of them. BDP)


My soul overflows with the glory of God,

my spirit lifts up to my loving Saviour.

You have noticed my lowly status

and made my name most precious.


Though mighty, you have done wonders for me,

you whose Name is ever awesome.

Your mercy rests on those who adore you,

from generation to generation.


You have shown a strong, far reaching arm,

scattering the proud in their vain ego-trips,

throwing down the mighty from thrones

and lifting high the forgotten people.


You have filled the hungry with good things

but sent the wealthy away empty.

You have helped your servant people;

they are constantly aware of your mercy.


You make good your promises to our forebears,

from Abraham, to this day, and then forever.


                                                                                                                                                                     Ó B D Prewer 2001




A teenage pregnancy:

            I saw her moving behind the lattice

            with eyes downcast

            and I thought, wrongly, it was

            out of shame.


The young body swelling;

            going quietly about her work

            with mind elsewhere,

            maybe searching for

            the right name.


Veiled and unobtrusive;

            she left to visit a relative-

            Elizabeth who knew well

            how gossips snigger

            and defame.


She came home;

            awkwardly, big with child,

            veil drawn back.

            And I saw her eyes

            bright as flame.

                                                                           Ó B D Prewer 2002




Most remarkable God, you sent your angel to a woman named Mary, that she might accept the joy and the pain of bearing the ultimate Mystery. Fill our hearts with a love and loyalty like hers, that we may find our contentment in doing your will and celebrating your saving grace. Through your holy Son, who with you and the Holy Spirit, have turned our sorrows into gladness and our weariness into dancing!





            Luke 1: 28


 “And the angel came to her and said: “I salute you, Mary,

most favoured one, the Lord is with you!”


“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you!”  That is the form in which this verse has become most widely known.


Mary, it seems to me, is the forgotten saint among most Protestant churches.  She is rarely mentioned in our sermons, and even less referred to in our prayers and devotions.


In fact, we hardly know how to appropriately speak about her. What should we call her? Do we refer to her as “the blessed Virgin,” or “Mary the mother of our Christ,” or “the holy Mother,” or “the Virgin Mother,” or “Mother of our Lord,” or “Our Lady”? Perhaps we have evaded this question by simply ignoring her?


I reckon this is a blind spot for most Protestants. It seems to me very odd that we talk about Abraham and Sarah, Moses and his sister Miriam, Ruth the ancestress of David, Solomon, Isaiah, the intrepid Esther, John the Baptist, Peter James and John, Martha and Mary, Paul and so on, yet drop a blanket of silence over Mary the mother of Jesus. Over the many years I have heard and read more Protestant sermons on Dorcas the dressmaker and charitable worker (Acts 9) than on that remarkable Mary who bore Jesus, suckled him, taught him and shaped his character to give and receive much love, and who at the end stood by him when he was raised on the cross.


Historically I can understand the Protestant reticence. It was a reaction to a perceived excessive Mariology and piety among some sections of the Roman Catholic Church. It seemed that Mary was not merely venerated but worshipped almost as if she were the originator of the Godhead. This seemed to many Protestants to be a blasphemy. In their reaction, they backed so far away from the Mother of our Lord as to ignore her.


Surely we are capable of doing better than that? This woman is the most significant of women. She can be an example to us; an inspiration to encourage us in our love of God and of each other.

            “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you!”




We do not have a lot of details about the life of the Mother of our Christ. But if we are looking for a worthy role model, let us start with what Luke’s Gospel does tell us. I will underscore four facets of her character.


1/  Mary had a profound and tough faith in God. When God asked her to do the most unlikely thing, to be the mother of God’s Messiah, she accepted that calling. She was the kind of believer who will put aside personal hopes and plans in order to undertake the harder plans of God. Mary was not self-centred but God centred.


In hindsight, we may think about the incredible honour bestowed on this young woman, to be the mother of the Lord! Wow! But Mary did not have the advantage of hindsight. She must have been aware of the magnitude of the task, the weight of the responsibility. Yet she put her fears aside and was able to pray: “Let it be according to your word.” That makes her one in a million! Such a tough and profound faith! “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you!”


2/  This young, humble, strong woman understood that to do God’s will may often involve suffering. She was not one of those fine weather believers who think that when we do God’s will, every thing will be comfortable going. She was willing to suffer to the glory of God. Mary was ready to suffer, if need be, misunderstanding, abuse, dirty jokes among the village men, and the possible loss of her engagement to the carpenter Joseph. In that culture, the result was likely to be rejection, public humiliation, and a life of poverty as a soiled woman. Some of this did happen.


As it turned out, the godly Joseph stood by her. But the town gossips did their bit. The story quickly spread that she had been having an affair with a Roman soldier. It was a story that kept going the rounds for the rest of her life, and beyond. Willing to suffer for God’s sake. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you!”


3/ The Holy Mother was in the rich prophetic tradition of Israel. She was a visionary; a seer who looked to the future and proclaimed that God would do away with injustices. During this week, will you please sit down and slowly read the Magnificat, that glorious psalm of praise attributed to Mary, and you will find it is full of prophetic vision:


You have shown a strong, far reaching arm,

scattering the proud in their vain imaginings,

throwing down the mighty from thrones

and lifting high the mere nobodies.

You have filled the hungry with good things

but sent away the empty rich.


Mary has the right to stand with the prophets. “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you!”


4/ The Mother of our Lord, was a revolutionary. This flows directly from her prophetic insight. Far too often in Roman Catholic piety, and occasionally when she does actually appear in Protestant piety, Mary has been portrayed as a meek, demur, self effacing, and compliant wife        . The type who would be always bowing and saying to those males who think they are born to rule: “Yes Sir. No Sir. I beg your pardon Sir. I don’t have an opinion, Sir.”  Sadly she has been presented as the very model of a wife and mother who is at the beck and call of her husband and all those in authority. A devoted door mat.


But the Magnificat is revolutionary stuff. Tyrants are to be dispossessed of their thrones, the down trodden poor lifted up from their misery, the hungry millions will be fed while the rich will be send packing, and empty! Mary sees her own role, with its suffering, as directly involved in God’s revolution.

A person of profound, tough faith.

A mother who is willing to suffer for God.

A visionary who stands with the prophets.

A woman who takes part in a revolution.

            “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you!”




I want to take the opportunity now to suggest there is a close similarity between Mary and those courageous women of our generation who are on about a more just world. Those women in our time who are prepared to pay the cost; who challenge the evil assumptions, and the entrenched power, and the often-patent ineptitude, of a largely male dominated world.


When I think about the Mother of our Lord I think also of the brave women of Northern Ireland. Protestant and Catholic together, who stood against the evil hatred and violence that tore their society apart. Blessed are they among women, for the Lord is surely with them!


Then I also recall TV film of those wonderful women in Argentina, who when others had submitted to dictatorship, persistently and bravely demonstrated against the injustice and crimes of the regime. They kept faith and hope alive, through evil days, and played a significant part in the final fall of the tyrants.  Blessed are they among women, for the Lord is surely with them.


I also give thanks for those magnificent Roman Catholic nuns, who in all parts of the world, especially in Latin America, who have not only ministered to victims but challenged the politics, both of oppression and terrorism, which creates victims. Some of these brave women have paid for their prophet-role with their very lives. Blessed are they among women, the Lord is truly with them.


Here is Australia, we have seen the emergence of true sisters of Mary in our aboriginal communities. Where the male elders, the traditional decision-makers in many indigenous communities, have lost all vision and hope (and become a part of the despair rife in many places) the women have stood up and become true leaders. They are calling their people to hope and dignity. Blessed are they among women, the Lord is truly with them.




Up to this point I have laid the emphasis on the emerging leadership of women around the world. But Mary, the Mother of our Lord, is also an example for men.


She is a prototype for all people of faith, young and old, male and female. Here we have a believer who, in spite of the greed, apathy and despair of the world, embraces the awkward, revolutionary Word of God. She is the vanguard of those who make God’s new world the top priority:

Who seek first the kingdom of God.

Who are willing to suffer for their faith.

Who are prepared to be the unpopular prophetic voices.

Who are the loving revolutionaries of God.


Mary, the Holy Mother, was open to God, open to God’s future, even though it can often be a frustrating, painful and frightening way to go. She was open to God and joyful about it. The Magnificat is a psalm of sheer joy!


 “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” And blessed, ever to be utterly loved and praised, is the most precious Fruit of your womb!





Luke 1: 35


The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most high will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born shall be called holy, the Son of God.


The story of the virgin birth tends to divide people. For some it is a special joy. Others claim it is a stumbling block.  I have no wish to divide you this morning. Rather I want you to revel in the Gospel that is proclaimed by Luke’s version of the conception of Jesus.


That does not mean I want to dodge the difficulties posed by this story. But I reckon it’s a crying shame if we get so caught up in arguing about the matter that we miss what Luke was trying to tell us. I become impatient whenever people put their doctrinal slant ahead of what the Gospel of Luke is celebrating.


However, for those who want to think around the issue, I will make available after the service four common attitudes towards the story of the Virgin Birth. [See addendum at the end of this sermon]


But let us get to the main theme. The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most high will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born shall be called holy, the Son of God.


To make ourselves available to this nativity message, we need to face two questions.


Is history going anywhere at all?


How can humanity get itself out of its own mess?




Well, what do you reckon? Is history going anywhere? Is there any thread of purpose? Or is it maybe a cyclic thing, a wearisome repetition with no hope or destiny? Is life on this planet an accident in a blind and soul-less universe? Is our frenetic activity, to borrow from Will Shakespeare, a meaningless exercise “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing?”


Many of our contemporaries are beset with a sense of futility. Life for them has no meaning.


Luke thinks otherwise.


Luke celebrates the God who worked for many centuries to prepare for this moment of incarnation. The human story is not blind chance. It has been going somewhere. The indefatigable love of God has been present in it all, driving towards a lofty destiny. Jesus is the fulfilment of the human story; the foretaste of the destiny.


A dynamic thread runs from creation to Abraham to David to the conception of a baby in Mary’s womb. That dynamic thread is the purposeful Spirit of God.


The virgin birth, a mighty act of God, is the fulfilment of the journey that took a new turn when Abraham and Sarah, led by God, left home and in faith went out into the unknown. Jesus is the fulfilment of the liberation of slaves that God launched through Moses, the fulfilment of God’s word burning in the soul of the prophets as they called for fidelity, justice and mercy, the fulfilment of the tears of both laughter and hope and pain and grief in the psalms of the Old Testament, the fulfilment of Isaiah’s heart-achingly-beautiful visions of an earth reconciled and at peace.


Luke stresses this fulfilment message. Luke exults that Jesus was born into the Hebrew stream, a descendent of David. Fulfilment. The angel tells her that her child will inherit the promises given to David. Fulfilment. Mary in her song of praise glorifies God upholding the covenant made with Abraham. Fulfilment.


When Mary conceives, it is totally God’s work. Not human doing. That holy providence personally at work in history finds its absolute focus in this moment of supreme wonder.


The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most high will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born shall be called holy, the Son of God.


But, you may still ask, why the virgin birth?  Why is the virgin birth so important for Luke? Why is Jesus said to be conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit?


Now this is indeed a critical point. The answer is clear: Because God alone is Lord of history. Without God’s initiatives, there would be no purpose. It is God himself within human affairs that drives us forward.


It is not humanity that creates a destiny through planned (or chance) genetic combinations; not through better education, not by a more disciplined morality. not by superior political systems, not by brilliant intellectual break-throughs. It is solely by God’s personal choice and active involvement.


There is a purpose, there is a plan, there is a movement towards fulfilment. This is God’s doing, not ours. The vision of the Hebrew seers flows from God, the direction is personally shaped by God, the end is guaranteed by God. All of history prior to the Mary’s pregnancy leads to this event.




This links inseparably to the second question: How can humanity get out of its own mess?


There has never been a shortage of people who have propounded programs for the reformation of humanity. In the 4th C BC there was Plato with his book “The Republic.” In 1516 Ad Thomas Moore penned his remarkable “Utopia”. In the nineteenth century there was Karl Marx with his “Manifesto.”


Today there are still plenty of secular and mystic gurus around telling us how to get out of our own mess. We have never lacked theories and advice. But it does not work, as the rapid decline of Marxism into utter corruption testifies.


For Luke, we cannot deliver ourselves from the human predicament. Only God can achieve this by pure saving grace. God does this through a young women. The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most high will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born shall be called holy, the Son of God.


Luke rejoices in a God who saves with people with saving grace. The story of the Virgin Birth helps him focus on this amazing grace of God. It takes the cure right out of our corruptible and corrupting hands.


Look closely at the holy Virgin. .Mary is not held up as a holy woman of many prayers or righteous deeds. She was not like the elderly prophetess Anna, who spent much of her 84 years at the temple, praying and fasting.


The grace of this event is not the grace of Mary, but the grace of God. Mary is the ‘favoured one” not because of what she was as a super-religious person, but because of what God chose to do with her. It is not her superior humanity that selects her, but the free grace of God. This is entirely God’s doing.


We are told nothing of Mary except that she was a virgin, betrothed to Joseph.


What she was to become was something exceptional. But it all started with God, not with humanity.


When she was told that that she will become pregnant, Mary asked the practical question: “How? How can this happen?” She not yet taken marriage vows and slept with her husband.


She was told that the “Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the Child to be born will be called holy.”


In the Old Testament Hebrew, the Holy Spirit is feminine. It is the fertile activity of God personally working in creation and recreation. Luke intends us to recall of the opening words of the Bible, when “the earth was without form and void” Then it was that the Spirit of God moved (brooded) over the face of the waters, and out of chaos, light, pattern, purpose, and life were created. 


Now, says Luke, in the town of Nazareth in Galilee, in an act of new creation the Spirit broods over Mary and a unique new life begins. In fact, a new world begins.


The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most high will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born shall be called holy, the Son of God.


We are also told that the “power of the Most high will overshadow you.” Here again Luke wants us to draw on the Old Testament. We are meant to picture the holy cloud of the glory of God drawing close to earth in the days of Moses. Not on a mountain as on Mt Sinai (or in the later Transfiguration of Jesus) but overshading a young women, and doing something absolutely new.


This is underlines the pure, initiating grace of God.


Most empathically Luke is proclaiming his good news.  Here in the Nativity, the Spirit and is involved in new creation. The seeds of a new world are being sown and nurtured. Something absolutely unheard of is happening. God is pitching his tent, not as in the old Tabernacle of Yahweh’s Presence (that tent of Meeting which travelled with the Israelites as they were led by Moses through the wilderness) but in a human life. Here the tent is being pitched in the foetus inside Mary’s womb.


Jesus is totally of God’s initiative. Incarnation. It is the ultimate act of grace. The grace and favour of the word of God calls new life out of nothing. A new life such as this world has never before seen. As Eduard Schweizer, when the Professor of New Testament at Zurich University, wrote:  the story “as a whole emphasises the unmerited, unmotivated, gracious coming of God.”


The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most high will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born shall be called holy, the Son of God.


Mary simply trusts the grace of God. Without any argument, she accepts God’s gracious action, and becomes a person of faith.




This is, of course, a thoroughly Protestant theme.  Salvation by grace through faith.


You might remember (well, a few of you might!) previous sermons when I have preached on the fourth Sunday in Advent.  Then I tried to reclaim our affinity with much that is in Roman Catholic and Orthodox devotion. You might also have observed how I enjoy selecting among our hymns that Basque carol “Most highly favoured Lady”. You may recall one advent when I attempted to explain the wonderful truth that lies behind the phrase: “Mother of God.” Please balance those sermons with exceedingly Protestant one. There is a balance, I assure you.


It is not Mary who is chosen because of her grace. By God’s grace she is chosen. Luke is always on about the boundless, inclusive saving initiative of God in Jesus Christ. He is at it right from the start of his Gospel.


The birth of Jesus is a glorious miracle of Divine grace. When Jesus commences his ministry, grace flows through all his deeds and words. Luke underlines how Jesus gathers the marginalised people, he eats with outcastes and sinners, he heals Jew and Gentile, dares to include those second class citizens called women within his inner circle, draws lessons from aliens like a Phoenician woman or a Roman army officer, and tells parables about Father who runs to meet and embrace a prodigal son, and a good Samaritan who lives with the generosity of grace.


Luke, like Paul, has a firm grip on the truth that we are saved by the grace of God in Christ Jesus. By enjoying telling the story of the Virgin Birth, Luke celebrates this grace.


Gospel! Glorious good news! The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most high will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born shall be called holy, the Son of God.


This birth is not man’s doing but God’s!  And it is marvellous in our eyes!



[ Addendum---




1. No problem at all


Some folk see no difficulty. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and God’s ways are not our ways. If God choses to act in this way, then fine. For these folk, if God is God then anything is possible, and the unlikely is in fact likely to happen.


God is the God of the unexpected. After all, our human life on this one precious little planet is not something that an outside observer would have expected at the beginning, a few seconds after the big bang when all was hydrogen and some helium. Creation is a miracle. One more should not surprise us. Virgin Birth? No problem at all.


2. A stumbling block


On the other hand, there are those who bristle at the story of the Virgin Birth.


People who see themselves as reasonable people, and believe that they can reason their way through life, find the Virgin Birth to be an aberration to be explained way.


Some say it’s just another superstitious story, like the mythological gods of ancient Greece who had a penchant for getting human girls pregnant.


Others want to engage in a discussion about the possibilities of parthenogenesis; that is the development of the female egg into a foetus without male fertilisation. Maybe a freakish thing did happen. Unlikely but not impossible.


Yet other critics, usually outside the church, treat the story with scorn and repeat the old claim that Jesus was most likely the illegitimate son of a Roman soldier. That Mary covered the scandal up by claiming a virgin birth.


3. Absolutely essential


A third group claim belief in the Virgin Birth is absolutely essential. It is an essential article of the Christian faith. Embedded in the creeds. They say that those who doubt it, or put it aside, are heretics and should be banned from the church community.


Such believers insist that only a Virgin birth could keep Christ safe from the taint of sin that has infected the whole human race. Jesus cannot be a descendent of sinful Adam, if he is also the son of God. If there was no virgin birth, they say, and then Jesus could not have been divine.


Virgin Birth? Essential doctrine. That’s how they see it.


(It is true that in Hebrew biology at the time of Christ, the seed of the man was regarded as the sole agent of new life. The man planted the seed. The woman was merely a seed bed, a surrogate. At first the church took over this belief. Later on, when the biology of conception was better understood, and the essential contribution of the woman was understood, the church had a sticky problem. Mary’s genes would have also contaminated her son. The solution for some was a bold one. In 1854 Pope Pious IX got around this hindrance by proclaiming the dogma of the immaculate conception of Mary. That is, Mary herself was miraculously conceived without sin.}


4. It does not matter


The voices of a fourth group say: “What does it matter? It makes no difference to the life and work of Jesus, nor to the mystery of his nature. What he was and accomplished is the real issue. That emphatically reveals his true, divine nature.”


These believers point out that the idea of virgin birth does not occur in either the earliest Gospel of St Mark, or the latest Gospel of St John. The earliest Christian writings we possess are St Paul’s letters. There is only one possible reference in the prolific writings of St Paul, and he put no theological store on the matter.


Some of these “it-does-not-matter” believers go further. Even the possibility of Jesus being the illegitimate son of a Roman soldier does not "faze" them. As they see it, if Jesus were an illegitimate child, then God’s glory shines out all the more. In fact, they assert, as such it makes the gospel all the more remarkable.  In Jewish culture a bastard was despised; worse, a bastard was not allowed to take part in the communal worship of God: “No bastard shall enter the assembly of the Lord.” Deut. 23:2. If Jesus was such, then he displays his Divinity among the lowliest outcaste, members of society.




Where you stand among these four options I do not know. But whatever your convictions or doubts, I ask you to step beyond that stage and find your delight in glorious kerugma which Luke was celebrating with his nativity stories. Arguments belong in the little league. The main game is the Gospel of God’s initiative and saving grace in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ Jesus.  Go for it! Delight in it! The gospel is for you and for me.   B.D.P. ]





Let us give thanks to God, the Holy Mother.


Let us pray.


All praise and thanks belong to you, wondrous motherly Emmanuel, for the planning and nurturing of our human creation and redemption. We thank you for the daring ingenuity of your ways, and for the revolutionary hopes you have released through your prophets.


We are most grateful for the Child that your chosen women Mary carried in her womb, whom she nurtured from conception with courage, love, prayer and expectation. For the mother’s prayers that followed him from Bethlehem to Golgotha.


We praise you for the beauty that Jesus would let loose on the world; for the light that shone in his teaching, the faith which bloomed through his friendship, the healing that accompanied his deeds, and the grace that flowed from his death and resurrection.


Thanks be to you for the Holy Spirit who accompanies us on our faith journey and teaches us the ways of Christ; for the Counsellor who reads our deepest thoughts, nurtures our most sacred longings, and who confronts our timidity or apathy like wind and fire.


Thank you, Holy Friend, that with you it is certain that the best is yet to come. That “eye has not seen, nor the ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what you have in store for those who love you.” Wonderful are you, wondrous Emmanuel!





Let us participate in God’s concern for humanity.


Let us pray.


Most Holy Friend, we lift up our hearts in prayer for others, not because our prayers are potent but because you are! You are the grace-giver who can bring triumph out of disaster and seed joy in the stony fields of suffering. and sorrow.


We ask you to show your grace by scattering the strutting arrogant people; those in governments, industry and commerce. May injustice and bullying in every form may be put to shame, and replaced by humility, justice, and consistent compassion and respect for all.


We ask you to show your grace by lifting up the lowly; those who have been crushed by the ruthless and exploited by the greedy. Wherever people this day feel forgotten and badly misused, may they find your angels of mercy standing with them and for them, bringing hope into their desolation.


We ask you to show your grace by rebuffing the rich and sending them away empty, and by filling the hungry with good things. Bless your servants who share their daily bread, and may all those international agencies who are working among the hungry and homeless, find the wisest ways to use their resources for the maximum good.


We ask you to show your grace by ministering to the disheartened or grieving among our neighbours and friends, family and work colleagues. May they discover that your mercy is with all who trust you, from generation to generation.


And if any of us, Holy Friend, are equipped to be your agents of justice of mercy in specific situations, please guide us and use us, we pray. May all our prayers be a creed for action. Through Christ Jesus our Saviour.





As you go on your way into the extra busy days ahead, learn from the wisdom of the wise person who said:  “I do not have time to be in a hurry.”

Please take time to slow down, get to know yourself and your God.

Please take time to cherish the peace of Christ.


With the reconciling peace of Christ Jesus, I bless you.


With the deep calm of the eternal God, I bless you.


With the energising tranquillity of the Holy Spirit, I bless you.



              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.