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.



Luke 2:22-40                            (Sermon 1: “Among the Seers?”)

                                                                        (Sermon 2: “Picture Book Family?”)

Galatians 4:4-7

Isaiah 61:10 to 62:3

Psalm 148





Celebrations continue!

Christ is born among us, full of light and love and joy.

Amen! Joy to the world, our Lord has come.


“God, now your servants may go in peace,

just as your word has promised;

for our own eyes have seen your salvation

made ready with everyone looking on,

a revealing light for outsiders,

and a glory for all your faithful people.”




Another Christmas Day has been left in our wake,

but the joy of the Incarnation resides with always!

We praise you, O Lord, to the highest heavens,

angels and the heavenly host all praise you.

Sun and moon and the shining stars!


Old year, new year, are all the same to God,

whose goodness endures forever!

We praise you, Lord, with kings and rulers.

with young men and women together

with old people and young children!




God! O glory unapproachable! O light inaccessible! How far you could be from us! Yet by your choosing, how close you are, how intimate!

By your Christ your grace is see-able and touchable! We see him smile, we hear him cry. You say to us: “This is my dearly beloved Son, listen to him. Do not be anxious.”

O God our wonderful God, we love, worship and adore you! Through this same Christ Jesus, your Son and our Saviour.





Let us confess our errant ways.


Let us pray.


Holy Friend, Saviour and Healer of the world, we in your church family admit to you the frustration we feel for our part in the evil that infests humanity.


We are called to truth

            but we prefer darkness to light because our investments are there.

We are called to hope

            but we slide into the negativity of the snide and lost.

We are called to grace,

            but we are at times as mean-spirited as the self-serving.

We are called to mercy,

            but we harbour grudges and let slip insidious innuendos.

We are called to faith,

            but we live as if everything depended on us.

We are called to love,

            but it rarely goes beyond loving those who love us.


God of abundant loving, please forgive your church family for our failure to uphold and express the generosity of your ways. Forgive us for those sins of which we are ashamed, and for the sly sins which as yet we have not recognised and brought out into your light. Please be to us, not the God we deserve but the Saviour who heaps grace upon grace. In you alone we place our trust. Through Christ Jesus our Redeemer,





Sisters and brothers in the family of God, though a sinner myself, I have a commission from the Living God to proclaim to you the forgiveness of sins and the life abundant. In God you may receive the grace, mercy and peace which make renewal undeniable. Through Christ Jesus our Saviour.


Thanks be to God!




Generous God,

thank you for giving us three families-

            the one in which we live at home,

            the one we have in your church,

            and the heavenly one into which you adopt us.

May we be loving and happy members

of each of these wonderful families,

just as Jesus was a loving member

of his earthly and heavenly families.

In his name.





               See Australian Psalms page 29 Ó  B D Prewer & Open Book Publishers




The old and frail

            will hang on by a thread

            for some special event;

maybe a family wedding,

reunion of old army mates,

a new grandchild’s advent.


Simeon was old

            but not ready to die

            until hope found relief;

waiting for truth revealed

full of such faith and love

that beggared old belief.


At last it came

            into his very arms,

            his heart beating joy-wild;

with a sigh of great content,

letting go now, in peace,

he handed back the Child.

                                                                           Ó B D Prewer 2001




Most wonderful God, you placed your Son Jesus in family, that he might learn and grow towards the fullness of his destiny. Please bless every family of which we are a part, that together we may learn the graces that cannot be found in isolation, and become capable of sharing in the healing of the world family. Through Christ Jesus our Saviour.





Luke 2:29-32


God, now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my own eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all people, a light of revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for the people of Israel.


These days, most parents bring their children to the priest for baptism, not circumcision. Usually it is not a painful time for the baby. (Although is was rather painful on one occasion for this celebrant, when a nine month old infant firmly dug fingers in and around my nose and held on fiercely!)


For the baby Jesus, being welcomed into the “church” was somewhat more painful than baptism. It meant the ritual circumcision essential for males if they were to be incorporated in the family of Jews. “At the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” Usually the naming was concurrent with the circumcision. They named him Joshua, that name which means “God is salvation.”


Later, after the necessary interval (in Levitical law) for a mother’s purification, Mary, Joseph and the Infant, went from Bethlehem to Jerusalem to make offerings to God.


[By the curious development of Levitical law (which seemed to have what we would call a “hang up” about the unclearness of women) Mary, having given birth to a male baby, was treated as unclean until forty days passed, unable to take part in public worship or touch any sacred object that had been dedicated to God. She was under a ban.

On the positive side, this law at least made certain that an uncaring husband would not attempt sexual intimacy until the woman was well on the way to recovery from the ordeal of giving birth. I cannot help but wonder whether that was not the original reason behind the law of Moses. Not a ritual matter but genuine concern for women following childbirth. I believe that much of what became ritual regulations had its origin in God’s practical concern for the welfare of persons.]




St Luke tells us that the infant Christ was given a portentous welcome at the Temple.


It was not red-carpet treatment from the devoted students of the law, like the Pharisees. Nor was there a greeting committee from the high priests of organised religion. 


Priests and Pharisees, as Luke knew, were never going to welcome Jesus into their spheres of influence. They had invested too much of their energies into their way of seeing and doing things, to allow anyone else to intrude.  The grounds for the tragedy of the rejection of Jesus were already in place.


The portentous welcome came from two elderly folk. Neither are priest nor Pharisee. Each seems to be more like the Hebrew prophets. Both are genuinely devout, utterly devoted, not to external religion but to God. They are genuine seers.


I like that word ‘seer’.  The ‘see-er’ looks beyond the superficial to the deeper realm of things. The seer looks through the religious and secular humbug of society to the real heart of the matter. The seer, like the child in the story of “The king with no clothes,” is not in bondage to what we are supposed to see and say. They dare to look insightfully and tell it as it really is.


Jesus was greeted at the Temple, first by Simeon. He is a very old, a just and truly devout person, who looks and longs for the true rehabilitation of Israel; for their redemption. He has been inspired by the Holy Spirit to see and believe that he will not rest his aged bones in the grave until he has seen God’s promised Messiah.


I want you to picture that scene. The massive, spectacular Temple on the top of Mt Zion; its great walls and mammoth pillars; the wide stone stairway leading up the slope to the public entrance point. Up this stairway tread two country people carrying their first child. They enter through the great gate and walk into the immense, colonnaded courtyard. Jews from all over the world are moving to and fro. Amongst them is old Simeon, waiting there because the Spirit has led him there.


This old man detaches himself from the crowd and comes to Mary and Joseph. To their surprise, with the eagerness one who has at last found the clue to his whole existence, he takes the baby into his aged arms and words of praise and thanksgiving pour from his lips.

            God, now let your servant depart in peace,

            according to your word;

            for my own eyes have seen your salvation

            which you have prepared in the presence of all people,

            a light of revelation to the Gentiles,

            and glory for the people of Israel.


The next scene is the same stage, the busy court inside the temple walls, but a different seer. It features Anna, at least 84 years old and maybe 91, an exceeding great age in an era when the average life span of a woman was about 36 years. This old seer lived permanently around the temple courts, praying, fasting, and worshipping.


Seeing the young child, Anna sees the inner truth of the little fellow. She declares to all who are yearn for the liberation of Israel, that this is the one they have been waiting for. This is the one who will change their fortunes, as God had promised.




Can you see how St Luke has brilliantly utilised these stories about the first visit of Christ to the holy Temple, the very place where, in the inner sanctum, God’s Presence was thought to abide? Luke has set up the whole Gospel story that is to follow?


From the very beginning, Jesus, son of Mary, is the promised Messiah, the one who will redeem Israel. He will not be recognised or welcomed by the power brokers; the scholars of the religious law and the priests who claim to give, or bar, access to God. Jesus will be recognised, worshipped and followed by simple people who are truly devoted to God. The pure in heart shall see God in Jesus.


This Jesus will be in the tradition of the prophets, inspired by the same Spirit, and bearing a similar disconcerting message. Those who meet this Jesus, recognise him, and believe in him, will be able to die in peace, for their hopes and dreams will be fulfilled.


The good news is for all people. Simeon specifically mentions the non-Jews, the pagan Gentiles, those benighted outsiders. “A light of revelation to the Gentiles.” This good news includes both male and female. With this Jesus, women will not be second class citizens of the kingdom of God. Anna recognises him just as clearly as Simeon. In Luke’s Gospel, the woman Anna becomes the first ‘preacher,’ the first one to speak to others of Jesus as the redeemer.




St. Luke put to us the discomforting questions:


Are we numbered among the seers? Among the common people of sincerity, who recognise this Person Jesus? Or are we among those who, like many Priests and Pharisees, have invested so much of ourselves in other affairs (either religious or secular!) that we resent this Jesus? For he is definitely one who will confront and upset our preferred way of seeing and doing things?


And are we among the seers who know that the love of this Jesus includes all people? That there are no outsiders; no one we can despise or treat as unworthy?

            God, now let your servant depart in peace,

            according to your word;

            for my own eyes have seen your salvation

            which you have prepared in the presence of all people,

            a light of revelation to the Gentiles,

            and glory for the people of Israel.





Luke 2: 39-40


And when Joseph and Mary had completed the rites according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. The Child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom, and the favour of God was upon him.


Jesus grew up in an ordinary Jewish family. Not an ideal one.  Although it functioned well, it would have been a partly dysfunctional family, like even the best families we have known. Any attempt to portray Joseph as a perfect father and Mary as a perfect mother, is ungrounded and stupid. They were a real human family, not a pretty picture book one.


Across the small lake from where we live, there is being built a romantic, old style house. As my wife and I pass the building on our morning walk, we have noticed that the building company is called “Picture Book Cottages.”   Before long the family, whoever they are, will move in. One thing is certain: although their house may be a “Picture Book Cottage” the home will not be a picture book family. They will be real people, with good points and bad points.


Like that home Jesus lived in at Nazareth.  If you could indulge in time travel, and visit that home, you would not find a picture book family. They would have their moments of misunderstanding, occasions of frustration and anger, times of love and caring, counterbalanced with times of selfishness. In a real family Jesus had to be taught by word and example.


Of course, the teaching would not have been one way traffic. Like parents here today, Mary and Joseph would have also learnt some precious lessons from their son Jesus and his brothers and sisters. Unlike us however, because of his spiritual genius, his mother and father might have learned lessons that we as parents have not been taught by our kids.


He must have been a precocious child. Parenting him would not always be easy role. Nevertheless, Jesus was a real baby, a real child, a real youth, a real young man, Living in a real family. Anything grander than normality undersells the miracle of the incarnation. Jesus would have made mistakes. The parents made mistakes. Yet the family was functional enough to be able to nurture the loveliest and most loving person in history.




What makes a home more functional than dysfunctional?


I will now put before you four markers which point to a functional Christian home.


Marker 1/ Functional families inculcate the virtue of self respect.


There is more of the good medicine of respect than the poison of denigration within a functional family. There is respect for each person, as a unique person. Some conformity for the good of the whole is needed, but such compliance to parental expectations does not take the form of a prison regime. When there is respect, then individual traits are recognised, gifts are nurtured, achievements are honoured, and flaws are not made to seem like crimes.


It seems to me that the Lord Jesus could not have been the humbly self-confident person he was, unless he had been shown a cherishing respect by his mum and dad


Marker 2/  In functional families, members are there for each other.


The pain of failure is shared, the pleasure of success is celebrated. When one is going through a difficult time, the others are supportive.  Should one be feeling fragile, the others tread softly. Envy or jealousy are not hidden and left to fester, but openly admitted. One family member can say to another: “I am so jealous I could turn green, but I am also very happy for you.”


As a man, Jesus was there for other people. He picked up the small signals; he knew what was going on inside a person. I have no doubt that “being there for them” was a part of the ethos of his while a child and young adult, and in turn he honed his special skills by being there for others family members.


Marker 3/  Functional families love enough to be truthful.


Dysfunctional families create an environment where evading the painful truth is the main game; there a sentimental kindness, pouring oil on troubled waters rather than dealing with the cause, is a substitute for love.


Honesty is essential. Speaking the truth with love is not an easy skill to develop. It may cause some pain.  Clumsy truth can cause needless pain. But some pain is necessary if growth is to happen. Blessed is the home where the truth is spoken in love.


(Truth can, of course, be misused. There are unhappy homes where truth is used as a weapon against another member. In such negative circumstances people begin to hide their real selves from each other.  The more truth becomes an angry missile, the more each feels vulnerable, and the more cautious, anxious, and soul-shrinking family life becomes.)


Jesus showed an amazing honesty. There was no sham in him. His integrity shows through every word and deed. Never was that truth used as a purely negative force by our Lord. Whether he was speaking to a woman by a well, to a misguided disciple like Peter, or to a Pharisee at dinner, he told the truth with love. Did he learn much of this in his home environment? You bet. That home at Nazareth was certainly functional enough to develop such honesty.


Marker 4/ Functional families know how to give and receive forgiveness.


Never underestimate the nurturing, soul-enlarging power of forgiveness. Also, because forgiveness is a two-way interchange, don’t underrate either the difficulty or the therapeutic value of accepting forgiveness. 


Unforgiveness is an enslaving force. It not only keeps in fetters the unforgiven soul, but it imprisons the unforgiving person. There is a cyclic effect in this matter: The more we are forgiven the more we are enabled to forgive, and the more we forgive others, the more we feel free to humbly ask for forgiveness when we have offended.


When preaching at a wedding, I have sometimes encouraged the bride and groom to treasure two very short sentences. Short they may be, but often they are difficult words to say. The first is “I’m sorry.”  The second is “I forgive you.” Pride gets in the way of both.


Our Lord Jesus was supremely a man of forgiveness. He moved around Galilee setting people free. I reckon he first learned the art of being merciful from his Mum and Dad. I would like to think that Joseph was the kind of Dad who could apologise to his child: “Forgive me son; I was in the wrong.” I cannot imagine a Jesus creating the liberating parable of the Prodigal Son, if he did not grow up in an environment where saving grace was practised daily.


Please take into your thoughts those four markers:

            Respect for one another.

            Being there for each other.

            Telling the truth in love.

            Giving and accepting forgiveness.


And when Joseph and Mary had completed the rites according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. The Child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom, and the favour of God was upon him. Luke 2: 39-40



Wisdom and grace


In conclusion let me recall you to some more words in the Gospel story:

And when Joseph and Mary had completed the rites according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. The Child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom, and the favour of God was upon him. Luke 2: 39-40


Wisdom and favour?


Wisdom is something that can be learned through listening both to others and to one’s own soul. Wisdom can be enlarged by knowing the Scriptures as Jesus did, and through meditation and prayer.


But the “favour” of God is different.

The word usually translated favour, is actually grace. The Greek charis is used. That favourite New Testament word expresses the utterly free, inexhaustible, and untameable, saving mercy of God in bringing us salvation. Liberation and healing come gratis.


As Jesus grew it became obvious that he was full of the grace of God. He was a gifted child par excellence. It was there as a youngster, there as a teenager, there as a young rabbi eating with tax collectors and sinners.


Jesus overflowed with grace. A grace that led him finally to surrender his life on a cross that we might be saved from un-graced selves. The cultivation of that grace-full-ness had been happening in his home life at Nazareth. Mary and Joseph must have been people who were, in their own way, channels of the grace of God. They played a significant part.


Sure, as Jesus grew in understanding his receptivity deepened. His fellowship with the Holy Spirit strengthened, and in communion with God grace beautified and his character and overflowed in his deeds.


We are a long way behind. But not out of the game.


Forget the mirage of “picture book families.” Embrace the reality of the dysfunctional elements that go with our humanity. But do not settle for less than is possible, through the grace of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Families function best of all when the grace of God is allowed to work in the mind and soul of each member. Where the grace-love of God which cannot be bought or measured, flows freely between each person, it makes the whole much greater than the sum total of the individuals.


No matter what our age, we too can grow and became strong, filled with increasing wisdom, and the grace of God will be upon us.




            (based on Isaiah 61:10-11)


We believe.

We believe joyfully in the God of love,

with all our being we celebrate our God.

As soil after drought produces green shoots

and as garden seeds spring into new life,

so our God produces justice and praise

to spring up among all nations.


We believe in God

who dresses us in the garments of salvation;

who by the grace of Christ

covers us with the robe of righteousness,

adopts us into the holy family

and promises to make us a crown of beauty,

a royal diadem in the hand of God.


This we believe through Christ Jesus.

May the Holy Spirit strengthen our belief.





We will now give thanks for the love that surrounds us. Let us Pray.


Thank you, Father of Christ Jesus, for binding us together in communities and families, and for the complex interplay of each person with others.


For those warm hugs of children, the unsettling insights of teenagers, and the married love that grows deeper through the years, we thank you.

For nurturing friendships, and for the sharp edge in the comments of those opponents who are willing to tell us home truths that our friends are reluctant to say.


For those who listen to us when we are bewildered, and those who ask the questions which help us find our way through many an impasse, we thank you.

For the frank appreciation of people who dare to express their respect for our gifts, and affirm us without ulterior motives


For those precious people who are there for us through times of illness, broken relationships, indecision, unemployment, and the death of a loved one, we thank you.

For all who have a good sense of humour, who can laugh with us but never at us, whose sweet sanity saves us from taking ourselves too seriously.


For people whose patient love long ago set us on paths of fruitfulness and beauty, and whose remembered words and smile, still save us from doing something stupid, we thank you.

For the people of the church, for those who may seem natural soul mates, and others who like gadflies irritate us and make us repeatedly re-examine our religious and ethical assumptions.


Above all others, for Jesus of Bethlehem, Nazareth and Golgotha, whose saving grace embraces us and links us together in a new family which bridges heaven and earth. For this, the most extraordinary among all gifts, we offer you our deepest thanks and highest praise.





Loving God, now your servants may go in peace,

just as your word has promised;

for our own eyes have seen your salvation

made ready with everyone looking on,

a revealing light for outsiders,

and a glory for all your faithful people.


Grace mercy and peace,

from the Creator, Saviour and Counsellor,

                        will be

with you now and ever more.



              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.