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 17:6-19...             (Sermon 1: “I don’t want to preach on Christian unity!”)

1 John 5:9-13...

Acts 1:15-17-21-26...

Psalm 1                                    (Sermon 2: “The Tree People”)




The joy of the risen Lord be with you today.

            And also with you!


Friends of God, it is written:

            “You shall be like a tree planted by streams of water.”


Therefore I say, delight in your God.

Delight in God more than a river red gum delights in being planted by flowing waters.

            Delight in God who is the source of life through all the changing seasons.

Delight in God whose Spirit never ceases to flow around and within us.

            Delight in God, whose rejuvenating grace is sufficient for all our needs.

Delight in God, I say!

            Yes, let everyone delight in God!




I tell you this: It is a wonderful thing when members of the family

live together in love and peace.

They shall be like trees planted beside flowing rivers.


May the church be one, just as Christ and God are one,

that Christ may be glorified in us.

They shall yield good fruit in its season,

and their leaf shall never wither.


The grace, mercy and peace, of the Lord Jesus,

be with you all.

And also with you.





You, loving God, are the ground of our being and the river of life; you both steady our roots and draw them to seek the living waters.

You are like the sunlight enticing us taller and like the breeze rustling our leaves. You are with us through hard seasons of summer heat, and in the nights when winter’s frost ice the landscape your love warms and sustains us. You are everything to us.

O let our gratitude be great, let our praise be plentiful, let our worship be wonder-full! Through Christ Jesus your ever-living Son.







Three Person’d God, source of loving unity, bless us with your harmony as we unite to worship you.

As we begin this week of prayer for Christian unity, let us put aside old wounds and fears, and deny ourselves the luxury of denominational arrogance, that our worship may be worthy of a Lord who loves us all without stint.

In the name of Christ Jesus, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit, is the Holy One whom we long to love and adore, for ever and ever.




            (For two voices)

Let us pray.


            God of grace and God of glory, in your glory may we find grace, and in your grace may we find your glory.

            Shed your light around us and within us, that the shabby things we do and the shabby things that inhabit the dark recesses of our minds, may be revealed for what they are.


            Please do not allow us to hide from the unpalatable truth, or having glimpsed the truth, do not permit us to cover up our tardy response with vain self-justifications.

            Mercifully confront us, expose, judge and reclaim us from all evil. Forgive both our sins and our excuses.


            Help us, wherever it is possible, to humbly apologise and make restitution to those whom we have wronged.

            Let your grace abound in our lives, enabling us to merciful towards any who have wronged us, and supportive of those who have failed badly and seek a new start.


            In the name of Christ Jesus our Saviour, we ask this.





For our healing it is written in the Holy Book:

“This is the testimony of God: That God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. They who have the Son of God have life.”


Receive the grace of God’s Son and begin anew, no longer dragging your feet for shame.






Teach us, loving God,

that no one in your church

is perfect.


So don’t let us ever become

uppity and slag others.

Help us get it into our heads

that we have no right to expect

others to get it all right

until we ourselves become

as good as angels.


That is not likely yet, heh?

But we will do our best.

Okay God?





It is a happy person

who does not hang out with evil louts,

            nor stands on streets corners with gangs,

            nor sits with those who hurl abuse.


But even happier are those

who are hooked on God’s truth

            and fill their mind with it each day

            and go to bed with it in their thoughts.


Such folk are like a lucky trees

planted on the banks of a river;

they flower in every season,

            abound in green growth

            and grow strong and tall.


Not so those who damn themselves.

They are like straw dust on the wind;

            in the hour of testing they falter,

            unable stand up to the truth

            but feel lost in good company.


Like a friend, Christ knows his own,

but the evil ones will perish alone.

                                                                                                Ó B D Prewer 2002

                                    See also “Australian Psalms” page 25.




John 17:14


In the world yet not of the world?

A task too big for small minds

and to lonely for small hearts.


Yet even small minds and hearts

that have been caught up in the love

of the One closest to God’s heart


can begin to share the wisdom

which deeply loves this world

yet is not taken in by its guile.


Maybe if souls became smaller still

they could then become larger,

more true, yet loving the world,


inhabiting a shining love-space

where God has always been

since earth began its voyage?

                                                                           Ó B D Prewer 2002





 John 17: 11


Holy Father, keep in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one as we are one.


The theme of Christian unity? Preach on it today. I prefer to say “No. I don’t want to.”


But some profound voice that niggles inside me, says, “Yes, you should.”


So here we go.




Why is it that I don’t want to preach on this ecumenical theme?


I think I can locate some of the reasons that lurk in the corners of my mind.


1/ I am tired of talk.

Words, words , words. There has been so many committees and conferences, so many documents, yet progress seems to have been slow. I think that over my long ministry I have hammered the theme so hard and so regularly, that I and a little weary of it myself. A person who is weary with his own sermon is not going to be a bundle of laughs.


2/ I have been wounded.


To that you may retort: “So what? What do you expect, if by following Christ you end up carrying a cross or two?” But I don't like crosses any more than you do. Over the years there have been painful rejections of ecumenical endeavours into which I have poured my heart mind and soul. I have pushed myself to the point of ill health. There is an ancient Chinese proverb that says: “Don’t push the barrow too hard or you will get dust in your eyes.” Well, my friends, I still carry some grit in mine.


3/ Discouraged by schism.


There are grounds for discouragement. The splintering of the body of Christ has not stopped.  At the same time as major denominations made some remarkable progress towards seeking a common mind, there have been a plethora of fresh schisms, with new denominations like spot fires are leaping up all over the place. We seem to be in a bedevilled era, when if a few of people have a disagreement with their church council or their pastor, they rush off and egotistically form another denomination.


One example: I grew up in the small, garden city of Launceston, Tasmania. As I young man, I could number about a dozen denominations in the town, including a couple of what we deemed to call “sects”. As a young Christian I lamented the fact that there were so many. In my late teens I enthusiastically backed my minister in movements towards cooperation with other churches.


Last year, when I spent a few weeks in Launceston, I chatted with one parish minister who expressed his frustration that there were over 80 different denominations in that city now. Some of them in aggressive competition.


Therefore, putting it bluntly: at the same time as the ecumenical movement has embraced millions, wily Satan has had a field day in fostering schism. And each new schism is made with a degree of self righteousness that must make the old Enemy wallow in his self-satisfaction like a pig in mud!


Against that background, you might understand why I find it hard to pick up the ecumenical torch again in this, yet another, “Week of prayer for Christian unity.”




Yet here am. Despite my reluctance, I cannot keep silent.


Again I assert that the divisions of Christianity into so many denominations is a scandal. The scandal is magnified by the sordid fact that many of these separated Christians distrust each other, some push themselves forward with arrogant claims, and others rally their own troops by regularly making caustic attacks on other sections of the church.


There is not one shred of doubt within me that Jesus abhors this. He was for reconciliation and living as one body. His “high priestly prayer” still stands. That prayer which John records our: Lord praying on the night of his betrayal. He yearned for the loving fealty and the unbroken fellowship of his followers. Confronted by immanent death, he prayer-yearned that they would stick together. His words, which millions of Christians will read today, are as valid as they were back then at the beginning. In my soul I hear the Lord of love praying at this very moment:


            Holy Father, keep these whom you have given me, true to your name. May they be one, as you and I are one.


We dare not avoid this prayer. We cannot push his words aside. They come out of the very heart of the early church’s encounter with the living Christ. Who can presume to ignore them? Who can dare try to negate Christ’s words by pretending that their own version of “the true Gospel” makes it imperative that they separate from “lesser believers?” Who can smugly refuse to both pray for our fellows Christians and seek the way forward with them in the direction of better cohesion in worship and outreach?


            Holy Father, keep these whom you have given me, true to your name. May they be one, as you and I are one.




I have not given up, though!  Please don't allow my opening remarks give you the idea that I have fallen for another of Satan’s “3 card tricks” and lapsed into cynicism.  Rather, the fragmentation that has occurred makes me even more committed to reconciliation.


I still celebrate the emergence, and the persistence, of the World Council of Church and its a agencies at work in the world. That remains a massive step towards the bright future which God has in store for us.


I am filled with thanksgiving for all the local progress we have made over the last four generations. To me it only seems a short time ago that the three of the major Australian churches, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Congregational, came together as one body. That happening remains a source of joy in my heart, a torch of delight that nothing can dampen.


Recently, I have been leading some young people in  preparation for Confirmation. Very astute young folk.  In their own experience they had known nothing else but the UCA.  I got quite a kick out of needing to enlighten them about the 3 separated churches that formed the present one. I think it’s really “cool” (to quote the young people) that in so few years old differences can be overcome and are unimportant to a new generation. The existence of our Uniting Church in Australia is a testimony of saving grace.


On the wider front, I delight in the degree of cooperation with other major churches.  I think of the loving RC priests who have enriched my life, and the Baptists, Anglicans, Lutherans,

Churches of Christ, Quakers, and AOG’s have been in my prayers as I have been in theirs.

            Holy Father, keep these whom you have given me, true to your name. May they be one, as you and I are one.


It has been an exhilarating era!  A time of ecumenical miracles!  I ask you to build on what God has done, not down tools with the kind of frustration which surfaced in the early part of this sermon of mine. We may have a long way to go, but we have already travelled a mighty distance, traversing deep ravines and dark ranges as we move forward.


Of course, evil will not like what we have done. The old Enemy will always pull new stunts. There will, always be set backs. Each new generation must learn to hunger for the unity of God’s people. But for those that are to come, there is now stacks of evidence that it can be done. Evidence that proves that when we take courage and place our lives at the disposal of our Lord, then mountains of separation become mole hills, and deep chasms can be levelled into green valleys.


It may be right out of context but I find myself at this moment savouring the words of the prophet Isaiah:

            A voice cries in the wilderness:

                         prepare the way of the Lord.

            Every valley shall be lifted up,

                        and every mountain and hill brought low.

            The uneven ground shall be made level,

                        and the rough places made smooth.

            And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,

                        and all flesh shall see it together,

                        for the mouth of the Lord as spoken!

                                                                                                                                                                        Isaiah: 40: 3-5


The word of the Lord has spoken.


            Holy Father, keep these whom you have given me, true to your name. May they be one, as you and I are one.





Psalm 1: 3


            They are like trees planted by rivers, that yield their fruit in due season. Psalm 1:3


            Among the many things for which Marie and I are most thankful, is the house where we are now privileged to live. This is a dry landscape around Sunbury. Our town is set in a hollow on the basalt plains. Rainfall is light. Water is precious.

            Our house adjoins, and we look out on, a small lake (or maybe let’s call it a pond?) fed by a seasonal creek. In the pond are three tiny island knobs. Grasses, reeds, a few shrubs, and the ubiquitous blackberries, grow on these knobs.

            On the most northern island a eucalypt “gum nut” has germinated and established itself. We have watched it slowly reach skywards. I stress the “slowly” because for some years its roots had not discovered that they were surrounded by water, and that just a couple of metres down was a water table. We admired this self-sown tree’s struggle for growth. It showed a lot of character.


            Last summer it discovered the water! Wow! This is a time of growth!

            Blessed are they whose

            delight is in the law of God.......

            They are like trees planted by rivers

            that yield their fruit in due season.

            Their leaves do not wither

            but all they do will prosper.




How smart a tree are we?


If we have been blest by being planted by the living waters, what a folly it is, and a tragedy, if we do not put down our roots and freely drink.


In this driest continent on the planet, we Australians should know how special water is. Those wonderful vineyards and citrus groves planted along the Murray River, as that meandering stream cuts its way through arid terrain, witness to the transformation that happens when the water is utilised. Irrigation has made the desert green and produce abundant fruits. That fruitful region we call ‘the Riverland’ it like a garden of Eden.


Most of us have been fortunate to have been planted by loving parents in the “Riverland” of God’s grace. Others of you have ended up here by what appeared to be chance. Blown on the wind, carried by birds, or maybe caught up in an animal’s hoof and brought to the water when the creature came down to drink. Now matter how we arrived here, all of us are in a place of growth. All of us are exceptionally privileged! All of us have a blessing that exceeds all other earthly joys. We are free to delight in it!



How do we know whether we truly treasure our privilege and feed our roots on the living water? How might we deduce whether we have become blasé and ceased drawing on the water of life?


Jesus answered that one: “By their fruits you will know them”. A fruitless Christian is a dying Christian.


At this point a warning: I don’t want to instigate a bout of spiritual self-bashing by those among you who a prone to be too hard on yourselves. I’m not saying we are all capable of producing the same fruits, or even the same high quality fruits. Our gifts vary. Our opportunities vary.


Some may produce sweet navel oranges in plenty, while other produce little currants. Some may produce juicy mangoes on a lush tree, while others produce small but tasty loganberries from a rather prickly vine. Some may bring forth large hands of golden bananas while others ripen their tangy lemons. Many trees, many fruits.


From my experience in counselling, I know that among those who produce some fine fruits are those over-anxious people who feel guilty because they are not producing better ones. Some of you (not all, but some) are too self depreciating. I would have you delivered from that.


We need to be grateful for what we do achieve, not always castigating ourselves for the fruits we don’t have. Thanksgiving for the good things makes for a healthy Christian tree. Look at the fruits you do bear, and delight in them. God does. Why not you?


Does this lead to complacency? I doubt it; certainly not in the over-sensitive folk that I have in mind as I say this. The others, the smug, complacent people, don’t even have these anxieties. Therefore I say to you over-conscientious souls, cherish each fruit, small or large. Give God the glory and give yourself a break.




At one point the metaphor of trees and their fruits completely breaks down. In the Christian orchard there is one common fruit which all the different trees can bear. It is a fruit that makes us one. Jesus spelt it out last week’s Gospel reading. Love. Love one another, even as I have loved you. One of the ways this love presents itself is in open-hearted fellowship, where we seek to affirm the best in one another and forgive the deficiencies. Love is the one common fruit; no exceptions here.


In the Gospel for today, a portion from John 17, Jesus is recorded as praying that his followers may get on well together and survive the risks from worldly corruption. His joy is that they will stay together in love. This will be also their joy.  In this ‘week of prayer for Christian unity” we engage in similar prayers.


Jesus was as always, insightful. He knew that the pressures of the world around the disciples, and the flaws within their personal characters, might breed conflicts and division. He prayed that they might be one and God and he are one.


In retrospect, and to our utter discomfort, his prayer anticipates the division of the church into separate denominations.  Division is not a fruit of the Spirit. Love is. And this remarkable love-fruit will only grow and ripen when our roots drinks thirstily from the living waters of the Spirit of God.


To truly pray for the closer unity of the church on earth, may first mean that we need to check where our own roots are going at the moment.  There are plenty of pollutants in the soil around us, and there are alternative, contaminated water supplies that will distort both foliage and fruit. If the tree is not bearing the fruit of love, something is radically wrong.


Where there is division in the church, do not look to blame others but examine what is happening to our own roots. If our roots drink from the pure stream of God, we will indeed love other Christians, both within our own church and in other denominations. For the stream of God is pure love, and the trees planted beside it and nourished by it, will be known by their fruits. It is Christ’s joy that we bear the fruit of love. These things I speak in the world, that they [my disciples] may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.




Later today I will again go to our window and look out to our small lake and its three island knobs. I will focus on the young gum tree and wonder whether it has yet fully realised the extent of water that is available to it. And whether you and I have fully realised the extent of our resources?



             In the three years since I put this sermon together, a set back has happened to the tree on our small island. Almost unseen, a rival has taken root on the sunny side and grown like crazy.  If has grabbed the nutrients out of the soil, and the first tree has come to a standstill.

            I think there is a grim warning here. Even though as Christians we be “planted by the rivers of water,” if we allow alien things (like the values of this evil world) to grow beside us and block our light, they will bring our progress to stop.  “No man can serve two masters.”

            What will happen to my tree now? Time will tell. But I know this: If we allow other things to grow and take over space on our personal island, then in time it will starve us completely and rob us of our very life.





I am believing, God of all gods,

            that you are the Spring of all life,

            the river that flows uphill.


I am believing, God of all gods,

            that you are the Giver of grace,

            the strength that appears as weakness.


I am believing, God of all gods,

            that you are the Soul of truth,

            the light that eyes have not seen.


I am believing, God of all gods,

            that you are the Goal of hope,

            the end that is here from the start.


I am believing, God of all gods,

            that you are the Source of love,

            the law that breaks all our rules.


I am believing, God of all gods,

            that you are the Joy of Christ,

            the man who is always divine.


I am believing, God of all gods,

            I am believing, Christ of all christs.

            I am believing, Soul of all souls.




God of all things seen and unseen, if you had insulated yourself from the pain of the world, then your name could not be love and our condition would be without hope. Thank you for being so personally involved, for revealing your complete commitment in Jesus of Nazareth. Through him we pray with hope, in him we pray with love.


Let your healing love be known this day by all who suffer ailment of body, or distress of mind, or agony of spirit

            Please reveal your compassion,

            Loving God, bring wholeness to all.


Let your intimate love be known today by all who feel forgotten or lost, and all who are walking in the dark valley of despair.

            Please reveal your compassion,

            Loving God, bring wholeness to all.


Let your fierce love this day redress the wrongs of all who suffer exploitation, injustice, abuse, neglect, violence or unwarranted imprisonment.

            Please reveal your compassion,

            Loving God, bring wholeness to all.


Let your nurturing love today encourage those who are gathering resolve to make tough decisions, take on new responsibilities, or break free from some bondage.

            Please reveal your compassion,

            Loving God, bring wholeness to all.


Let your relentless love this day upset congregations that have become self-centred or even contemptuous of other churches.

            Please reveal your compassion,

            Loving God, bring wholeness to all.


Let your reconciling love today gather together the separated Christians, and make them aware of the fellowship and mission of the one, universal body of Christ

            Please reveal your compassion,

            Loving God, bring wholeness to all.


Let your inspiring love this day rejuvenate pastors, priests and prophets who have become weary to the very roots of their souls.

            Please reveal your compassion,

            Loving God, bring wholeness to all.


Thank you for hearing us, most loving God. With the whole body of believers in time and eternity, we want to love, praise and serve you, today and evermore. Through Christ Jesus your true Son.





In the name of the God of abundant life, I dare to bless you!



That in the seasons of plenty you will thrive and grow.

That in the seasons of drought you will consolidate your strength.

I bless you!



That you will delight in the warm sun of God shining upon you.

That you will delight in the cold rain of God falling on you.

I bless you!



That you will blossom to the glory of God

and make the world a more fragrant place.

I bless you!



That you will give shelter to those who seek refuge from storm or fierce heat.

That you may never forget whose tree you really are and whose life you share.

I bless you!



The grace of.......


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ISBN 978-1-937763-78-7: AUSTRALIA:

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Third edition May 2014

ISBN   978-1-62880-033-3 Australia

Jesus Our Future

Prayers for the Twenty First Century

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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.