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.

EASTER DAY  (Between March 23 – April 24)


Mark 16:1-8,                            (Sermon 2: “Fact or Fantasy?”)

            or John 20:1-18                        (Sermon 1: “No Handle.”)

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

            or Acts 10:34-43

Isaiah 25:6-9 

            or Acts 10: 25-39

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24




            Christ is risen!

            He is risen indeed!

            Stones roll away, tombs are open, new possibilities are born, women sing for joy

            and men race to share the good news.

            Things that were old are becoming young again, and all things are returning to their             pristine beauty.


            The Easter joy of the living Christ Jesus be with you all.

            And also with you.




Do not be dismayed,

you seek Jesus of Nazareth?

He is not in a tomb,

for he has risen.

            Look, this is our God!

            We have waited for him;

            let us rejoice in his salvation.


The Lord God will swallow up death forever,

and will wipe away tears from all faces.

            God is my strength and my song

            and has become my salvation.




Wonderful are you, God of Easter!

            Wonderful are your complex purposes and wonderful are your saving deeds.


Today we celebrate your irrepressible grace in Christ Jesus:

            we rejoice with Mary Magdalene in the garden,

            we run with Peter and John to find the tomb empty,

            we walk beside two disciples on a dusty road to Emmaus,

            and we recognise the living Lord at the breaking of the bread.


By the power that raised up your Holy Son,

            please put indestructible joy into our thoughts and words,

            our songs and prayers, and into our creeds and deeds


Let everything we think and do be praise.

            Through Christ Jesus our risen Lord.





Let us immerse ourselves in the saving grace of Christ Jesus, who lives with us and for us.


Let us pray.


God our most holy and remarkable Friend, we are here again before you,

ready to confess our sins because the living Christ has gone on ahead of us,

and who waits for us here in this trysting place.


We can dare to be honest about our participation in the evil of the world because he has overcome the worst that the world can do, and has committed unto us the ministry of the forgiveness of sins in his name.


We confess to you and each other that our Easter faith is pitted with flaws and doubts,

our hope is corrupted by the wants and lusts of the community around us,

and our love for others has been contaminated by selfishness and so remains brittle.


We have tried to do our best as the disciples of the living Christ,

and we have at times done better than we thought likely;

for which we are most thankful.

Yet also we have failed, sometimes solely because of our own wilful fault,

and sometimes because the evil within us has joined forces with the evil around us

and brought us down heavily.


We remain spiritual battlers who constantly need a Saviour who will never weary or forsake us in life or in death.

We profess Christ as that Saviour, and praise and thank you for the resurgent power of his Easter truth and grace.





Friends of the living God, Easter is about new life bursting free from the most deadly restrictions. Receive the remarkable gift of new beginnings which the forgiveness of the living Christ makes freely available. Let nothing detain you in guilt, nothing restrain you from accepting this bonus of new life. It is here in abundance!


Thanks be to God!


The peace of the living Christ be with you all.

And also with you.




Dear God, you are wonderful!


You brought Jesus back from the dead

and put smiles our faces forever!


We don’t know how you did it,

but wow! You really did!

Thanks a million!


Dear God, you are wonderful!




PSALM 118: 1-2, 14-24


Thank the Lord, the greatest,

  whose sure-love lasts forever!

Let the congregation shout it:

  God’s sure love lasts forever!


God is my life and song,

  my freedom and my healing.

Listen to the victory songs

  in the camps of the liberated.

               For the complete text, see ‘More Australian Psalms’ page 153

                              Ó Open Book Publishers & B D Prewer




There are many smart minds

and many rank fools

            who spend their days

            among those who camp

            on the wrong side of Easter.


There are many good souls

and many corrupt

            who become bogged down

            among those who camp

            on the wrong side of Easter


There are many leaders

and many followers

            who live in the dark

            among those who camp

            on the wrong side of Easter.


There are many god-fearers

and many godless

            who die in the cold

            among those who camp

            on the wrong side of Easter.


There are a few dear saints

and many of small faith

            who have found boundless life

            among those who camp

            on the right side of Easter.

                                                                                          Ó B D Prewer 2002




God of life and joy, through the rising of your true Son you have brought life and immortality   to light, and turned the valley of death into an avenue of hope for all who trust you.

Increase in us, we pray, that vital faith which commits us to live this earthly life to the fullest,             loving one another even as Christ has loved us,

            and at our journey’s end praising you for all that is past,

            and trusting you for all that is to come.

Through this same Jesus Christ,

who with you and the Holy Spirit,

live and love immortally.





John 20: 18


Mary of Magdala went to the disciples with her news:

“I have seen the Lord!” she said.          John 20: 18


Mary had no doubt. 


Neither did any of the others, once they had seen the risen Christ.


But how could they explain this to outsiders? 


A big ask.


There is no way a mere mortal can get an easy handle on what happened at Easter. What took place is outside all our normal ways of understanding things. It transcends all attempts, ancient and modern, to define it. There was neither pre-existing language, nor subsequent religious or philosophical concepts adequate for that Easter happening.


Those people of two thousand years ago were in exactly as the same position as we are today. They had no way of getting a handle on the resurrection. Nor can we, not even with our advanced scientific method and technological know-how. There is no adequate category to explain what took place. Handles just do not exist within human experience.




This unique event blew apart all common expectations; it transcended all known categories of thought either held by the educated elite or the ordinary people of the land.  What they encountered with the risen Christ was neither immortality of the soul, nor was it a bodily regeneration at the end of time.


They had to search for new ways of speaking about the risen Christ who appeared to them on that first Easter morning and thereafter.  It should not surprise us that that each of the four Gospel writers tell the event in different ways. One cannot easily harmonise the peripheral details in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.


Just what one should expect?  I certainly would expect those variations.


I would be most suspicious if different people told the story in exactly the same words, without divergences. Memory is not a video tape, nor is it like still pictures stored on a CD. We remember the things that make an impact on us, and on those people who were in some ways important (negatively or positively) to us in that situation.


I have strong memories of special events in parishes where I have served.  So do those people who were around me in those congregations. They also remember some events clearly. Yet if you interviewed a dozen of us separately, you would find the same core stories but differing versions of them. For example, in one’s person’s memory certain people would feature. In another memory some different people would get mentioned. Some of the names might overlap. Yet at the core of each we would find they and I were witnesses to the same events.


That our Gospel writers do vary; and that St Paul has a slightly different version in his letter to the Church in Corinth, is what we would expect. Isn’t it?  Of course there are variations. But they are variations on a common theme. Yet there is a striking similarity in those early written records. They were grappling to recount the same mind-stretching meeting with Jesus their Lord. Those people were witnesses to a happening which had not precursor. An event for which there was no existing theory, no category, not even adequate metaphors with which to express it.




The fact is that on Easter Days God did something radically new.


It was the same Jesus, yet not the same Jesus. He was no mere immortal spirit (as some Greeks might believe)), nor was he an earth-trapped ghost destined to spook people over the centuries.  Those first believers, from Mary of Magdala, to Peter and John, to Thomas, to Paul, all encountered a real person with some radically new kind of body which defied explanations based on their normal experience in time and space.


This Easter event was unheard of. Utterly fresh. God’s new age was here.


In one sense, it meant that the end of the old world had indeed come, and the new world had risen up with Christ Jesus. The new age of the resurrection of the dead had been inaugurated. It was on!


However this was not a resuscitation of Jesus’ old body, but something quite unique; something OTHER. This otherness evoked awe.


This OTHERNESS is displayed within the written records-

# Mary weeps by the tomb, yet strangely did not recognise her beloved Master standing beside her until he spoke her name “Mary!” Then she clung to his feet.

# At evening the disciples were hiding behind locked doors. Those same doors stayed locked, yet suddenly Jesus appeared in their midst.

# That same evening two other disciples were travelling out of the city, heading the village        of Emmaus. They were joined by a person whom they did not recognise, who spoke with   them, interpreting the Scriptures and setting their hearts alight. But it was only at supper        as he broke the bread that they recognised him. And then he was gone.


There is not acceptable language to explain this new type of bodily resurrection. All they can do it to tell the story their way, and keep on telling it.


Paul often uses the similar words about Jesus being raised. He extends this resurrection language with talk of “appearances” of Jesus. Jesus “appears” here and there.


God had done a new thing. A radical new age has arrived.  And there are many witnesses to these appearances.




I still find it a marvel that we actually have a letter written only about twenty years after the Easter event.  A letter in which Paul’s writes:

Christ died for our sins, in line with the Scriptures, and he was buried. He was raised             on       the third day, also in line with the Scriptures. He appeared to Cephas (Peter) and       then to the twelve. Then he appeared to over five hundred believers at the one time, most of       whom are still alive. Though some have fallen asleep.  Then he    appeared to [his brother]       James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, like a freak     born long after the birth date,    he appeared also to me.


This is remarkable stuff. Not only did the inner circle of disciples witness this new form of resurrection life, their risen Lord Jesus, but over 500 others saw him at the one time!  “Ask them yourself!” Paul was writing. “Ask them! They will tell you. Most of them are still around.”


Not that it was easy for Paul to express. Like the Gospels which were written a few years later, Paul finds it hard to employ adequate language. There was in truth no convenient handle. Paul strains to do the theme justice. Just as we do today.


We struggle. So we should. How can any of us explain something that is supra-natural, something OTHER, in words drawn from the natural world in which we live? We can’t.  But we hang in there and try.


The church has usually stayed with the “resurrection” word. This way of speaking stresses that Jesus was not a ghost, not a presence to be invoked at a séance, not a vision conjured by the minds of the disciples, not a lofty spirit taking his place among the ranks of the immortals. The risen Jesus was a real person, approachable, hearable, seeable, touchable. 


Easter says: Get ready to stretch your minds. Prepare to stretch your understanding to the limits and then still some more! For on this day God has done a thing unseen before; a new era has begun. Jesus is the first ripe fruit from the harvest of the dead.


You cannot fit a handle to the resurrection.


Yet is happened. That is the only feasible staring point. It is the only reasonable explanation of the sudden emergence of that vibrant community which was the dynamic young church in action.


Those people around Jesus were no more gullible than sophisticated intellectuals of the twenty first century. (They were less gullible than of our contemporaries who believe in magic crystals, glass pyramids, and all the nonsense of the astrologers!) Those first witnesses to the risen Jesus were tough realists They had to be, living as they did under constant occupation by the ruthless Roman military. Life was precarious. Death could be sudden and brutal. Crosses were for real. The dead were buried and stayed there. They were certain Jesus had been butchered, entombed, would stay there like every other human being. He would never be seen again on this earth.


Then came the third day. Inexplicably their Master, Christ Jesus, was alive again! This awesome new thing had entered the human story. Inexplicable yet true!




When I was younger I used to have some sympathy for those critics who asserted there was a long period between that Easter day and those first written records that refer to it.   Time enough for witnesses to have died. Time enough for memories to maybe become distorted, for vain imaginings or superstitions to take over.


These days I realise how pretentious (contemporary hubris!) are those who caste aspersions the integrity or the sanity of those first witnesses to the resurrection.


The period of time from the first Easter to the first existing record (in Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians) is only about 17 years. The time to Paul’s extensive references to the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15, is only about 24 years.  That is such a brief time!


I can even remember ordinary things that happened twenty four years ago without much distortion. As for special events, I carry their memory vividly.  So please don’t try to tell me that over a short period of about 25 years people would get the resurrection event all wrong, and quickly forget what actually happened.


Jesus had risen from the dead. That they knew it with unshakeable certainty. There was no ready handle, yet the wonder and mystery of it was real. They just had to tell others. No matter how foolish it might make them seem. They gave it a try. This good news was irrepressible.  They wanted the whole world to know.


And I still do.


Christ is risen!

He is risen indeed!





Mark 16: 6-8


And the young man sitting in the tomb said to the women:


“Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where he lay. But go and tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you into Galilee; there you shall see him as he told you”. And they went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.


Fact or Fantasy?   


There are some people who would quickly answer “Fantasy of course!” They do so because they have made a priori decision, maybe years ago, that nobody survives death. This is like an article of faith to them: “Nobody outlives death. It is the total end of existence. Finish. Lights out forever.”


Such people live by this negative faith; for it is certainly a kind of faith, as unprovable as any other faith.


Therefore, a priori, if nobody survives death, Jesus could not have survived it in any form. By their own “fundamentalist” secular creed, Jesus could not have appeared to his disciples. Fantasy. Christians are deluded. Easter is a religious fraud.




Now this attitude, or negative faith, is quite understandable. Death is for real. The dead look very dead. And as far and normal observation of the facts goes, they remain that way. Dead. Dead. Very dead.


We don’t meet people who have been dead in the Mall. We don’t find them sitting again in their favourite chair reading the newspaper. We don’t meet them on the golf course or at church. They are gone. From one point of view it is reasonable to assume the possibility that at death the total person ceases to be.


But is it reasonable to turn that possibility into a dogmatic fact? It is reasonable to jump to the conclusion that because of our assumption, Jesus could not have transcended death? To do that is to act as if those first Christians were pathetic simpletons, credulous fools.


That is not fair. To treat those first believers as nitwits is to take up a position of blind arrogance. What makes us think that we citizens of the twenty first century are smarter, or braver, or more truthful than those of the first century? Arrogance! We are not the first well educated generation; we have not discovered reason and logic; we are not the first to notice that the dead stay where they are buried.


The disciples drew the same conclusion as we might today. Death was real. And they saw a lot more of dead people on public display than we do. Those people had eyes and ears, and brains with which to reason. They did not meet the dead in their city squares, or find them sitting in a favourite chair, or worshipping at the temple. They knew the dead were dead. When Jesus was killed he looked gone forever. Those who entombed him knew they were dealing with rigor mortis. They did not expect to hear his voice; he was silenced forever.


Yet something happened. Something quite un-reasonable yet true.




Now that takes me to the Gospel reading for today. Mark’s account of that first Easter is at first glance a meagre and disappointing story. It does not finish with joyful tears but with confusion and fears.


Three women, Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James, and Salome, went to the tomb at about dawn to place perfumes on the body. They found no body. But there was a young man sitting there who told them Jesus had risen. You might think that would delight them. But no, it confused and frightened them. Compared with John’s moving account, which is also in the lectionary for today, Mark’s story ends “not with a bang but a whimper.”

            And they [the three women] went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and             astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were             afraid.


At this point I need to outline the complication concerning the ending to Mark’s Gospel. Most scholars agree that the verses that come after verse 8 of chapter 16 are later additions. They do not appear in most of the earliest manuscripts. Either the original ending was lost, or Mark intended it to end with a whimper. Later scribes could not tolerate such a weak ending, so verses 9-11 were added and then verses 12-20.


If we stay with Mark at verse 8, there is no story of Mary Magdalene meeting Jesus near the tomb, there is no exciting women running to tell the other disciples their good news, there is no Peter and John running to the tomb to see for themselves, there is no story of the walk to Emmaus and the breaking of bread, and no story of Jesus greeting his friends behind locked doors. Mark’s account is brief and inconclusive. Just three women suffering shock.


For my part, I am well content if Mark decided to end it at verse 8, with the women confused and keeping quiet about their weird experience at the empty tomb. That seems to be nearer to what I might expect to happen. That would make it similar to Luke’s story where we are told that when the women do try telling the male disciples, but they are met with disbelief:  these words seemed to them an idle tale”.




I put it to you that such confusion and disbelief is good. It rings true. It makes an immediate connection with the world as we know it. Faced with a young man saying that Jesus has risen, the women are confused and the disciples at first think the story nonsense. Fair enough!


The story of Jesus rising from the dead in a transformed state is a certainly hard yarn to swallow. Right?  Isn’t that how we would be in a similar situation? Put yourself in their shoes. Would you readily believe such a far fetched tale told to you at dawn by a young man sitting inside a tomb?


I consider it may be true that Mark deliberately ended his Gospel at this point. With confusion and disbelief. Why?


By the time he was writing his Gospel, somewhere about thirty years later, there were vibrant Christian communities established in dozens of cities across the Mediterranean world. Even in the imperial city of Rome, under the very nose of Caesar who considered himself a god and who demanded absolute allegiance, there were men and women prepared to give their own lives for their belief in a Jesus who was crucified yet risen.


How could such faith be? How could it possibly happen? Mark leaves us with a dispirited band of previous followers of Jesus, and with two women named Mary and Salome; all of whom find the story unlikely. And they went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid  What turned things around?




Mark’s Gospel is particularly severe on the men who were the 12 disciples. He stresses their slowness to understand what was really happening with Jesus. They were dull-witted, disbelieving, unlikely candidates for Christ’s A team. What changed things? How could there be, thirty years later, dozens of Christian communities all over the world. What turned it around?  Big events demand a big cause; what was the big event?


Maybe Mark is deliberately indulging in some evangelical teasing; making us face the possibility that Christ is gloriously alive. How else do you explain, he is asking, the discrepancy between the crushed disciples on Good Friday and Saturday and the disciples after Easter Day and the lively churches 30 years later? What happened to take things beyond three confused and frightened women?


Unless.....unless.....unless what the young man in the tomb had said was true. Unless Jesus had somehow transcended death and was very much alive. Unless Jesus did go before them and met them again in Galilee. Otherwise, how was it that a story that ends with a whimper explodes with a mighty roar of love across the whole known world?


There is only one reasonable explanation: the unlikely has happened, Christ has risen indeed! “Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where he lay. But go and tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you into Galilee; there you shall see him as he told you”


Before long many of those first believers themselves had to face violent deaths. They did so without fear. What had taken the fear of death right out of the equation? Unless it be true that they knew a risen Lord who says, “because I live you shall live also,” their martyrdom is inexplicable.


Mark ended his Gospel with a whimper of confusion and disbelief. In sharp contrast, everywhere small congregations of enthusiastic Christians were springing up; people of exuberant faith and indomitable courage. That sharp contrast left enquirers with the unavoidable question: What happened? What event took place of such magnitude as would logically explain the transformation from whimper to exuberance? 


Disbelief is where most of us start. Mark’s story connects with us right there. And dares us to find out for ourselves whether our doubts are credible.




Today, here and around the world, the greeting “Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!” is being spoken in a thousand different languages. This is not a fantasy for fuzzy-headed, meek-hearted wimps who cannot face the hard reality of death. Rather it is a hard fact of history and of contemporary experience, a living truth that takes us from confusion and disbelief to light and faith and holy joy.


I conclude with some words from the brilliant Roman Catholic theologian, and at times rebellious soul, Hans Kung:


            “Christianity begins with Easter. Without Easter there would be no Gospel, not a single             narrative, not one letter in the New Testament. Without Easter Christendom would have    no belief in Christ, no proclamation of Christ. Not any church, or any divine worship, or any mission.”


And then again from Mark:


            “Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see    the place where he lay. But go and tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you       into Galilee; there you shall see him as he told you”





            The joy of the living Lord be with you!

            And also with you!

            Lift up your hearts.

            We lift them up to God.

            Let us give thanks to our loving God.

            It is our joy to give thanks and praise.


Most generous God, our one sure Friend on earth and in heaven,

in every day and every place our thanks and praise rise to you.


Always planet earth has been your chosen and much-nurtured project,

and in every age you have chosen people to declare your glory.


Especially on this holy day we give exultant thanks for Christ Jesus,

truly your holy Son, truly our brother and saviour.


Blessed is the day on which he was born,

blessed the deeds and words by which he is known,

blessed forever the cross on which he died.


Blessed is the dawn on which he arose,

blessed his meeting with Mary by the tomb,

blessed his greeting to the disciples behind locked doors.


Blessed is the Spirit of grace, mercy and peace

which he breathed into them for the healing of the world,

and his promise that to the end of time he would be with them.


Therefore with angels and archangels..............




God our Lord Jesus Christ, bruised for our iniquities, risen for our salvation, please receive our prayers for your world. Especially we pray this Eastertide for those members of your human family who are dying, and for all who are grieving their passing.


Wherever this day death arrives with the roar of bombs or the rattle of machine guns, come risen Christ Jesus;

            Come quickly living Friend with your Easter light and salvation.


Wherever today death arrives with the malnutrition and disease of refugee camps, come risen Christ Jesus;

            Come quickly living Friend, with your Easter light and salvation.


Wherever today death arrives with the assassin’s knife or the bullet of the hit man, come risen Christ Jesus;

            Come quickly living Friend with your light and salvation.


Wherever today death arrives with the swallowing of illegal drugs or the insertion of an injection needle, come risen Christ Jesus;

            Come quickly living Friend with your light and salvation.


Wherever death arrives today with the squeal of car tyres or the shouts of an alcoholic brawl, come risen Christ Jesus;

            Come quickly living Friend with your Easter light and salvation.


Wherever death arrives today despite the best of medical care, and watched over by loved ones, come risen Christ Jesus;

            Come quickly living Friend with your Easter light and salvation.


Whenever death arrives today as a most welcome friend to those whose bodies are wasted and who long to go home, come risen Christ Jesus;

            Come quickly living Friend with your Easter light and salvation.


Wherever death has left in its wake desolate loved ones, desperate orphans, or angry people looking for revenge, come risen Christ Jesus;

            Come quickly living Friend with your Easter light and salvation.


God of Easter, please let it be written indelibly on our mind and soul, that nothing can defeat your love, nothing sever us from the grace of our risen Christ. Let is be so written that we awoke each morning with faith and hope ingrained, and with love ready flow through every deed we do, to the glory of your wonderful name! Through Christ Jesus our Lord.





Death, which some have called “the final enemy,” is real. 

Easter is not a time of denial, but a time of declaring a reality which is far greater than death. This reality is God’s indomitable love.


Christ is risen!

He is risen indeed!


Nothing can hold Jesus down. With his assistance nothing can overcome you while you journey with him to the end of time--  and far beyond!


Christ is risen!

He is risen indeed!


            The deathless joy of Christ Jesus will uplift you,

            the everlasting love of God will embrace you,

            the inner warmth of the Spirit will encourage you,

            today and ever more.

            Today and evermore. Amen!


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My Best Mate,  (first edition 2013)

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

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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.