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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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EPIPHANY 3    21-27Jan


Sunday 3


Mark 1:14-20

1 Corinthians 7:29-31

Jonah 3: 1-5, 10

Psalm 62: 5-12




My sisters and brothers, let us first quieten down,

releasing any tensions that may have preceded our arrival,

and breathing slowly and deeply of the breath of life.


We wait in quietness for God alone,

            from whom all hope comes.

Here is the good news:

            The promised time has come,

            God’s rule on earth is at hand,

            turn and trust the gospel.

Trust in God at all times,

pour out your heart and find refuge.

            God is a rock fortress and our salvation,

            in whom is deliverance with honour.




It is time to become focussed,

not on our wants or complaints but on God:

In the silent places of my soul I turn to God,

for God alone is our rock and salvation.


Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the good news of God,

saying the time has come, the realm of God is at hand.

The realm of God is not very far from any one of us,

for in God we live and, move and have our being.


Jesus said: repent and believe the good news.

The time has come.

In the silent places of my soul I turn to God,

for God alone is our rock and salvation.




God of Christ Jesus and our God, delighted with our good fortune we

come to accept the gospel invitation.

Your deliverance surpasses the loftiest visions of the prophets,

your generosity exceeds the wildest expectation of the psalm singers,

your grace outstrips the hopes of the great lawgivers as the sun outshines a camp fire.

Glorious are you, God of unspeakable good news!

With every breath of our being, we come to give you thanks and praise.

Through Christ Jesus our hope and salvation.





Let us confess our involvement in the dark realm of evil. Let us pray.


Most holy and most loving God, sometimes we come before you not very aware of any particular sins for which we need to make confession. Rather we are acutely conscious of the general stupidity and corruptibility of the human race of which we are an integral part.


Every day we are entangled, like it or not; in a web of distortions and compromises.

Every morning we feel inadequate in the face of evil and injustices in the community and world.

Each evening we know we have been a part of wrongs done and the good left undone.

It seems our fate to see distant mountain-peaks of faith and love, yet have to spend our days plodding around foothills, sometimes covering the same ground as the week before, or tripping over the same stones, or being bluffed by the same steep slopes.


As members of the whole human race, we cry for ourselves and on their behalf:

Lord have mercy.                      Lord have mercy.

Christ have mercy.                    Christ have mercy.

Lord have mercy.                      Christ have mercy.


Holy Friend, by the initiative of your grace in the Crucified and Risen One, may we all know the forgiveness of sin, the healing of the spirit, the toughening of the will, and in our hearts the renewal of belief. That yours may be the honour and praise, throughout the world as it truly is in heaven, we humbly pray. Through our Saviour Christ.





My friends, God is not a ruthless judge who is “out to get us,” but the Divine Lover who in the Gospel of Christ exposes our excuses, forgives our sin and delivers us from all evil. Though we are patently unworthy, God names us as worthy, and asks us to face the future without anxiety.




Trust in God at all times,

pour out your heart and find refuge.

God is our rock fortress and our salvation,

in whom is deliverance with honour.




It’s like amazing, dear God,

that your Son Jesus still calls people

to be his disciples.


We want to say yes to Jesus,

and be true and loving like him,

but we are also scaredy-cats

who are sometimes afraid

that following him

might make us unpopular

with other kids.


Could you fill our hearts

with so much love and trust,

oodles of it, please,

so that there’s not much room left

for fears that make us wimps?


Wouldn’t that that work well?



PSALM 62: 5-12


We wait in quietness for God alone,

            from whom all hope comes.

God is like an Uluru at the centre of salvation,

            my foothold which cannot be shaken.

Here is deliverance with honour,

            on the mightiest rock I rest in God.

Stake your life on God, all people,

            pour out your heart in security.


The life of the lowly hangs on a breath,

            but so also do the high and mighty.

Put the powerful and rich on God’s scales

            and they are lighter than a breath.

Don’t put confidence in making money

            through dubious business practices.

If your bank balance does happen to grow,

            never trust your heart to it.


God, you have once spoken your Word,

            and I have heard it repeated:

True power belongs to You alone-

            all the might of redeeming love.

You do not repay any human creature

            according to the things we have done.

                                                                                                                                                      Ó B D Prewer 2002




Called and sent,

though we may prevaricate

argue and gesticulate,

the call does not relent.


Called by name,

though we lag and grow weary

grumble and become dreary,

the call still stays the same.


Called by grace,

Though we hoist a rebel flag

label the faith a heavy drag,

the call remains in place.


Called and fed,

though we may try some cheaper stuff

or bellyache when things seem tough,

the call’s our daily Bread.

                                                                                                                        Ó B D Prewer 2002




Most Holy Friend, great source of all the love that ever was, is, or shall be,

            please recruit us into your new age.

Engage us with your costly love in Jesus of Nazareth,

            enfold us with the intimate love of your Holy Spirit,

            and entrust us with the love we must share with one another.

Enrich our worship with service and our service with worship.


To your eternal honour, praise and glory.





Jonah 3:  1-2

Mark 1 16-20


            Two texts. One theme.  “The Call to Obedience”.


Text 1: Jonah the most reluctant prophet. (3: 1-2) “Then the word of God came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that immense city, and preach to it the message that I give you.”


Text 2. Jesus calling his disciples. (Mark 1: 16-20) “Walking by Lake Galilee, Jesus saw the fishermen, Simon and Andrew casting a net. He said to them: “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Instantly they left their nets and followed Jesus. A little farther on, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in their boat mending their nets. Immediately he called them. They left their father Zebedee in the boat with the paid men, and followed Jesus.”


The call of God to Jonah, and the call of God through Christ to the fishermen, were calls to radical obedience.


The concept of obedience is not very popular these days. Fair enough, in certain cases. If we get close to some brands of religious obedience we find that they smell! Far too often-

            The call has been issued by those in power to those who have very little power.

            It has come as an outside force demanding compliance, even from one’s spirit.

            It has demanded that we fulfil the wants of others without reference to our needs.

            Obedience has often been demanded by petty lords who are themselves blind to truth.


Truly that kind of obedience smells. Such obedience is the stuff of tyrants and manipulators. People have multiple reasons to be suspicious when we start using that word obedience.




However, when the call comes from God, issued by that unique preacher from Galilee, we are in the new territory of a different kind of obedience.


The call from God to “trust and obey” may at first sound onerous but it is utterly different. In Christ, the idea of lordship and obedience has been turned inside out. Here we are caught up in something utterly novel. It is like a new-born world, a new kingdom, a new creation. Lordship and obedience are now the stuff of liberty and unrivalled happiness.


It is never a demand. Never an imposition. Never the use of the raw power of an enforcer. Never a bully. Although the call of Christ comes with considerable spiritual impact, it never tries to override the freedom of the individual. It respects the integrity of the soul. The called person is able to say no.


Jesus of Nazareth redefines the whole meaning of holy obedience.




The call of God is not asking us to do something that is alien to our nature.


It is not like a lion tamer forcing the beast to sit on a pedestal or leap through a hoop of fire. Not as a contortionist forcing his own body to do grotesque tricks to the applause of the crowd.


The call of God, the call to obedience, is more like calling a fish to swim, a bird to fly, or a child to play games. It is a call to be true to our own deepest, holiest nature.


Take the case of Jonah. “Then the word of God came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that immense city, and preach to it the message that I give you.”


Jonah is not asked to do something alien to his real nature. He is called to go to Nineveh and preach repentance and forgiveness to his enemies. To desire one’s enemies to undergo repentance and find forgiveness is not.....I repeat not...... something alien to human nature.


We were made for love. In spite of the way the powerful. the manipulators, and the cynics, have tried to brainwash us, compassion, not hatred, is nearer to our true nature. I admit that in our debased condition hatred may seem more natural than mercy. But that is not the core truth. Forgiveness is more truly natural for creatures that are, deep down, made in the spiritual likeness of God.


What the power brokers try to make us inflict on our enemies is not natural. Jonah’s contempt for the people of Nineveh is the alien thing. That is the perversion. Contempt and hatred is the stuff of perverts, not the children of God.


In the case of Jesus calling disciples, the call is to fulfil this divine image within them, by letting go of the things that distort and pervert that image. There is nothing alien about a call to follow a remarkable young leader whose friendship is the very breath of sanity, and whose commandments are the source of a vibrant liberty and bubbling joy. To trust and obey is to recognise and follow the ultimate truth. It is the most natural thing possible!


Jesus means freedom. As we sing in the great hymn by Charles Wesley:

            My chains fell off, my heart was free,

            I rose, went forth and followed thee.




            He said to them: “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Instantly they left their nets and followed Jesus. A little farther on, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in their boat mending their nets. Immediately he called them. They left their father Zebedee in the boat with the paid men, and followed Jesus.


The call of God to human beings is a call for total commitment. It is all embracing. Nothing can be left outside it. No provisos. No escape clauses. It is complete obedience.


God was not ready to accept some watered down loyalty from the prophet Jonah. Neither Jonah nor Nineveh would be made whole by half measures.


Jesus permitted no rival loyalties from his disciples. How could he without betraying his disciples by offering something second best?


 As a result, you get those very hard sayings of Jesus which offend some folk. No wavering: “If you put your hand to the plough and look back, you are not fit for the kingdom of God.”  Even families must come second: “Don’t love mother and father more than me.” Your own physical life is on the line: “If you try to save your very life, you will lose it, but if you lose it for my sake, you will find it.”


The obedience to love, that authentic, indigenous spiritual journey, is placed ahead of all else. Peter and Andrew left their nets. James and John left the father in the boat with his paid deck hands. Matthew left his highly lucrative profession.


The radical life-shift for any women disciples may have been even greater. Those remarkable women, who dared to follow Jesus, had to make all sorts of sacrifices, and put up with the dirtying of their reputations, when they broke with respectable social conventions and travelled with Jesus. To trust and obey meant total commitment.


Once I speak this way about total commitment, some folk will fear that I’m sliding back into the situation of God as the bossy overlord and we as the bowing and scraping subjects. NO!  There is a deep sense in which this obedience is to yourself!  It is not an external thing, but an internal commitment. The little ‘christ’ within resonates with the call of the Christ without. Total commitment to God is truly coming home.




There are among my friends some folk who refuse to use the word “Lord” for Christ Jesus. Their reasonable argument is that they believe the word “lord” is so laden with the arrogance of the powerful, that it cannot be expected to convey the grace of Christ. I hear them. But for my part, I prefer to allow Jesus of Nazareth to completely redefine the word.


If we embrace the call, then using the name “Lord” for Jesus, takes a new shape in our mind. Lord no longer means the overlord, making demands for his benefit and glory, but the Lord who is the dearest, humblest Friend. It is the soul-mate Lord, the companion Lord, the at-one-with-us Lord, the servant Lord.


As with most things he touched, the life of Jesus takes the word Lord and turns it inside out. This is the feet-washer of his disciples about whom we are talking.


Our Lord went about the countryside with no trappings of earthly authority. He asked for no office or title. He went to dinner with social outcastes, kept close friendships with women who were the most powerless group in his community, he took time to love children who were supposed to be seen but not heard, he commended the faith of foreigners, and he touched lepers. He made his only triumphal procession seated on a donkey, looking like a peasant on the way to market, his feet almost dragging on the ground. This Lord allowed himself to be taken by night, dragged before earthly authority, and crucified so that others might be saved.


As I have said on many occasions, the only throne Jesus ever ascended was the cross. The only crown he ever wore was one of thorns. This is the Christ who is “the same today, yesterday and forever.”


His way is not to dominate, but to be with us and for us. Not to turn us into poodles walking awkwardly on their hind legs to please their master, but to set us free to be our true selves as the Creator intended.  Just before his death he said: “I no longer call your servants but friends; friends know that their master is on about.”




Therefore the call of God to obedience, is a call to freely embrace those things which result in a fulfilled life. That is what the Lordship of Christ bestows; abundant life. Life overflowing with new possibilities. The favourite term of St John, “eternal life” is similar. Eternal implies not mere longevity but life with no fixed limits; open life; wide open life!


To this we are called by the Man from Galilee. Not to learn some alien trick but to discover who we really are¾

A call to the total commitment which is liberty.

A call that resonates internally, Spirit to spirit.

A call to revel in a new kind of Lordship where servants are friends.


We do not have to do it all by ourselves. As we journey we travel with the Spirit the Lord who calls us, liberates us, and equips us for all the practical issues of life, here today, tomorrow and to the end of the world.




Psalm 62: 5 and Mark 1: 16-20


Two threads of thought:

On my left there is a sky-blue thread from the Psalm for today which expects us find quietness in the Presence of God.

                        For God alone my soul waits in silence,

                        from him comes my salvation.

                        For God alone my soul waits in silence,

                        for my hope is from him.


On my right there is a blood red thread from the Gospel, the thread of the call of Christ which receives an immediate “yes” from those first disciples.

                        While he was walking by Lake Galilee, Jesus saw Simon, and Andrew his brother,

                        casting a net into the water. And immediately they left their nets and followed him.


Two threads: sky blue and blood red.


Speaking from my own soul, and deducing that at least some of you are a bit like me, I ask the question: Is answering the call of Christ compatible with having a quiet heart?


Does Christ bring serenity or turbulence? Can the red and blue go together?




In my life the call of Christ has been most disruptive; it has caused turbulence from the top of my mind down to the tender depths.


The first call to give my whole life to Christ Jesus, to give up my ego and become a follower, caused massive and painful disruption. I was not like the disciples Andrew and Peter, James and John, who are said to “have immediately left their nets and followed him.” “Immediately” was not in my dictionary. I put up quite a battle; my whole thoughts and feelings were in disarray at the call of this Christ. Rebellion was my “natural” reaction.


I did not eagerly respond to his voice; not like some fluffy, delighted lamb, that is eager to come running to the good shepherd. I was like a wild goat; who bleated and tried running away, struggled, butted, and kicked against what I thought was an attempt to limit my freedom. I tell you, it was not a pretty sight.


What is more, it did not finish there. Throughout my life there are times when this call of Christ again disrupts my plans and my comforts.  His call is renewed a thousand times, and then at thousand times more. Sometimes the call is to small, irksome deeds; at other times he comes with big asks. Do I go quietly? Not often.


At times like that, I hear his words in a new way: “I do not come to bring peace, but a sword.” It takes Christ’s benevolent sword to sever me free from situations where I have become self content.


In the Old Testament today we read a snippet from the Book of Jonah. I must admit that I have more in common with Jonah (who when they were called, desperately wanted out) than I do with Mark’s story of the disciples, immediately complying with the call.


I am sure some of you fall into my category.




I realise some of you might be of a different ilk. I respect that, and at times envy it. Maybe you are blessed with the eager lamb syndrome. Perhaps you have never known a time, from childhood on, when you did not hear the ongoing call of Christ with anything except love and glad obedience. 


On this matter, there are fellow pastors who from childhood or the early teens, lived constantly with the quiet assurance that they were called into the specific task of ordained ministry. They were always eager to get going. That is in contrast to other of my fellow ministers who, like Jonah, put up a sharp resistance to such a call.


If you are in that class of the eager lambs, then please deal mercifully with the rest of us who suffer from the wild goat syndrome.  We are what we are, and yet Christ has never ceased to be with us in our fears, our doubts, and our temporary rebellions.


Christ never gives up on us. There was no let up for Jonah when he tried running from God. There is a Divine patience which is only matched by God’s prodigious generosity.


As our life unfolds, we reach plateaus of orderly calm. Then just when we are ready for a spiritual snooze, this Christ disrupts our self satisfaction. There are new calls, new challenges, and new uphill tracks to climb.


It may be a simple (yet as difficult!) as being asked by the Lord to forgive one particular person who has deeply hurt us. Not only hurt us, but enjoyed doing it.  Or it is perhaps to start visiting some shut-in soul who needs compassion but is always prickly and complains a lot no matter what you do in goodwill. Or maybe the new call is to resign from a favourite role in your church to undertake one that nobody else wants to do.


Or the call may become more drastic. It may be a call to take up some heavy responsibility within the community or in the church? Sometimes the call will ask us for a radical change of our direction in life; or to a surrender of our prosperous life-style, or to undertake a difficult retraining for a new kind of work to the glory of God.


These calls from Christ do create consternation. It’s like being on a plane, when the Captain’s voice comes over the intercom: “Please fasten your seat belts, and place all loose possessions under your seats. We are about to enter an unstable weather pattern. There will be considerable turbulence.”




What then of those words repeated in the Psalm 62 about finding quietness in the Presence of God?

                        For God alone my soul waits in silence,

                        from him comes my salvation.


                        For God alone my soul waits I n silence,

                        for my hope is from him.


Or that time when Jesus is recorded as saying: “My peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.” What is that peace?


Or w hen he says to the common people of the land: “Come unto me all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”


The truth is that disruption and peace are not incompatible. One does not necessarily cancel out the other.


I can still remember the first moment of ultimate peace. That Sunday evening when I first gave my heart and soul and mind and strength to Christ Jesus, I experienced a peace that I had never dreamed possible. It went to a depth in my being; a depth that I hardly knew was there. And the deep core of it has never shifted


We can be in turmoil, and urgently long for some quick quietness. That too is sometimes granted. In the middle of making the toughest decisions, or when we enduring a painful upset in personal relationships, or when we are in confusion about right and wrong,  a Divine quietness can fill the terrain of the soul like a gentle evening breeze at the end of a heatwave.


At the very time when doubts, fears or rebelliousness have been wrestling within us, we can also find ourselves saying from the bottom of our heart:

                        For God alone my soul waits in silence,

                        from him comes my salvation.

                        For God alone my soul waits in silence,

                        for my hope is from him.




In the presence of Christ, his beloved disciples encountered a peace such as this world cannot give. But if they thought the call and disruption had finished once they left their nets and followed Jesus, they were in for one mighty surprise.


To travel in the company of Christ does bestow that remarkable underlay of quiet joy, an infra-flux of quietness. But he is also a most discomforting companion and Lord. The one who calls us always wants to take us further towards our high destiny. Even when we grow old, our Lord truly loves us enough not to let up. There are calls that come to the elderly as well as to the young.


When people talk about being in the presence of Christ, there is sometimes an assumption that all will be mellow comfort and serenity. We sometimes forget to admit to ourselves or to others how confronting it can also be; how scary at times. Yes, “scary.”


This reminds me of a passage in a sci-fi fantasy book titled “Return to the Whorl” by    Gene Wolfe


A young man is speaking about the man named Horne, whom he calls Father; although he’s not really his biological father. Horn was a man who gave his life for others. Yet it was most unsettling to spend time in his presence.


The son says:


Father was good............

That is the hard part to explain to everyone.........


If somebody frightens people, everybody thinks he has to be bad. But when you were around Father you were practically always scared to death, scared that he might one day find out the way you really were and do something about it.


Until you meet somebody like him, you will never know how scary that was.


Father knew exactly how bad we were but he loved us just the same. Deep down, I think he loved everybody, even Jahlee and Juganu [both vampires] He loved some people more than others, our mother especially. But he loved everybody


Until you meet somebody like him, you will never know how scary that was.


To be with Christ is simultaneously comforting and scary. The light is wondrously warm but it is also exceedingly bright.




The two treads, one blue and one read, runs through our experience of faith in Christ.


There is the sky blue thread: Christians are called by One whose love is boundless; a love that is for all people and goes beyond the limits mapped by other great leaders. A love that keeps calling us through the days and down the years.


Therefore, never underestimate the deep peace of Christ. We need to make time and space to visit that depth of peace whenever possible. It is a quietness of the spirit which goes to the roots of our being, and down, down to the rock-bottom foundation of all time and space.

                        For God alone my soul waits in silence,

                        from him comes my salvation.

                        For God alone my soul waits I n silence,

                        for my hope is from him.


There is always the blood red thread: The call will also keep on “ruffing us up,” stretching our mind, enlarging our soul, exercising abilities which have grown flabby, undercutting assumptions,  exposing our deceits, and forever forging our love into greater purity and beauty.


And immediately Jesus called James and John; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and followed Jesus.


Today the call comes again to us. Blessed are you who either eagerly, or even hesitatingly, answer “yes” and take the next step in following this wonderful yet scary Lord.





I believe in an innovative God,

who does not wait for us to find ourselves

but comes seeking the lost and calling us into a new way.


I believe in Jesus of Nazareth as God’s crucial initiative,

that when he calls us to follow, Christ also gives us the power

to become, both in creed and deed, the children of the living God.


I believe in the Spirit by whom Jesus still comes to us,

calling us to follow him into an obedience which is true liberty

and to a humble service which is the fruit of holy friendship.


I believe in the church as the fellowship of Christ’s people,

called to respect and support one another through joys and tribulations

as we travel the road towards the “promised land” of God’s future.


Because Christ has called me

in this I truly believe.





Who are we, most holy God, that we should presume to pray for others? Please remind us that we are friends of Christ Jesus, who asks us to pray for one another and to love even as he has loved us. Give us his confidence as we pray.


Today, God of Jesus, we link our prayers with your concern for a world ruptured by injustices and festering with hostilities. Please hear and use our prayers,

that your will may be done on earth as it is in heaven.


We link our prayers with your concern for the host of starving, homeless and forsaken people, who eke out their short lives in misery. Please hear and use our prayers,

that your will may be done on earth as it is in heaven.


We link our prayers with your concern for those who suffer abuse; the battered spouse, the sexually abused child, and employees mistreated in the workplace. Please hear and use our prayers,

that your will may be done on earth as it is in heaven.


We link our prayers with your concern for people who feel lost, without a sense of direction, ignorant of your spiritual resources; Please hear and use our prayers,

that your will may be done on earth as it is in heaven.


We link our prayers with your concern for all government, in our land and beyond, democratic institutions or autocratic, open or secretive; Please hear and use our prayers,

that your will may be done on earth as it is in heaven.


We link our prayers with your concern for the church, with its varied emphases and institutions, that its obedience may be a joyful service; Please hear and use our prayers,

that your will may be done on earth as it is in heaven.


We link our prayers with your concern for those around us in this church this morning; especially any who are bearing a secret burden or pain; Please hear and use our prayers,

that your will may be done on earth as it is in heaven.


Most loving God, keep our prayers going when we leave this house of prayer today, that our daily experience may be enhanced by our prayers, and our prayers enriched by our experience. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.





As we prepare to leave this sanctuary and move out to fulfil our calling in the wider world, let us pray together for God’s help.


Loving God, we ask you to fulfil

            the word sown in our lives today.

            Make us fruitful every hour

            throughout all the days of our lives.


Give us a faith

                        as wide as the world,

                        as high as the stars,

                        and as deep as the soul of Jesus.


The grace of Christ Jesus,

the love of God,

and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,

will be with you all.




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