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.

EPIPHANY 5   5-10 Feb


Sunday 5


Mark 1:29-39                            (Sermon 1: “It’s Question Time”)

1 Corinthians 9:16-23

Isaiah 40:21-31                         (Sermon 2: “First-rate Walking :)

Psalm 147: 1-11, 20c




Great is our God and abundant in power,

with wisdom beyond our understanding.

It is God who numbers all the stars

and gives each of them a name,

yet bends and heals the broken hearted

and binds up all their wounds.


The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ

the love of God,

and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,

be with you all.

And also with you.




Have not you known?

Have not your heard?

Our God is an everlasting God,

the Creator of all the earth.

God never grow faint or weary,

with wisdom that is unsearchable.


Those who rest in God shall renew their strength

they shall soar up with wings like eagles,

that shall run and not become weary,

they shall walk and never faint.


Woe to us, if we do not celebrate the good news!

In its joy we gather,

that we may share its blessings!




God of land and sea and the brilliant night skies, God of light and beauty and power, please enlarge our prayers.

God of Bethlehem, Galilee and Calvary, God of hope and faith and love, please redeem our prayers from triviality.

May the yearning of our souls, the gratitude of our hearts, the thoughts of our minds, and the energy of our bodies, be drawn together by your Spirit into one outpouring of thanksgiving and praise.

Through Christ Jesus our Lord.





Let us immerse mind and soul in the redeeming love of God. Let us pray.


Holy God, Friend and Teacher, please continue to redeem your people. We are students in the school of life, sometimes succeeding, often failing, but by your assistance in Christ, each day we try to glorify you as we apply love’s lessons.


Please confirm in us the true and beautiful things we have absorbed from the Gospel, and highlight and correct the errors which have found expression through us.


In your mercy, expunge from the book of life the evil and shame we have either wilfully or unintentionally inscribed.


Remind us that in the school of our Saviour Christ, no error is indelible, no deed unforgivable, no student destined for failure.


Above all other lessons, teach us to welcome and assimilate the gift of saving grace, and to share it freely with those around us. Let us be merciful even as you are merciful, that we who are students may also live as the sisters and brothers of Jesus and as the genuine children of the Most High God. For your love’s sake.





Fellow students in the class of Christ, hear again the Good News: “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just, and can be depended on to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Life is an open page before you, fill it with the stories of grace.

We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

Thanks be to God!




What would the world be like, God,

if everyone in every land,

young and old, rich and poor

fully trusted you

for just one day?


What party of kindness and happiness

there would be!



God, we know that isn’t going to happen yet.

So let’s start with all the people of your church?

Even better, begin with each of us right now.

Wow us again with your love.





PSALM 147: 1-11, 20c


See “Australian Psalms” page 38.

            Ó I B D Prewer & Open Book Publishers.\




I had been disappointed.

Simon has spoken so well of Him,

and I wanted to see

what made my son-in-law

seem so care-free.


The fever seized me

that day when He came to town.

So I tossed on my bed

with bewildering dreams

filling my head.


On Sabbath morning

the others went to synagogue,

while Judith stayed in place

making me sip some wine

and bathed my face.


They came back home

bringing this new smiling prophet

(although I could not care less

about it at that moment

in my distress.)


They say He came and knelt,

then took my hands and raised up

my feverish frame,

and all the fever fled as

He spoke my name.


I found myself looking up

and immediately recognised

the Light in His dark eyes;

I rose and set the table

to their surprise.


Never had I felt

so at home in my own house

as in that healing hour

when He came to my place

with humble power.

                                                            Ó B D Prewer 2002




Most loving God, help us to find the places where Christ is most accessible. That we may be able to bring to him those things that cause our dis-ease, and receive from him that grace which brings wholeness to those who trust him. In his name and to your glory.





Mark 1:32-34a


“At sundown, the people brought to Jesus those who were sick or possessed by demons. And the whole city was gathered together about the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cats out many demons.”


The good news of Jesus Christ is both simple and profound.


In essence it is a most simple message, so accessible that little children can respond with as much authenticity as the well educated adult. Yet also in essence it is so profoundly complex that sophisticated Christian thinkers with the most brilliant minds are left floundering in its Mystery.


The actual the way the Gospel of Mark is written, reflects something of this mystery. On the surface it reads like a simple story written by a naive but faithful follower of Christ Jesus. It can easily be read in less than an hour from its abrupt beginning to its abrupt end. Yet this first of the written Gospels is not a simple composition at all. It is a sophisticated credal document in its own right.


Mark is not some yokel who clumsily stitches together stories of Jesus. The careful way Mark arranges the stories, the questions he pursues, are all to do with faith. He is confronting his readers with the Mystery at the heart of Christian theology.


With evangelical fervour, Mark wants readers to become fascinated with this Jesus of Nazareth. The questions that Mark will not let rest are:  “What is going on here? Who is this Jesus? From where does he get such power?”


In a sense, Mark takes his readers on the same journey that those first disciples of Jesus experienced. The disciples had questions before answers. Mark does the same.  He does not present readers with a Nicene Creed, Westminster Confession, or the weighty volumes of Karl Barth’s theology, and ask us to agree with their content. He stirs our curiosity.


The first disciples journeyed with a man called Jesus, listened to his teaching, wondered at his loving deeds, became acutely aware of something exceptional at work, and had to formulate their own faith in response. Mark wants us to take the same journey, and find the surprise that they had found. “Find out for yourself,” he is saying.


I will return to this aspect later. But for now I want you to see how the stories that are apparently lumped together, are carefully chosen scenes for evangelical preaching.


REVIEW: SCENES 1, 2, & 3.


First, We review the drama  of the readings we had for recent Sundays, which give us three scenes.


Scene 1: There was the call of the disciples. In Mark this is all very brisk.  By the waters of Galilee Jesus saw Simon and Andrew casting their nets, not far off shore. He called out to them: “Follow me.” Without any delay, they came ashore, left their nets and went off with Jesus. A little later Jesus come upon the Zebedee fishing fleet berthed by the beach. James and John were busy mending their nets. Jesus called them to follow. Without hesitation they got up, and went off with Jesus; leaving their dad, Jonas Zebedee, and his hired workers with their mouths agape!

            What is going on here? Who is this Jes

us who puts an unreasonable request to hard-bitten fishermen, and they immediately respond?


Scene 2: Next in the Gospel story brings us to Sabbath worship in the town of Capernaum, which was situated on the northern end of the Lake. Jesus turned up at church and at some point was invited to give the sermon.


Those members of the congregation who were ready to have a doze while one of the local rabbis gave a dose of the usual truisms, suddenly sat up and took notice. What Jesus had to say and the intrinsic power with which he said it, astonished the people. This was something new here, something living and real, a preacher who really knew what he was talking about. They had never met anyone like this before. What was going on here? Who was he, really?


Scenes 3: But wait, there is more!  There was a major disturbance. In the synagogue on that Sabbath day was a mentally deranged man, one who was possessed by a demon. This fellow shouted at Jesus, feeling threatened by this stranger.


Jesus immediately rebuked him, and ordered the demonic power out of the man. After some writhing and screaming, the man was delivered of his demon, and was completely healed. The people were amazed saying: “What is this? He speaks with such authority that even the unclean spirits obey him.”




Today’s reading takes us on to scenes 4, 5 and 6 in the drama which reveals the mystery of Jesus.


Scene 4: Jesus left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever. These days we often forget how dangerous a fever could be prior to the advent of modern antibiotics. This woman may have been in a life-threatening situation.


The other thing we need to realise is that in 1st century cultural thought, the fever was seen to be induced by evil; an invasion from hell. So Jesus continues his battle with the forces of evil.  Again it is worth reflecting that although our explanations re. illness have altered, we still regard such illness as an evil; something that God does not want to happen.


Jesus went to the bedside of the sick woman and again showed his remarkable powers. This time he did not even speak a word of authority against the evil fever. Faith healers in his era had special ritual sentences they would recite (rather like faith healers today) But Jesus simply took her hand and raised her from the sick bed. In that moment her fever departed and she was able to soon serve the visitors a meal. What is it with this Nazarene who does not even need to recite a healing formula to achieve a cure?




Scene 5: The next scene seems to stress the wide-ranging compassion of this fellow named Jesus. At sunset the Sabbath Day officially ended. The people of Capernaum then felt free to bring their sick to Jesus for healing. The front of the house was crowded with many kinds of illness. A most poignant scene. The lame and the blind, the leper and the deaf, the mentally ill and the cancerous; child and grandparent, women and men; they came to Jesus and found healing. There seems no limit to his compassion and his authority. What in the name of God is going on here?


Scene 6: This same theme of the universality of Christ’s ministry is pursued in the final section of today’s reading from Mark’s Gospel. After rising early and going to a lonely place for prayer, Jesus tells his disciples that he must spread the good news further. “And he went through all Galilee preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.” Soon, all over the land the question is being posed: “Is there no boundary at all to the compassion and authority of Jesus of Nazareth?”




Mark is a royal herald. He is the announcer of good news for the people. Yet he does not do this by presenting his readers with a doctrinal summary of the nature of Jesus. Mark tells it in story and leaves us with the question: “Who is this Jesus? What do you make of him? Does this person fit your normal categories? How do you explain his charisma? What is the source of his wide-ranging power?”




            Those who first believed in Jesus did so because of what they heard with their own ears and saw with their own eyes. Their faith did not arrive neatly packaged in a creed, but possessed them bit by bit as they journeyed with him. Maybe in our evangelism we should remember that.


            We cannot literally hear Jesus with our own ears and see him with our own eyes. But we do have the stories of the impact of this Jesus. And that story of Jesus is massively larger than the one Mark had.


            We have two millennia of the Jesus stories. Two millennia of people whose lives have been changed by Jesus of Nazareth. And there is plenty of testimony in this 21st century to the unique charisma of this person we call Christ. The Jesus-event is still happening, the story continues. When people see what Jesus can do, the evangelical question that Mark poses becomes unavoidable.


            All research on how people come to faith today, shows that it is not primarily through up-front preachers (no matter how much we preachers would like to think we are the king-pins!) but through lay people witnessing to their faith. And by witnessing I don’t mean seizing every moment to put in a raucous religious word, but by living the faith and quietly and lovingly speaking about it at the appropriate moment.  Testimony poses the evangelical question: Who is this Jesus who has such an effect on people today?


            Those who in response to humble testimony, take the plunge and join the Christian journey, will on that journey discover for themselves who this Jesus really is. His charisma will work in their own lives. The demons will be sent packing, the fevers of secular life will lose their power, purpose will suffuse their days and nights, and a new compassion for humanity in its diverse moods and needs, will grow. Then, later on the journey, our common creeds and doctrines may then become joyful affirmations; not as the cause of faith but as an expression of such faith.




            The story of Jesus as told by Mark is both simple and profound. Likewise the story of Jesus as lived by us and told by us is should be simple yet profound. If we are faithful, and not embarrassed about its simplicity, but live it humbly and joyfully, then those around us are more likely to be brought to that profound wonder and light that follows the question: Who is this Jesus?


            Please, my fellow disciples of the Man from Nazareth, never be embarrassed by the simplicity which lies at the core of your faith. And never ‘fudge’ the profound complexity by pretending that you have all the answers to every question. Be frank and be true, and then the evangelical questions will be raised by the way you simply and lovingly follow your Lord.





Isaiah 40: 30-31


Even youths shall faint and be weary,

and young men shall fall down exhausted;

            But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,

            they shall mount up with wings like eagles,

            they shall run and not be weary,

            they shall walk and not faint.


When I was an unseasoned minister, exuberant with the zeal of a young faith and youthful energy, I used to think Isaiah might have got the order of things upside down. I reckoned he should have written chapter 40, verse 31, in this way:

            Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength,

            they shall walk and not faint,

            they shall run and not weary,

            they shall rise up with wings like eagles.


That seemed more logical to me: a rising scale of Christian aptitude and achievement? Like babies, Christians begin with walking, graduate to running, and then by the grace of God our faith and achievements for the glory of God would soar like eagles?  For those who trust God things would ascend from steady to impressive to glorious?


Looking back, I suspect that in the early phase of my pilgrimage, I saw walking, and especially faithfully plodding, as being third-rate version of the Christian life.


So it seemed when I was much younger. But now? I will return to that question in a few minutes.




But first I want to look at those words: Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.


Waiting? What does it mean to wait on/for the Lord? Does it mean sitting on pious posteriors and twiddling our religious thumbs, expecting God to get us out of the mess?  Regretfully we must acknowledge that some Christians take that attitude. Their faith is characterised by pious inaction. They wait for God to put things right.


That is hardly fair to what the Bible means by waiting for, or waiting on, God. Translators of the Old Testament Hebrew text in Isaiah 40: 31, opt for words like wait or hope, or trust


Behind the word translated “wait” lies the Hebrew verb qwh. In Semitic languages it seems that this originally had to do with twisting or plaiting strands together, as in making a cord or a rope.  Here we get a sense of the strength that comes from binding things together.


There is also a feminine form of the word ( mqwh) used to denote a place for collecting waters. That is, a reservoir, tank or cistern.


Waiting on God then, implies an experience of allowing God to bind together our strengths, or to collect our resources. Or as we might say these days, letting God help us “get our act together.” God focuses us, gathers the frayed strands of our being, conserves our resources, reinforces us, and enables us. God assists us to get ready for whatever challenges are thrown at us.


Waiting is active, not passive. It is not waiting with dismal resignation to our fate, but trusting with confident expectation that God will employ the various strands of our life to the strongest and fullest degree possible.


This is not always a comfortable process. It may involve pain; tough decisions, personal anguish from radical changes as we ask God to reorder our discordant lives.


But it is worth it. Those who “wait” on the Lord shall certainly renew their strength. Regather their hope, trust, expectation and resources of love.


Is this really true? Thousands, indeed millions, say yes! And among those millions of walkers and plodders I count myself blest to be present. It works. It works for me. That’s a fact.


I am not a strong or very clever person. Physically and emotionally I am not robust. Often I am that bruised reed or smoking wick of which Isaiah and Jesus spoke. Things which are simple for many are difficult for me. Also it may surprise you that words do not come easily. Verbal fluency is not a gift I have. I must search out words to fit the meanings weaving through my head. I have lived a busy and rewarding life but it has not been a breeze! Yet ever and again my strength is renewed by the grace of God, as I have “waited on the Lord.”


Set times of prayer/mediation are an essential part of my daily life. Without such I am lost. The more under pressure I have been, the more I have needed to keep my daily tryst with God. The more hectically busy I have been, the longer amount of time I have needed to spend at “the mercy seat.” The more I have “waited” the more I have been impelled into deeds that I had feared were beyond me.


God has been able to take my weaknesses and turn them to strengths. God has plaited together my few strengths and made them much stronger. God has gathered my resources. It is true for me: “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.” Hallelujah!




Let us return to the full text with which I commenced:

            Even youths shall faint and be weary,

            and young men shall fall down exhausted;

            But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength,

            they shall mount up with wings like eagles,

            they shall run and not be weary,

            they shall walk and not faint.


Did Isaiah get the progression wrong as I thought likely when I was an impatient young man?


His text seemed to start with glory (rise up with wings like eagles)

descend to athleticism (they shall run and not weary)

and conclude with plodding (they shall walk and not faint)


(It once sounded to me a bit like T S Eliot’s gloom in his poem “The Hollow Men.” “This is the way the world ends....not with a bang but a whimper.


Now? I no longer wish to correct Isaiah. I believe he got it right. Acutely right! In fact, there is a joy in walking, even when it is into the face of a stiff wind, which is underestimated by the impatient Christians.


Of course there are exciting times (especially when we are young and vigorous, but not exclusive to our younger years) when our feet seems to hardly touch the ground. We are filled with visions and high hopes. Nothing seems impossible. We soar up with wings like eagles. Life is one big, glorious wow! That’s wonderful phase of life. Thank God for it.


Of course there are others times , more common than the eagles wings incidents, when we find ourselves running the race for God without too much effort. We seem to make progress, yet the finishing line appears an inordinate distance. We do not easily tire.  That too is a wonderful feature of the Christian life. They shall run and not weary. Thank God for it.


Yet there are those slower times, more frequent than seeming to soar high or to sprint, when we must steadfastly walk.


While it is true that such slower times may be more familiar to the middle aged and the elderly, they also may occur when we are young. These are those long stretches in our Christian pilgrimage when we set the jaw, fix our eyes on Jesus, and keep following no matter how little progress we outwardly appear to be making. Often we are reduced from striding to plodding and from plodding to shuffling. But we do not throw in the towel. Our faith and love do not collapse. To our own surprise we keep going when we thought we had already been at the end of our tether. They shall walk and not faint.


Let me say a special word to any of you who may be despondent. Please, my fellow friends of Christ Jesus, do not become discouraged should you find yourself doing a large amount of walking, only ocassional running, and just rare moments of soaring like the eagles.


Walking with Christ is a choice experience, a precious gift from God. They who must walk lack the elation of the eagles' wings; they have none of the exhilaration of the times when we run well. Yet faithful walking is a wonderful thing to behold. A joy to experience. A gift to celebrate. Thank God for it!


It is not a third rate form of Christian performance. I gladly declare it to be a first rate achievement.


Those who wait on the Lord (who gather their resources in God’s presence, who have their few threads of strength bound together by the Spirit, who find even their weaknesses being turned to good use by the Lord of amazing grace) shall share the wonder and joy and expectation of Isaiah.

            Have you not known?

            Have you not heard?

            The Lord is an everlasting God.

            The Creator of the ends of the earth

            does not faint or grow weary,

            God’s wisdom is unsearchable.

            God gives power to the faint

            and the weak are given new strength.


            Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,

            they shall mount up with wings like eagles,

            they shall run and not be weary,

            they shall walk and not faint.


Thanks be to God! Among the shining hosts in heaven be glory and praise! Among that on earth that today soar like eagles’ wings, those who run and not weary, be glory and praise! And especially with the loyal and loving folk who walk and not faint; be glory and praise to our God for ever and ever!






Wonderful are your gifts, and infinitely more wonderful are you, God of Christ Jesus and our God. Each day declares your generosity and each night displays your glory.

            O that all would praise God for such goodness,

            for such wonderful gifts to the children of earth!


We thank you for the good earth beneath our feet, for the abundance that rises from its fertility, and for all the creatures that share its providence.

            O that all would praise God for such goodness,

            for such wonderful gifts to the children of earth!


We thank you for streams and lakes, for great rivers and the mighty oceans, for the winds that sweep the earth and the air that maintains our life, breath by breath.

            O that all would praise God for such goodness,

            for such wonderful gifts to the children of earth!


We thank you for the skies above us, the ‘mind-blowing’ expanses of the universe and the billions of stars that tease our curiosity and help keep us humble.

            O that all would praise God for such goodness,

            for such wonderful gifts to the children of earth!


We thank you for the human race, with its diversity and similarity, its great minds and its precious saints, and with its potential to be far greater than we have yet known.

            O that all would praise God for such goodness,

            for such wonderful gifts to the children of earth!


We thank you for the special people who have helped shape our lives, family members and neighbours, friends and teachers, lovers and pastors, counsellors and little children.

            O that all would praise God for such goodness,

            for such wonderful gifts to the children of earth!


We thank you for the great leaders and prophets of the Bible. Most of all for Jesus of Nazareth whose Spirit still encourages us yet disconcerts us, gives us answers yet raises deep questions, saves us and entrusts us with a Gospel that belongs to the whole world.

            O that all would praise God for such goodness,

            for such wonderful gifts to the children of earth!


By the power of your Holy Spirit, loving God, enable us to turn our thanksgiving into deeper love and our praise into more robust faith. Through Christ Jesus our Lord.





Most holy Friend, you have sent us Jesus to mend that which is broken, to bridge that which is alienated, and to heal that which is diseased. In his name our troubled hearts speak to you, God, of those many people whose needs are great and whose comforts are few.


We speak to you of our concern for places where there is conflict, violence, and misery: war ravaged countries, domestic cruelty, bullying in school grounds, workplace intimidation, gang warfare on streets, or terrorist attacks.

                        Loving God, hear our prayers,

                        Holy Friend, save your people.


We speak to you of our concern for all displaced people: in refugee camps, fugitives from oppression, those crowded on unseaworthy boats, those in our Australian detention centres, and for all separated families and traumatised children.

                        Loving God, hear our prayers,

                        Holy Friend, save your people.


We speak to you of our concern for neighbours, workmates, or members of our own families who are ‘doing it tough;’ the unemployed and the disabled, some fighting terminal illness, others in despair from broken relationships, some grieving a death, many caught up in predicaments for which there seems no obvious answer.

                        Loving God, hear our prayers,

                        Holy Friend, save your people.


We speak to you of our concern for the church: with its flourishing or weak congregations, some living in comfort and others surviving under persecution, some filled with self doubts and some with over self-confidence, churches without priests and ministers or those where sadly there is conflict between clergy and laity.

                        Loving God, hear our prayers,

                        Holy Friend, save your people.


We speak to you now loving God of ourselves: Help us, in our own small way, to be more like your compassionate Christ. Shape our thoughts, sift our feelings, supervise our efforts, bless our abilities, that we may get the best out of each day and give the best to those around us. Through the grace of Christ Jesus our Redeemer.





Go out into the world with enough joy and love

to make the contemporary demons slink back to hell.



May God bless the treading of your feet,

May Christ bless the seeing of your eyes,

May the Spirit bless the serving of your hands.



              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

b_mbm.jpg b_ap2.jpg b_jof.jpg
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.