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 7    18-24 February


Sunday 7


Mark 2:1-12.                 (Sermon 1: “Who Can Forgive Sins?”)

2 Corinthians 1:18-22               (Sermon 2: “God Said Yes!”

Isaiah 43:18-25

Psalm 41




Look carefully: God is doing a new thing.

It has taken root and is greening,

for those with eyes to see it.

God makes smooth paths through the wilderness,

and creates living streams in desert places.

This is the living God.

This is our God

who blots out our transgressions

and does not hold our sins against us.


The joy of Christ Jesus be with you all.

And also with you.





Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel

from everlasting to everlasting.

Amen and Amen!


The Son of God, Christ Jesus, is always God’s Yes!

For all God’s promises find their Yes in him.

Through him we say Amen, to the glory of God.


God has commissioned us and given us the Spirit

as a guarantee written in our hearts.

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Jesus,

from everlasting to everlasting.

Amen and Amen!




God our Holy Friend, most generous with your grace, most intimate in care, we come to you along familiar ways, and approach you through accustomed songs, readings and prayers. Please God, stab us awake to what we are doing. Do not allow familiarity to breed spiritual nonchalance. Startle us again with the miracle of it all, and make room in our minds and hearts for renewed wonder and adoration. Through Christ Jesus our redeeming Brother.





Fellow citizens of a kingdom which is in this world but not of this world, let us put before God our common story of success mixed with failure. We seek forgiveness for wrongs done and opportunities missed.


Let us pray.


If we have seized material blessings greedily, and flaunted our good fortune without sharing it with those not so well placed, Lord have mercy

            Lord have mercy.


If we have taken the love of family and friends for granted, showing with meagre gratitude, and if we have been unwilling to love those folk who may be prickly, Christ have mercy.

            Christ have mercy


If we have treated faith as something we deserved, and forgotten that it is Your unearnable gift though Christ who, while we were still sinners, died for us, Lord have mercy.

            Lord have mercy


Most holy God, kind sharer of all good gifts, enemy of all that hoards and excludes, please continue to save your people from their sins. Rebuff and humble us, forgive and uplift us, enlighten and embolden us, and restore to us the joy which nothing in this selfish world can give. Through Christ Jesus our Saviour.





Fellow citizens of the kingdom, the Christ of the holy Gospel says to each of us: “Son, daughter, your sins are forgiven you. Stand up and walk without shame, to the glory of God.”

Christ Jesus is God’s Yes to us.

In him we place our trust.

We are recipients of grace upon grace.

Thanks be to God!




Dear God,

please save us

from our own silliness.


We don’t always admit it,

but we do know that when we do wrong things,

we not only annoy or disappoint or hurt others

but we disappoint and harm ourselves

and spoil our own happiness.


Help us each day to be more true to You.

Then we will be more true to ourselves.

Through Jesus Christ our Saviour.





Happy are those folk who care for the needy,

when they are in need God will rescue them.

Their lives will be full and happy in the land,

and enemies shall not make sport of them.

God will care for them on the sick bed,

and transform suffering into healing.


I have been able to ask for God’s grace,

to be forgiven and healed from my sin.

My enemies wish me nothing but grief,

wanting the demise of all that I believe in.

Some come and say nice things to my face,

but go away and spread malicious rumours.


Those who don’t like me gossip together,

and say I’m getting what I deserve.

“He’s gambled with the devil and lost,

he’s down and won’t get up again.”

Even friends who have sat at my table,

now show me a clean pair of heels.


But not you, God, you show me sheer grace,

you lift me up and put them to shame.

I know that your love never forsakes me,

and my enemies will not have the last laugh.

You have affirmed the integrity of my faith,

and given me a place in your presence for ever.


Glory to God, the Friend of sinners,

from eternity to eternity!

Amen and Amen!




Mark 2:1-12


It was not that I had great trust;

mine had left me long ago,

purloined by healers who promised

much more than they could do.


I withstood my friends at first,

begging them to hear my gripe:

“I am not some “case” to be humoured

by some quack on an ego trip!”


But their faith would not let me be.

They carried me on my bed-

though I complained all the way-

to this teacher’s abode.


The crowd had no room for me,

they held my friends at bay,

but faith found a way through the roof

to a site no money could buy.


He looked at me with sharp eyes

and set my soul on fire,

I felt not judged but loved

by one who read my fear.


He saw right through my plight;

reaching far into my soul,

my sins were all annulled

by grace that’s not for sale.


My friends’ faith in him was valid,

not just cheap, pious talk.

Like one back from the dead:

By God! I could now walk!


                                             Ó B D Prewer 2002




Living God,

in the name of the Father, show us our follies,

in the name of the Son, show us your mercy,

in the name of the Spirit, show us true liberty,

for with you is resurgent life

and indefatigable resourcefulness.





Mark 2:5-7

            When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic: “My son, your sins are forgiven”.

            Now some of the scribes who were sitting there questioned in their hearts:” Why does

             this man speak this way. It is blasphemy! God alone can forgive sins.”


Who has the authority to forgive sins? That is the primary question I will try to address today. But first, I need to commence with guilt.




Guilt that is not faced, guilt that is not openly and cleanly dealt with, will always cripple to some degree. A few may be crippled physically, some will be crippled emotionally, some spiritually. Guilt always cripples. Guilt is self-distaste, self-disgust. It is a person’s anger against themselves.


If this guilt has added to it the fear of an angry God, then guilt’s power to cripple is enormously multiplied. Left to fester in the human psyche, guilt will paralyse. Guilt can handicap faith, stunt growth, inhibit the capacity to love others, and in some cases will cause physical illness. I say it again: Guilt left to fester will always cripple a person in some way or other.




Jesus dealt with guilt. In the Gospel story for today we heard again that well known account of the crippled young man, who was lowered by friends through a hole in the roof to rest in front of Jesus.


Jesus, with a wondrous perception, diagnosed the cause of this particular man’s illness. The man was paralysed by shame; guilt; festering guilt. Undealt with, it finally punished the fellow by robbing him of the use of his legs.  We haven’t a clue as to what particular sin lay behind this guilt. Some of you may be curious; but so what? The detail does not matter. The salient fact is that Jesus saw the real problem, understood how badly this young man’s inner being was punishing the sin, and did something about it: “My son, your sins are forgiven!”


One can only guess at the effect on the fellow’s thoughts and feelings. First the shock of confrontation, then confusion and then a trembling throughout his whole body, followed by release, peace and joy. He had been fortunate enough to meet a man who dared to believe in God’s ready forgiveness, and who dared to proclaim it without qualification.


To prove to his carping critics the efficacy of such forgiveness, Jesus then asked the man to stand up, and carry his stretcher home. This fellow, Jesus of Nazareth, had got it gloriously right. Again!




I would be surprised if there were not some guilt-cripples in this congregation. People whose lives are sorely hampered because of a guilt not cleanly dealt with.


For some it may be a guilt of which they are well aware, which at times floods up out of the dark shadows and immobilises them. For others it may be a forgotten, or repressed guilt, which festers away not in shadows where we see it out of the corner of our eyes, but in the deep darkness. Either way there is a paralysis of some sort, be it mental, emotional, spiritual or physical. Any guilt not effectively handled, will go feral and cause trouble.


Too often we hide from the fact that deep down we are disgusted with ourselves. We refuse to face ourselves. We evade ourselves. And that means trouble. We need to confront guilt, not to appease an angry God, but because of the damage we are doing to ourselves, and to others.


If the cause of our guilt was witnessed by others, than can add to the depth of the misery. What is more, if you believe in an angry God, your dis-ease will feel greater. Your predicament may then seem incurable, causing you may hide the shame away in dark cellars of the mind.


I say again: Untreated guilt will cause some form of crippling.


I am not suggesting that some of you here today have physical symptoms which can be attributed to guilt. Nor am I falling into that nasty trap of suggesting that all disease is the result of our sin. I am simply claiming that untreated guilt will bring some distortion in our lives. Physical paralysis stemming from deep-layered guilt may not be common, but it does happen. The other forms of emotional and spiritual crippling are more common.




The story of Jesus forgiving a young man who was carried to him on a stretcher, and then that young man getting up and walking home with his stretcher over his shoulder, is not far fetched.

My son, your sins are forgiven.....Rise, pick up your bed and go home.


This happened and it still happens. I remember visiting a 35 year old man in hospital, who had lost the use of his legs, was confined to a wheelchair, exhibiting many of the symptoms characteristic of M.S.  Numerous medicos pondered over his condition. They could not come up with a diagnosis. But an alert hospital chaplain noticed a clue and was instrumental in getting the sufferer to see a psychiatric counsellor. Two weeks later the man walked from the hospital almost healed.


It turned out that man, an elder in his church, had fallen into shameful sin, about which he felt so guilty that his mind had hidden it away for him. Yet it punished him by making him physically suffer for his sin. Under therapy the guilt was uncovered, openly faced, and dealt with. He started to walk again.


Some of you may have noticed that I said he walked from the hospital almost healed. The healing was not complete until he had worked the issue through with his wife in the presence of his Pastor, and asked for her forgiveness.


Then he sought the forgiveness of God and that of his congregation by an act of public repentance (not by giving the sordid details to titillate the interest of any insipient voyeurs in the congregation but in a more formal way.) He and his pastor designed a short liturgy to be used at public worship, in which he made a special confession of sin, and the congregation pronounced their forgiveness. Only then did that man say he felt completely healed. He sought the forgiveness of his wife, his pastor, and his church; then the forgiveness of God became absolute for him.


That is one of the more dramatic examples of how guilt can cripple, and forgiveness can heal. There are dozens of less dramatic healings like this going on all the time. There are some such happenings Sunday by Sunday, as we pray together, listen to the Gospel readings, and hear the good news preached. Many other such healings are quietly happening day by day through the counselling activity of pastors and priests all over the world. Guilt is called out into the open, the issues are dealt with, and forgiveness is declared and received.

            My son, my daughter, your sins are forgiven you. Pick up your bed (or whatever!) and go             home!




At the outset I asked: Who has the authority to forgive sins?  By implication, I seem to have been answering that question. But let us now confront it head on.


When the man was lowered down on the mattress in front of Jesus, Jesus looked into his eyes and said: “My son, your sins are forgiven.” That caused major consternation among the very religious people. How dare this Jesus of Nazareth presume to forgive sins! Only God can forgive.


As they saw it, ritual sacrifices and good works were the legitimate way in which to deal with guilt. What were the hallowed priestly rituals and sacrifices about unless they are ways of winning God’s forgiveness? What are the meticulous good deeds of the Pharisees about if they are not to win God’s favour? What are the sacrifices even the poorest families are expected to make at the temple for, unless it is to keep things right with God? Religion is geared to attain the forgiveness of sins. What is the great annual Day of Atonement in the Temple for if it is not to appropriate the forgiveness of God for the people.


That this Jesus dared so casually forgive sins seemed to them an outrage.


In response Jesus said to the ultra-religious scribes “So that you may know that the son of man on earth has the power to forgive sins, I say to you [young man] Pick up your bed and go home.”


Here I pause for a warning! Flashing red light! At this point I will diverge from much traditional interpretation of this passage.


Usually the phrase “son of man” is here interpreted in the sense of Matthew 25; 31, where the Son of Man is a heavenly being coming to judge the world. That is an image in line with two Jewish books that were written in the period between the formation of Old Testament and our New Testament.


However, for my part, I interpret it in the more common way ‘son of man’ is used in the Old Testament, especially in the Psalms and in Ezekiel. That is, “son of man” is a way of emphasising ‘mortal man’, or ‘humanity”, or as we might say in this space age: ‘earthling’. I reckon that a good rule of interpretation is (provided it is not otherwise implicitly stated) to take the general Old Testament usage of a phrase rather than the more exotic one. I here take the general usage of the phrase “son of man.”


In forgiving sins, I believe that Jesus is not classing himself above us but with us. He is saying that mere earthlings do have authority on earth to forgive sins. And it is an awesome privilege and a terrible responsibility.


(I don’t mind of you disagree with my interpretation. But if you do, I suspect you are missing out on a part of the glory of this wonderful story.)




Whether we admit it or not, our churches are communities that either forgive sins or foster guilt. We are truly in the business of either dealing well with the fact of guilt or dealing poorly with it.


I am not suggesting that sin and evil do not matter. Of course sin is a crippling of the human spirit, of course it is out of line with the will of our loving God, of course it is offensive to ourselves, of course it spells trouble to those around us, of course it led to Jesus, that most beautiful human ever to tread this planet, being crucified. A sense of guilt is a danger signal, a siren going off within our sacred soul. It must be reckoned with.


Forgiveness does not gloss over the fact of guilt but faces it therapeutically. Jesus did not come to increase the burden of human guilt, but to help us face our sin and deal with it openly. He mediated the forgiveness which is rooted in the very nature of God.


The church is supposed to continue the ministry of Jesus. We should be a therapeutic community, confronting sin, and dealing with guilt through mediating the forgiveness of God.

We are those who know that the son of man, mere earthlings, have power on earth to forgive sins.”


Our attitudes, our words, our values, our treatment of those who join our fellowship, will lead us to either being a forgiving community or a guilt-crippling community. A judgemental church, with self righteous leaders, will curse people with bondage of guilt. A gracious church, with leaders who themselves embrace and practice the magnitude of God’s forgiveness, will be a community that will bless people with liberation.


The sons and daughters of humanity, have the power on earth to forgive sins. Can we afford not to exercise it?




There was a 31 year old man, we will call him Andy, who became a member of a house study-nurture group, run by his local church.


Previously, in another city, Andy had lived a profligate life, involved in drugs and associated activities. An old friend helped him out of his situation, introduced him to an accepting church community, and he became both rehabilitated and a practising Christian. To make a clean start he moved interstate, threw himself into the activities of a church, and became a Sunday School teacher. Later, Andy joined the study group, which met on Wednesday evenings in homes.


One evening, the discussion moved into the matter of drugs and prostitution, and about a recent convert who wanted to help run a youth group. To his consternation, Andy discovered in the discussion, that six out of the eleven members were totally intolerant of any person from such a background ever having any leadership position in the church. As they talked on. the shame and guilt of Andy’s own past life rose up once more and overwhelmed him. He left that house group spiritually paralysed by reinstated guilt. Metaphorically speaking, he had arrived at that group walking but left limping badly. Those six group members had unknowingly exercised their power on earth, as avowed disciples of Christ, to rebind his past sins on Andy.


Only after prolonged counselling from Andy’s pastor, and the warm hugs from some non-judgemental members of the congregation whom the pastor brought into the situation, did Andy begin to know again the forgiveness of sins. Even so, he had been so damaged, that he took leave of absence from his role as a Sunday School Teacher.


We should take our cue from no one else but Christ. He showed us that the sons and daughters of humanity, mere earthlings, have power on earth to mediate the forgiveness of God. If we do not exercise it, I fear that we will in fact exercise the converse.





2 Cor. 1: 19-20b


            For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we preached among you (that is, Silvanus,

            Timothy and I) was not Yes and No. In Christ is always Yes! For all the promises

            of God find their Yes in him.


Every achiever will have some critics.


The average person will often resent the more successful, and the mediocre will readily listen to, and embellish, unfounded rumours about the highly successful women or man. There is dormant spiritual cancer without us that can break into vigorous growth at the sight of the success of others.


Jesus was the highest spiritual achiever of all. He raised the bar of human possibility to a new height. And look what happened to him.


I would like to be able to say that this cancer does not affect the church. But I can’t. Jealousies can fester when some amongst us achieve more for Christ than others achieve. .




It is no use pretending that the young church of the first century was immune from this disease. Perhaps no early Christian stirred up more envy and drew more critics to harry him than St Paul endured.  He was certainly a high achiever. Yet wherever he went on his preaching and teaching journeys, he was pestered with critics from within the fellowship of the people of God.


That was true of the church community in the big, bustling city of Cornish.  A number of times Paul was subject to vitriol from within the ranks.


Today’s reading from Paul’s second Letter to the Corinthians, takes up one point. It seems that Paul had been accused of vacillating, of being a waverer. He had been criticised as an apostle who could not make up his own mind; who said both yes and no.


From our viewpoint, looking back at the achievements of the Paul whom we meet in the New Testament, such criticisms seem ludicrous. He was a person of singular mind. Of all the Apostles the one least likely to waver was Paul.  Nothing seemed able to daunt him or deflect him in his mission to take the Gospel of Christ Jesus to the Gentile cities across the Roman Empire.


It is not a surprise that Paul reacts angrily to this unfair sniping at him.

            As surely as God is my witness, my words to you have never been Yes and No.




The Paul moves on. He uses this silly sniping to make an important point about God’s faithfulness. He tells his readers that the God of Jesus is not a vacillating God. You don't get a Yes/No message from God.


What is more, Christ Jesus is God’s greatest YES to humanity.


            For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we preached among you (that is, Silvanus, Timothy and I) was not Yes and No. In Christ it is always Yes! For all the promises           of God find their Yes in him.


No equivocation! One mighty YES!


****Editorial note! In editing this material, I find that I have inadvertently lost the rest of this sermon. I cannot recall how it went.  Maybe it expanded some of the following-----


            Yes to the prodigal son who turns for home.

                        No equivocation! One mighty YES!


            Yes to the poor and the exploited.

            Yes to the humble and the merciful.

                        No equivocation! One mighty YES!


            Yes to the outcaste and the despised.

            Yes to the bewildered and the lost.

            Yes to the hungry and thirsty.

                        No equivocation! One mighty YES!


            Yes to the leper and the mentally ill.

            Yes to the broken and the despairing.

            Yes to the dying and the dead.

                        No equivocation! One mighty YES!





Loving God, how often do we cripple others

and enslave ourselves with unforgiveness?

What liberty have we sacrificed on the altar

of hoarded grudges and infected hurts?

What peace and joy have we denied ourselves

because of our pay-back mentality?


You gave the liberty and power to your True Son

to forgive the sins of your children.

Let his authority come upon your people today,

that we may be set free from the past.

Then, with the freedom of Christ running loose in us,

set us on the ministry of forgiving others.


Through Christ Jesus, our Saviour. Amen.



            (This was first prepared for two voices, but after the first two sentences,

            it could also be used with one leader and congregation responses.)


Loving others cannot be separated from loving God.

Let us pray.


Compared with you, God of abounding grace, our concern for others has a short range, a narrow view and a shallow capacity.


Nevertheless we offer these prayers for our fellow human beings, praying that by the resourcefulness of your grace, you may be able to produce large results for a small offering of our concern.


We hold up to you those among our family, friends, or work colleagues who are going through miserable times. Please help them, God of our salvation;

            May your love undergird them, your light lead them, your mercy shield them, and your grace liberate and transform them.


We hold up to you those faces we see on TV whose lives are caught up in disaster and much suffering, those here in Australia and those in many countries on other continents and islands. Please help them, God of our salvation.

            May your love undergird them, your light lead them, your mercy shield them, and your grace liberate and transform them.


We hold up to you those who hold position of high leadership; the leaders of our nations, the leaders of other nations, and the United Nations Assembly with its many agencies. Please help them, God of our salvation.

            May your love undergird them, your light lead them, your mercy shield them, and your grace liberate and transform them.


We hold up to you those who have positions of extensive personal influence; sports stars, TV identities, radio hosts, newspaper and magazine proprietors, film stars, and pop music groups. Please help them, God of our salvation.

            May your love undergird them, your light lead them, your mercy shield them, and your grace liberate and transform them.


We hold up to you those of other church denominations, some we feel very close to and others whose ways tend to jar on our spiritual sensibilities. Please help them, God of our salvation.

            May your love undergird them, your light lead them, your mercy shield them, and your grace liberate and transform them.


We hold up to you those of other religions, ancient eastern religions and modern western sects, some who seek to understand us and others who seem intolerant of our faith. Please help them, God of our salvation.

            May your love undergird them, your light lead them, your mercy shield them, and your grace liberate and transform them.


We hold up to you the people of this congregation; the young and the elderly, families and singles, the healthy and the sick, the leaders and the followers, those of robust faith and those of weak faith, folk who have always attended here and some who are newcomers. Please help them, God of our salvation.

            May your love undergird them, your light lead them, your mercy shield them, and your grace liberate and transform them.


Most loving God, give us the courage to make these our prayers a renewed contract with your business of loving others, even as Christ has loved us. In his name we pray.





Go from this sanctuary secure

in the knowledge that you are a cherished people.

Let no critic undermine your peace,

no thoughtless friend put you down,

and no enemy project shame upon you.


            May the Word of God speak through you,

            the love of Christ flow through you,

            and the joy of the Spirit sing in you.

By grace, this is your right.

Thanks be to God.



              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.