New Book  now Available

        Here is an anthology of over 1100 brief prayers and thought-starters, for each day of the year, with almost 400 original prayers by Bruce Prewer.
        Included is both a subject index and an index of authors-- an ecumenical collection of about 300 different sources.
Prayers for Busy People
        Title:  Brief Prayers for Busy People.
          Author: Bruce D Prewer
        ISBN 978-1-62880-090-6
        Available from Australian Church Resources,
web site
        or by order from your local book shop
        or online on amazon.



John 3:14-21                             (Sermon 1: “No Condemnation”)

Ephesians 2:1-10                       (Sermon 2: “A Word To The Dead”)

Numbers 21:4-9.

Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22




The grace of Christ Jesus be with you all.

            And also with you.


We each have a right to be here,

a right not based on our righteousness

but on God’s free grace.

            O give thanks to our God who is good,

            whose saving love endures forever.

Let those who are redeemed by God declare it,

rescued from trouble and gathered from many lands;

            From the east and from the west,

            from the north and from the south,

            give thanks to God who is always good,





God so loved the world that he gave his only Son

that whoever believes in him should not perish

but have eternal life.

            Let those who know they are redeemed celebrate it!

            Those who have been reclaimed from deep trouble!


Though we were as good as dead,

God made us alive with the grace of Christ

through whom we are rescued and healed.

            O give thanks to God for such unswerving love,

            for such wonderful deeds for the children of earth.




God of ever-flowing love, with trust in your overflowing grace we gather together this day.


By faith we come before you not as strangers but as friends.

By faith in your grace we worship you, knowing that you do not belittle our patchy praise.

By faith in your grace we expect to hear your Word, and by faith we hope to fulfil it.


Encourage us, loving God, to be bold in our trust, enthusiastic in worship, and humble in our service.

Through Christ Jesus our Redeemer.






God our Saviour, we confess our follies and sins which are numerous, some recognised and some that go unnoticed by us.

            Among us are ¾

            the confused who need to spend more time under your revealing light,

            the ‘nit pickers’ who need a fresh encounter with unqualified love,

            the excuse makers who need to face up to responsibility,

            the sceptics who need to put doubts to the test,

            the intolerant who need a new appointment with free grace,

            the bored believers who need a revival of the first passionate faith.


Merciful God, by the vigour of your Holy Spirit, challenge our evasions, expose our delinquency, forgive our sins, and deliver us from all evil. Through the grace of Christ Jesus our Saviour.





It is written: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”


My sisters and brothers, this is the gospel of grace. We are a forgiven people. Believe it, receive it, live it!





Dear God,

how weird it is that you love us,

such silly and grubby little earthlings.


The whole universe is yours,

but you chose to sent your son

into this world to save us.

Such love is awesome.

Mega awesome!


We will never be able to repay you,

but we do love you a lot, God,

and we want to be your friends forever.



PSALM 107: 1-3, 17-22


Thank God who is always good,

whose saving love stands firm forever!

            Let those who are redeemed declare it,

            rescued and gathered from many lands;

            from the east and from the west,

            from the north and from the south.


Some have been sickening fools,

caught in the misery of their own sins,

            losing even the desire to eat

            and starving themselves to death.


At last they cried out to God

who became their deliverer,

            speaking the word of healing

            to rescue them from hopelessness.


Let them all thank God for such mercy,

for the wonderful way they are loved.

            Let them offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving

            and sing together of all God’s exploits.




John 3:16



The die seems cast.

We are the perishable,

perishable like all creatures;

eagles and crows, koalas and platypus,

all perish at last,

their flesh returned to dust.


Homo sapiens, you and I,

are more perishable than they,

for in soul-being we may also perish

long before the flesh wears out

and returns to the clay.


Love alone is our hope,

life giving love,

the imperishable love

of Someone

whose love, at high cost,

persists into death

and reverses the doom

that follows the steps

of the lost.


That such a love should now be

is blood-writ in eternity.

                                                Ó B D Prewer 2002




Most wonderful God, you have given us Christ Jesus as master and friend, example and saviour, teacher and enabler. As he comes to us, may we cleave to him, and in his vibrant company find both the grace and the strength to share his sufferings in the cause of the gospel. As we share his sufferings may we also share his joy and glory. For he lives and loves with you and your Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.






John 3: 16


“God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:16-17


Condemnation creates bondage. Love liberates. That is true in families, in communities and in our churches.


I was asked to conduct the funeral service of a young man, Wayne, who died at the age of 22 from drug abuse. He had lived for periods on the city streets, poorly washed and fed, and had there a whole network of friends, a community which I knew little about. At the funeral, as well as grieving family, neighbours and friends from earlier days with whom he had grown up, there were many of his street community. These largely outnumbered the other mourners.


As I commenced that service I felt out of my depth. I felt no common ground with the street community and they made it obvious they felt none with me. A group of young men lay back in the seats, chewing gum, eyes to the ceiling. Their body language spelt disdain (no more than that; outright rejection) for this minister bloke, a representative of the good, respectable people who tend to despise the people of the streets.


I ploughed on with the service, inwardly praying desperately for help. After a time I stopped looking in the direction of the young fellows; I could not cope with my apparent irrelevance to their lives. Somehow I got through the service, feeling I had been largely useless.


Later, a member from the mourning family asked me if I had noticed the body language of the street people. I replied I had, and spoke of how useless I felt. They responded that what they meant was the change that came over the group during my address. I answered I had not noticed any change because at that stage I tried not to look directly at them.


The mourner then explained how at one point in my talk, they stopped chewing, sat up straighter, and listened intently. It was the point at which I spoke with passion of God’s unconditional love for us all, the way each life was treasured by God no matter what others thought of us or what we thought of ourselves. I said that it was not our business to judge Wayne, that he remained at all times God’s child, and that God saw in him something precious enough to die for. I quoted John 3: 16-17. God was love, love, love and yet more love. Love that never ended, not even at death.  Evidently that message touched something in them, where nothing else in the service had.


The Gospel gives us that same word today. A different setting, a different congregation, but the same message and the same need. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.  John 3:17


My unease is that we here may have heard it so often we might treat it as “hoh...hum...yawn” stuff. If the utterly amazing Gospel becomes “hoh....hum” we are in big trouble.




Condemnation is a speciality of human beings. We are always trying to apportion blame or shift it. It is a nasty game at which most become adept. We see it operating in a raw way among children; we see it at work in much of what appears in the popular press. As I have grown much older I regret to say that among some elderly folk the condemnation game seems to become almost an obsession. I have been in some groups where maybe 70% of the conversation is condemnation of this and that; a litany of complaints about what others have done or look like doing.


Maybe what we are doing when we condemn others, is trying to build up our own self esteem by putting others down. Maybe it is a crazy game in which we try to make ourselves feel superior and better. We say: “I know I have my faults, but that is really disgusting.”  Or, “When we were young we got into some scrapes, but nothing like this. I don’t know what young people today are doing. Haven’t they got any morals? Haven’t they got any brains?”


The addiction to blame is widespread. It infects every level of life. I have mentioned especially older folk because I am now one of them. Maybe with older folk the condemnatory attitude stems from the fact that our self image has taken extra pounding. We have lost our physical attractiveness, we have lost our status in the working world, our mental agility and memory may not be as good as it used to be, and our opinions often raise only smirks on the faces of the young.


However, this fault finding is always self defeating no matter what our age. A burst of condemnation may give us momentary relief. But it does not last; our anxiety about our own worth soon surfaces again. What is more, if we regularly condemn others, and accept it as the norm, then we put ourselves in the mode where we live on edge, suspicious that others may be similarly critical of us. “What are they saying about me?”




God is not caught up in our blame addiction. Condemnation is not God’s thing. The Gospel is about healing and rescue. That is what salvation means: the rescue and healing of humanity. Christ Jesus did not arrive and add a heavy burden of condemnation. He came with a remarkable openness to us, seeing our many flaws but not focussing on them. His focus was mercy, forgiveness, restoration.


That does not mean that God-love is sweetly sentimental. “No condemnation” does not mean marshmallow. There is steel in real love. It can include rebuke, challenge, protest and discipline. Nothing that can ruin God’s children will go unchallenged. Nobody is regarded as worthless. No one is dispensable.


There is a judgement factor in love. When I use that word ‘judgement” some of you might immediately see a lofty, stern figure handing down a sentence.  If so, you are back with condemnation crew.  It does not have to be so. For example, a physician must make a judgement if he is to help a patient. Healing involves painfully honest diagnosis, maybe some unpalatable medicine, and sometimes painful physiotherapy or radical surgery.


Judgement features a lot in the fourth Gospel. Jesus is the physician who exposes what is really going on. Just by being there, his loving presence exposes evil. Judgement is self imposed. Our response to Jesus is the judgement. “And this is the judgement: that the light has come into the world, yet men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.” 


Physically, if we chose to live in darkness we would slowly lose our sight, become blind; that is the judgement we would bring on ourselves. Spiritually, personally, it is the same. If we prefer the darkness of evil to the light of God, we lose our sensitivity to truth and become increasingly spiritually blind. This is the inescapable judgement. We judge ourselves by our goals, values, decisions, actions.


The world has judged itself when it rejected God’s true Son. For John the cross is a sign of ultimate judgement. Yet is also the ultimate sign of God’s glory. For God is willing and able to rescue and heal those who have done even the most dastardly thing. God in Christ heals the blind and the half-blind. God can save those who appear to be irrevocably lost. God remains redeeming love. Not condemnation. Love, love, love and yet more love. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. 




What God does for us we are also to do for one another. We are to love others sufficiently to forgive, uplift, heal and restore. We are called to be merciful even as God is merciful. We too can break the vicious circles of condemnation that spin out of control in the world around us, by forgiving each other. We can bring hope into life where there is frustration and sometimes despair.


In fact, often we are called to be the mediators of not just our own mercy, but of God’s mercy.  As the only “body of Christ” visible now on earth, the church has the ministry of making forgiveness and restoration real to others. It is an awesome privilege and responsibility. Love, love, love..... and yet more love, is our mission.


This does not mean we are to be like soft, sweet mush. Love (like the love of Christ) may have to be hard and sharp. We are to love others enough to expose evil in whatever form. This is also a part of our ministry in the name of Christ. But it must never slip over the line into condemnation.  Far too often in the long story of the church, it has debased the name of its Lord by indulging in condemnation. We have become a part of the vicious circle of blame. And in doing that, the church has become a part of the disease, not a part of God’s diagnosis and healing.




The funeral I conducted for Wayne, the victim of the drug culture, was a salutary lesson for me. I realised acutely how removed the church often is from the lives of those whom Christ Jesus came to save. A wide gulf is there. Yet I also learned that it is when we impart something, even a little, of the passionate love of God in Christ for those whom this world writes off as useless, that we may bridge the gulf and make connection.


I have a long, long way to go! God help me! But I have one pivotal starting point. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”





Ephesians 2: 4-7


Today God has a Word to the dead. 


What’s the use of that? A word to the dead? We need a message to the living. The dead are out of reach and deaf to all our voices. The living are here, and are capable of receiving a Word from God.


Not so! Not so from the Bible view point.


During  the last few years the city of Melbourne has witnessed numerous assassinations within the ranks of the criminal underworld. There has been a fierce battle going on for the control of the drug trade. Sadly, we have had to face the truth that some of our police have been working hand in hand with the criminals.


One underworld figure became an informer. He was placed under the high security. Shortly before he was to give evidence, which included evidence against one police officer, he and his wife were found executed in their lounge room.  Somehow, someone knew the security systems well enough to enter the house, force the couple to kneel, and shoot them through the back of their heads.


One of their daughters later said that her dad had said to her a week before his death; “I am a dead man walking.” He was absolutely right. He was a dead man walking. He and his wife were as good as dead.


Left to our own devices, from the Bible view point, we are all dead men and woman walking. Not just crims and informers. Not just rapists and thugs. Not just the greedy and the unjust. Not just the foul mouthed and those who physically abuse the young and the weak.  We are all find ourselves in the ranks of the walking dead.


God, who is always rich in mercy, draws from the immense love he has for us. Even though we were dead in our sins, we become alive with Christ. It is by the gift of grace that we are rescued and healed. We are raise up from death with Christ, and given a seat in the heavenly family beside him. Throughout the coming ages we will be shown the immeasurable riches of God’s grace poured out among us in Jesus Christ.”




Dead in our sins?


Death is an age-old symbol of the ultimate separation. The ultimate separation from light and love.  For most of their history the Jews had little hope of any real life beyond the grave. The dead went to the dark, underworld. To Sheol. They were cut off from the light and love of this world and their loved ones, and also cut off from the light and love of God.


As a rule, the Jews had hope in this life only. As one ancient Jew, feeling hard pressed, argued: “If I go down to the grave, what benefit is it to you God? Can I praise you from Sheol?”


There were only a few exceptions to that rule. Only occasionally did bursts of hope radiate out of the darkness of their gloom. One such bright gleam of light shone through the beautiful writer of Psalm 139. He claimed that death was not total separation;


Where shall I hide from your Spirit?

Where shall I flee from your presence?

If I ascend up to heaven, you are there.

If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.


Even in dark death, in dreaded Sheol, the Spirit of God would be present and knowable, bringing light.


Such glimpses of hope were rare. In general, for those ancient Jews death was the bleak terminus. Therefore the word “death” became that enduring symbol for all that cut people off from light and love.


Therefore, for Paul all people were like dead men walking.  No exceptions. Both the self righteous and the self-ashamed were agents of evil, slaves to the darkness, the walking dead. They were already cut off from the ultimate sources of light and love.  All souls were corrupted and blinded by evil. They were “dead in their trespasses.” They were already as good as in Sheol, the dark world of desolation.




This hard word to the dead was not palatable to some people. It seemed excessive.


Have we changed? I doubt it.


Yet I don’t reckon Paul’s firm line will impress citizens of our era. The worldly wise, the sophisticated intellectuals, may think themselves enlightened. The self-absorbed, self-made men of the world reckon they are a praise-worthy success. They strut and preen on the stage of public life. To be called dead men walking would be quickly rejected; “We know better than that!”


Paul was writing to the church at Ephesus, a congregation which he had founded. Certainly there would have been many in that grand Greco-Roman city (in the land that is now Turkey) who would have seen themselves as either intellectually wise or religiously enlightened. Like post-modern humanity in the western world, they would have prided themselves on living life to the full!


But from Paul’s viewpoint, what they had without Christ was nothing but a proud darkness; a separation from the Source of light and love. Death. His Gospel was a word to the dead.


Paul would agree with the verse from St John’s Gospel:

            God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him, should not perish but have eternal life.


For John, if we are without the Spirit of God and the healing grace of our Christ Jesus, then we are already in the state of those who are “perishing.” Already as good as gone. Had it. In deep darkness. Lost. Terminally diseased. The walking dead.


We find these walking dead everywhere.


            Clever and witty, wining and dining at the best restaurants or having a “big Mac”,             enjoying expensive overseas trips or taking a house boat on the Murray River, building             larger houses or buying mobile homes, wearing the best Italian suits or grabbing a bargain             from K Mart;   yet dead.


            Eagerly attending each Lloyd Weber musical extravaganza, or high on “speed” and             raving at night at parties, driving a BMW or a lively little Suzuki or Honda, getting high             on adrenalins at a football game or doing bungie jumps,   going to symphony concert or             addicted each night to soapies on TV;   yet dead.


            Practising transcendental meditation or earnestly working out at the local gym, applying             make-up to hide one’s wrinkles or having a surgical make-over, proudly possessing the             best wine cellar in your “set” or buying cartons of stubbies at the drive through, trying             exotic religions or brandishing atheism like a gold medal on your chest;    yet dead.


For Paul, all this frenetic squeezing of daily existence for every drip of juice is an illusion; the grandiose hallucinations of the dying. The pathetic antics of dead men walking.


Unless we are enlightened with the light of God, enlivened with the life of God, liberated with the love of God and ennobled with the beauty of God, then we are existing rather than living. Without exploring the spiritual level of life, we have not started to really live.




Paul and John did not invent this theme. Their special guru taught and lived a similar theme. That ex-carpenter from Nazareth spoke and lived the message:  “Man shall not live by bread alone.”


The spirit must be nourished if we are really to live. And as we read in the Gospel earlier in Lent, it is (paradoxically) in giving away our present level of life, or “losing it’, that we “find” the true and abundant life; that spiritual dimension for which we were intended in the long, patient and awesome process of creation.


“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that flows from the mouth of God.” A stern warning to “the walking dead” from the lips of the most alive person who ever graced this planet.


All that Paul held most dear, stemmed from Jesus of Nazareth:

            God, who is always rich in mercy, draws from the immense love he has for us. Even             though we were dead in our sins, we become alive with Christ. It is by the gift of grace that we are rescued and healed. We are raised up from death with Christ, and given a             seat in the heavenly family beside him. Throughout the coming ages we will be shown           the immeasurable riches of God’s grace poured out among us in Jesus Christ.”




Notice that emphasis on grace. A key note in Paul’s letters. Our redemption comes gratis. Free. Grace is that uninhibited, unlimited, outpouring of saving love. Freely available to all who accept the gift of God. It’s that rescuing by light and hope which is lavishly given by God to whoever throws themselves on divine mercy.


The cross is the measure of such grace. Grace is priceless in human terms. As we draw closer each week to Holy Week, and Good Friday, we become focussed on the Holy Source of saving grace.  Grace comes at an awful Divine cost. A price we could never raise. God does it for us at Golgotha.


Saving grace is unearnable by deeds, unwinable by vows and promises, unattainable by any form of human effort. Faith is letting God be God in our own lives: without reservation, accepting God’s acceptance without quibble, letting God’s light and love possess us and make us whole. Grace raises us up from death to life. Grace performs a resurrection event in our daily lives. The cross of amazing grace and the jubilant Easter dawn belong together. Death and resurrection.


Life. Real life. From decay to growth, here and now. By the grace of Christ Jesus, here and now. In the healing and rescuing love of God we stand tall, here and now. Eternal life, here and now. We walk boldly and gleefully as those who have already passed from dismay to serenity, from darkness to light, from death to life. Here and now.


The hard line of apostles like Paul and John (who declare that that we “perish” or are “dead in our trespasses” if we exist solely on the physical level) is matched by this most generous line of all: God’s rescuing and healing grace. Life. Real life. Abundant life. Irrepressible life. Available for the taking.




A word to the dead?


Why is it that so many men and women find it so hard to let go and let God be God to them? Is it our pride, that original sin of the devil?


Our obdurate ways are a puzzle. It confounds common sense. The walking dead, stuffed to the gills with their own human hubris and their lust for self-sufficiency, seem to prefer lesser existence to abundant life. Now that is tragedy. The ultimate tragedy.


On the other hand, wherever a few of us, without any condition, let go and trust God’s free grace in Christ, then we witness the ultimate success story. We shake off the weight of death and rise up with Christ and begin to thoroughly live.


And even then the best is yet to come:

Throughout the coming ages we will be shown the immeasurable riches of God’s grace poured out among us in Jesus Christ.”


Praise God!





Most loving God, we thank and praise you for the unspeakable gift of your holy Son, through whom our eyes are opened to see your glory on every side.


Through him the sun shines brighter, the moon sails more serenely, and the midnight stars beckon more kindly.

            The whole world is full of your glory.

            thanks be to you, most holy Friend.


Through him the music of mountain streams is more delightful, the singing of birds becomes sweeter, and the leaping of the red kangaroo more majestic.

            The whole world is full of your glory.

            thanks be to you, most holy Friend.


Through him great architecture is ennobling, a Van Gogh peach tree is beautiful, and a Mozart serenade more haunting.

            The whole world is full of your glory.

            thanks be to you, most holy Friend.


Through him loved ones are more precious, strangers become lovable, and our enemies are made worthy of respect.

            The whole world is full of your glory.

            thanks be to you, most holy Friend.


Through him prayer is a pleasure, the Scriptures are opened up to us, and your guiding hand becomes more discernible. 

            The whole world is full of your glory.

            thanks be to you, most holy Friend.


Through him the church is constantly renewed, our gifts become more serviceable, and the talents of others are our joy as well as theirs.

            The whole world is full of your glory.

            thanks be to you, most holy Friend.


Through him all things are possible, no loving deed is ever wasted or lost, and the mysterious heaven becomes a home to our hearts. 

            The whole world is full of your glory.

            thanks be to you, most holy Friend.




Today, Christian friends, I ask you to especially pray for those people for whom we hold scant respect. The ones we tend to write off as no hopers. I ask you to pray for them because God loves each one of them just as much as each of us, and it is not God’s desire that even the worst rogue should perish.


Let us pray.


God of the whole human family, we pray for drug addicts, dealers, alcoholics, gamblers, those who cheat and rob their own families, and those who mug vulnerable passers-by.

                        In your mercy, gracious God,

                        Hear our prayer


We pray for violent teenage gangs, for rebellious kids who run away for good homes, those who milk the social welfare system, and respectable business men who cheat the elderly out of their life savings.

                        In your mercy, gracious God,

                        Hear our prayer


We pray for prostitutes, pimps and their customers, for paedophiles, those who exploit children to make porn movies, and those who employ illegal immigrants in sweat shops.

                        In your mercy, gracious God,

                        Hear our prayer


We pray for terrorists in many lands, for underworld bosses, minders and hit men; for rapists, stalkers, seducers, and those who commit domestic violence.

                        In your mercy, gracious God,

                        Hear our prayer.


We pray for bank robbers and tax evaders, shop lifters and vandals, con-men, pickpockets, computer criminals, and burglars who bash the elderly in their homes.

                        In your mercy, gracious God,

                        Hear our prayer.


We pray for people who gravely abuse their positions of trust or power; corrupt lawyers, doctors, politicians, teachers, police officers, prison officers and ministers of religion.

                        In your mercy, gracious God,

                        Hear our prayer


Most loving God, please do not allow us to become defeatist and bitter. Make us more eager for redemption rather than retribution, and encourage us to employ the tough love of Christ in the affairs of our neighbourhood and nation. For your names sake.





Through Jesus your true Word, speak to us that we might live abundantly.

Speak to our minds that we may see a truth beyond human knowledge.


Speak to our hearts that we may experience a joy beyond all other pleasure.

Speak to our wills that we may possess a discipline beyond human effort.


Speak to our bodies that we may honour them beyond common custom.

Speak to our souls that we may treasure a likeness beyond human compare.


Through Jesus your true Word, speak to us that Our lives may declare your glory.





Go out into the world in peace.

            Be intolerant of evil but treat no person as worthless trash.

            Bless those who curse you and pray for those who abuse you.

            Trust not your own goodness but the grace of God.

            In every situation give thanks.


The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit

will be with us now and always.






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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

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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.