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.

SUNDAY 11    5-11 June


Mark 4: 26-34                                       (Sermon 1: “Wittenberg Beer”)

2 Cor. 5:6-10, 14-17                  (Sermon 2: Get Real! Get Ridiculous!)

1 Sam 15:34 to 16:13

Psalm 20





If any person lives in Christ, they are in a new creation,

the old is finished and gone, the new has arrived.

            Some boast of bombs, some of their tanks,

            but we boast of the name of the Lord of hosts!


Let us prepare to celebrate the new realm of God,

where the meek inherit the earth

and the sincere in heart see God.

            We will shout for joy over God’s victory,

            in the name of Christ we will set up our banners.




Some boast of their motor cars, and some of their mansions,

but we boast of the name of the Lord of hosts!

Should all else collapse in a heap,

we shall stand up tall.


Do not be impressed by the outward appearance of a person,

for God does not see like we do, but looks into the heart.

If anyone travels with Christ, there is a new creation,

old things are obsolete, all things become new.


Let us worship this God who looks into the human heart

and through Christ Jesus makes all things new.




Loving God, Source of new creation,

            we worship you in the glory of your love.

You are the light of the minds that know you,

            we worship and adore you.

You are the peace of the souls that trust you,

            We worship and adore you.

You are the joy of the wills that serve you,

            we worship and adore you.


Help us to renew our love-vows to your Christ.

            who makes all things new,

and let us continue in the fellowship of the Spirit,

            `who leads us into all truth.

To the praise of your name,





            *A litany on the theme of new creation.




When anyone travels with Christ, there is a new creation. Let us examine our performance in the light of these words.


Let us pray.


If we have slipped back into old ways, preferring a shabby comfort to the cost of forging ahead with Christ.

            Create in us a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within us.


If we have been lured by the side-shows of the world, and turned aside to dally in things which we which are not of Christ.

            Create in us a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within us.


If, drawn by the bonhomie of those who do not know Christ, we have compromised our values for the sake of some shallow fellowship.

            Create in us a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within us.


If we have whinged when Christ’s narrow way becomes rough, and sulked when asked to climb a mountain pass with him;

            Create in us a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within us.


If we have barged ahead, thinking we know the way better than the Lord who makes all things new;

            Create in us a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within us.


If we have taken a much needed rest, but have allowed it to turn into a prolonged stay among those who talk a lot yet do very little.

            Create in us a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within us.


If, while stopping to enjoy the view from a mountain pass, we have been tempted to build a chapel for ourselves and stay put.

            Create in us a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within us.


                                                -------- a time for silent prayer --------




Let us give thanks for our living Lord who is more patient than we are, and more generous with mercy than we can ever estimate,

            Praise be to you, Lord Jesus Christ, your mercies are new every morning.


Let us give thanks that forgiveness is for ever, and we need never to revisit old regrets and guilt again.

            Praise be to you, Lord Jesus Christ, your mercies are new every morning.


Let us give thanks that grace is free and always will be, and that we are being saved in ways that as yet we cannot begin to comprehend.

            Praise be to you, Lord Jesus Christ, your mercies are new every morning.






Dear God,

you must be awfully busy.

Like, you know,

keeping your eye on everything?


Thank you

for not being too busy

            to hear my prayers

            to warm my heart,

            to let me make mistakes

            and then help me to learn from them,

            to guide my steps,

and to be with me

even when I sleep.


Thank you.

There’s not another Friend

like you in the whole universe!





May God hear you when you get into trouble!

The God of Jesus protect you!

            May you find sanctuary in your church

              and receive support from God’s people.

            May God bless all that your offerings

              and find joy in the sacrifices you make.


May God grant you your heart’s purest desire

and help you to get it right.

            May we all shout for joy when you succeed

              and in God’s name wave our banners.

            May the Lord of love be with you

              and enable you to fulfil your own prayers.


We know that God will help the baptised,

and God’s right hand will be our answer.

            Some boast of their motor cars,

              and some of their mansions,

            but we shall joyfully boast

              of the name of the Lord of hosts!


Should all else collapse in a heap,

we shall get up and stand tall.

            You give victory to Christ, O God,

            You answer us when we call his name.

                                                                                                         ã  B. D. Prewer 2005






Harrow us with

            furrowed fallows

ready for the season

            of opportunities.


Shape our rough clay

            with deep hollows

and send in dreams

            full of destinies.


Stir the raw mud

            of swamp and wallows

where wait the roots

            of water lilies.


Call back to us

            the welcome swallows

to nest in spring

            under old eaves.

                                                            ã  B. D. Prewer 1994




God our creator and provider,

please continue to sow us with Gospel seed,

and cultivate it with your own secretive care.


While we work or rest, play or sleep,

let the word and way of Christ Jesus

continue to grow within us,

that when the season is right,

we may produce a harvest

that brings joy to you

and a blessing to those around us.


Through Christ Jesus,

who with you and the Holy Spirit

are to be loved, served and worshipped,

as the one God,

forever and ever.




SERMON 1: Wittenberg Beer


Mark 4: 26-29


The title of this sermon may surprise some and annoy others: I have labelled it “Wittenberg Beer.”


Later on in this sermon, the reason for my title will become plain.


We citizens of the Western world put much store on activity.  We are proud of getting things done. Keen on setting our goals and achieving them. Measurable productivity has become the bench mark of success. Many of us will work determinedly, and often frenetically, to that end.


We do not put much store on sitting in the sun (like a cartoon-style Mexican, with a hat over our head and eyes) We work hard, and play hard.


A few of us might go in for meditation or disciplines like Tai Chi. But usually it is so that we can return renewed to our ultra busyness, and meet our productivity target.


This hyperactivity is not limited to the world of commerce and industry. It infects the church in numerous places-:  an unstoppable torrent of committees and sub committees, church councils, working parties, goal setting, project reports, performance reviews, and much more.  In fact, in some quarters a frenetic church is regarded as a particularly godly church.


Ministers do not always constitute a good example. The over-busy folk in congregations might be following the modelling of their minister, who always seems to be rushing, darting from this to that, talking to people while on the run. Sadly, some of the key people in a congregation can have dire pastoral needs yet are reluctant to seek counsel from the pastor because he/she “is already so busy”




I know there are exceptions, where apathy, not busyness, is the blight. Being unproductive in the cause of Christ not acceptable. Where there is little commitment to either personal growth in the faith or to service and outreach, something is gravely wrong.  Such inactivity has been known to drive a many a keen, young minister to distraction.


I like that yarn about a young pastor serving a country parish in outback South Australia. This fellow used to jump in his car and disappear each Monday morning. One curious parishioner decided to follow him to see what he was getting up to. The young man drove for an hour and a half until he arrived at the Indian-Pacific rail line, which traverses our continent. There he waited patiently until the next long train came through. He got out of the car and watched it intently, until it receded into the distance, which took a considerable time, given the dead-level nature of the inland terrain. Then the pastor had a drink of coffee from a thermos, got back into his car and drove all the way back home to his manse.


Back in town, the parishioner (our nosy sleuth) who had witnessed the performance through binoculars from a secure distance, confronted his minister; “Why on earth, when there is so much to be done, did you do that? Is that what you do each Monday?”


The young pastor nodded and replied: “Once a week, I like to go and watch that glorious train. I say this prayer: “Thank God there is something in this region that moves without me having to push it.”  An apocryphal story, of course! But I would wager it came out of the imagination of some frustrated young pastor.


Such frustration over churchly apathy is not limited to the young. Inactivity has also tried sorely the patience of mature aged and experienced pastors.  I am reminded of one of the sermons of that fluent orator Charles Spurgeon. He may have preached to packed congregations each week, but Spurgeon became frustrated that so little seemed to get translated into action for the Lord. One Sunday, towards the end of his sermon he exploded: “I would that the wood on which you sit should suddenly sprout thorns!”




Does this mean that we are doomed to oscillate between frenetic busyness and sluggish inactivity? Surely not. Surely there is a middle ground which belongs to the well balanced Christian, and is the style of the Christ-sensible congregation.


Here are a couple of clues.


One of the first things we need to get into our head is simply this: God’s mission in this world does not totally depend on either me or my parish. With us or without us, God is at work; tirelessly at work. There is no situation into which we go in the name of Christ where God has not been there before us.


That is where the parable of Jesus from Mark Chapter 4: 26-39, brings a breath of sanity into the soul of busy and stressed Christians.  Jesus said the kingdom of God, that realm of grace which has been established on earth, is like a farmer in his community.


                                                The realm of God is like a farmer who sows seed in his field. At night

                                                he sleeps well, gets up each day to do whatever he wants to. All the while

                                                the seeds are sprouting and the crop is growing. It is out of his hands. The

                                                soil itself helps the plants flourish and produce. First we have the green

                                                stalk and fronds, then we have the ear, and at last the head fills out to

                                                maturity. When the grain is ripe, then the farmer gets busy with his

                                                sickle, for harvest time has arrived.   Mark 4: 26-29


This farmer does his important bit. He ploughs the soil, harrows it, and then sows the barely or wheat.


Then it is up to nature. He cannot control rain or sunshine, hail or heatwave. He just has to wait it out. Of course he can torture himself with worry, if he wants to put himself through that misery. But worry will not alter a thing. He is best to get on with life, waking and sleeping. Even while he sleeps, nature will do be quietly at work. The grain will sprout and take root, develop long blades and form ears of grain. In due time, without any pushing from the farmer the crop will ripen. Then will be the right time for the farmer to get busy again. With his sickle he will harvest the crop, let it dry out in stooks, and finally bring into the barn for  secure storage. That is how is with the kingdom of God. The bottom line is the free grace of God. Grace in bestowing nature’s gifts. Grace in redeeming us from our acute folly and evil.  A grace that is always at work.


That does not mean we can get away with sitting idly on our ‘lower posterior trunk!’ We do have some service to do. There are appropriate times for careful planning and activity. There are times for harvesting either a bumper crop or a smaller one.


But there are long periods when we just have to leave things in the hands of God. In such periods there should be spaces when we ourselves should recuperate from wear and tear of the busy times, and gather our own spiritual resources for the next season.


There should be a rhythm of engagement and disengagement. This rhythm should shape a healthy church, and give balance to the lives of individual members. There is a season for hard planning and doing, and times for quiet waiting and just being God’s child. A time for prayer and a time for busy, efficient service. A time for toiling under the midday sun, and a time for taking warm relaxing bath in the thermol spring of God’s grace.




It is never true that “it’s all up to us.” Never is it all our responsibility, neither as an individual Christian nor as a one particular congregation. Always there is the much larger part which belongs to God’s faithful work among us, and another part which is not our responsibility but is granted to other Christians.


Sometimes it is another parish which has the resources to do a particular task. Maybe they have resources in which ours might be deficient. At other times it is a different denomination, with their particular slant and gifts, which is better suited for a particular aspect of mission. In the same way, our denomination may be better suited than theirs for undertaking certain projects in Christ’s name.


There should be no room for envy in this matter.  The diversity of denominations has its black side, yet it is not entirely a negative factor. There are positives which the Holy Spirit can employ for the overall worship, fellowship and outreach of the Body of Christ within the world.


At our peril do we rush on through life taking ourselves too seriously. Also at our peril do we amble through life taking ourselves too lightly. We are stewards of the Gospel. We have to give account for certain things committed to our care. God does not ask us to be responsible for everything. Yet certain things are our job. Then he asks us to leave other matters in the hands of Divine resourcefulness.


Jesus said: The realm of God is like a farmer who sows seed in his field. At night

                                                he sleeps well, gets up each day to do whatever he wants to. All the while

                                                the seeds are sprouting and the crop is growing. It is out of his hands. The

                                                soil itself helps the plants grow and produce. First we have the green

                                                stalk and blades, then comes the ear, and at last the head fills out to

                                                maturity. When the grain is ripe, the farmer gets busy with his

                                                sickle, for harvest time has arrived.   Mark 4: 26-29




Which brings me back to my sermon title:  Wittenberg Beer.” Somewhere I have read a choice comment by Martin Luther. [I am having a “senior’s moment” and cannot remember either where to locate it, or Luther’s exact words] Luther muses on the wonderful truth that God’s mission it is not all up to us. He says something like this: “Just think of it. While we sit here drinking our mug of Wittenberg beer, the Word of God is busy at work.”


            [Since I wrote the above, I have had an email from Rev. Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson,

            Pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, Medicine Hat, Alberta. He suggested I look up Helmut             Thielicke’s “Waiting Father” page 90. I have. Wow! As always, magnificent stuff!             Evidently the quote should read, “While I drink my little glass of Wittenberg beer, the             gospel runs its course”. Thanks Garth.]


Was this fellow Luther inclined to a life of pious inactivity? Never. Martin Luther created his own revolution.  He often had to work late and rise early. But in spite of all his faults, and there were many, he had found that calm core of faith (rooted in the free grace of God) which enabled him to take time out, to relax rest as well as toil for the Lord.  “While I sit here drinking my little glass of Wittenberg Beer, the gospel runs its course”


                                    At night he sleeps well, gets up each day to do whatever he wants to.

                                    All the while the seeds are sprouting and the crop is growing.

                                    It is out of his hands. The soil itself helps the plants grow and produce.


If you are not keen on Wittenberg beer, you may like to join me over a cup of tea or coffee, and while we relax and chat, something wonderful will go on happening all around us.

Wherever we have faithfully sowed the seed of Christ, and where others have lovingly done the same, the Word of God continues its dynamic work.


Thanks be to God, through our Saviour Christ, in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit! Amen!





2 Corinthians 5: 16-17


We no longer look at a person from a humanistic point of view. Even though at first we saw Christ as just another human being, we no longer do. Now everything has changed. If any one is in Christ, there is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has arrived.



How do you see a person?


Are they just an animal that walks upright on 2 legs, and that happens to have a more developed brain than other animals? Are we, as one author has said, just a “naked ape?”


Why are we here? Are we, as many would claim, just an accident in a blind, soul-less universe?




Paul wrote: We no longer see a person from a humanistic point of view.


You know, the New Testament does make some ridiculous claims! Some doubters or critics think the most ridiculous claims centre on Jesus. They reckon Christians make outlandish claims about him. Messiah, Christ, son of man yet true Son of God; the Saviour, the Lord of human hearts.


They are without doubt stupendous claims. And they will always sound foolish in some ears.


However, for my part, I think that the more unbelievable claims centre on those who become Christ’s followers. The New Testament goes right over the top when talking about converts to the new faith. People like yo

u and me!


The Gospel of John says that through trusting our lives to the God of Christ Jesus, making ourself fully available to the Holy Spirit, we become born again.  That to those who receive Christ, he gives the power to become children of God.


St Paul says that if we belong to Christ, then there is a new creation. Now everything has changed. If any one is in Christ, there is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has arrived.


Isn’t that patently ridiculous? You and I, with all our folly, foibles and sinful faults, a new creation? Where does that wild idea come from?




Here I must focus for a while on a part of the text I have quoted from 2 Corinthians 5. Verse 17, can be translated at least 3 ways. When dealing with the original Greek, in which Paul wrote his letter, the text can be translated:


                        If a man is in Christ, he is a new creation.


                        If any man is in Christ he is a new creature.


                        If any man is in Christ there is a new creation.


What can we make of that? Plenty. Either way there remains the apparently ridiculous assertion that through Jesus something utterly new has happened and will continue to happen. New creature, new creation, it is all mind boggling!


Maybe Paul is echoing John’s theme of a person being born again through the activity of the Holy Spirit. Maybe he is following the key theme of the others 3 Gospel writers, asserting that in Christ a new world, called the kingdom of God, has arrived’ that when we give our lives to Christ, we become citizens of this new world.


In many ways, I do not mind which slant you put on this text. Either option will sound ridiculous in the cynic’s ears. Yet beneath the words is that astounding, new reality to which all  believers can say a fervent “Amen!”




From my view point, there is at least one aberration that can occur among Christians when they deal with this text. Some believers really imagine that on becoming a Christian they are totally transformed from folly and sin to wisdom and virtue, from a loser to complete winner.


Among those who speak much of being born again, you will find a number who reckon they are now a superior breed. They have arrived; fully arrived. They have nothing in common with that person they were born.


Even some of the favourite preachers and writers of my youth, took this view. They insisted that in conversion the human mind and soul were totally changed, reborn; and that the insidious human bias towards evil had been forever eradicated.


There is an element of truth in this way of thinking.


When we are converted, either suddenly or slowly over the years, there will indeed be a profound change. A change whereby all things are new and exciting, and old things are seen from a new perspective. We no longer see people from a humanistic view point. New spiritual depths are plumbed and new resources for living well do become available. If that were not so, many of you would have slipped back into a befuddled apathy years ago.


The believer does see themselves as living right now in the new kingdom of God, established by Christ on earth. They do recognise they caught up today in a new way of seeing and doing goodness. A new way of respecting themselves as God’s own children. A new way of treating each other. A new way of reaching out in love to those who are still trapped in the old world around us.


This newness is particularly clear to those who have had no precious church experience and a converted “out of the blue” as it were. For such converts the contrasts are dramatic. The whole world shines in a new way. A new abundant life, teeming with possibilities, opens up before them


For those of us brought up in the faith. and who have gently grown in the ways of Christ since childhood, the contrast between the old creation and the new is not so sharp. Indeed, we can be lulled into taking the miracle of saving grace for granted; of yawning while newcomers are on cloud nine with Christ!


I reckon it is especially helpful for most of us long term Christians, to every now and then have close encounters with a new convert. To see again the wonder and joy in their eyes. This can shake us up quite a bit. It can make us stop in our tracks, look around again at the old world and its discontents and marvel at the privilege that is ours.




So, as I see it there is considerable truth in those who see themselves as new creatures in Christ Jesus.


But there is also a grave danger.


Some may fall into the trap of imagining that their old faults have all gone. That their old character, has disappeared. That ego has been eradicated.


Sadly that is not so. The old ways die slowly. We still, even years after giving our lives to Christ, have much of the same basic character, and are subject to the same genetic make up. New ways of being and doing have opened up. Nevertheless, particular temptations will impinge, and our  particular character flaws will remain.


There is many a danger in thinking we have completely made it. If we have fallen for the devil’s deceit that we are now beyond sinning we can crash, become ashamed and languid, and plod along within the church without joy and peace. Or maybe we go to the other extreme and become self righteous, and con ourselves into thinking we now have no sin.


Maybe some converts will morosely revert, turn away from the church, renouncing their attempt at faith as just a silly religious phase.


But that is not all. Tragically, there are a few over-sensitive souls among those who have been force-fed the doctrine that a Christian no longer sins, who will end up cutting their wrists, or jumping from a skyscraper, in utter despair.




The younger generation often tell us oldies to “get real”. Well, my friends let us get real about conversion and living by faith.


When we live in Christ, we are being changed by the Holy Spirit. We are living in a new age, a new creation. We do see ourselves and others things in a new way.  We do believe that one day, within the abundant grace of eternal life, Christ will complete the work he has commenced us, and we will be more divinely beautiful than we ever thought likely.


Get real. We have not yet arrived. But we press on in hope and faith.


By all means, let us rejoice in today’s wonderfully ridiculous text:


We no longer look at a person from a humanistic standpoint. Even though at first we saw Christ as just another human being, we no longer do. Now everything has changed. If any one is in Christ, there is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has arrived.


But here and now we must also honestly confess with St Paul:

             “The good we want to do, we often fail to do, and the evil we don't want to do, we end

            up doing. Who shall, rescue me from this deadly life? God alone, through Jesus Christ      our Lord. Thanks be to God.”


Let us also get real with St Paul when he also wrote:

            Do not think for a moment that I have achieved it all. I certainly have not yet reached             what I should perfectly be. But I push on to claim it as my own, just as Christ has claimed             me as his own.


To recognise (by grace) what you really are at this moment, faults and all, and to do so without anxiety, is a remarkable blessing. But to also live with the committed hope that something much better and beautiful will one day be yours, through the saving grace of Jesus Christ, is an incalculable blessing.


Set your sights high. By the grace of Christ, dare to be ridiculous!





I believe in the God of our Lord Jesus Christ who has never ceased working within creation.


I believe in the Gospel of Christ with its own intrinsic potency, able to take root in unlikely places and produce fruit where other creeds fail.


I believe in the Spirit who accompanies us in work as well as prayer, and who blesses us both through strenuous endeavours and to quiet retreats.


I believe in reaping where I have not sown, in sowing where I shall not be able to reap, and in sleeping while Another works wonders with the little I have been able to accomplish in one brief day.


I believe that no seed certified by my Lord will ever be wasted when sown with love, and even in the hostile terrain, instead of briars will come up the grape vine, and instead of thistles will come up golden corn.


The Word that goes out of the mouth of our Lord will never return empty. This I believe.  This I believe because the Word continues to work its grace-changes, even in me.







In our prayers of intercession, we share a little of God’s concern for the world.


Let us pray.


God, the truest Friend of the earth that ever was, is or will be, assist our prayers. Let them echo your love for the earth and all that is in it.


We pray for those who live with us in this church community.

Keep the strong gentle, empower the weak, and make us all more merciful. Comfort those grieving a loss, heal those recovering from illness, guide those facing tough decisions, and make us all more patient. Keep the clever wise, forgive and straighten out the foolish, endow the meek with quiet confidence, and make us all the true children of your love.


We pray also for our wider community and nation.

Guide our leaders, forgive their blunders, humble their pride, work with their strengths, divert them from grave errors, and turn even their weaknesses to good use.


We ask you to likewise bless our world.

By using us and all other people who love justice and compassion, heal the pain of the nations. Relieve the oppressed, feed the hungry, stand with those enduring warfare, bless your peacemakers, house the homeless, provide a welcoming place for refugees, and bless any statesman who trusts you more than their own prejudice or fear.


We pray now for ourselves.

Where we are strong in faith, use us sensitively; where we are weka in faith, help us to believe more daringly; where we are weak in body, give us delight in the strengths we do have, where we have abundant energy, let us employ it generously; where we are large in compassion, enable us to use it efficiently, where we are surrounded by many possessions, help us to give more freely, where we must live more frugally, let embrace  the special blessings that you have promised to the poor.


God of new creation, let us live as those who really are the reborn creatures of your realm of grace. To your praise and glory. Through Christ Jesus our Lord.





As you leave this sanctuary,

much privilege and responsibility awaits you.

            Travel confidently and humbly,

            serve enthusiastically and wisely,

            pray eagerly and thoughtfully,

            forgive thoroughly and gladly,

            and love deeply and generously.


We are not alone:

The Lord of hosts is our Companion,

the God of Christ is our Helper.


The grace of the Christ Jesus be within you,

the loving providence of God surround you,

the zest of the Spirit drive and enable you.

This day and forever.






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