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 14    July 3-9


Mark 6:1-13...                                      (Sermon 1: “Low Expectations?”)

2 Corinthians 12:2-10...                       (Sermon 2: “Strong Weaklings”)

2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10...

Psalm 48.




The grace of the Lord of love be with you.

And also with you.


Opportunity awaits us here;

this is the house of a God who is the most generous Host.

Great is our God and greatly to be praised!

where God lives there is the loftiest beauty

and joy enough to fill the whole earth.




Great is our God, and greatly to be praised,

the joy of all the earth.

Beautiful is our God,

the joy of loving hearts.


We have contemplated your faithful love, O God,

in the midst of your temple.

God’s grace is sufficient for us,

Christ’s power is made perfect in our weakness.


Your right hand alone gives us the victory.

Let the sons of God be glad!

Let the daughters of God rejoice,




Let us pray.


O God our Maker, you constantly renew the face of the earth.

We worship and adore you!

O God our Liberator, you constantly renew our salvation.

We worship and adore you!

O God our Helper, you constantly renew our sagging hopes and waning love.

We worship and adore you!


Most wonderful God, let us bring our dearest joy to worship

and let our worship enlarge our dearest joy.

For your love’s sake.





During a few moments silence, let us place ourselves within the light of Christ, examine our hearts and minds, and recognise where we have lost our way and neglected our calling.

                                             * Silent prayer


If we have been so busy that we don’t notice the needs of others,

or have resented those who do take time to be kind and generous,

or have disgraced our faith by becoming self absorbed:

            Forgive us, loving God, and save us from ourselves.


If we have been too proud to undertake humble tasks,

or too impatient to do tasks that have no immediate reward,

or too stubborn to seek the help of others.

            Forgive us, loving God, and save us from ourselves.


If we have magnified small wrongs done to us,

or have allowed tiny difficulties to frustrate us,

or have been thick-skinned, inflexible or unteachable.

            Forgive us, loving God, and save us from ourselves.

                        * silent prayer


The Lord has mercy.

Christ has mercy.

The Lord has mercy.




My fellow pilgrims on Christ’s mountain road, take heart.

God does not have to be persuaded to forgive us;

it is more likely our pride that holds us back from accepting forgiveness.

Please, for Christ’s sake,

let down your guard, open you mind and heart,

repent and accept the Gospel of free grace.


In Christ there is grace.

In Christ there is peace.

In Christ there is love and joy.

Thanks be to God!




            (Isn’t this just the carpenter?  The son of Mary and the brother of James,

             Joses, Judas and Simon, and aren’t his sisters here with us?)


Loving God,

it’s a funny thing, you know,

but it is often hardest to stay true to You

when we are among family and friends?


They reckon they know all about us,

but they don’t really notices the changes

and the silent growing that goes on inside us.

Like, in our soul?


Please, don't let their opinion of us

discourage us.

With the help of our Lord Jesus

help us to keep growing

in faith and love.


In his name we pray.






Note: Psalm 48 is centred on Jerusalem and its temple worship. I have taken more liberties than usual to make it a helpful liturgical resource for Christian worship.


Great is our God, and greatly to be praised

in the streets of the eternal city of light.

Loftier than the highest mountain

is God’s beauty, the joy of all the earth.


Each cathedral and chapel is a suburb

of the city of the King of love.

Within the embracing arms of the church

we have found God keeping us secure.


We have delighted in your love, O God,

in houses of prayer where you are adored.

Just as your name is known everywhere,

so praise is sung to the ends of the earth.


Your right hand wins out over evil;

let the whole church celebrate!

Let the daughters of faith celebrate

your saving justice for all!


Visit around the many churches,

look at the quiet strength found there.

Think about the faith of ordinary folk,

see their fellowship and outreach.


Tell the next generation what is happening,

that God is very much alive.

Our God will be with us always,

our sure guide for ever more.

                                                                                                Ó B D Prewer 2002




   Mark 6: 7-13


Not the wise, not the skilled,

neither scholars, nor saints;

            mere ordinary folk,

            warts-and-all characters,

            and that Peter bloke;

caught up in the freedom of Jesus.


Authority: called and empowered

to release the bedevilled;

            the diseased and the lame,

            the crazy and the lost,

            the soul filled with shame;

caught up in the love of Jesus.


Not cluttered with possessions,

free as the wind of heaven;

            inviting the crowd,

            anointing the sick,

            rebuking the proud;

caught up in the spirit of Jesus.

                                                                                    Ó B D Prewer 2000




We thank you, loving God, for the surprises which you spring on us! You take the unlovely and cherish them, the mediocre and make them gifted, the mere nobodies and ordain them your apostles.


You entrust us with an authority and ministry far beyond our own strength. We are reticent. Yet under your patient care we discover that all things are possible to those who love you.


Surprise us again, loving Friend. Surprise us with the Christ who believes in us and the grace which is made perfect in human weakness.


Through Jesus Christ, we pray.





God our God, do not let us be afraid of the hard questions

            but rather let us fear the pre-cast answers with which this world’s exploiters

            would dearly enslave us.

Grant us the grace to be unsettled by your Christ in his profound

            simplicity; to travel with him, to see him at work, to watch his face,

            to hear his words and sometimes to tremble with awe.

When at last we have sharpened our questions to the keenest point,

            let these same questions pierce our ignorance and make room in us for a creed,

            deeper than words and higher than our aspirations. Through Jesus our Christ.





Mark 6:3


 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offence [scandalised] at him



Daring to put those words in common street-talk:

             “Isn’t this jumped-up nerd just the local carpenter? Mary’s kid, the brother of Jim,

              Joe, Jude and Si?   And aren’t these ordinary chics among us his sisters?”

              And they were pissed-off by him.”


First, I apologise to any of you who find those words [pissed off] crude; an unfortunate choice. Honestly, I could not find a more polite phrase in common use that carried the same sense of derision and rejection. I poured over my thesaurus for half an hour to no avail. Returned again to it later, again to no avail.


The formal translation is: “They took offence.” I reckon “took offence” is too soft.  “Scandalised” may be the most accurate translation of the Greek skandalon, but most ordinary Aussies at a barbecue would not use it. I reckon they would spontaneously use my indelicate words.


His critics were determined to put him down, both metaphorically and (as in Luke’s account of his homecoming to Nazareth) quite literally. They were offended and angry and eager to get violent with their home grown prophet.




Some say that familiarity breeds contempt.


Often those who are familiar with us over the years, take us for granted and don’t expect changes in us. Some may package us up in opinions that were framed a long time ago, and get annoyed should we try to break out of their frame of us. If we start to exhibit gifts which they had never suspected, it annoys them. Should we take on positions (say in local government) that seem, in their eyes, to be “above our status,” they may become our harshest critics.


The low expectations from within one’s locality, not only underrate the gifts and possibilities of a “local” but can also actively inhibit the development of such gifts. Numerous people have been grossly restricted by the low expectations of those around them. Many have to go elsewhere to be truly themselves.


As I see it, fostering low expectations is one of the devil’s most canny stratagems.




Jesus was subject to this kind of ‘put down.’


He had been conducting an amazing ministry in other parts of Galilee. Crowds had been flocking to meet him and hear him and see his healing deeds. He was big news everywhere. But when he arrived back home and preached in his local synagogue, there were many critics; citizens who already had set opinions about this man who had been their local carpenter. They were offended [pissed-off] by his attempt to break out of their low expectations.


The key to their attitude is in their comments: “Isn’t this just the carpenter? Mary’s kid, the brother of Jim and Joe, Ju and Si? And aren’t these his sisters here among us?”


They underestimated him, they put him in the cramped crate of their limited understanding, totally defined by the status of his parents, and of his brothers and sisters, and of his occupation: carpenter, or maybe ‘tradesman.’ That was their comfort zone, and they did not want to venture outside it. Because of their low expectations, these constrictions, they denied themselves the kind of dynamic encounter that hundreds of others had been enjoying. They missed out.


Not only did his critics miss out, but they inhibited Jesus and thereby denied healing grace to others. Their closed minds prevented wonderful things happening. Please face this: their selfishness which would not allow their own attitudes to be changed, and their lack of faith in him (because he was “just a local carpenter”) prevented others receiving help.  Mark makes the telling comment:  “And Jesus could do no mighty work there.”


One early Christian document has Jesus saying of his critics: “They are like a dogs sitting in mangers. They neither eat the straw themselves nor allow anyone else eat it.”




That’s how it goes, isn’t it?  I have talked about what happened to Jesus, and in a general way of what can happen to others. But what about us.


Those of you who still live where you were brought up, or have lived here a long time, or who have working in the same position for many years, know what it to be restricted by the expectations of those around you. Communities seem to have the power to cramp and diminish possibilities. The wet blanket thrown by those who think they know you, is crippling. Often who think they know you, may hardly know anything about the miracle that is really you!


Have folk tried to define and confine you by putting you in their little boxes? In the box of occupation? Or the “growing up” box? Or the family box?




Why do people on being introduced ask “what do you do?” Meaning your occupation? Do they imagine they can understand you by what you do for a living? Aren’t you just the carpenter?  Just the farmer? Secretary? Plumber? Manager? Teacher? Shop keeper? Truck driver? Plumber? Computer programmer?  Nurse? Police officer? Accountant? Hair dresser? Engineer? Pilot? Receptionist? Or those clangers- just a home-husband or house-wife, unemployed or retired.




What’s more, why do they think they understand you just because they can slot you into a particular family? Aren’t you Mary’s son, and don’t we know you brothers and sisters? Aren’t you Kathryn’s eldest daughter? Paul’s young brother?  Shane’s young wife? Jane’s much older husband? The pastor’s wife? Mandy’s cousin? One of the Elmhurst twins? The grandchildren of Bill the butcher?  The second husband of Tricia? The son of Judie and Tim? The aunt of that politician convicted of fraud?


Growing up experiences:


Why is it they presume to know you by having lived next door to you, or gone to school and college with you? Aren’t you the boy who used to play with our Peter, and who hit a ball through our window? The girl who played tennis for the seconds?  The student who was good at English but hopeless at Maths? The schoolboy who was nervous of girls? The girl who got pregnant? The kid with a new license who got caught speeding? The rebellious child I taught in Sunday School? The plodder who had to repeat first year at University? The teenager who dated our Bryce for a while until he met Cindy? The leader of the debating team who had “the gift of the gab”? The kid with the bad acne?


            Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?”


Just as they classified Jesus, so they try to classify us in little boxes. Such closed minds cannot see the real you. Their low expectations can inhibit or constrict your enlarging identity in Christ. They rarely notice your developing gifts, or give you gracious affirmation in your accomplishments. Often we have to dare to be what Christ wants to make of us in spite of these negative folk who erroneously think they know us. Jesus had to move on without them. Maybe we need to also, either physically or spiritually, or both.




Sadly this also applies to life in the church. It happened to Jesus in the synagogue. The very people, whose minds and hearts should have been open, were closed. Categorising is a grave inhibiter of our growth and that of other Christians around us.


It goes like this: She came over from the Baptists. He is one of those high church Anglicans. They are Roman Catholic, of course. Our neighbours are charismatic, you know? I’m afraid Ted is a fundamentalist. Deidre is one of those liberals. 


Little boxes. Constrictions.


As a member of our Uniting Church in Australia, a denomination now more than twenty five years old, it irks me when some members still try to classify people by their previous denomination as either Congregational, Presbyterian or Methodist. I have heard people say, “But of course, they were Presbyterian.” A box. I get suspicious when someone asks me, “What were you before the union?”


I am not willing to be pigeon holed. Neither should you allow yourself to be so boxed in, my friends.




Maybe most important of all: don’t classify yourself. Sometimes we slip into the habit of placing ourselves in those little boxes. We say to ourselves the equivalent of: “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?”


Move on with Jesus! Walk away from your self imposed restrictions.


Each of us is not only more than what our parents see in us, or our brothers and sisters, or our friends and neighbours, or the folk within this congregation.  We are even much more than we recognise in ourselves.


We are something very special, on a journey with Christ where things do become transformed.  Please do not underestimate your potential or down-play the small successes. Give thanks for the mini achievements. And if you have a few major ones, rejoice but don’t brag, and stay patient with those others who may be moving much slower.


This transformation does not all happen in a flash. It is an ongoing process.  For most of us it is not a smooth climb upwards. Often it is 2 steps forward and then 1 slip backwards or sideways.  In our own eyes, the progress can feel frustratingly slow. Yet all the while it is a journey planned by the love of God, initiated by the grace of Christ, and nurtured by the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. The sky is the limit!



Be lofty in your expectations for yourselves and for other Christians, and be generous with yourself and with them when you stumble. A stumble does not characterise your true future, but Jesus Christ does.




2 Corinthians 12: 7-10


I don’t know about you, but I am definitely a weakling; a weakling who can be surprisingly strong. I have more than once surprised those who thought they thoroughly knew my weaknesses. I have (I must admit) on numerous occasions surprised myself with unexpected strengths.


When Paul wrote: “when I am weak, then I am strong” it might read to critics like another case of religious pretension; perhaps the pious bragging of a man who never really knew what it was to be a weakling.  If that were the case, then I would sympathise with the critics.


Among my pet distastes are those overtly pious folk who brag about always being on top of the circumstances. Many of these braggers have never actually endured poverty, mental illness, hardship, suffering, or acute loss and grief. Yet they are big on giving mouthfuls of slick advice to folk who are truly doing it tough. Including the tawdry assertion that if the unfortunate folk really had genuine faith, then all their troubles would evaporate.


If any person wants to give me advice about how to cope with my weakness, let them not speak from the comfort of an untested, armchair spirituality. Let them speak to me out of the mud and muck of disappointments and deep loss, or out of the cauldron of suffering and distress, or from the grief and the struggle to survive in a sea of desolation.


That is why I really do listen to St Paul. “When I am weak, then I am strong.”  He knew what he was talking about. Nothing trite or untested about his spirituality.


In the 12th Chapter of his second letter to the Corinthians Paul frankly talks about some chronic ailment that has plagued his life. He labels this ailment a “thorn in the flesh, to harass me, a Satan’s messenger, to keep me from becoming over confident.”


Numerous people have made guesses at what that ailment could be. Those guesses range from epilepsy to facial disfigurement, from stuttering to being a hunchback, from a hair lip to

depressive illness. Maybe there are many more possibilities I have not heard. The truth is we do not have one incontrovertible clue as to what the “thorn in the flesh” really was. It is enough to know that it caused Paul ongoing pain.


Paul tells us that three times he begged God to be freed of this burden. But it seemed to him that God’s answer was: “No. live with it, Paul. My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in human weakness.”


Paul races on then to this additional affirmation: “For the sake of Christ, I am now content with weaknesses, insults, hardship, persecutions and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”


Is this stuff believable?


My soul responds:  “Yes. I believe you, Paul. You really did have to “do it tough.” You speak from the depths. Nothing slick or self-serving in your witness. This is the hard, deep down truth, forged on the anvils of faith in the workshop of human suffering.”




What does this mean for us?  Where is this strength that is found when we are weak? This healing which happens although we are still suffering? This leap forward when we endure ugly setbacks?


What does this mean in our lives?


Here are some possibilities.


1/ Gaining a clearer insight


Times of weakness can open our eyes to things worth living for. I use the words “can open our eyes.” It does not automatically happen. We need to eject self pity and be willing to grow (painfully) through our awareness of vulnerability and weakness.


In times of weakness, physical or personal, or when crosses are thrust on our shoulders by adverse circumstances or by cruel people, we have the opportunity to see through the world’s superficial values and gloss to the realities which eternally matter.


The world’s nonsense becomes stripped way. Trivial matters can be seen to be trivial. Mediocre goals, no matter how glamorised by our culture, are seen to be mediocre.  Even second level values are recognised as secondary. When we are weak the primary things stand out, and we can become much stronger characters.


It is in our weakness that we are granted the opportunity to reassess and decide what we really want to absorb our time and energy and money. A new maturation and drive can arise out of the hardship, and we can focus our sights on the goals that will remain shining even in the darkest nights of the soul.

When we are weak, then we are strong.


You and I have seen this happen to some of those who have coped with a natural disaster or financial ruin, those who have recovered from family tragedy or physical disease, those who survive war or terrorist atrocity, those who may remain handicapped yet no longer define themselves by their handicap. They become the strong ones, who cut through falsity and superficiality. These brave souls inspire the rest of us to take up our cross and get on with life.


2/ Discovering inner resources


The second strength that can arise in times of weakness is the discovery of inner resources we did not realise we possessed.


We find we are drawing on silent depths.


Often it is these newly-recognised strengths which enable us to hang on in times of crisis, like as rock climber on a cliff face. At other times these inner strengths enable us to walk on through rocky terrain; far beyond what we had thought was our limit. We may even surprise and surpass ourselves by being able to encourage another weak soul in the very hour when we ourselves were over stretched. Or we find ourselves laughing in a situation where we had feared all humour had died.


When we are weak, then we are strong.


At this point you may wish to remind me that Paul is not talking about our own inner strengths, but about God’s strength given to us in our weakness.


You are partly right, of course, and in a couple of minutes I will specifically deal with that truth.


However, the line between human and Divine resources is not as clear as you might at first think. Our very being is rooted in the ground of God. Without God sustaining the breath we draw moment by moment, we would immediately cease to be. What I have called our human inner strengths flow directly from our God. A friend can be the strength of God to us. A kindly stranger can be the strength of God to us. Each of us can be the strength of God to ourselves.


Down in the depths of our being, I am not certain where the human ends and the Divine begins. My personal resources are a part of something far more profound and far more holy. That is a part of the paradox that enables us to say: When I am weak, then I am strong.


3/ The grace of Christ


Yet there is more, isn’t there? In our weakness we come to appreciate that which is called the grace of God, or “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is that supra-natural, gift-strength which certainly does not come from our human nature but from the Divine.


Paul always brings us back to this fact of amazing grace. Remember those words about Paul’s “thorn in the flesh”, and how he begged God on three occasions to rid him of this painful affliction? For Paul is seemed clear that the Lord was saying to him, “Forget the thorn, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in human weakness.”


Many of us here today (I hope maybe most of us) have experienced situations when we felt at our wits end. At that point, bereft of options and floundering badly, something Holy saved us. We were sustained by “Something Other” than own resources or those of our caring neighbours or loved ones.


Maybe it happened quietly, or maybe dramatically, but we were inundated with the sustaining warmth of the loving Spirit of Christ Jesus. The Lord is always our saving grace; the “Something Extra” that makes us much stronger than we deserve to be. The grace of God is always pure bonus, “the bread which we break, and the cup which we take” is truly “Something Other” or: “Something Extra.”


At such times we know for certain that “when we are weak, then we are strong.”

Paul got it right.




One final comment on this theme: Our God indulges in the delightful effrontery of taking our own experience of weakness and then using it to strengthen others.


We may think that God can only use our strengths and abilities. Wrong. God is also pleased to use our weaknesses and our disabilities.


That was Paul’s story. And it is certainly mine. Because of my weaknesses (and I certainly do have my own thorn in the flesh) Christ has been able to use me both as a pastor and preacher and writer in ways far beyond any calculated expectation.


In fact, God is not into calculations.  God is into grace. Grace. More grace. Freely available.

As immeasurable of the love of Jesus on the cross.


Great is our God, and greatly to be praised,

the joy of all the earth.

Beautiful is our God,

the joy of loving hearts.


We have thought about your faithful love, O God,

in the midst of your temple.

God’s grace is sufficient for us,

Christ’s power is made perfect in our weakness.


Your right hand alone gives us the victory.

Let the sons of God be glad!

Let the daughters of God rejoice,




               * for 2 voices.


We thank you, gracious God,

for speaking to us through all the common scenes of life,

and sowing hope in unpromising places.


You are the lone shaft of light that greets me on a cloudy morning.

            The kindly darkness that swallows my sins and brings me to rest.


You are the friend who waits for me when my weary steps falter;

            The warmth that floods my being with a loved one’s hug.


You are the eagle that draws my eyes towards the heavens;

            The sea where tides recede yet always return to refresh.


You are the hope that rises after wintry grief, like bush orchids in spring;

            The kind laugher that mocks me after I have been pompous.


You are the unfinished rhapsody that sets my soul aching with joy;

            The optimism that refuses to the flattened by the fist of fear.


You are the compassion that brings my charity out of its hiding place;

            The birdsong that lifts my spirits after a cold spell.


You are the hope that bursts green from the ashes of a bush fire;

            The pond that reflects the beauty I have not noticed before.


You are the peace where my heart rests in the eye of a storm;

            The star-cross in the sky when I must walk alone in the night.


We thank you, gracious God,

for meeting with us in all the common scenes of life.

Please receive our gratitude and praise,

help us to recognise you more often

and cooperate with your Spirit more readily.

Through Christ Jesus our divine Brother.





                              See “Jesus our Future” page 92

Ó      B D Prewer & Open Book Publishers




In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, take authority to exceed the expectations of

of those who would deny your gifts and cramp your style!



In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, dare to exceed your natural gifts and virtues and begin to live by the strength of grace.



In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, place your deficiencies and frailty in the hands of God and find the strength which is made perfect your weakness.



Grace, mercy and peace, from God.............................





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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.