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,
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        or online on amazon.

SUNDAY 17    July 24-30


John 6:1-21....                                      (Sermon 2: “Smidgin to Smorgasbord”)

Ephesians 3:14-21.....

2 Samuel 11:1-15....                 (Sermon 1: “David and Bathsheba”)

Psalm 14





Afraid? Are any afraid?

Jesus says: “It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

Christ is our sure peace

and the joy of our salvation.


When God restores the good fortunes of the people,

all the prophets and the saints will rejoice.

Let the church in every land celebrate,

let the pilgrim people delight in God.


The joy of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

And also with you




God looks from heaven upon the children of earth

to see whether there are any wise enough

to seek the fellowship of God.

By faith, may Christ live within our hearts,

that we may be rooted and grounded in love

and filled with all the fullness of God.


When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people,

the people of faith shall rejoice, and the whole church be glad.

We bow down before the Father of Christ Jesus,

from whom every family on earth is named.


To God be all the glory,

in the church and in Christ Jesus

throughout all generations,

forever and ever. Amen!





Let us pray.


Holy God, joy of the universe, it is your awesome love that brings us here. You awaken within us a loving response, which hungers and thirsts for your truth and beauty.


As we worship you, please do not give us the blessings we want but the ones we most need. Satisfy us with the truth that we may need, though such truth might be most uncomfortable, and confront us with your holy beauty that will often cause us pain before it brings healing.


Through Christ Jesus your joyful Son.





Family of God, this is the time for confession; the opportunity to face up to our human failings and ask for Divine help.


Let us pray.


Here we are, Saviour-Friend, in your Presence, needing your saving grace to set us up for this new week.

Here we are, not wallowing in shame like those without hope, but opening up our lives to the mercy which is always here for us.


To you, Saviour-Friend, I bring both my failures and my successes.

I am sorry for my failures, especially those I should have foreseen and prevented

I am sorry for any way in which I have added to the frustration and hurt of others.


I am very glad for my successes, yet realise that even my best deeds are always flawed.

I acknowledge that my life is a tangled skein of good and evil, and I need your grace.


Please do for me now what I cannot do for myself. Grant me an honest repentance, sure forgiveness, profound peace, and a new vigour of spirit.

Let me make amends wherever that is feasible, and may I have the faith to leave the rest in your wise hands. This I ask in the name of Christ Jesus my Saviour.





According to the riches of God’s glory, displayed in Jesus our Saviour, may you be forgiven and strengthened through the power of the Spirit in your inner being.



May you have the capacity to rejoice with the saints in the breadth, length, height and depth of the love of Christ which is far beyond worldly knowledge. In him may you be filled with the fullness of God.





God we may be silly sometimes,

but we are not stupid,

so please use our wisdom to bless others.


God we may not be rich, but we are not useless,

please help us share our gifts with others.

God we may not have strong faith, but we do trust you a lot,

please take our faith and use it

to make weak kids feel stronger.


In the name of Jesus,

our big Brother and our Saviour.






Dear God,

if Jesus can accept simple gifts from a boy,

            like five bread rolls and two fish,

and bless them to feed thousands

            of hungry people,

then please get him to take our lives

            with whatever we have that is good,

and use us to help others.


And by the way, God,

if we start making silly excuses,

don’t listen to us.



Luv you, God






               See “More Australian Psalms” page 112





I met this man who had no bread

who drew me with the words he said;

He blessed my little and made it more,

and handed back the bread of awe.


When I had knelt and had my fill,

I saw yet more in my hands still.

I shared it with the folk around.

and found that earth is holy ground.

                                                                        Ó B D Prewer 2002




God of generosity, please enlarge our expectations of both heaven and earth, that we may be more willing to receive and more ready to give. Through Jesus Christ our teacher, example and Saviour.






2 Samuel 11:1-15


Boldly, but without the slightest hint of pornographic fascination, the Bible tells of King David’s affair with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah. It continues on to relate how David tried to cover up his evil deed by ordering a foul murder of her husband.


The Bible handles the whole, sorry episode with such dignity that it can become the word of God to us. Please let it be the Word of God to us this day. For it speaks plainly of our human predicament, the evil stuff from which much the world’s suffering stems. It underlines our common need of salvation.


There are two words I will use about this sordid affair of Israel’s most famous king. These are “frailty” and “wilfulness.”




Think firstly about frailty. Our human frailty. This comes from the first part of the story: David’s sudden, unplanned lust for Bathsheba and his forcing himself upon her.


Human beings are morally vulnerable. We all have vulnerable spots in our character where there is always some danger of being corrupted; life situations where the difference between standing tall and falling low is tissue thin.


For many people it is in the expression of their sexuality. Like David, sex is the point where they are most vulnerable. I am not thinking of the scheming, serial promiscuous people. I have in mind those who are at risk in totally unpremeditated circumstances, where they are unexpectedly drawn into temptation and fall, to the pain of others and themselves.


Then again, the weak spot may not be sex but greed. The itch for money has undone many otherwise virtuous person. I suspect that greed damages many more lives than do sexual sins. I cannot prove that of course, but that is my considered observation after a lifetime of dealing with human misery in its multifarious forms.


Another common frailty, which causes our fall without our planning it, can be the yen to fit in with everybody. It does not require much pressure for some of us to “run with the hare and hunt with the hounds.” We may be kindly, generous people, with all kinds of good resolutions about integrity, yet a little bit of social pressure can pervert us, leaving us feeling grubby and ashamed.


Others have a problem with gossip. Yes even in churches!  Some are addicts. But there are others who never set out to malign another person, but one day their frailty is tempted, and the tongue wags almost before the owner knows it is happening.


Then there is the frailty of self righteousness. We may not intend to look down on others, or consider ourselves superior. Maybe, in theory we rationally reject such a canker. Yet at times when we are feeling insecure, and maybe following a failure at some other level, we catch ourselves out preening ourselves by making odious comparisons with others.


Add to these frailties such things as envy, quick temper, hunger for power and fame, sharp tongues, lust for food and drink, deceit, apathy and destructive anger, and we see just how vulnerable we are.




Therefore don’t let us pretend for one minute that King David was the only one with a problem. We are all vulnerable at certain points. The margin between standing tall and falling, is often a thin as “glad wrap.”


Therefore I say to you: deal compassionately with each other. Deal firmly but compassionately with yourself. Faced by human frailty like David with Bathsheba, recognise it as a part of our common story. It is not a matter whether you and I have frailties, but a question of which ones they are. Go gently with others. As Jesus said to some very devout, self righteous people who dragged a woman before him: “Let those of you without sin, throw the first stone.”


This does not mean approving of the sins of others, no more than we approve our own fallen moments. David did something extremely wrong. His fall would discolour the rest of his life and have negative consequences on many around him. Every fall discolours our life, and to some degree adds to the misery of others. But we know that frailty is neither the whole story nor the key truth of human nature. The ultimate truth that we are precious to our Creator and Redeemer.


It is right that we should “be compassionate even as our heavenly Father is compassionate.” Each of us must deal with the fall-out from our frailty and that of those around us, in the Presence of God. As far as possible we attempt to contain the negative effects of human evil on those around us. Yet first of all, be merciful. Be honest, firm and compassionate.




However, there is another degree of human complicity with evil: wilfulness. This is the premeditated, deliberate, steps we take to do something patently wrong. We wilfully undertake actions which we know are not only against the law of religion but are also against the Spirit of God.


This is the way David went after his adultery with Bathsheba. He attempted to cover up the evil he had done with yet more evil. David schemed up some evil.


He recalled the husband of Bathsheba back from the battle front under General Joab. He wanted Uriah to sleep with Bathsheba, so that when her pregnancy became obvious it would appear that the child was fathered by Uriah. When this did not work, he sent the poor soldier back into the war zone, with a direction to General Joab that the man was to be sent into the thickest point of battle where he would surely be killed. And that’s exactly what happened.


David was wilfully evil. It was shameful episode in the life of a remarkable man. Deliberate, premeditated sinfulness. Deeds committed in defiance of God’s way.


A similar thing can happen with us. Wilfulness. Damned wilfulness.


I’m not talking about something as momentous as murder. There are many other sly schemes which we may plan and execute. We may choose to do something which we know to be wrong. This is not done in the heat of the moment. It is wilful. Sometimes such premeditated sins are to protect our own skin, or our reputation. Sometimes they are committed out of jealousy. Sometimes out of greed.


Whatever, wherever, these are an open rebellion against the Spirit of our loving God. By such deeds, often mulled over for a long period, we are mutineers running our flag to the masthead. We tell God to keep out. We are doing it our way. Our wilful actions may not be as vicious as David’s treatment of Uriah, but they have the same essence. Premeditated rebellion. The particular form our rebellion takes, may vary from person to person. But there is no doubt about what is going on. And we know it. Yes, we know it!


Wilfulness needs challenging. It calls for exposure and rebuke. It cannot be dealt with except through repentance and, where possible, restitution. Wilful evil is not frailty but a cultivated malignancy of the soul. It calls for drastic action. As we will read in next week’s continuation of the story of David, the king did not need comfort but confrontation. God’s brave prophet Nathan provided that confrontation.


Wilful wrongdoing is not something to be light hearted and jaunty about. It needs rebuke. It is best if we are self honest enough to confront ourselves. If we won’t challenge ourselves, then, please God, let there be friend who cares enough to confront us! Without it we are on a downward spiral towards spiritual self-destruction.




Frailty. Wilfulness.


In our human frailty, we need the ongoing care of God and of our fellow human beings. Any of us can slip, any time. We need love in its more tender forms. Compassion is a priority. In our vulnerability we need to be treated with tender love, not fierce condemnation. The old saying may be well worn but it’s not outdated: “There but for the grace of God go I.”


In our wilfulness we need confrontation, exposure, rebuke and repentance. We need love in its more relentless form to take us to task and bring us back to our better selves. The occasional anger of Jesus was not a mistake. It was part of his caring for others.


Mark this in your thoughts: Authentic love has healing tenderness in it. Authentic love also has the steel of truth in it. In both our frailty and our wilfulness, we need loving.


The story of David and Bathsheba reveals Israel’s legendary king in his sexual vulnerability and then his political ruthlessness. It is a sorry affair but it in not a hopeless story. For the God of ultimate love was there for him. So many centuries before the coming of Jesus, David had no way of knowing how immense that love was.


We have the advantage of that ancient king of the Jews. We know of a Cross; we know that the love of God will stop at nothing to rescue and heal us from self destruction. Frailty. Wilfulness. That is a part of our story. The more important part is the strong, saving grace of God in Christ Jesus.





John 6: 1-14


It was party time.


When Jesus was confronted by 5000 hungry people in a barren place situated on the East bank of lake Galilee, he was not at a loss. He took what was available, a child’s gift of 5 barley rolls and two small fish, and created a smorgasbord. So plentiful was the food that we are told that twelve basks were left over.


That is the kind of thing Jesus did. It is the kind of thing he still does. In barren places, with hungry souls, he turns despondency into delight, and hunger into full-fill-ment.


Some people find stories like this difficult to swallow. My advice to such hesitant souls is simply this: For God’s sake, put aside whatever it is that makes you gag. Let Jesus be

Christ to you for a while, and later come back to such stories which at the moment you find difficult. Give him a go. Or as one person of faith said, centuries before Jesus was born, “O taste and see for yourself that the Lord is good.”




I don’t have so many problems with a story like the feeding of the five thousand because I have experienced something very like it. I have seen similar things happen. That story is as a parable to me, revealing a truth which is very real to sincere practitioners of the faith.


In rural parishes I have ministered in the name of Jesus to a dozen or so farmers and their families. I have shared their gathering in a modest, weatherboard church. Now as you may know, farmers do hard physical work and have big appetites. Any pastor who has had the privilege of sharing farm hospitality knows about that appetite. Yet miraculously, I have seen members of a rural congregation go home wonderfully full-filled from just a sip from a cup and morsel from a piece of bread. It is as if those souls have feasted at a lavish smorgasbord.


Likewise in cities. I have witnessed busy-busy urbanites, accustomed to a wide range of dining options, gather in large numbers within lofty and elegant city churches. There they come to a common table and receive just one fragment of bread and no more than a tea spoon of wine. Miraculously, these city folk find their strength renewed as they go on their way replete. It has been smorgasbord time for them.


That is the sort of thing Jesus does. It is one of his specialities. With a blessing from his hands the little becomes large, the weak become strong, the blind begin to see, the poor become rich, the loser become winners, and the nobodies become the first citizens in the realm of God.


If we offer to Christ whatever small gifts we have, it will surprise you what he can do with them. It is as simple, yet as profound, as that.




If we are to really experience the truth which threads through this story in John’s Gospel, we must first be open to it. We must allow Christ to become hands on.


We must, like that boy long ago, put our resources into the hands of Christ. There is no way around it. There are thousands of wistful, religious folk, who have never experienced the beneficence of Jesus. Why? Because they have never thrust all hesitation aside and committed all they have and are at the disposal of the Lord Jesus.  All, I say, nothing held back.


The cautious folk might protest: “But only those who fully believe can commit.”  That is not as true as it sounds. What is truer is this: “Only those who will commit will fully believe.”  Repeat: “Only those who commit who will fully believe.”


There was an advert on TV which featured the tourist attractions of the “Northern Territory” of Australia. It sought to induce us to visit that large, and for a long while neglected, slab of our ancient continent which was, and in many ways still is, engaged in its pioneering phase.


Come and see Katherine George, Alice Springs, Uluru, Kakadu NP, Litchfield NP, Berry Springs, and of course the small but rapidly growing city of Darwin. The key phrase in the TV ad was a play in the words from earlier years of settlement, when the outback was often called the: “never-never land”. This ad insisted: “You’ll never, never know, if you never, never go.”


That is spot on. You will never, never know if you never, never go. One cannot experience the vast expanses, the rugged red mountains, the immense grasslands, the deep gorges, ancient rock outcrops, the wetlands, waterfalls, the prolific flora a fauna, by looking at a TV screen or enjoying coffee table books- like the book photographer Ian Morris and I created; Kakadu Reflections. Films and books will only take you to the edges. You have to be there.


You must personally experience the brilliant red walls of Stanley Chasm at midday, and watch the little rock wallabies re emerge after the tourists have completed their midday rush. You have to be there to watch dawn over the massive monolith of Uluru, or observe golden dingoes padding through the desert scrub. 

You must for yourself delight in the lily lagoons of Kakadu, marvel at the prolific bird life, or at dusk listen to the trumpeting of brolgas across expanses of flood-plain.

Only first hand can one know the awe of standing in rock shelters that were inhabited by fellow humans for between 30,000 to 40,000 years. Or the wonder of being at Ubirr or Norlangie and looking upon the various styles of rock art from different periods of aboriginal history; stretching from 40,000 BC to 1900 AD.

You have to be there.


You will never, never know if you never, never go.




How about that for quite a poetic outburst? I can get carried way once I start on that theme.


But how much more true is it for the realm of God? That beauty and fecundity which Jesus taps and releases among us, is amazing. How much more that when speaking about Kakadu or Uluru can we get carried away by the riches of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.  It is the brave new territory of God to be explored. But you will never, never know if you never, never go to Christ and place your hunger and poverty, together with your few gifts in his strong yet gentle hands.


In industrial relations we hear of “productivity agreements.” Well, my friends, there is no productivity agreement to equal that of a life blessed by Christ Jesus. The saving grace and the enrichment grace of Our Lord can always do “abundantly above all that we can think or ask.”


With Jesus putting in unstintingly, the full time results are much more than wages. Producing high returns for your small investment is not contingent on your input but on God’s infinite resources




What blunt and clumsy tools are human words in this context!


As a minister of the Gospel, given a privileged position to share the good news, I often become frustrated by the dismal inadequacy of my words. How can one find words to describe to interested yet hesitant souls the change that Christ can make?  The mind-boggling, soul-stretching trip on which we find ourselves in his company?


O the wonders of the new territory that opens up for our exploration! The sense of wonder that is evoked in common situations and the glory that is glimpsed in special moments! That spiritual halo of Divine purpose that surrounds mundane events! The “twelve baskets” that are left over from what you thought was going to be a barren situation!


O God! If only I could find adequate words!


I sometimes ponder whether Jesus felt a similar frustration with words? Maybe that is why he used his special intellect, his unique genius, to shape those incomparable parables that he told to the common people. His parables are like art works, like the paintings of the masters. In our Lord’s case, his parable-paintings are supreme masterpieces! Once we really contemplate these masterpieces, they will haunt us all the days of our life, teasing and guiding, confronting and enlightening, healing and ennobling us.


Yet even with Jesus, his brilliant parables were of no avail unless his hearers were ready give the God of Jesus a fair dinkum go. Unless they were willing to stop prevaricating, then step up and be blessed by the Christ. Only then did they discover that even a smidgen can become a smorgasbord in God’s realm of grace, mercy, peace and joy.




By the grace of God, what was true still is true. The equivalent of a lad’s five barely rolls and two fishes feeding a large crowd, still happens Time after time it takes place in the experience of those who are prepared to deposit all that they have and are with Jesus, the only authentic Son of God.


Please, if you are one of the hesitant ones, take the plunge. Dare to trust Christ, and then it will be party time. With the Lord, life becomes a celebration. We can dare to laugh, even in hardship. We dare the celebrate, even in the valley of the shadow of death.


We can become more than we ever were, and grow personally in ways we would not have planned for ourselves. Delight replaces duty, big steps supplant intentions, and a stumble and a fall are no longer the cause for despair. It is party time! Time to taste and see that the Lord is good.


But you will “never, never know if you never, never go” to the man from Nazareth and say. “Here Lord. Count me in. This is a trip I am not going to miss.”





We thank you, God-Friend, that although we are frail creatures we are not useless. All that we do may be flawed but not all is without value. Thanks for every good thing in which we have participated.


Thanks for our faithfulness in times of doubt, our quite optimism when those around us have been gloomy, and our compassion when others have been hard hearted.


Thanks for the courage we have been able to show under duress, the patience we have mustered for a prickly neighbour, the kindness we have shown to a stranger.


Thanks for the money we have given to the church and the needy, the time we have given to others, the skills we have made available without thought of any reward.


Thanks for the love we have shown to the unlikeable, the trespasses against us that we have forgiven, the prayers we have offered for our enemies.


Thanks for the times we have tried to redress injustices, the doggedness with which we have fought wrongs, and for the crosses we have carried with Christ.


Thanks for our readiness to find goodness in awkward relatives, our good will towards colleagues that others denigrate, and our joy in the rehabilitation of offenders.


Thanks for the affirmation we give to friends, the times when we treat check-out girls as real persons, and the help we are ready offer to strangers.


Thanks for our courtesy when driving in heavy traffic, our generous attitude towards competitors, and our willingness to take a lowly place without ‘playing the martyr.’


We thank you most wonderful God that your grace in us has not been in vain. For every measure of light and love and peace that we have been able to share, we give you thanks and praise. Glory be to your name forever.





Let us bring before God for all those people whose vulnerability is especially at risk this day.


Let us pray for--


The young people who, subject to peer pressure, are at risk of taking drugs or submitting to sexual promiscuity.

            Loving God, hear us.

            Jesus Christ, save your people.

The over-busy Christians who are in such a rush that they are in danger of losing touch with their core peace of their faith.

            Loving God, hear us.

            Jesus Christ, save your people.

The very heavenly-minded who are so caught up in their own religion that they hardly see Christ in a needy neighbour.

            Loving God, hear us.

            Jesus Christ, save your people.

The middle aged folk who, after years of married faithfulness, are sorely tempted to sacrifice it for a brief affair.

            Loving God, hear us.

            Jesus Christ, save your people.

The leaders in business, politics and unions, who are ready to surrender their early ideals for personal gain or aggrandisement.

            Loving God, hear us.

            Jesus Christ, save your people.

The weary person who, having risen above many previous setbacks, is now close to giving in to bitterness and despair.

            Loving God, hear us.

            Jesus Christ, save your people.

The church pastor who, seeing so little of his early visions and prayers fulfilled, is on the verge of resigning from the ministry.

            Loving God, hear us.

            Jesus Christ, save your people.

The suffering people who feel that maybe their faith in God was wishful thinking and are about to retreat into bitterness.

            Loving God, hear us.

            Jesus Christ, save your people.

The folk in this congregation who are this day who might be wrestling with fears and temptations that threaten to overwhelm them.

            Loving God, hear us.

            Jesus Christ, save your people.


Most loving God, you are the companion of the lonely, strength of the weak, comfort of the sad, scourge of the apathetic, physician of the sick, rebuke of the self-righteous, friend of sinners, and the light of all those who must walk in darkness.  Please give to your people the full blessing of your Holy Spirit, that we may keep the faith and practice the love, not matter what the circumstances. Through Christ Jesus our Lord.





You are the ambassadors of a faith that can shift mountainous obstacles

and of a love which increases the more it is given away.

The world awaits you. Get on with it.

With God’s help, we will.

Now to the One who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, to this God be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all generations, forever and ever.




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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.

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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.