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        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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SUNDAY 20    August 14-20


John 6:51-58....

Ephesians 5:15-20....

1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14....

Psalm 111




The joy of Christ Jesus be with you all.

And also with you.


Make music to God with all your heart, with the songs of faith and psalms.

Wherever you are, whatever the time, give thanks to God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Awe of God is the beginning of wisdom,

those who worship have a true understanding of life.




Whatever God does is faithful and just,

the Lord’s values are fixed for ever and ever,

for us to learn and practice faithfully.


The covenant is set in concrete,

pledging redemption to God’s people,

Holy and awesome is God’s name.


God provides for those who bow down in awe,

Always the Lord is gracious and merciful.




Most holy Friend,

you are the Giver and Goal of everything that ever has been or ever will be.

Our minds founder when we try to conceive your eternity, our souls are hushed when we approach your glory.

Here, in your Presence, our silly human pomposity is cut down to size and we begin to see things in proportion.

We are the creatures, you are the Creator, we are the lost children, you are the Saviour,

we make do with a small, corrupted intellect, you are unfathomable Wisdom.

We worship your greatness, we praise your generosity, we glorify your patience,

we adore your love. Through Christ Jesus, our hope and joy.





Let us surrender our lives to the God of all mercies, as we make our confession.

Let us pray.

Most loving God, you through long ages have shaped humanity out of soil, sunshine, air and water, and breathed your own spirit into us. Yet we have often lived as if we were the self-made race. We pretend that our half-truths are wisdom and that our occasional kindnesses are love. When things go well we praise ourselves. When things go wrong we accuse others or blame you.


Have mercy on the rank silliness that distorts our behaviour, 

the ease with which we get seduced by trivial goals, 

the clumsiness and insecurity that mark our relationships, 

the burdens and hurts we impose on one another, 

the sneaky way we dilute the Gospel to suit our prejudices, 

and the apathy that gets in the way between us and your saving grace. 


Please pity our weakness and forgive our sins. With your grace taking away our shame and healing the diseases of our spirit, let us begin again with no agenda except that of loving to live as your redeemed children. Through Christ our Saviour.





Let us give thanks for the salvation that flows through us from the crucified and risen Christ.

We thank you, God of grace and glory, that our sins are forgiven, our values are reinstated, and our hopes have returned.

We thank you that in Christ all things are made new, and that you promise to one day complete in us the transformation that has begun.

We thank you for the ongoing signs that your grace has not been in vain,   for the truly worthwhile things we have done,  the goodness we have upheld,  the love we have embodied,  and the Saviour whom  we have authentically glorified. 

 Blessed are you, author and finisher of our faith!  Amen!





Thank you, God

for making each child special and different.


Some of us are clever but not always wise,

            some are wise but not so clever.

Some are good at sport but not at maths,

            some are good at maths but not at sport.

Some of us are confident and make friends easily,

            some are shy and make friends slowly.


Thank you for loving us all, just as we are,

            and for helping us to grow up straight;

            not just our bodies, but also our mind and soul.

Thank you for giving Jesus

            to be our “super model”,

            and our best friend,

            and our Saviour and Lord.





In the fellowship of this congregation,

with all my heart I thank you, loving God,

Everything you do is remarkable,

to explore your universe is a marvellous thing.

Wherever we look there is power and glory,

and your justice will always be around.


We see your hand throughout history,

the sure signs of your generosity and care.

You have special food for those who love you,

and you never go back on a promise.

You display your power among your people,

and your flock shall inherit the earth.


Whatever you do is determined by love,

we can stake our lives on your rule.

Truth holds good, age after age;

to be kept with sincere faithfulness.

Redeemed people are held in covenant,

holy and awesome is your name!

                                                                        © B.D. Prewer 2002




It is, yet is not;

this is the wonder

of bread and wine

the utterly divine

made body and blood


Nothing has altered;

yet all has changed

Presence most real

in this one meal

of body and blood.


Larger than space

transcending time

now in our veins

sweeping our brains

his body and blood.


Here the first grace

and the final

mystery has begun

we are now one

with body and blood.


All thanks to this Man

all thanks to this God

wonder and praise

all of our days

for body and blood.

                        © B.D. Prewer 2002




Most loving God, you have always known us completely. From the hour of our birth to this very moment, you have been there for us. May we know you though all our days, serve you in all places, experience you in every circumstance, and love you with all our hearts, until time and space are no more and we are gathered together into your eternal light. Through Christ Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.




* Too lengthy. Abbreviate  by one quarter.



                        John 6: 51-58


Here is a saying worth consideration: “When truth takes precedence over love, the angels of God stop their singing. “We will return to that thought later in this sermon.



First, cannibalism. In all developed civilisations, the eating of human flesh has been regarded as repugnant. You may recall that story of a plane crash in the high snows of the Andes, where the survivors only kept alive by finally agreeing to eat their dead companions. They only achieved it by overcoming violent feelings of revulsion. Some of their first attempts ended with much vomiting. The very thought is repugnant.


There was an unfortunate rumour circulating around the Roman Empire in the 1stCentury. It was a rumour which led people to despise Christians, and made it much easier for authorities to launch vicious persecutions against them. This rumour had it that Christians were cannibals. It was reported that when they met early in the morning of the first day of the week for their religious observances, they ate human bodies and drank human blood.


It is not difficult to see how this rumour started and took off. Anyone who listened in to a Christian service, even standing outside the door, might well draw that conclusion. They might hear a person reading the words from a letter of Paul about the Lord’s Supper: “This is my this remembrance of me. This is my this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”  Or later on they may have listened to them reading from John’s Gospel: “I tell you plainly: Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”  You can understand how such words may have shocked outsiders.


Also there is no wonder that Jesus shocked his listeners when he first used similar words. “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.” It sounded like cannibalism to those critics who were present that day.




John’s Gospel does not have an account of the institution of the Lord’s Supper (such as we find in Matthew Mark, Luke and Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth). John does not describe the Eucharist in that way.


Instead he gives us a long section (of 71 verses) which starts with the feeding of 5 thousand people from a generous boy’s offering of five barely rolls and two fish, goes on with a lengthy discourse that reiterates that he is the bread of life, far better than the manna that came to Moses in the wilderness. He then underlines it all by telling them they must eat his flesh (flesh, meat, for emphasis, not body) and drink his blood. Without actually mentioning the Lord’s Supper, this is arguably the most profound exposition of the Lord’s Supper in the New Testament.


John then proceeds to recount that those words of Jesus proved more than his enemies could stomach. And more than even some of his friends would tolerate. They found it scandalous.




There would have been a double edged scandal here. First the apparent sound of cannibalism. Secondly there was the complication of how most meat was procured in the first century.


People regularly ate the meat that had been first offered to a god. In the Roman world, most of the meat available at the butcher shops had been first offered in a sacrifice. Often it was the only meat available. What is more, if there was a choice between sacrificial meat and unblessed meat, most people (apart from the Jews) would choose the sacrificial meat every time. It was the preferred meat. The superior product.


The widely held view was that when meat had been offered to a god, something of that god’s power was added to the meat. It would nourish your body better than secular meat. It would also nourish your soul as well as your body. Your life would be linked in fellowship with the god to whom this meat had been offered.


When John tells the people in the wider Roman world about Jesus, he is not writing to Jews but to other citizens of the empire. He deliberately chooses material from Jesus that picks up some of the local sacrificial understanding. “Eat my flesh” suggests that this is the sacred product of a costly sacrifice to a mighty God. The blessing of the one God of heaven and earth rests on this Jesus. Eat this holy Bread and you are in fellowship with Christ and with God. You “consume” your God.  Eat this flesh and you will have the limitless life of the one mighty God within your small life. John risks the tag of cannibalism to make the point about the unique quality of the sanctified, sacrificial body of Jesus given for us. It is the holiest of Mysteries.


By using the word “Mystery” I am not talking about a problem to be solved, or a tangled plot to be unravelled, or a hidden cause to be uncovered. I am talking about one of those special happenings when the boundary between heaven and earth evaporates. When the difference between Divine and human is dissolved. Sacred and secular blend into one unity. Mystery.


Today we still celebrate this Lord’s Supper, the Mystery. As we Christians come together to eat the bread from the Lord’s Table, the fullness of Body of Christ is present and enters into the recipient. We feed ourselves on Christ.  The recipient becomes the communicant; a person actually in communion with the fullness of the Lord. It is not cannibalism but a divination of humanity that is taking place.




This sense of Mystery is reinforced by the use of the words “drink my blood.” Both for Jews and many non-Jews, it was forbidden to use of the blood from any sacrifice. The blood was regarded as belonging exclusively to God. Indeed, the blood was thought to contain the life-force of God. To drink it, or to make black pudding, or to use it in meat pies (as in “the great Aussie meat pie”) would be seen as utter sacrilege.


Life was directly from God. Blood and life were closely associated in their thinking. When the blood of an animal, or a human being, ran away, then the life force departed. Together with the breath, they saw the blood as integral to life. Drinking blood was taboo.


When John speaks of Jesus saying: “Drink my blood” the audience would have been shocked. Far more than just by the offence of cannibalism. It seemed like stealing that which belonged exclusively to God. But John obviously thought the offence was worth it. Through this Christ whose blood most truly belongs to God, we receive the very life of God. Through Christ God gives us himself. Through his blood our mortal lives, which are subject to decay and death, are gathered up into the eternal flow of the life of God.


In Holy Communion, it is not something secondary we receive. Not something second-rate that God offers us. It is “very God of very God”. It is God’s own life-force that succours us, flows in our veins, nourishes our nerve cells and brains, fruits in our thoughts and feelings, our worshipping and working, playing or sleeping. Christ gives us his total being. Nothing less that that.


You know the common saying: “We are what we eat.” Never is that so true as when we eat and drink from Christ’s table. This is the ultimate food and drink. The glorious Mystery that reshapes our lives. The holiest thing imaginable is taking place in common creatures like us.




A few of you will have noticed that I have tried not to use any standard doctrinal phrase about the mystery of “eating this flesh and drinking this blood.”  Nor have I pushed any denomination emphasis. I’ve attempted just to assert the Holy Reality and steer clear of denominational point scoring.


Isn’t it one of the saddest aspects of Christian behaviour that the Lord’s Table, where we are meant to be one, is the very place where different streams of Christianity separate? And the thing that separates us is doctrine. There are differing understandings of the Eucharist which have been formulated into doctrine, and fixed like cement.


Recall the words with which I commenced: “When truth takes precedence over love, the angels of God stop their singing.”

Perhaps I should have been more precise: “When any of our human ideas of truth takes precedence over love, then the angels of God stop their singing.”

The early Christians did not have this problem. Not because they were so loving that it did not arise. They were no more loving than we are. In fact, they were a scabby lot, who brought some stern rebukes from the Apostle Paul. Yet they did not have this problem of separation at the Lord’s Table because doctrine had not yet been carefully formulated and approved by church councils as being “the only truth.”


They believed that Jesus had told his disciples: Do this in remembrance of me. They believed that he said “This is my body, this is my blood.” They did what he had asked. They shared the bread and wine without having to give assent to a particular and precise explanation in words of what was happening. There was no authorised interpretation which either admitted you to the holy meal or kept you out.


As the centuries have rolled on, we have tried to reduce the holiest of Mysteries to words. As a result some churches ban certain other Christians from the Table, not because they don’t love the Lord, but because they cannot embrace a particular “true” doctrine concerning the Holy Table. The Roman Catholics use one set of approved words, the Anglicans another, the Lutherans another, and the many “free churches” have their own special phrases.


I lament this usurpation of the sacrament by particular doctrinal words. Words are never greater than the body and blood of Christ given for us. Words are pathetic little sounds in the Presence of the Mystery.


If you think this means that I am speaking trivially about doctrine you are wrong. Dead wrong. Like any reasonable follower of Christ I try to have an understanding of what I believe and a valid reason for how I practice the faith. I am certainly not a crack theologian but neither am I a doctrinal ignoramus. I treasure the historic creeds and understand the problems that led to their formulation. I think I understand what different denominations are trying to say.


But if Jesus is as totally right, as I unreservedly believe him to be right, then I cannot see how the words of any doctrine should prevent those who love the Lord from coming together as one family to his Holy Table. The love test is the only one. Not some woolly notion of love, but love as revealed in all its passionate, costly beauty of the word and way of Jesus.


I know that some people plead their right to an “exclusive” Table on the grounds of integrity and truth. But what is this truth that makes one group’s doctrine superior to another? Is there any truth greater than Christ’s love? The Mystery exceeds all our formulations.


 “When truth takes precedence over love, the angels of God stop their singing.”


I affirm the fullness of Christ, his body and blood, here with us today. Any explanations which lightweight I, or the smartest theologians in the world, want to add, are always secondary. Any doctrines to which my denomination or any other holds, are also secondary. Here Christ is all in all. I am caught up in the Mystery, Doctrinally, as well as morally and spiritually, I sing:

            “Nothing in my hand I bring

              Simply to your cross I cling.”




Psalm 111: 10.


“We have but one life, and it is a shame to limit it by fears and false barriers.”

I think those words come from Father John O’Donohue’sAnam Cara.” If I am wrong, would the true author forgive me? Whoever did write them, God be praised.

To limit our lives life by fears, is a pathetic alternative to real living. As I see it, that includes religious fear. By “fear” in this context I mean being badly frightened, reduced to cringing or shaking without hope. Such fear in religion is a disaster. A religion of fear is, I believe, an affront to the God of our Lord Jesus Christ.




Any good pastor (an apprentice of the “good shepherd”) will have been privileged to the confidence of many a struggling soul. He or she will know the things that haunt and torture people.


Some secular critics seem to imagine that a church pastor lives in an unreal world of sweet piety, isolated from the real action. The stereotype of a minister or priest in low-budget, slick-script, movies and soapies, is usually a pious buffoon, out of touch with what is happening right under his nose.

This stereotype is way off the mark. Most good pastors know more about what is really going on than any other member of the congregation. They know the darker side. For in listening to those who pour out their souls in strict confidence, they hear of every sin listed in the Old and New Testaments, and many that are not listed. They know the hidden suffering, the burdensome guilt, the sordid side of things than can lurk just below the surface. They see the stark evidence of those dark secrets that can maim or cripple a person.

Among these things that cripple, is fear. Craven fears wreak havoc.  Especially inground religious fear, such as being terrified of God. Such fear is not a pretty thing. Nor is it a godly thing. Once deeply ingrained in a soul, abject fear destroys peace, strangles spiritual growth, paralyses creativity, snuffs out every candle of happiness before it reaches full flame.  Abject fear turns love into a dead word and hope into an impossible dream.

Show me a terrified church goer and I will show you a prisoner living in a dungeon inhabited by reptiles and wild beasts. Not a saved soul but a lost and bewildered one.

I will also show you a precious soul over whom the Holy Spirit of liberty yearns and prays and weeps. Abject fear is the devil’s master card. He has duped many church goers into carrying that fear card through every hour of the day and throughout every minute of the night.

Why am I speaking so forcefully about this? Why do I maybe appear, to some of you, to be making high drama out of fear? Because as a pastor I have seen the results. I have observed the pain at close range. Heard the weeping. Seen the open wounds festering. Witnessed the scarring. Listened to the nightmares, even in the light of day.

I have spent hours lovingly trying to lead people out of the dungeon of fear, into the place of healing light; that redemptive space created by grace of Christ Jesus. Sometimes I have succeeded.  Other times, more times than I like to add up, I have failed. I have had to permit a soul to continue to choose religious fear’s dark prison rather take the bold step out into love’s light and liberty.

I hate such fear. I hate anything that manipulates it. I detest any religion that deliberately cultivates it. I have no doubt that such dark, religious fear is demonic. An affront to the God of our Lord Jesus Christ.




What then do I make of those Old Testament passages which emphasise fear? As in today’s Psalm 111: 10.

                                                The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”

Or when St Paul writes:

                        “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

What do I make of it? I don’t just ignore it. I don’t rush by such sentences quickly and hope to drown those words out by whistling cheerfully.

These words are there. They must be heard.

Especially in the Old Testament, there some passages do really imply being terrified by God. Moses ordered boundary markers to be placed around the base of Mt Sinai to warn off his people from treading on lethal territory. Later, those who were ordered to carry the holy “ark of the covenant” walked every step in terror. It is said that when the High Priest, dutifully paid his once-a-year visit into the curtained sanctuary called the “Holy of Holies,” he did so in fear of his life.

Measuring the OT by Jesus, I conclude that these passages that suggest terror are invalid as a guide for Christian behaviour. Or at the best they badly distorted lights. That remarkable Christian Jew, Paul; certainly knew and preached, that fear will not save any soul.


ON the other hand, there is much awe to be found in the Old Testament. Awe is a special form of fear. A form that is positive, not negative.

Awe is both an appropriate and desirable reaction for a creature in the Presence of its Creator.

 Psalm 8: “When I look at heavens, the mighty panoply of stars, and the sun and the moon, which God has created I find what a tiny mortal speck I am, AWE. I exclaim:

            What is a human being that you mind about him?

            What is a child of humanity that you care for him?


Job: Job lives in deep respect of God, but is not terrified of him. He dares to argue with the Lord about how this world is managed. Job’s confidence frightened the self righteous men who come out to advise him. They expected Job to be zapped at any moment for his insolence; and hoped that they would not become a part of the “collateral damage.” God does not zap his servant Job, but certainly brings him back to AWE so that Job says: “I’m of little account, Lord. From now on I’ll put my fist in my big mouth.”


Isaiah: Mighty prophet. In the Temple, the prophet has a vision of God, whose glory fills the temple and the whole world:

            Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts,

            the whole earth is full of his glory.

AWE. God does not reduce Isaiah to terror, but brings him to him to his knees in “wonder, love and praise. Out of this awe and worship comes God’s commission to be his spokesman to the nation, his prophet.




In the New Testament we find frequent awe.

Peter in his fishing boat, was overwhelmed by the presence of Christ: “Lord depart from me, for I am a sinful.”

Within the crowds that saw Jesus at work: “They were amazed and glorified God saying: We never saw anything like this!”

Up on the mount of Transfiguration when Jesus was radiant with the glory of God: The disciples fell on their faces, and were filled with awe.

The Roman centurion in charge of the crucifixion of Jesus marvelled:  Truly this man was the Son of God.”

Then on the first Easter morning, God’s messenger said to the two women beside the tomb: “Do not be afraid:” And they left the tomb quickly with a mixture of awe and great joy.”

Throughout his ministry, Jesus had taught his disciples to think of God as a loving Father; the Abba or holy Daddy. We also recall how often Jesus said to his disciples words like: “Don’t be afraid, only believe”

Paul as usual got it right when he wrote to those brave Christians living in Caesar’s opulent city: “The Spirit you have received is not a servile one, leading you back into a life of fear. You have received the spirit of sonship, enabling you to cry, “Abba! Father!”

In one of the shorter letters, John sums it up: “There is no fear in love; for perfect love casts out fear.”




Let us now review what I have tried to say up to this point:

            1/ “We have but one life, and it is a shame to limit it by fears and false barriers.”

            2/  Religious fear is a tyranny that cripples people. It is an affront to God.

            3/ There are some passages in the Old Testament that suggest fear as in terror. But the more                                        common theme leads us to awe in the presence of God.

            4/ Jesus induced awe in those who encountered his loving power and personal charisma. Yet he                          emphatically taught the people to trust God like a loving parent.

            5/ Writers like Paul and John remind us that God’s love should replace all craven fear with peace    and joy.

I have dealt heavily with this theme because as a pastor I have seen the devastating consequences of religious anxiety and fear. I become angry with anything that inhibits a free relationship of people with their gracious God.




Yet I also want to make an urgent plea for awe. Awe is a precious, healing experience.


Our age is pockmarked with the folly of those who live arrogantly rather than humbly.  We get above ourselves. Many dare to preen themselves as sophisticated and very clever, far above all that old religious stuff.

To such people I would say that there is more sanity in Isaiah’s awe in the temple, than in all contemporary political, academic and scientific boasting and strutting.

And I would go on to claim there is much more sanity in Peter in his fishing boat, kneeling at the feet of Jesus and mumbling his sense of inadequacy, or in Mary clutching the Lord’s feet on Easter day, than in all the book knowledge amassed in the world’s libraries or stored on computer files.


Wherever there is a loss of a sense of awe, there is a loss of perspective, and a rapid descent into distortion and human folly.




In that sense I want to echo the words from Psalm 111:

            The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and a good understanding have all those who practice it.





We believe in the God who loves us

and through Christ Jesus offers us

            the strength to be gentle

            the grace to be strong

            the patience to live eagerly

            and the resilience to hang on against the odds.


We believe in the God who loves us

and through Christ Jesus calls us to trust

            the goodness which overcomes evil

            the purpose which outstrips ignorance

            the peace which conquers fear

            and the love that fulfils our destiny.


We believe in the God who loves us

and through Christ Jesus gives us

            an intolerance of injustice and oppression

            a liking for truth, understanding and forgiveness

            a generosity that does not count the cost

            the joy that no calamity can take from us.


We believe in the God who loves us.

We believe in Christ Jesus.

We believe in the Spirit of truth.

Thanks be to God.



            * For 2 voices

Here we are God, living among people of strong faith or no faith, with wide experience or constricted understanding, big hearts or narrow minds, brave deeds or timid retreats.

Please let your blessing continue to fall on all humanity, that we may be cured of our maladies and saved from our addiction to evil.


Here we are God, living in a country where some have wealth and some poverty, some wield much power while many feel powerless, where good people often suffer while the bad go arrogantly on their way.

Please show us how to best redress injustices and correct abuses, and how to tend the needs of those who have suffered badly at the hands of their fellows.


Here we are God, living in nation where access to the best health care or justice through the legal system is limited by lack of money, community indifference, or political clout.

Please assist the forgotten people and help us all to learn from the way of Christ and apply it where we live and work.


Here we are God, living in a community where many are afflicted by cancer, aids, arthritis, heart and kidney disease, schizophrenia, depression and the grave results of road trauma.

Please bless those who give skilled care to the sufferers and help the rest of us of us to be quick to understand and eager to assist wherever practicable.


Here we are God, members of a church where some feel at home and others feel on the fringe, where faith jostles for leverage over doubt and love struggles to disperse indifference, and where we often allow the world to set our goals and morals rather than the Gospel.

Please help us to love one another with that practical compassion and courage that we have seen on Christ Jesus. Through him, and to your praise, we offer these prayers.





These are complex times. Let us look carefully how you walk, not blundering along like fools, but as those who are wise with the wisdom of Christ.

Wherever we go and whatever happens to us, we will give thanks to God, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Grace mercy and peace,

from God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,

will be with you today

and always.




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