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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 30    Oct 23-29


Mark 10:46-52....                     (Sermon 1: “What Do You Want?)

Hebrews 7:23-28...

Job 42:1-6, 10-17...

Psalm 34:1-8, 19-22      (Sermon 2: “Even Lions Suffer.”)




Jesus asks us, as long ago he asked one blind beggar,

“What do you want me to do for you?”

Do you want to be blind or to see?   To be a beggar or a giver?   To be deceitful or true?   Selfish or generous?   Fickle or faithful?   An exploiter or an enabler?   A puppet of peer pressures or a liberated disciple of Christ?


What do you want Christ to do for you?

Your answer may determine whether this hour is fruitful or a waste of time.


The grace and joy of our Saviour Christ be with you all.

And also with you!




As we come before God, count your blessings:

remember that even on the darkest day,

some light has shone through the cloud.

            You, my Lord, I will worship at all times,

            your praise shall continually be in my mouth.


As we come before God, we affirm the best blessing of all:

Christ Jesus, brother and Lord, teacher and Saviour.

            My soul boasts in the grace of the Lord,

            let even the afflicted hear and be glad.


As we come before God, know you are never alone,

for the Spirit of truth is our friend and counsellor.

            O magnify the Lord with me,

            Let us exult together in God’s name!




Great God, our most holy Friend, please awaken every gram of sincerity within us. May we desire you more than anything else, value you above all earthly ambition and treasure, and adore you with a love which is free of guile or calculation. Through Christ Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.





Let us repent our sins and turn to that saving grace which refuses no soul that seeks forgiveness, healing and restoration


Let us pray.


Loving God, we come to say sorry to you.  There are those among us who find it extremely hard to admit mistakes and say sorry. There are also some for whom ‘sorry’ comes too easily, seeking to quickly appease rather than face up to sin and repent. Please work with each of us, as in your insight and compassion you see best, as we now make our common confession.


We are sorry for our participation in the evils of the world around us.

            For our blind acceptance of things that advantage us yet harm others,

            for our tolerance of evil in the guise of modernity,

            and for our meek alliance with prejudice and discrimination.


We are sorry also for our individual sins,

            which add to the confusion, anxiety and cynicism of those around us.

We confess that we save some of our worst moments to unload on those who most love us,             hurting the very persons whom we treasure dearly.


As we now apologise to you, holy Friend, we ask that you help us to apologise to others.

            And let our apologies flow from that painful truth which is repentance,

            so that we may make restitution where we can,

            and leave the healing to you if things have gone beyond our ability to mend.


Through Christ Jesus our Redeemer. Amen!




Fellow followers on Christ’s narrow road, remember that the same Lord who sets high standards also promises to forgive and restore those who come to him in faith. If we confess our sins he is faithful and consistent and can be trusted to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all the detritus of unloving ways. Your sins are indeed forgiven!


Thanks be to God!




Mark 10: 51


Dear God, if Jesus said to us:

“What do you want me to do for you?”

            We are not sure what we would say,

            we might blurt out something silly and selfish.

            But we do know what we should ask.


And we ask that right now.


Teach us, dear God,

to see what is really, really important.

            May we trust the truths your Spirit teaches,

            enjoy the actions which make you smile,

            help those people you reckon need our help,

            and love you more and more each day.


In Jesus’ name.



PSALM 34:1-8


I will be happy in God each minute of the day,

praise will be always be on my lips.

            I make my song and dance about God!

            I hope others hear and begin to smile.

            Join with me in singing loftiest praises,

            and let us soar high on the name of God.


When I’ve asked for help, God heard me,

I’ve been set free from the shadows of fear.

Why don’t you sunbathe in God’s light?

then your faces shall never be sour again.

            I am just another battler, yet God hears me,

            In trouble I am saved from fear and gloom.

            The angels of God pitch their tents around here,

            encircling those who love their Saviour.


O taste for yourself, see how sweet is faith!

Most happy are they who put their trust in God.

            O fellow believers, how awesome is our God!

            ‘Rapt in adoration we shall never want.

                                                                                                               © B.D. Prewer 2002




I see him busking in the mall,

where people hustle by,

his oboe plays a haunting tune

that keeps my woes at bay.

            I watch his eyes upon the crowd

            that mass of many moods,

            he seems to play for one and all

            as if they each were gods.


His tune keens down to secret depths,

then joys above the stars,

but few are hearing any sound

their minds fixed on their cares.

            I watch him busking in the mall,

            his oboe tunes my soul.

            There are a few coins at his feet

            but grace is not for sale.


I leave him busking in the mall

although its starts to rain,

the shoppers run for dry arcades

while he plays on alone.

            He’s waiting there at home for me

            when I come in the door,

            He asks me how my day turned out

            and I kneel on the floor.

                                                                                    © B.D. Prewer 2002

               *Comment: If you think the above poem does not have any specific relationship with the Gospel for today, you are right. It’s here because I just needed to write it. BDP




Loving God, your light dazzles and confuses the arrogant, yet gives hope to the beggar and sight to those who live in shadows. Please count us among the sight-impaired beggars, holy Friend, that by the word of Jesus we may see more clearly, share more generously the good things you have done for us, and by faith anticipate the even better things you have in store for us. Through this same Jesus of Nazareth.  Amen!




Mark 10: 51


 Jesus said to him [blind Bartimaus] “What do you want me to do for you” Mark 10:51”


A devout and wise man of another generation [I think it was William Law] once wrote something that goes like this:  “If we ask ourselves why we have not performed as well as we should as Christians, the answer often is— because we did not want it enough.”  We will come back to that fecund statement later on. Now to a different era and scene.




It is Spring in Jericho, one of the oldest city sites in the world. Under a blue sky the palm trees are rustling in a slight breeze, the clear waters of the abundant springs are rippling through the town aqueducts and gutters. The shopkeepers are busily displaying their wares, people greet each other with “Salam” and gather in clusters to gossip or bargain, and a young Rabbi and his disciples set out on a fateful journey to Jerusalem.


As they leave the city, a blind beggar who is sitting in his favourite spot under a shady tree, cries out for some mercy. Some of the locals tell him to stop whingeing and to shut up. But he cries the louder for the young Rabbi to come and help him. The Rabbi is not as impatient as the onlookers. He stops and asks the beggar, who is called Bartimaeus, to come to him. Did you note that? This insightful Rabbi wants the beggar to make some effort, to show willing. The fellow stands up, throws off his beggar’s cloak, and approaches the teacher.


Rabbi Jesus then puts to him a simple yet profound question: “What do you want me to do for you?”




Haven’t we heard that phrase before somewhere?  “What do you want me to do for you?” Those of you who were present last Sunday did indeed hear it then. In the Gospel reading last week, Jesus put the same question to James and John when they approached him asking for a favour. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked.  What did James and John have in common with the blind beggar to evoke the same words from Jesus? Or maybe the smarter question is. What have they not in common?


At this stage, during the last month of Jesus’ life, James and John had been in the company of the Rabbi for a few years. They were among a select inner group of especially trusted disciples. They had heard Jesus teaching, wondered at his parables, were amazed to see him place his hands on diseased lepers, saw him sit down to eat with the local Mafia and street girls, and watched him bring peace to tormented minds and to guilty souls.


James and John heard Jesus repeatedly talk about his coming death, and now they stuck close to him as he set his face like a flint and walked unflinchingly towards Jerusalem, where his enemies rubbed their hands and waited. James and John were among the most privileged people ever to have lived; they were friends and confidents of the utterly remarkable Jesus of Nazareth.


Yet what more did they want for him? Jesus asked: “What do you want me to do for you?” The answer they gave revealed how appallingly blind they still were.  Although they had witnessed things the earth had never seen before, they had not really seen them; not understood. Still blinded by their own selfish wants, they just required some favouritism. They lobbied Jesus for special position and authority in Christ’s government: “When you come into your kingdom, let us sit by your side, one on your right, one on your left.” They wanted the chief cabinet posts!


Thick-headed fellows! They had good eyes yet were much more blind than many of those, like Batimaeus, who had no eyesight!  They could not see beyond their own noses. As you would expect, Jesus poured cold water on that stupid request.




After that story of James and John, Mark takes us directly to blind Bartimaeus. I reckon Mark does it quite deliberately. The Gospel writers were not just recorders, not just scribes. The way they arrange material is a part of their preaching.  Mark is using these contrasting incidents like parables.  Put together, they carry a vigorous punch.


The beggar cried out for help. People told him to shut up. Jesus overrode them and asked the blind man to come close. The man came. Then the key question: “What do you want me to do for you?”


Without hesitation Bartimeaus cried: “Rabbi, I want to see!” This beggar did not want to remain in his familiar groove, receiving charity from passers by. Nor did he look for favouritism such as James and John wanted. All he wanted was restored sight. He received it! By faith he received it there and then! He was now able not just to hear Jesus but to look on him with his own eyes. Immediately, Mark tells us (characteristically) Bartimaeus became a follower of Jesus.




Where do we stand? With James and John or with the beggar of Jericho? If Jesus were to ask us: “I give you one wish. What do you want me to do for you?” what would be our honest answer? I say “honest” answer. Not some pretty answer, dressed up to look religiously nice, but the raw, uncensored stuff of our souls. What do we really want? What do we profoundly hanker for?


I have more than a suspicion that if we were to project up on to a screen in front of this church the things each of us here might most want, our list could have more to do with James and John than with Bartimaeus. We too readily look for favours from Christ. Like a spoilt child’s Christmas wish list.


Maybe a few of you are much saner. Perhaps you would indeed ask for better sight: That you might more clearly see the path Christ takes through the maze of this complex and often confusing twenty first century—

That you might

¾have better insight into how to express the faith in word and actions?

¾When to speak and when to be silent on moral issues?

¾When to stubbornly dig your heels in and when to compromise for Christ’s sake?

¾How to be better stewards of your gifts, education, life experience and possessions?

¾How to best serve Christ in the cause of asylum seekers, the unemployed, and aborigines?


That you might see though all the hype, and be able to make the right decisions, on matters      like euthanasia, genetic engineering, stem cell research, cloning, and the transplanting of     animal organs into humans?


Blessed are any of you, most blessed indeed, who would cry aloud: “Rabbi Jesus, I want to see!”




As, during last week, I reflected on these stories from Mark’s Gospel, the word of God got close to the bone.  It has a way of doing that. I found myself wondering whether I had travelled so long in the company of Christ and his disciples that I now took too much for granted and was loosing my vision.


Have I become, perhaps, slightly bored with it all and now look for religious favours? (And, by the way, do I get petulant when the Rabbi does not grant me preferential treatment?) Am I looking these days for topping on the cake rather than enjoying the basic bread of life?


Or is there, please God, something of the beggar still alive in me? Is there somewhere within my being that urgent, hungry creature? So that when Jesus says: “What do you want me to do for you?” I cry out: “Lord that I might see!”


Bartimaeus knew his first need. He was desperate. How desperate are you and I? Are we the sighted who are blind, or the blind who are longing to see?


I am back to where I started. That wise comment of an earnest soul: “If we ask ourselves why we have not performed as well as we should as Christians, the answer often is— because we did not want it enough.”


The key is in the wanting. What do we really want? That is the question Jesus puts to those who approach him with hope.





Psalm 34


We take the psalms for granted. Or at least I tend to.  They have been a part of my life since childhood. Apart from those few years when I flirted with atheism.


I am still stirred by many (not all) of those Hebrew songs. Yet to some degree, familiarity has worn the sharp corners off them. Much of the element of surprise has long since taken leave of absence.


Nevertheless, every now and then, words in a psalm will dart at me “out of left field,” and penetrate my familiarity zone.


This happened recently as I read (for the third time during last week) the familiar words from Psalm 34.


Two things hit me:


First, I was caught up in wonderment at the irrepressible faith that those ancient Jews possessed.


Next, I was impressed by how immediate and grounded this faith of theirs was.





If we stop to think of a world without Jesus, where would we be? A religion without the life teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth? How much faith would you and I have? If we had lived in the same world as those Hebrews during those turbulent centuries before Christ, would we have been able to create a psalm of praise?


Whenever I ask myself such questions, I am aware of my naturally doubting mind and my anxious soul. Speaking in metaphor, there are still times of testing when my faith seems single-stranded. I feel like a climbing child, clinging to a vine on a mountain side.


That vine is our beloved Christ; son of man, Son of God; my brother and my Lord; my guru and my Saviour. The vine that holds me safe is the combined witness of all he was and did. It steadies me and keeps me climbing when other footholds and finger grips are rare.


Or putting it another way, when troubles afflict, clouds thicken, or fears nag, Christ gives us a view into the reliable truth of God. Not just a view, he gives us direct access to the warmth of God’s light and love.


This faith engendered by Christ Jesus, enables us to recognise the hand of God in the world around us. Having seen God in Jesus, we glimpse him in nature.


I return to the metaphor of climbing a mountain: In the less hazardous times of my ascent, I can rest on a grassy ledge, or sit beside a hanging lake, eat a sandwich and watch rainbow bee-eaters diving and banking, or delight in a rock wallaby making mountain slopes look easy. At such moments I find it easier to believe in the bountiful God who is reflected in the many faces of nature. A God who is kind, providentially caring for us.


But would I dare to believe like that without Christ as my view finder? I am not inclined to rush into saying “yes!” I know my sceptical nature too well for that.


Yet those Psalm writers did believe.  O how they believed! They believed without the benefit of “the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” They believed they saw God in their history, and in the busy world of nature. Even without the window of Christ into the mind of God, those Hebrews managed to have faith in their God whose mercies were renewed every morning.


Isn’t that exceptional? They had so little to go on, only a few clues to follow, yet they gave their lives for their God with a faith which they would not surrender.


Therefore us honour them and thank God for them. We salute those Old Testament Hebrews as people of a brave and irrepressible faith. How did they do it? God alone knows. Their faith challenges ours to exercise itself and stretch out more boldly in trust and joy.


It is a wonder, is it not, that about two and half long millennia after Jewish psalm writer lived and died, we Christians still find his words resonating with our experience. So much so that we can happily employ them to sing out our love and praise for the God of Christ Jesus.:

            I will bless the Lord at all times;

            his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

            My soul makes its boast in the Lord;

            let the afflicted hear and be glad.

            O magnify the Lord with me

            and let us exalt in his name together.




Next, join me in savouring the down-to-earth faith of these people. Their faith was not merely some intellectual exercise, nor was it only a “goer” in the good times. It was integral to their lives; how they spent each day in a real world where things could go well one day, yet be a disaster the next.


Psalm 34 is grounded in the school of hard knocks.  It is down-to-earth stuff. Its composer does not expect believers to escape hardship. He admits the unpleasant truth:

            Many are the afflictions of the righteous.


Afflictions, sickness, loss and sorrow, natural calamity? Yes, these can happen to the most saintly Jew. However, those who trust the Lord do not have to fight their way out of trouble on their own... God will be with them, and there for them.

            The Lord is near to the broken hearted,

            and heals those whose spirits are crushed.


            The Lord redeems the life of his servants,

            no one who trusts God will be condemned


How does this ancient Jew know this? No doubt he has seen how other Jews who had found spiritual resources in their times of affliction. But there it more to it that that.


We have no clue to the particular nature of his own troubles. But his faith is grounded in reality of them. Don't you love this plaintive testimony:

            This poor fellow cried out and the Lord heard him,

            and saved him from all his troubles.


“This poor fellow” I relish that phrase. It is as if he is saying: “It’s not just the very strong people, or the very resourceful, or the very good. Even I, unimpressive as I am, have found the truth of God’s faithful love.

            This poor fellow cried out and the Lord heard him,

            and saved him from all his troubles.


And again:


            I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.

            He delivered me from all my fears.


Like any sick person who has found good medicine, like any beggar who has found good wholesome bread, he recommends the product to others. They should find out for themselves how real God is to those who trust.

            O taste and see that the Lord is good.

            Happy are those who take refuge in God.”


Taste and see. Of religion does not get down to such basis, it is mere window dressing.




Then we get a glimpse of the common landscape. That actual countryside where this man has lived, worked, suffered, believed and conquered his fears.


For some reason, quirky no doubt, I get a keen delight from this passing reference to young loins.

            Young lions can suffer deprivation and hunger,

            but folk who seek the Lord will lack no good thing.


This speaks to me of how grounded this Jew was in the real world.  This is not some religious “virtual reality” game. It is the true thing.


Nor is the reference to lion cubs are reference to exotic lands, like Africa or India. It is his familiar, ordinary homeland.


Today you won’t find wild creatures like loins and bears in modern Israel. You won’t find virgin jungle and forests on hillsides. The land seems naturally barren, except for the wonders wrought by modern irrigation. It was not always so.


But what you see is not so “natural” as it appears. The landscape of Israel has in some ways suffered the same fate as the high country of Scotland. In the Highlands dense oak forests once clad the slopes; as recently as during the reign of Queen Victoria. Then the steam engines of England with their rapacious appetite for fuel, and the clout of big industrialists, saw the landscape of the Scots drastically altered. Left with little but heather. (And no matter how sentimental some may get about that heather, it is a poor substitute for those glorious oaks)


Likewise in Israel. During the eighteenth century, the Holy Land was ruled by the Turks. The dense forests were decimated to fuel the many steam trains of the Ottoman empire.


However, when Psalm 34 was written, the bushland and its creatures were still there. Down in the Jordan Valley there was lush jungle. The uplands of Judea were heavily forested. It was a country where in the thickets bears and lions lay in wait for prey. Shepherds, wood cutters, and travellers, had to tread warily.


If a lioness went some days without making a significant kill (as is still common, even in a fauna rich land such as Africa) the cubs would become desperately hungry.


Our psalmist picks up this image to assert the care of God for people who trust him.

            Young lions can suffer deprivation and hunger,

            but folk who seek the Lord will lack no good thing.


A mother loin, devoted as she is, cannot always “bring home the bacon.” But God will never let the believer go it alone. Like the legendary Job they may seem down and out, but God will be there for them with new strength. O Taste and see that the Lord is good!


As I have said, I enjoy this brief reference to lion cubs out of proportion to its significance in the whole psalm. It helps ground faith in the real world. It highlights the down-to-earth nature of this Hebrew person’s trust in God.




Our real world has kookaburras and wombats, road accidents and heart attacks, crocodiles and emus, unemployment and AIDS, large coastal cities and inland deserts, multiple temptations and marriage break downs.


With a hope that has been gloriously enlarged by Christ Jesus, we can still become inspired by one ancient, nameless Jew:

            This poor man cried and the Lord heard him.


            O taste and see that the Lord is good.


            Young lions may suffer want and hunger,

            but those who seek the Lord shall lack no good thing.


Today we can break out in praise; a praise magnified by the grace of our Lord Jesus:

            I will bless the Lord at all times;

            his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

            My soul makes its boast in the Lord;

            let the afflicted hear and be glad.

            O magnify the Lord with me

            and let us exalt in his name together.





Thanksgiving and praise we bring to you, most loving God. You are the drive and destination of all things seen and unseen. By your will the starry galaxies wheeled through space, and for your purposes earth became a pleasant habitation.


We give thanks for the beauty and bounty of this world. For its ranges, ravines and plains, the wide oceans and polar icelands; for minerals and oil, trees and grasses, flowers and fruits; for the profusion of animals, birds, reptiles and the fish of river and sea.


Thank you for your patient providence which brought human beings to life, made of star dust yet with the breath of yourself quickening each one; for the unique nature of each person yet the common humanity we share; for the many races, cultures, gifts and skills.


We offer our thanksgiving for the trust you have placed in us; for the special things you have done through called people; for your revelation to the Jewish nation, for their lawgivers, prophets, and seers; and for their longing for the Messiah.


Thanksgiving and praise we bring you for Jesus of Nazareth, your only true Son, our Teacher and Saviour; for his humble beginnings, his remarkable growing and maturing as the loving Messiah; whose words captivate us, whose deeds amaze us, and whose death and resurrection leave us ‘lost in wonder, love and praise.’


Thank you for your Holy Spirit whose inspiration carried the saving work of Christ far from Jerusalem, spreading its good news across the whole word. We rejoice that we here in this island continent are among those who have been caught up in this mighty, saving event, and are now witnesses to your unconditional love for all.


Therefore with angels and archangels.............




Pastoral prayer signifies a contract; a contract to care for other people.


Let us pray.


Loving God, while we gather here in this house of love, there are others who gather at the site of road accidents, around hospital beds, in funeral parlours, and at scenes of violence and murder.

Please comfort your distressed children, and assist them to create something good out of their pain and grief.


Loving God, while we have comfortable homes to which to return, there are others whose homes are destroyed by flood, fire, earthquake, terrorism, or war.

Please help your homeless children to triumph over such disasters, and direct the efforts of those emergency personnel who rush to give assistance.


Loving God, while we have a wide range of foods to enjoy, there are millions who barely exist, and millions more who are literally starving today.

Please strengthen those agencies that are attempting to bring food to the hungry, and guide programmes designed to improve methods of food production and distribution.


Loving God, while we have a choice of which church to go to, and practice our faith without hindrance, we know there some in other lands who continue to worship under the threat of social ostracism or physical persecution.

Please be in the midst of your persecuted children, and hasten the day when no one of loves you need fear for their freedom or life.


Loving God, while most of us have family and friends to share our laughter and tears, they may be some among us today who feel alone and neglected.

Please God, be the close Friend of your lonely children, and make the rest of us more sensitive and responsive to the needs of those who lack loving support.


God of the nations, Lover of each individual soul, we long for that day when human deprivation, abuse and pain will be no more. Keep your church both faithful and loving, so that although that wonderful day may seem a long way off, we may gladly use our ordinary lives to hasten its arrival.

To the praise of your name we pray: your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Through Christ Jesus our joy and hope.





As we prepare to head off along diverse walks of life,

Jesus says to us: “What do you want me to do for you?”  

Get your answer right and you will never walk alone.



The grace of Christ be yours wherever you go,

the love of God be yours whatever you do,

the friendship of the Spirit be yours whatever you have to face,

today and always.

            Yes, today and always. Amen!





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