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 33    Nov 13-19


Mark 13:1-8.... (Sermon 1: Winding Up or Running Down?”

                                                            Sermon 2: “Life in a Waiting Room?)

Hebrews 10:11-14, 19-25.

1 Samuel 1:4-20....

1 Samuel 2:1-10




Come as you are, let God do the rest; Come and be glad, this hour is blest.


The grace of the Lord Jesus, who prevails over all negativities, be with you all.

            And also with you.


            My heart celebrates God, in whom my strength is uplifted.

            There is nothing as holy as God, nothing that can compare.

            There is no other rock on which we can so safely stand.




There is nothing more holy than God,

and there is no other god on earth or in heaven,

no other rock on which we can build for perpetuity.

            My heart exalts in the Lord,

            my true strength in found in our God.


Speak no longer with human pride,

let not arrogance issue from your mouth.

            The Lord lifts up the poor from the dust,

            and resurrects the needy from ashes.


Come, let us worship and adore this incomparable God!

            The name of our God be praised forever!




We come here to worship you, loving God, not because we are better than others but because we have been found by your love.


We come, not because we smarter but because your Christ has loved us in our ordinariness and called us to be his sisters and brothers.


We come to express our love for You in our own fragmentary way, yet we dearly want to love you increasingly, until our complete lives become a breathing, living, walking, working creed.


In the name of your Son, our Saviour.





God is always more ready to listen to our confession, than we are to admit our sin.

Come my friends, let us rectify such human folly.


Let us pray.


Holy Friend, help us to make this prayer of confession authentic. All of us have sinned, yet some among us may be feeling particularly ashamed over certain wrongs recently done or good deeds left undone.

Please grant to among us sincere regret, a thirst for mercy and cleansing, and the honest desire for brand new start.


Maybe many of us come honestly thinking that we have done the best we could do in the circumstances. Yet we are also aware that our ignorance and clumsiness has added to the corporate muddle of life. In the tangled web of community, we see good intentions and efforts often get squashed while selfish ones appear to flourish. This discourages us, and often causes us to give up trying as much as before.

Please grant to us a radical repentance where it is needed, forgiveness in proportion to our sins, a healthy humility to undergird our ambitions, and an optimism that is grounded in your ability to work all things together for good.  We ask this in the name of the Messiah who came not to condemn but to redeem.





Sisters and brothers of the living Christ, shake off your negative thoughts and take on the liberty of your Redeemer. Look to the future with the faith that God will one day complete in you the good work which has begun. This is your inheritance; Christ’s grace will always be sufficient for you.


Thanks be to God!




Mark 10: 1-8


Loving God,

those ugly things that happen in the open

(like terrorist bombs and robbers)

that are awful; and they really scare us.


There are other bad things

that look nice on the outside

(like chocolate icing on a poisoned cake)

and get our attention and tempt us.


Would you please help us, loving God,

to resist the sweet looking bad things,

and not to allow the ugly things

to shake our trust in your loving care?


In Jesus name.



PSALM: 1 SAMUEL 2:1-10


My heart celebrates God, by whom my soul is uplifted.

I throw scorn on those who have taunted me

because I rejoice in your liberation.

            There is nothing as holy as God, nothing that can compare.

            There is no other rock on which we can so safely stand.


Don’t talk any more in those haughty tones,

don’t let arrogance spill from your mouth.

            The only source of knowledge is the living God,

            who weighs up everything that is said on earth.


The weapons of the super powers will be shattered,

but the ‘third world” people shall grow in strength.

            Those overfed shall prostitute themselves for bread,

            while those who once starved will never hunger again.


Dwindling populations shall increase sevenfold,

but the populous places will dwindle forlorn.

            It is God who can both give or take away life,

            we can fall down into the grave or be raised up.


Both riches and poverty are in God’s hands,

those at the top can fall to the bottom.

            God lifts up the poor from the dust heap,

            and raises nobodies from the garbage tip.


They will sit at table as if they were princes,

the lowliest shall have the places of honour.

            The laws that govern the universe are God’s,

            by God’s grace the earth spins in orbit.


The footsteps of true believers will be safe,

but the wicked will be cut down in the dark,

            no matter how strong, they shall fall.

            All opposition to God is doomed to shatter,

            the balance of the universe is against them.


Our God will assess every situation on earth,

but strong and glorious will stand the Messiah.

                                                                                                © B.D. Prewer 2002




Mark 13 & Romans 8:18-25


When you hear war, and rumours of war,

the end is not yet; just wind and tide.

These are birth pangs of mother earth,

in travail with children of God.


Don’t be mislead, don’t grow anxious,

do not follow men of great pride.

Keep your hearts true, all will be well,

slow turn the years, patient is God.


When you’re abused, if you are beaten,

do not lose heart, I’m at your side.

Don’t practice speeches, nor try slick words,

just tell the truth, honest to God.


I’ll show the way, the Spirit your Friend,

just keep the faith, however you’re tried.

Though friend forsake, or child betray,

hold your heads high, faithful is God.


Temples shall fall, stone upon stone,

rubble and dust, all human pride.

Watch through dust storms, be there at dawn,

when the end comes, you’ll know your God.

                                                                                                                        © B.D. Prewer 2002




God of the beginning, God of the end, we spend our brief lives like butterflies. We are surrounded by a magnitude of time and space which is so extensive we are tempted to write ourselves off as insignificant. Teach us to treasure our days, not as insignificant creatures but children of the universe with a Divine origin and purpose. Enable us to see, that what might appear to us to be the end, is always for you the beginning of something new. By seeing that, and trusting you, let us go forward in quiet confidence. Through Christ Jesus our Lord.





Mark 13: 1-8


Is the world winding up or running down? Is humanity climbing towards some glorious future or tumbling towards inglorious disaster?


In the last century there was a widespread mood of evolutionary optimism. This persisted despite the mayhem of two world wars and the threat of nuclear disasters. This hopeful outlook persisted despite a growing awareness that we may have ruined the ecology of this planet; putting it more crudely, that we may have irretrievably fouled our own nest.


Even today in this young century, in spite of the jitters that the events of September 11th 2001, and the Bali bombing of October 12, 2002, brought about for many of us, there remains a majority optimism which appears to prevail. This optimism is fuelled by the increasing frequency of scientific break throughs, and the widely held assumption that we are clever enough to get ourselves out of any fix. The majority seems to imagine the world is winding up towards something bigger and better.


There are a minority that have the opposite view. For them things are going from bad to worse. I find many older people feel this way. They look back with rose tinted nostalgia to early days, accent the positives and largely forget the negatives. It is difficult to survive and hour in the company of a group of plus70’s without speaking with some one who feels that the golden age is past and only dissolution and decay lie ahead for the human race.


Maybe some observers might see this as the wisdom that comes with many years of experience. But others might claim it to be a straight projection of the elderly person’s physical decline on to the world around them. Nevertheless, there are numerous bright young people who share this pessimistic view with the elderly. For them also the world is running down.




Many, perhaps most, Jews in the day of Jesus lived with the pessimistic view. For them the world was running down and had been for centuries.


As they saw it (should I say ‘felt it?’) ever since the Kingdoms of David and Solomon, almost a 1000 years earlier, the decline had been steep. The Jews had slipped from power and glory into being overrun by successive foreign armies, declining into weakness and humiliation. It was a sad story which ended with the military heel of Rome.


It was a common belief that the world was heading towards a doomsday. There would be disastrous wars. Four awful kingdoms like four savage beasts would rule and oppress the world. The fourth and worst beast would oppress, torture and slaughter the chosen people of God. Before the cataclysmic end of this age, there would be cyclones and earthquakes of immense magnitude. Even the sky would begin to fall in.


Whereas optimists today believe that in spite of setbacks we are headed for a remarkable future (some, like an eminent scientist I heard interviewed recently, even wax lyrically about the possibilities) the majority view in the day of Jesus was fear of unparalleled troubles. Only the true believers would be saved. Everybody else would perish. The survivors would inherit the new age; theirs would be the new kingdom of God forever


In this atmosphere it is not surprising that exclusive religious groups were formed. Such were the Pharisees who meticulously observed the laws of Moses. Others became monks, living a life of prayer in the wilderness. In that kind of monastic community lived the people of Qumran, responsible for the famous Dead Sea Scrolls. They lived in the desert near the Dead Sea, obsessed with regular ritual baptisms, intent on being the righteous people of God who would escape the woes of doomsday and inherit the new kingdom of God.


They believed in regress. The world was running down to awful disaster before the new could be born.




Then Jesus arrived among them with a deeper optimism which included people who were not seen as at all righteous.


He claimed that it would not be the meticulous, pious Pharisees who would inherit the earth, but the meek. Not exclusive, righteous monks but the poor who would first attain the kingdom of God. Merciful people and the peacemakers would possess the future.


No wonder he shocked and angered those uptight souls who poured so much energy and discipline into trying to make sure they would be the ones who would survive the end of the age.


Jesus seems to have shared the widespread view that upheavals and sufferings lay ahead. He was, of course, a man of his age, and in some ways he was confined to the world view that was prevalent. He spoke of the cataclysmic end of the old age.


But he balanced this with a Gospel of a God who loved the common people and who numbered the hairs on their heads. He told his disciples not to panic or despair. Even if wars break out everywhere; even though the world seems to fall apart and the heavens fall in, God’s love and purpose will not be terminated by such crises. Abba can be trusted. Just trust and don’t be afraid.


Maybe it could be best said that Jesus neither believed the optimistic myth that the world was pulling itself up by its shoe strings and getting better and better, nor the pessimistic myth that nothing but doom lay ahead for any but a very select few. He trusted in a glory that would break through even in the bleakest times, of a new age that was already here, overlapping the old world.




Should we today we take literally Jesus’ words, as described by Mark which echo those of his era, as a prescribed timetable of disaster?  That is up to you to decide for yourselves. Certainly it sounds much like the world that every generation has known since his day.


One thing is sure: on the large scale we do go through times of war and rumours of war. There are social a political upheavals. There are earthquakes, floods, cyclones, fires and every hundred thousand years or so a large, fiery meteor plunges in from the heavens. Finally, what is certain is that this world will not last forever. One day it will all cease to be. All the proud monuments and achievements of humanity on earth, along with all its evil and misery, will be no more. Whether that happens in the near future or the far distant future we do not know, and should not pretend to know.


On the small scale, a similar thing happens. As individuals and families there can be the equivalent of wars and rumours of wars, upheavals when everything falls apart. Accident and illness and sorrow can devastate us. Some will encounter unexpected and prolonged unemployment, infants may get cancer and die, marriages fall apart, teenagers may ruin their own lives and break their parent’s hearts, fourth and fifth generation farmers are decimated by drought or are thrown into poverty by a change in world markets, mental illness can afflict us or loved ones, investments for retirement can collapse, best friends may inexplicably turn against us.  In short it can seem the sky has fallen in on us.


Either way, on the large scale or on the small, personal scale, Jesus says: “Do not despair. The end is not yet. Your story is not finished. Things neither end with a bang nor a whimper. Your life and this world are still held in the hands of a loving God. Don’t be afraid, I will come to you. Be patient. Be faithful. Go on loving one another. All that I taught you and showed you remains sure: ‘Heaven and earth may pass away but my words will never pass away.”


Whenever we fear that everything has wound down, that nothing good lies ahead of us, then by God’s grace something new is ready to begin. We only need to believe in, totally trust, the God who promises to make all things new. The Son of Man is always near at hand, coming on clouds of glory in ways that we could never predict. No matter what goes wrong, Christ comes with new opportunities:




I consider that the opposing views that see the  world as either winding up or running down, are both myths which people construct to help us make some sense what we see happing around us and within. I don’t think either view has any objective reality.


The future is whatever we make of it with the resources at our disposal. For those who are Christians, this means employing the resources of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Except in the sense that this world is finite, and that the love of God will successfully bring many children to glory, I don't believe the human race is on a set course; not programmed to evolutionary success or so fatally flawed that failure in the only possible conclusion. But it can go either way. Our choices are critical. So is our attitude and motivation.


No matter on what bad course we are taken by others, or what trouble we get ourselves into, that never need be the end.  The God of Jesus Christ is there for us. There will be always another opening.  I believe this is the very word of the Lord!





* Too wordy. Reduce by a quarter.


Mark 13: 5-8


Recently I had an appointment to see my GP. The waiting room was packed. Like you, I am aware that a lengthy wait is always possible. This day it extended a little. I flicked through a number of magazines, read the funny bits in a Reader’s Digest. Kept looking at my watch. Kept thinking of how I was wasting a lovely day; outside the sun was shining and the skies were blue. The longer my wait, the longer each minute seemed to stretch longer.  Yawns became plentiful. My appointment was for 11.15 am. I finally got to see my harried doctor at 1.30 p.m.


How would you like to spend your whole life in a waiting room? Or should I say: How would you like to waste your whole life in a waiting room?




That is not such a silly question as it might seem.


There really are people whose particular religious bent leads them to live all their days that way. As they see it, this world is just a waiting room for an appointment with God. If that appointment goes well, they will be promoted into the real life of heaven. If the diagnosis is not good, they will be sent away to die in the darkness; for ever.


Because of the stern nature of the kind of God they believe in, while they wait they must keep their souls pure, their minds occupied with religious thoughts, and their lives as far removed as possible from the crude affairs of the wicked world which exists outside the waiting room.


Such people have a close-knit fellowship. You will usually find that in their waiting room, the people are attentive to the needs of each other. They care for their own with a high sense of their Christian duty. But as for the wider world outside, it will get what it deserves. Their main task is not to allow contaminants from that world to infiltrate their fellowship. If outsiders seek admission, they must undergo stringent examination. Should they be admitted to the fellowship, they are kept under close observation for years.


A variation on this theme comes from religionists who reckon the world is about to end with a bang. Christ will suddenly arrive with legions of militant angels to judge humanity. They must be ready. Any moment may be the final advent. Therefore congregate in carefully selected waiting rooms, where Bible texts are pinned all over the walls, very long prayers are recited loudly just in case God is a bit deaf. They are attired in their best spiritual clothes, all spotlessly laundered and ironed, ready for the big moment. To keep them awake, they have preachers with fiery eyes who yell a lot and thump the furniture with loud bangs. The message is always the same: Are you ready? Are you awake?


They claim that all the “sign of the times” are being fulfilled right now.

            Wars and rumours of wars. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against             kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places. There will be famines. This is the             beginning of the birth pangs.


Soon you will hear the heavenly trumpets, your patience will be rewarded, this waiting room will be dissolved into nothingness, and you will ascend in triumph. Your real life will then begin.




There it is as some would have it. This world, just a waiting room existence.


At the beginning I asked the question, “How would you like to spend your whole life in a waiting room?” Or “How would you like to waste your whole life in a waiting room, while outside the sun is shining and the sky is blue?”


The answer is that some prefer it that way. It is their religious choice.  I do not question their right of conscience to exist in that fashion. We all have free will.


However, I do see it such a choice as a regression into merely existing, not living. In my view (a view which I realise is inevitably distorted to some degree, for all our personal views are subjective and provisional) it is a tragic waste to treat this life as a time of waiting, always on edge, ever alert, always with clean hands and a prayer on our lips.


If such people sought my opinion...........but of course they don’t. They would see me as already infected by the world. The fact that I enjoy life so much, gives me away! In their view, one can’t be ‘laid back” and still be ready for God and the judgement............ As I said, if such people asked my opinion I would gently but firmly suggest they “get a life.”


Don’t you like that contemporary phrase? “Get a life.” One of the main thrusts of the Bible is that we get a good life. Not a cramped waiting room.




Of course there are a few texts here and there, that one can seize and from them construct a waiting room style of religion. Texts like:”Come ye apart” or “Keep yourself undefiled”, and of course from Jesus, “Watch and pray, therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house will come.”


Nevertheless, the mainstream message of Holy Scripture, and that of Jesus, is clear: Life in this world is meant to be enjoyed; we are placed here to live our years to the full, in a way that will glorify God and bring healing to humankind.


This world was not created to be a sterile, boring waiting room. From the beginning, the Bible God pronounces it good. It is designed for love and justice, growth and maturation, Play and laughter, generosity and celebration.


God has not created a second class environment for us. Nor does the Holy One cunningly make available a host of pleasures just to test our ability to say no. The Bible is clear: this world is intended to be paradise. This is a first class world. The fact that it has not become a paradise, is the result of our wilful misuse of it.


As I see it, it is a wilful misuse of it should we refuse to delight in God’s world.


Jesus himself was a man who freely enjoyed life. How can we deduce anything else from a young man who at a wedding feast dared to change large jars of water into about 150 gallons of wine!  Even if that wedding guest list was long, as is often the case in weddings in the Middle East, it was a liberal amount of the best wine.


Neither did Jesus fear contamination from sinners. It may have later been written about him: “He was in all points tempted just as we are, yet was without sin,” but his sinless life was not carefully attained by separating himself from the moral and spiritual infections of other people.   His purity was not a “come ye apart” purity. Jesus was never a fastidious Pharisee, fearful that even a fringe on their robes might be touched by a sinner.


The true Son of God mixed with all sorts. Jesus was not afraid of being contaminated. He dined freely with those people that the uptight religionists classified as hopelessly and dangerously corrupted.


On one occasion, while he was dining at the table of a Pharisee named Simon, a “fallen woman” came in off the street and knelt at the feet of our Lord. There she washed his feet with her tears and wiped them with her unbound hair. Jesus not only allowed her, but he took her side against the umbrage taken by his pious host. The son of Mary and Joseph was not the type to spend life in a religiously safe environment. Sitting in a waiting room was not his style.


Get a life? Jesus had a life. And what a life it was! He was by all accounts, astoundingly ‘laid back.’ His open enjoyment of life was such that on one occasion he was accused (an exaggeration no doubt, as are most accusations) of being a man who like his food far too much and drank wine to excess.




Does this imply he was not on the alert? Not ready for whatever spiritual crisis might arrive at any moment?


Open your New Testament. Read again those Gospel stories. You will discover there a person who always had his eyes open and his ears tuned in to what was happening around him. He was keenly alert to God and humanity. He was, as they say, “as sharp as a tack,” not taken by unawares, ready to distinguish the many disguised voices of Satan from the Word of God.


Relaxed and alert are not incompatible.


I reckon that from Jesus we can make a smart deduction: By completely trusting God, we are enabled to be both relaxed and alert at the same time. Those who through faith in Christ can be ‘laid back,’ are also those who are always ready for God.


Not for one moment should we shut our eyes to the limited nature of this world. Of course the end of this world will come at a time we cannot calculate. Maybe it will be in a million years, maybe this evening. The end will come.


Moreover the end of our personal, individual world is always near. It can happen at any moment. It only takes an errant road-train on the highway, a faulty heart, a psychopathic killer, or a new ‘super bug” to access our blood stream. Such happenings can speedily whisk us from this world into the next.


Our interview with the BIG ONE is never far away.


All the more reason to glorify God by freely and responsibly and joyfully making the most of this world while we are here. This is not a world to escape from. It is to be lovingly embraced.


Besides, the BIG ONE in the next room is also a Physician.  Our God is the God of Christ Jesus.  Not a different Divinity but the same Holy Friend. .This God’s agenda is not our condemnation but our salvation; not blasting us in anger but rescuing and healing us.




What a waste of life it is; what a pathetic travesty, when anxious souls withdraw from positive engagement with this world which Christ so humbly served and so divinely loved!


It is true that many souls do get lost, and they do squander their one life here though wilful triviality or evil self-degradation. That is truly a terrible waste of a precious life.


It is just as true that others squander their one life here through adopting an isolationist policy, by separating themselves from both this world’s pleasures and its more obvious temptations. That is also a truly a terrible waste of a precious life!


Did you notice that I said: by separating from ‘its more obvious temptations? There is no question that there are just as many temptations within a religious waiting room as in the wide world. The form of the temptations may vary, but not the presence of them. Walking abroad or in hiding, we are always at risk.


Again I use a physician’s waiting room as an example. In the waiting room you are likely to be safe from road accident, plane crash, street muggers, or industrial accidents. But in that waiting room there are other risks. It is a prime environment for infections. It is not a safe house. There no such thing. You can pick up many a ‘bug” in medical waiting rooms.


So it is with religious waiting rooms. Those who opt for exclusive religion, those uptight souls who think this life is a time for waiting, are not safe. Enclaves of piety do not work.


Their cloistered members are just as much at risk (maybe more?) as those “worldly” Christians; as those believers who get stuck into things out in the commerce of common life, getting their hands dirty and sometimes wounded, seeking justice, dealing mercifully with fool and sinner, and walking humbly and joyfully with their God.




This world a waiting room? I won’t have that! This world is opportunity.


I say, Get a life! Get a life with Jesus Christ.


Celebrate with him when he rejoices, weep with him when he weeps, serve with him when he washes dirty feet, relax with him at parties, pray with him in quiet places, and engage with him in loving even the noisy neighbours and the nasty enemies. With Christ Jesus, forgive those who hurt you, pray for those who despise you, and be ready to die in his peace, trusting your spirit into the hands of the God who gave you this one, precious life on planet earth, our first home.





We are committed to believing, to a trusting that is not grounded in ourselves but in the undergirding, untiring providence of God.


We are committed to loving, to such a treasuring of others that is not powered by our fickle affections but on God’s covenant love.


We are committed to hoping, to a reaching towards that light which does not stem from our human know-how but from God’s beauty.

Because of the life, death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, we can dare make these commitments, knowing that he is able to keep the trust which we have given him until the very end. Amen!




Let us pray for family, neighbours, friends and enemies.


Because your wisdom is immensely larger than ours, and because your love is infinitely deeper than ours, we bring to you, Loving God, our prayers for our needier sisters and brothers the world over.


            We bring those maimed by land mines or terrorist bombs, injured in industrial accidents, and the many who because of road trauma or sporting injury must find a new and painstaking way of living each day. Bless each of these and those skilled people who nurse and encourage them. God our helper hear us.

Loving God, hear our prayer.


            We bring to you family or workmates, friends, neighbours or strangers, who are fighting a battle against diseases like aids, tuberculous, cancer, hepatitis, malaria or meningococcal infection. Bless every afflicted child, woman or man, and those GP’s and specialists, surgeons and therapists, whom you use for healing. God our helper hear us.

Loving God, hear our prayer.


            We bring to you the social outcastes in our society; the street kids and call girls,

drug users and suppliers, the alcoholics and those in prison. Bless and help each of these children of yours, and give wisdom and courage to social workers, police officers, warders, chaplains, probation officers and drug counsellors. God our helper hear us.

Loving God, hear our prayer.


            We bring to you the children of new immigrants who are starting school, the kids who are victims of schoolyard bullies, the slow learners who are derided by other students, the child who is abused at home, and the many children in foster care. Bless and guide the teachers, and carers, foster parents and student counsellors. God our helper hear us.

 Loving God, hear our prayer.


            We bring to you employers and employees, the unemployed and the unemployable, the staff of job centres, those administering social welfare benefits, and the host of people who must work at jobs they find distasteful or degrading. Bless each person who this week will make decisions that will affect the dignity and poverty of others. God our helper hear us. Loving God, hear our prayer.


Most holy God, you are physician, teacher, counsellor, parent, judge, nurse, therapist and mediator. Use us whenever you can for your work, whether it come easily to us or hard, and don’t let us get our noses out of joint when you choose others to do the tasks we would prefer to do. Through Christ Jesus our Servant-Lord.





            The end is not yet. Go on your way cheerfully, trusting God to do the best that is possible for you and for humanity.


            Christ is near at hand. Go on your way expectantly, ready to encounter Christ in stranger and loved one, enemy and friend.


            Don’t be afraid. Go on your way serenely, for there is nothing ahead that God has not anticipated and provided for.


            The grace of................


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