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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
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Year C, Good Friday



John 18:1 to 19:42 or Luke 23: 16-47


Psalm 22


Isaiah 52:13 to 53:12


Hebrews 4: 14-16, 5:7-9




When they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him.


Jesus said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

All the families of the nations shall worship before him.

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord.


One of the criminals who was hanged beside him said:

Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom.

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord.


Jesus said: This day you shall be with me in paradise.

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord.


Jesus cried with a loud voice: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord.

All the families of the nations shall worship before him.


OR -


He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.

When they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him.


He was wounded for our transgressions, he was brushed for our iniquities.

And Jesus said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”


Upon his was the infliction that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed.

Then Jesus cried out: “Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit.”


Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom.

Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom




God of Christ crucified, your awesome cross confounds our pride, and your shed blood leaves us aching with adoration. We thank you for giving us a place within such a priceless salvation. We pray that on this most holy day our meagre stocks of faith, hope and love, may be wondrously replenished. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.






 “All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way, and God has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”


My Friends, sometimes it is our sins that leave us discouraged and guilty. Other times it is our foolishness and clumsiness that makes us frustrated and ashamed.  On this most Holy Friday we know one thing for certain: both our sin and our folly have the gravest consequences: Jesus our Lord is crucified. Let us humbly make a common confession as we say together:


Merciful God ,our sure hope on earth and in heaven,

 we confess to you and to each other that we are sinners

 who need a most patient and generous Saviour.


We have not loved you without reserve,

we have not loved others without conditions,

 we have not even loved our own souls enough to respect and nourish them..


We have spread folly rather than wisdom, anxiety instead of trust,

and we have allowed ignorance and prejudice to misshape our words and deeds.


We have sometimes crucified good thoughts that emerge from our own hearts

and damned others with faint praise.


We have wounded Christ, not with actual blood on our hands

but with a horde of small, cruel betrayals or compromises.


As we repent and seek your costly grace;

 please let forgiveness, cleansing, and extensive spiritual repair

 take place in us as we bow before this holy cross.


Through Jesus Christ our Redeemer.






Sisters and brothers in Christ, it is written for all to see: Jesus cried, “Father forgive them, they do not understand what they do.”  And again, “While we were still sinners, Christ Jesus died for us.”


We need not live in perpetual remorse for sins, but should leave behind those old weights and guilts, and press on with our high calling. For God is able to bring good out of evil and joy out of sorrow.  By the cross of Christ, you are a redeemed people!


Thanks be to God!



Verses 1-2, 6-11, 14-18


My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

            When I need you, why do you seem so far away?

I cry out to you by day but you don’t answer,

            I call for you in the darkness but find no rest.


I’m treated like a worm, not a human being,

            mocked by some, despised by all.

All who look upon me ridicule me,

            shaking their heads and poking out tongues:


“So he trusted God, then let God have him;

            if God is pleased with him, let God save him!”

Yet you are the One who saw me safely born,

            and suckled me at my mother’s breasts.


From my birth I have been in your hands,

            since mother bore me you have been my God.

Don’t go away now when I’m desperate

            and no one moves a finger to help me.


My life is leaking away like water,

            my bones are racked out of joint;

now my heart is melting away inside me,

            my courage has dried up like clay;


My tongue is sticking to my jaws,

            as you lay me down in earth’s dust.

A pack of wild dogs are around me,

            a mob of thugs encircle me.


They savage my hands and feet

            and I can feel pain in every bone.

They gloat and divide up my clothing,

            casting lots for each garment.


                                                             ©  B.D. Prewer 1986




My God!

My God, why have you forsaken us;

forsaken us in the cry of the crucified?

In his horrible helplessness

we are doubly undone,

suffering  and dying



My God!

The nails that pierced Jesus cruelly

also pierce our common humanity;

his utter dereliction touches ours,

fearing no god reigns above

but all ends in a lonely cry

bereft of light and



My God! That his life should so mercilessly end

surrounded by such pitiless enemies,

loved only by a frightened few

who watched in shock and fear,

 leaves us all abandoned

to rampaging



My God! Into that borrowed, stone-cold tomb

our noblest human dreams are dragged;

the idealism of youth sinks

into abysmal deeps

and brave defiance

in the darkness



Dear God, No!

On that black Friday we are not forsaken!

Not Jesus or any other desolate child of dust!

That day you entered our forsakenness

and bitter chill of death’s dark night,

you shaped the valley of shadows

to become an avenue of



Our Christ! We praise you, we acknowledge you as Lord!

Despised and rejected, man of sorrows and grief,

great and marvellous are your deeds!

Wounded for our transgressions,

and bruised for our iniquities,

you have given your soul

that we may be made


            ©  B.D. Prewer 2000

            (Another version is found in ‘Australian Psalms” page 92)




Most loving God, please look graciously upon this your family, for which our Christ Jesus was willing to be betrayed, and placed in the hands of wicked men, and to suffer death upon a cruel cross; who with you and the Holy Spirit now lives and loves forever, one God, world without end.





 The stunning words of a man being crucified:


“Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”    Luke 23:34


Also the prescient words of an ancient prophet:


“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with grief;

and we hid our faces from him. He was despised and we did not stand up for  him.”   Isaiah 53:3



I put it to you that the place of crucifixion is not unfamiliar to us.

The act of crucifixion is not something we learn about second hand.

This crucified Christ is no stranger to us.


I am not talking about some devotional exercises where we may in our imagination visit Golgotha and mourn with the women for our crucified Lord. Neither am I speaking to those fortunate folk who have actually visited Jerusalem and visited the holy sites.. Nor do I mean hymns, prayers or theological theories about the atonement.


It is rather that in your experience, in your very being, there is a first hand knowledge of crucifixion. In this intimate experience there is both bad news and good news; appalling and yet also enthralling.




Firstly, the appalling inside knowledge of crucifixion. We will look at two aspects of this bad news.


1/    We spiritually crucify others.


I don’t mean physical crucifixion, in a physical, bloody way. Rather it is how we sometimes casually treat other people, maybe even those in our own household.


We all have taken part in belittling others, scorning, wounding, doing what we euphemistically call “cutting them down to size”.  We do not restrict ourselves to acting in this way with those who do wrong. We even crucify some people when they do the right things, and their goodness shames us.


It is as if a little bit of goodness in others is okay. But not too much. If too much of Christ-likeness appears, we get edgy.  Perverted as we are by the multitudinous tentacles of evil, we cannot bear to see too much goodness flowering in others while we trudge along on in mediocrity. 


Christ-likeness disconcerts us, it threatens and frightens, it brings out the worst. Thus we the crucifiers go to work. Snide remarks, half truths, damning with faint praise, attributing  bad motives for good deeds. We delight in stabbing and undercutting and embarrassing them.  We even us the telling phrase: “we nailed them!”


There has not been one of Christ’s saints who has not been harassed by a Golgotha-like crowd.  Hounded by a mob, not necessarily of very evil people, but of reasonably ‘nice citizens’ who cannot bear to see their own mediocrity shown up by a brighter loveliness. This is not a pretty aspect of human behaviour, but then, no Golgotha is a pretty place.


2/  We crucify ourselves.


We are very familiar with Golgotha because we even get the hammer and nails out on ourselves. We crucify some things that are precious and vulnerable in our own being.


One of the early Christian believers said that there is a little Christ in all of us. It is what the Old Testament called the “image of God” in us, or the very “breath of God” in us.


Whenever this holy part of our true being rises up above the level of mediocre thoughts and deeds and tries to express itself more boldly and lovingly and riskily, then  another part of us is aghast and becomes an accuser. That happens whenever the Christ in us asks for some drastic change, it calls for a bit of self sacrifice, it stretches us towards higher goals.  Sometimes the little christ in us asks us to assert ourselves and our faith, and other times it asks us to do some very humble things. 


Then it is that the crucifier within us (the same assailant that nails the little Christ in others)  goes feral. The crucifer within us arrests the Christ in us, falsely accuses and judges it, pokes fun at it, flogs it,  and if necessary it will crucify this good thing in ourselves.


I do not hesitate to make this generalisation: there is no person in this congregation who has not at some time crucified themselves.


We have blood on our hands, and some of it is our own blood.  We are both the crucifiers and the crucified: despised and rejected, a creature of sorrows and familiar with grief, and we hide our faces from it.


There you have it. The appalling first hand knowledge we have about what goes on at Golgotha. 


Enough! Enough  of the bad news!




There is, thank God, some good news, the enthralling side of this brutal drama.


 What we all need is someone who will love us enough to heal our torn being. Unless we find an unconditional lover, we are lost in our own tragic Golgotha.


It is not sufficient to say that God loves us when we are repentant. We need a God who loves us while we are still rebels!  It is not enough to say that God loves the little Christ in us but hates the crucifier in us. Because both are really us.  Unless God loves us when we have blood on our hands, at the very time when we are the crucifiers, then we remain  split personalities.  We must have a God who loves us not just when we are the victim but also when we are the assailant.


On Good Friday we look on a crucified person who is the perfect Christ, the true image of God in human flesh.  He is all we were meant to be. To use a description from Martin Luther, on the cross hung the “true-man”. Here is true-man, the only non-crucifier.


It seems to me that at that moment on Golgotha all creation held its breath. What would be the outcome of such ultimate treachery by humankind? What will God do to those who crucify the loveliest, most whole person ever to wear human flesh; his only True Son? Maybe even the heavens held their breath at that ultimate-awful  moment.


No other cruelty we have afflicted on others, nothing we have perpetrated against ourselves, can be more repugnant than that Golgotha event. Nothing can outsin this evil. “Despised and rejected, a God of sorrows, and acquainted with grief’.‘


Yet from the hill of Golgotha there sounds a lone voice, the most lonely voice in history, speaking above the waves of pain; it is the Word which sets us free: “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing”


God in Christ takes all the evil upon himself and says: “I love you even at this moment, my crucifiers.


I love you, in the midst of this scorn hatred, abuse, and most depraved crime. I love you. I love you.”


 “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed.”


The cross is the unlikely place of unequalled healing. We are embraced with an unconditional love which claims the whole of our divided being, and brings together in reconciliation both assailant and victim, the crucifer and the crucified .


That is the final truth both then and now.

Now, yes now, on this very Good Friday!

Trust it and be healed! Now!

Trust it today and forever!

Trust it and know for yourself that “with his stripes we are HEALED!”




We believe in the glory of the crucified Christ

whose name we honour and adore.


We believe in the loss that is gain, in sorrow that gives peace,

in failure that is success, and in death that brings life.


We believe that his shame is our hope, his suffering is our healing,

his grief is our joy, and his desolation is our home-coming.


We believe that the glory of God was in Christ,

reconciling the world unto himself.






Let us pray.


God our wounded healer, by the holy cross of Christ Jesus, you have reconciled the world unto yourself. We quietly and humbly thank you for so great a salvation and we pray that it may be known and trusted all over the world. Bring us together Lord;


Bring us together Lord, bring us together in love.


 We pray for people at odds with themselves, their mind and heart like divided kingdoms, at war and out of control. By your reconciling grace, bring us together Lord;


Bring us together Lord, bring us together in peace.


 We pray for folk who are at loggerheads with others; hitting out at family friends, neighbours and work mates. By your reconciling grace, bring us together Lord;


Bring us together Lord, bring us together in mercy.


 We seek your help for groups in our nation who are alienated socially, politically, economically, racially. By your reconciling grace, bring us together Lord;


Bring us together Lord, bring us together in hope..


We ask for the healing of nations from ancient enmities, new conflicts, ongoing injustices, suspicions, and hatreds. By your reconciling grace, bring us together Lord;


Bring us together Lord, bring us together in community.


We pray for the scattered people of your church. Enable us to bring our diverse gifts into a common love and service. By your reconciling grace, bring us together Lord;


Bring us together Lord, bring us together in faith.


God our wounded healer, we thank you that any true wisdom and love in our prayers is already being answered and any foolishness is denied. Through Christ our Saviour.






Christ Jesus died on a cross so that we might begin to live as we were intended to live.

We are not our own, we have been redeemed at great price.


Go then, go out into the secular world and live really well!.

Live gratefully, live humbly, live daringly, live lovingly, live fully.

The love of Christ sustains us.




 The peace of the reconciling God, which goes beyond all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. And the blessing of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, will be with you now and ever  more.




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Third edition May 2014

ISBN   978-1-62880-033-3 Australia

Jesus Our Future

Prayers for the Twenty First Century

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