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©B D Prewer 2006

These prayers may be freely used without the express permission of the author

only when they are––

either read aloud by a leader of worship

or included in a once-off printed ‘Order of Worship.’

They may not be otherwise published, in print or on the net or on CD,

 without copyright permission.





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JUST ASK    Matthew 7:7. 2

A BEATITUDE LITANY    Matthew 5:3. 2

EXPONENTIAL LIFE   John 10: 10. 3

NEITHER DO I CONDEMN YOU   John 8: 1-11. 4

LOVE YOUR ENEMIES?   Matthew 5: 43-45. 6

THAT WE MAY DISCERN   Matthew 12:30. 7


LITTLE CHILDREN   Matthew 18:3. 8

JUDGE NOT   Matthew 7: 1. 9

KNOW YOURSELF    Matthew 6: 37. 10

WHAT DO I REALLY WANT?    John 5:6. 11

DON’T BE AFRAID    Matthew 14:27: 12

BURIAL & NEW LIFE     Matthew 13: 3. 13

THE GRAIN THAT WON’T DIE     John 12: 24. 14

MERCY IS NOT STRAINED     Matthew 5: 7. 14

TO BE SEPARATE     Matthew 5: 48. 15

DISRUPTIVE YEAST    Luke 13: 20-21. 16

ARE WE LOST?     Luke 19:19. 17

FOR THE UNRIGHTEOUS    Mark 2: 17b. 18

LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE.     Matthew 5: 16. 19

FIRST THINGS FIRST    Matthew 6: 33. 19

THE DOOR   John 10: 7. 20

BREAD OF LIFE     John 6: 35. 21

JOY   John  15:11. 21

THE PURE IN HEART     Matthew 5:8. 22

IN YOUR SCHOOL    John 14: 16. 23

WHAT YOU SEE AND HEAR    Luke 7: 22. 24

BLESSED ARE THE POOR    Luke 6:20. 25



GOODBYE BONDAGE    Mark 2:27. 26

IF YOU LOVE ME   John 14: 15. 27





JUST ASK    Matthew 7:7


Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will open.


Holy Friend, 

we are not slow at asking- for the wrong things,

we are energetic in seeking- the second-rate things,

and we are experts at knocking- on doors that lead to disappointment.


Please get it into our perverse minds

that you are neither a divine vending machine,

nor an irresponsible parent who gives into their child’s passing parade of wishes.


You are only interested in giving truly good gifts;

the ones which, in our given situation, will be best for us and for those around us.


Therefore, Holy Friend,

get at our thoughts before they become words,

      that our asking may be to fulfil your will, not ours;

create in us a thirst that impels our seeking

      for more of that unique loving displayed by our Jesus;

and direct us to those particular doors

      which will open into new avenues of faith and service.


Then, loving God,

even though we may not understand the strange workings of your providence,

we shall be able to play our part in the coming of age of your many children

from here to eternity.


Through Christ our light and salvation.





Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.


Praise be to you, Spirit of truth, for cutting through our pretentious humbug and helping us to recognise our spiritual poverty. Grant us more such insight and bless us with the grace of ready repentance.


Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Praise be to you, Spirit of consolation, for meeting us at our wits end and enabling us to weep for the losses we and our neighbours sustain. Grant us the freedom of grieving, and bless us with the grace of renewed hope.


Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Praise be to you, Spirit of humility, for standing with the forgotten and downtrodden folk, and demanding a new world order. Grant us the courage to stand beside you, and bless us with the grace of loving justice and mercy.


Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Praise be to you, Spirit of discomfort, for awaking within us those yearnings which no earthly food or drink can satisfy. Grant us the tenacity to follow our thirst, and bless us with the spiritual provisions which makes even the emptiest soul replete.


Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.

Praise be to you, Spirit of pro-active pity, for neither dealing with us legalistically nor requiting us according to our sins. Grant us the desire and the will to forgive those who sin against us, and bless us with the grace to do so both thoroughly and cheerfully.


Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Praise be to you, Spirit of light, for leading us into the brave life-style of sincerity and truth, and not allowing us to rot in self-deceits. Grant us a passion for the truth of love, and bless us with the grace to pursue it without adulteration.


Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.

Praise be to you, Spirit of peace, for breaking down the barriers and calling us into the ministry of reconciliation. Grant us the guile to tread gently where conflict rules, and bless us with the grace to listen carefully yet speak the truth with unpretentious love.


Blessed are those who are persecuted for my sake, for great is your reward in heaven.

Praise be to you, Spirit of resilience, for promising to be with us in when we are rejected and abused. Grant us fortitude of body mind and soul; and bless us with the grace to call down blessings on those who revile or injure us.


Spirit of God, Holy Dove filling our Christ,  source of light and life and holy joy, we rejoice that we have both heard the word of Jesus and been called according to your purposes in him.

Wonderful in your name on earth and in heaven!





I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full.


Show me, Lord of abundant life, where I am missing out.


If, even in the middle of my prayers, I am still surreptitiously trying to save my old life instead of losing it, please make my prayers dry as Oodnadatta dust.


If, spite of my professed creed, I am trying to store up as much treasure on earth as I can,

strip the roof of my house and leave me staring at the Southern Cross.


If I dream about climbing the steep and narrow road, but find myself coasting downhill,

send me a tripping stone as large as Uluru.


If I am settling for contemporary pig troughs, stylish though they are and lit by party lights in Mossman or Toorak,

please bring me to my senses.


If after taking a few brave steps in your direction, I keep glancing back over my shoulder,

turn around, Lord, and entrance me like a sunrise over Byron Bay.


If in times of a spiritual high I refresh my lamp, yet then timidly hide it under a bucket,

leave me in a darkness as total as midnight in the Buchan Caves.


If, although I have been forgiven much, I am slow to forgive those who have hurt me,

send my soul aridness as of the Gibson Desert.


If I emote over fictional tragedies of TV, yet ignore an actual neighbour lying beside my road, let me be put to shame by some Good Moslem.


If even in public worship I start worrying about what clothes to wear and what food to eat,

send your Word into my personal space and sting me like Tasmanian jack-jumper.


If I ever wander far away, and stay there so long that I no longer realise I am lost -as if beyond Bourke- please come looking again for this one errant sheep.


O my Christ, my true human Brother and my most divine Saviour, may I never take for granted for the beautiful life you offer me, not settle for second-best when you want me to inherit a fullness beyond measure. Let me live each day in awe of that “pearl of great price” which is worth more than anything else that might please the eye, delight the ear, or tempt the soul.


Source of abundant life, find me and fill me

Renewer of abundant life, fill me and fertilise me.

Resourcer of abundant life, fertilise me and fructify me.






Jesus looked up, and said to the woman: “Where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?”


She said, “No one, Master,”


And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”


Master, font of forgiveness, enable us to live as those who are both forgiven and progressively repentant.


Should any of us toady to the rich but patronise the poor, or secretly admire the cunning and strong yet damn with faint praise the meek and the pure of heart,

bring us to account, write in the dust, and lift us up with your words:

“Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”


Should any of us commit adultery in thought or deed, either despoiling marriage vows or committing spiritual adultery by consorting with the hedonistic gods of this world,

bring us to account, write in the dust, and lift us up with your words:

“Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”


Should any of us begin to value the praise of society more than keeping the faith, or allow our ethical values to wilt under the hot air of a few, worldly-wise critics,

bring us to account, write in the dust, and lift us up with your words:

“Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”


Should any of us find ourselves with the self-righteous elder son, arguing outside in the dark, refusing to join in the party thrown for the return of a prodigal sister or brother,

bring us to account, write in the dust, and lift us up with your words:

“Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”


Should any of us begin to curse those who injure us, demand an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, and limit love to only those who will be nice towards us,

bring us to account, write in the dust, and lift us up with your words:

“Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”


Should any of us, when confronted with the sorry victims of other people’s aggressive greed, join the priest and the Levite and walk by on the other side,

bring us to account, write in the dust, and lift us up with your words:

“Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”


Should any of us, who have proved to be respectable, fine weather pilgrims, end up in a storm in the valley of the shadow, and discard our faith through panic and fear,

bring us to account, write in the dust, and lift us up with your words:

“Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”


Should any of us in utter repudiation of your word, begin to store up treasure on earth where moth and rust corrupt, and thieves break in and steal,

bring us to account, write in the dust, and lift us up with your words:

“Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”


Should any of us, like the disciples in Gethsemane, at first cease to pray and go to sleep on the job, and then run away and hide from your enemies,

bring us to account, write in the dust, and lift us up with your words:

“Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”


Should any of us take sides with either Mary or Martha, and put asunder that which God has joined together of adoration and humble service.

bring us to account, write in the dust, and lift us up with your words:

“Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”


Should any of us forget that the neighbour, whom we are to love as we love ourselves, includes folk in Sudan, or Iraq, detention centres or indigenous communities.

bring us to account, write in the dust, and lift us up with your words:

“Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”


Should any of us presume to think that adultery is more sinful than money-love,

or robbery more depraved than stealing another’s reputation by gossip:

bring us to account, write in the dust, and lift us up with your words:

“Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”



O Master, O God incarnate, look us in the eye each day, and say to each of us:

Let those who are without sin, cast the first stone.”




LOVE YOUR ENEMIES?   Matthew 5: 43-45


You have heard it taught: “You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.


But I say to you: “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may children of your Father who is in heaven.”


You got to be kidding!


Spirit of truth, we know it was you who put those words on the lips of Jesus. But do you know how hard it is to implement what you ask?


You are Heavenly but we are earthly, you have an overview of the whole human scene, around the world and across the millennia, but we have to live in particular situations and among some nasty and fractious characters.


In situ, that is what makes loving well nigh impossible. Verbal or physical violence is never far away from us, and even those whom we thought were good neighbours can turn out to be back-stabbing enemies.


We cannot even trust our enemies to play by some code of rules. How can we then get around to loving them?  It is just too much!


Besides, if we don’t stand up for ourselves and strike back, they will trample all over us. This love stuff only encourages the bullies.


Have pity on us.  O Holy One, deal mercifully with us. It feels to us that as long as this world is as it is, we will always fall far short of what Jesus taught us.


We can try not nursing grudges. We can put a ban on seeking revenge. We can wish repentance and salvation on our enemies. It is even possible sometimes to put a hold on our feelings, and in our brain (though not in heart) sincerely pray your blessing on those who persecute us.


But love them? Dear God, we don’t think so.


What’s that you say, Holy Friend? That will do for starters? Thank you, God, for that.


And although it may take a whole life time, and then some, we do pray that one day we shall be able to love even our enemies as you love us. On that day we will know in fact, not just in faith and hope, that we are indeed children of our Father in heaven.


Through Christ Jesus, that is our yearning prayer.




THAT WE MAY DISCERN   Matthew 12:30


He that is not for me, is against me.


Mark 9: 40


He that is not against me is for me.



Holy Friend, enable us to know the difference.


Searcher of human hearts, help us to discern the Spirit in unexpected places, and to recognise betrayal even though it be in ecclesiastical settings.

Pull us back from both hasty judgments and condemnation, and from slick toleration or glib affirmation.

      But do not let the fear of getting it wrong allow us

      to pour sentimental oil on a sea of faithless troubles.


Keep us alert and clear-eyed at all times:

In a neighbour or an opponent, in a gracious humanist or an Islamic Sufi, in a paramedic kneeling beside an accident victim, or in an artist trying to conceive the Inconceivable,

      may we recognise those who share Christ’s work unawares.


Keep us honest and loving at all times:

At a Bible College or at a parish council meeting; wherever popularist religion is patronised by a film star or when political party loyalties usurp the first commandment:

      assist us to discern in ourselves or others the gravity of betrayal.


Keep us humble and tough at all times:

That we may know when it is right to stand with the outsider against the gates of hell,

and when to confront the insider who is polluting the waters of baptism,

      draw us close to the mind and soul of our Lord Jesus.


Keep as cunning as serpents and gentle as doves;

If at any time we find ourselves arguing that some “truth” is greater than love,

      rebuke us and bring us back to our first childlike faith and sincerity.


As we live and work along side those who may not be against Christ,

as we pray and serve among those who claim to be for Christ,

      keep us willing to share his gospel and his wounds,

      to wear the yoke with gratitude and praise,

      and on your ‘say so,’ to bear the cross without turning back.


For the joy that is set before us,

in the love that is let loose amongst us,

to the glory that is always around us:

      we offer our prayers and our deeds,

      through Christ Jesus our Redeemer.






I am the resurrection and the life, they who believe in me though they die, yet shall they live. And whoever lives in me and believes in me shall never die.


Lord we believe, assist us to surmount all unbelief.


We know, Holy Source of unfettered life, that we are born to live,

yet inevitably we are also born to die.


Most of the time, we accept our death as a given, and think we have come to terms with it through faith and reasonableness.


Yet we confess to you there are hairline cracks in even the most sophisticated faith, and from time to time the primitive Fear Thing, millions of years old, slips through and mightily shakes the foundation of our being.


At such moments, no amount of theology, or of sweet reason, amount to much. The temptation is to struggle desperately in our own strength, or to pretend amusement and throw cynical barbs at our own absurdity.


Help us at that juncture, loving God. Still our disquiet and encourage us to let ourselves fall deeper, below the point of the measured and the known, so that we may come to rest again on the bedrock which was laid down long ago by that man who is resurrection and life.


Thank you, God of unmeasured grace, that although death is our fate, it is not our new destiny. Yours is the gift of the life of the ages; that unbounded bonus which no dark thing can ever snatch from those who believe and live in service with your only True Son.


Keep us in faith, trusting that resurrection is not far off but has come among us, full and overflowing with grace and truth.


Lord we believe: You are the resurrection and the life, we who believe in You though we die, yet shall we live. And whoever lives in You and believes shall never die.




LITTLE CHILDREN   Matthew 18:3


I tell you the truth, unless you turn around and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.


Praise be to you, Joy of the Universe, for the gift of childhood.

Praise be to you for childhood that is neither made desperate by cruel poverty

nor corrupted by affluent and over-indulgent parents.


Praise be to you for-

-the curiosity of little children, that leads them to ask, in the plainest terms, those basic questions that adults too often avoid.


-their playfulness, as they put aside some expensive toy and make a new world out of cardboard boxes and sticky tape.


-their elastic minds and their capacity to learn, not as a chore but as an adventure into the unfolding future.


-a child’s faith in their flawed parents, trusting even when they do not understand, giving affection even when they are confused.


-their capacity to forgive older family members their ineptitude or bad moods, and all those times when they believe the best of us, even though we do not deserve it.


-childhood’s sensitivity to the suffering of others, and those tears which freely flow over a limping dog or a bird with a broken wing.


-their sharp eye for any injustice, and their readiness to voice their repugnance at things the adult world has tolerated with an uneasy conscience.


-a child’s awareness of the magic of creation around them, their intuitive sense of the divine Presence in budding flowers, skipping butterflies, or newly hatched ducklings.


-their eager anticipation of a coming holiday, their exuberance when at the seaside or exploring shallow creek waters, or in autumn dancing among fallen leaves.


God of little children, return us again to some of the naivety which we have buried under the detritus of setbacks, or lost in bruising encounters with the cunning evil of the world.


By your saving grace turn us around.


Return us to curiosity, playfulness, simple faith, forgiveness, sensitivity, a hatred of injustice, and a keener awareness of you handiwork in the ongoing magic of creation.


Restore to us the gift of youthful anticipation, and do not allow any on us to think we are ever too old to learn something new.


Then, as we continue forward as the excited sisters and brothers of your Christ, may we know and celebrate our inheritance in the realm of heaven that already stretches around us and which impinges on every moment and event.


Through Jesus Christ, Master of things being made new.




JUDGE NOT   Matthew 7: 1


Judge not, that you be not judged.


Holy God, our joy and salvation,  thank you for being so patient with us; for not dealing out punishment as we deserve, nor rewarding us according to our iniquities.


High among our iniquities is the way we attempt to make ourselves feel better by harshly criticising others.


Holy Friend, it is bad enough that we do find ourselves judging them, but what makes it worse is that we are so selective in our condemnation. We have our personal, and sometimes secret, ratings. We pick and choose, classify sins from “1 star” (permissible) to “5 star” (unforgivable) evils. We rate them in an ascending order that will allow us to look good in our own eyes.


We may not admit our secret list to others. Often we do not even admit it to ourselves. But we cannot hide it from you. What a relief that is!


Please rescue us from that basic insecurity, or those consuming anxieties, which urge us to put others down so that we might feel good. Return us to the all-sufficient saving grace of Christ Jesus, to that never-eroding rock on which we can build our lives and not ever be confounded.


From that secure position, train us to love others. Give us the liberty to be gentle in our approbation and generous in our words and deeds.


May we see both ourselves and others more clearly, trust your mercy more daringly, and love others with the same graciousness which Christ has taught us to love ourselves.


If, loving God, we find our minds slipping back into the old negative ways, then please give us such a mighty shake up, that we find ourselves resting once more, like a grateful climber, on the rock of our salvation.


In the name of Christ Jesus, let us not judge, that we need never be judged again.




KNOW YOURSELF    Matthew 6: 37


Judge not, and you will not be not judged. Condemn not, and you will not be condemned.  Forgive and you will be forgiven.


Gospel of Thomas


Know yourself, for they who know themselves shall reign.


Companion Spirit, you have made us, and you hate nothing you have made. We want to be open with you, to be unevasive in all things. Yet we cannot do that until we are truly honest with ourselves.


Thanks for your gift of our intellect. Mentally we acknowledge the theory that at least some of those sins of others which we condemn harshly, may be too close to comfort They may be the very ones that we ourselves find it difficult to keep a lid on. Yet we confess that such theory we apply to others, not to ourselves.


Please rescue us for this stupidity. Give us the courage to face what is going on deep inside our own mind and heart.  Whenever we find ourselves, either publicly or privately, judging other people, goad us to ask ourselves: “Is my repugnance or anger stemming only from what is happening out there, or is it fed by fierce fears hidden within here; within the turbulent mixing bowl of my own secret thoughts and feelings?”


In your mercy, Loving Counsellor, do not allow us to get away with fudging things. Help us to better know ourselves from within. And in knowing ourselves, grant us the will to take charge of whatever is happening within us, and to more wisely and lovingly govern our lives without self deceit or need for quick-fire condemnations.


Companion Spirit, force us to know ourselves, and to commit all that we know to you, so that we, like Jesus of Nazareth, may reign over the Evil One.


In his name we pray.






When Jesus saw the paralysed man and knew he had been lying there for a long time, he said to him: “Do you want to be healed?”


Lord of truth, the Word that cuts through our delusions, please question us as you did that bedridden man beside the pool.


Do I want to be healed of comfortable doubts which may seem preferable to the naked faith which is likely to make my future life more unpredictable and precarious?


Do I want to be healed from my mediocre capacity for showing love, so that as a healed person I might be able to start loving the outcaste and the unlikeable?


Do I want to be healed from my satisfaction with the material comforts of this world, and begin to share the adventure of those who live with glorious uncertainties?


Do I want to be healed of my addiction to popular distractions, like sporting events, glitzy stage shows, or overseas travel, and begin to put first things first?


Do I want to be healed from worshipping a safe, stained glass God with whom I am well pleased, and take the plunge on a God whose purposes even includes crosses?


Do I want to be healed from the itch to be a well-balanced, likeable citizen of this secular world, and set free to daily live in and for that kingdom where the fools of God abound?


Do I want to be healed from my anxieties about fashion and food, “what clothes shall I wear and what food shall I serve,” and start making God’s justice and grace my first goal?


Do I want to be healed from the desire to have “all men speak well of me” even though such a rosy reputation at times requires me staying silent when I should speak out?


Lord of truth, saving Word, please make me hungry for healing. Make me willing to take the daily risk of trusting you unreservedly, and let me hear you saying with the confidence of supreme love: “Rise up. Pick up your bed and walk tall.”


For your love’s sake.



DON’T BE AFRAID    Matthew 14:27:


Immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart, it is I; don’t be afraid.”


God of Jesus, our bridge over troubles waters, we lovingly praise you for your undying fullness in Christ, imperturbable and constant. If in the hazards of living we sometimes forget, call us back to faith.


Whenever there are wars and rumours of wars, grave injustices and their spawn of desperation, anger, and terrorism, may we hear the Word of ultimate peace:

“Take heart, it is I; don’t be afraid.”


Whenever we fall into temptation, and we abhor things said or done, knowing we have not only harmed others and ourselves, but grieved your Spirit; may we hear the Word of grace:

“Take heart, it is I; don’t be afraid.”


Whenever families are in turmoil, parent against parent, children against parents, sister against brother, parent against their own siblings, may we hear your Word of calm:

“Take heart, it is I; don’t be afraid.”


Whenever community values crumble, armed robbery by drug addicts, children abducted by paedophiles, or elderly folk bashed or raped, may we hear you Word of judgement:

“Take heart, it is I; don’t be afraid.”


Whenever grave illness or accident happens to loved ones or dear friends, in crises when we cry aloud to the heavens that seem deaf to us, may we hear your Word of hope:

“Take heart, it is I; don’t be afraid.”


Whenever forces of contemporary hedonism appear ascendant, with greed and selfish pleasure-taking charge of the social and political agenda, may we hear your Word of love:

“Take heart, it is I; don’t be afraid.”


Whenever our own doubts seem to outgrow our faith, and we are inclined to regno on our discipleship and join the herd of disbelief, may we hear you Word of light:

“Take heart, it is I; don’t be afraid.”


Whenever the needs of the meek, meek, poor and oppressed, seems too much for our little stock of love, and we slide towards cynical apathy, may we hear you word of rebuke:

“Take heart, it is I; don’t be afraid.”


Loving God, throughout the upheavals which are endemic to this life, may we not surrender to faithless panic or to the paralysis of fear. Give us faith, even when it seems we are in the eye of a cyclone. Stiffen us with hope, even though a host of fears encamp against us. Soften us with your love, even though our hearts s might seem to have turned to stone.


O joy of loving hearts, fill our small life with your truth and our truth with your life.

Through Christ Jesus our Redeemer.





BURIAL & NEW LIFE     Matthew 13: 3.


´And Jesus told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow………….And some seed fell on good soil and brought forth gr ain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.”



We praise you, Joy of Creation, for the remarkable fertility of the earth:

      for the productivity of soil, rain and sunshine,

      the pecan groves of Moree and the tomato crops of Bowen

      the peach orchards of Shepparton and the apples of  the Tamar Valley,

      the sweet melons of the Ord River and barley harvests of the York Peninsula

      the potato rows of Daylesford and the canola paddocks of Parkes.


And it all starts with a pip, seed, or nut.


We praise you for the magic of burial:

      when any ordinary person-

      or even a bird or a possum-

      drops a seed or pip into the soil,

      a metamorphis takes place

      and miracles of new creation

      and enlarged fruitfulness begins to happen.


We praise you for the larger Mystery

which the barely seed or the apple pip proclaims:

      for Christ Jesus and the everlasting harvest

      from his burial under the crust of this earth.

      Christ has died,

      Christ has risen,

      Christ comes again in glory.


We thank you, that in our own small way,

      we too can participate in this holy Mystery.


Encourage us to lose our lives in his name,

      to sow our seed in faith,

      even risking it

      in the poor soil of indifference

      or in the rough field of stones.


Give us patience to withstand

      the seasonal set backs and the vagaries,

      and to endure what critics see

      as the follies of faith.


Give us an undying trust in burial

      as the one divinely proven way

      to limitless life and harvest.


In name of the First Fruit of the harvest,

      please hear our prayer.




THE GRAIN THAT WON’T DIE     John 12: 24


“Unless grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains solitary.”


God of abundance, we pray for those proud, solitary people who will not allow their ego to diminish and die.


The pompous or prickly people who desperately cling to their pride, and will not admit weakness, foolishness or sin. Those who will never say “I’m sorry” or even “maybe I got that wrong.” The suave yet lonely people who cannot maintain healthy relationships with those around them, and who fail repeatedly in intimate one-to-one relationships.


We think of their starved and ever-shrinking spiritual capacity. Some are outwardly gaining the whole world yet are inexorably losing their birthright. We pray for them in their solitariness. We ask that by someone’s special kindness, or by an astutely aimed barb, light will penetrate their lonely, cold, protected existence, and enable them to recognise their own terminal predicament.


By your Spirit of Truth, penetrate where neither a kindly deed nor compassionate rebuke can venture. Seize even the slightest will to change and begin the holy travail of regeneration.


May there be an increasing incidence of buried egos, and an exponential growth in resurrections into abundant life. May the word and way of Christ not only become understood, but profoundly embraced and enacted, until those once-solitary seeds find their true purpose and their opportunity, bringing forth a harvest of unexpected proportions.


Through our Lord Jesus, who by his dying brought life and immortality to light.



MERCY IS NOT STRAINED     Matthew 5: 7


“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.


Grant, Holy Parent,

that we may be numbered among the merciful;

not straining to do the right thing out of fear,

but offering mercy from a heart that cherishes

your undeserved mercy towards us.


Grant us the will and the wit

to love those who do not love us,

to do good to folk who have done no good to us,

to lend without expecting a return with interest,

and to give freely and generously,

never even thinking, “Now you owe me one.”


Bless us with debonair attitude and actions;

a new way that surprises the old scrooge

that lurks in the dark corners of our minds,

and allows our new being-in-Christ

to celebrate with the angels in heaven

when we find ourselves dealing out

“good measure, shaken together, running over,

poured into the lap” of both neighbour and enemy.


For that we earnestly pray,

and to that we thoroughly commit ourselves.

So help me God!




TO BE SEPARATE     Matthew 5: 48


“You are to be perfect (holy?) just as your Father in heaven is perfect (holy?).”


* Note: I believe Jesus was deliberately echoing Leviticus 19:2.

  His words preceding this verse clearly implies he is redefining holiness

  in terms of loving others.


God of Jesus and our God, you are that Otherness which is the purest beauty, and that beauty which is unconditional love. 


We yearn to be more like you. We pray for your Spirit to shape every word and deed, and to permeate each thought and feeling with your Otherness.


In faith and hope we separate ourselves from anything less than your ways.


We separate ourselves from deception; from things twisted and false, from lies, half truths, scheming and cover-ups.


We separate ourselves from anything that is less than loving; from all forms of injustice and the indifference which turns a blind eye.


We separate ourselves from the evil of greed; from the lust for possessions and from anything which places self interest above the good of all.


We separate ourselves from judge mentalism; from classifying others to suit our prejudices and from self righteousness in the face of human frailty.


We separate ourselves from enmity; from resentment, harbouring grudges, plotting revenge, and from all that leads to loss of peace.


We separate ourselves from jealousy; from coveting the gifts or others while we misuse or under-employ our own.


We separate ourselves from cynicism; from indulging in the embittered humour of those who live negatively, without redeeming their days or fulfilling their promise.


We separate ourselves from idolatry; from running after the current, popular idols that fascinate the world, or from making gods in our own image.


God of Jesus, and our God, when we pray like this we frighten ourselves. We know how easy it is to become diverted, and to get sucked in by the morass around us. We also know how easy it is to become so obsessed with our own holiness that we alienate ourselves from the world for which Jesus Christ died


Therefore, most holy God, we pray that we may rejoice in small successes, repent quickly for wandering, and continue to hunger and thirst for righteousness sake rather than  our own..  .


By the saving grace of Christ Jesus, may the beauty of holy love become ours (without us noticing) as we implacably stay close to him while we journey on the narrow road that leads to abundant life.


To the glory of your holy name.



DISRUPTIVE YEAST    Luke 13: 20-21


“To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.


Holy Friend, left to our own devices we would opt for a smooth life, without bumps or troughs. With the proviso, of course, that we, when in the mood, could choose whatever adrenalin rush is to our liking.


But that’s not your way, O loving Disturber of our peace. You come like an innocuous looking teaspoonsful of yeast, and hide yourself in our affairs. Then as we begin to trust, you disrupt and throw us into a leavening turbulence. No corner of our being is immune to this transforming yeast of yours. Nothing will ever be the same again.


Before long a little has become much, and the safe but dull has become vibrant with new energy. No longer do we need to look outside of ourselves to give life some zing. Your limitless realm is now within us. 


Of course, Holy Friend, there are times when we resent your upsetting ways. We look back in nostalgia to the old days when we choose our own kicks. Yet when we do, it becomes obvious how flat our lives were and how inane were our chosen diversions.


Holy Friend, we praise you for the precious yeast of your realm. Please continue to disrupt and upset us, to invigorate and transform us, until nothing of the old ways remain and we can sing a song of joy for all that has become new.


O you wonderful disturber of our false peace, we bless you for all your yeast has done, for the way it works in us today, and the lovely things it will yet do. For we know that the best is yet to come.


Through Jesus Christ our Lord.




ARE WE LOST?     Luke 19:19


“The Son of Man has come to seek and save what is lost”


Where do we stand, loving God?


At first glance we seem okay. Not many of us are likely to be scoundrels; not one those whose names might appear in the tabloid press, or who are pursued by scandal-thirsty TV reporters.


We see ourselves as basically good people, trying to do the right thing in a largely chaotic and amoral world. Yet the words of your one true Son get under our guard.


Maybe we have become lost in our own respectability; in our quest for decency above danger, desiring the praise of men rather than carrying our cross into situations where it is rarely welcomed?


Maybe we are blithely lost in our own affairs; always busy with family and work, income and expenditure, achievement and applause, social entertaining, club memberships, sport, entertainment and tourism?


Maybe we become lost in a new brand of Pharisaism; nit picking about trivia, tenacious in standing on our dignity, ripe with self justifications yet neglecting the weightier matters of justice, mercy and truth for all people?


Maybe we are pathetically lost in our prayers; expecting favours, testing our God with presumptuous conditions and vows, looking for protection instead of following Jesus out on the narrow and steep road that leads to fullness of life?


Maybe we become lost in materialism of our culture; little by little losing ground to the pervasive avarice, and being sucked into fashionable trends in clothing, housing, tourism, wining and dining.


Maybe we lost and captivated by our own creeds; intent on certain words rather than  the Living Word, arguing our case and disparaging others without much graciousness and with scant respect and love for opponents.


Maybe……. O God, there are so many dismaying possibilities!


If the love of Christ no longer enraptures us, if the words of Jesus have ceased to shake us,

if the deeds of Jesus and his awesome death no longer humble us, and if the resurrection has become merely a topic for a “good discussion” rather than exciting and empowering us,

are we not lost?


All seeing, all loving God, we hardly know what to pray for. All our thoughts and perceived needs are likely to be contaminated by our dissembling, our quiet rebellions, and by our much wandering.


We simply cry out to you: “Lord have mercy on me, sinner that I am. With all the tenacity of Christ Jesus, continue to seek and save us, because left to our own devices we are terribly lost and alone.”


For your love’s sake.









. (Also Matthew 9: 13 & Luke 5:32)


 Have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.


Keep us alert, most gracious God, to the only sure ground on which we stand.


Should we ever begin to strut our faith and good deeds in front of others, as if we deserve to be applauded, please cut us down to size.

Should we come before you well pleased with ourselves, as if we had earned the right,

then please cut the ground from under our feet.


Bring us back to our senses, to that juncture where free, redeeming grace meets our folly and evil.


Help us to know without a shadow of doubt that even our faith is not our doing but is truly your gift, nurtured by the Spirit and stretched by the words and deeds of your holy Son.  Remind us that whatever good we do, whatever ethical gains we make, are purely the result of your empowering grace for a bunch of common sinners.


No matter what workmates, neighbours, or maybe some other church person, might do, keep us down to earth. No matter how precious they become about their own doctrinal purity or moral rectitude, don’t let us envy or mimic them.


We are sinners who have been called into the realm of grace; that is sufficient.


Should we get the chance to commend others to our Saviour, let us do so without pretension;

like dusty, fellow pilgrims, who are eager to pass on the good news about a remarkably refreshing Spring they have found on the road.


Whenever we do get our faith right, and or do some loving deed that surprises the cynics around us, may we simply give glory to the never out-dated, never-tiring, always-loving Friend of sinners.


To your praise we will try to serve you,

by your efficacious grace we will sometimes succeed,

and whenever we fall, through your patient encouragement we will stand up again and persist.

Through Christ Jesus our Saviour,




LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE.     Matthew 5: 16


Let your light so shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and give glory to your Father in heaven.


Holy God, Maker and Provider of all good lifts, we thank you for the light granted to us, enabling us to share some practical love with those around us.


May we not use the light to draw attention to ourselves, but spend it to illuminate the lives of others so that they may both see themselves more clearly and find their way more surely.


Do not permit us to draw attention to ourselves as such. Whether as individuals we are numbered among the high achievers, or in the ranks of very common disciples, may the world around us see that the Source of light is not of our making.


Make us more like your old Moses, who returned from speaking with you with a shining face, yet was unaware of it. Then indeed they will see our good works and give glory to you, our Creator, Redeemer and Enlightener.


This is our sincere prayer, for your name’s sake;




FIRST THINGS FIRST    Matthew 6: 33


Seek first the kingdom of God.


Blessed is your antidote to anxiety, O most loving Physician.


If only we have listened more receptively and followed you more closely:

How much energy we would not have squandered?

How much time we could have redeemed for laughter?

How many disappointments we would have avoided?

How greater the delight we could have enjoyed in fruits harvested?


Instead of divided loyalties, one pure love integrated all things.

Instead of confused aims, one clear goal drawing us forward.

Instead of seeking worldly praise, the peace of one true love.

Instead of bondage too many things, the liberty of one Holy Friend.


Great Teacher and Saviour of fools and rebels, it is never too late.

Please rescue us from diversions, deliver us from evil,

and rekindle within us that one first love for your realm and its right living,

which is better than finding treasure hidden in our garden,

or discovering a pearl of great price at a garage sale!


For yours, most loving Physician

is the kingdom of pure delight,

the power of love freely given,

and the glory of the Cross that is pure liberty.

For ever and ever.




THE DOOR   John 10: 7


Jesus said: Truly, truly, I tell you, I am the door of the sheep.


We thank you, loving God, eternal Good Shepherd, that we do not have to stay walled in among regrets or fears. Nor should we remain closeted in a world-denying comfort zone.


We rejoice in your Christ, who has become a door that opens up into an abundant life of liberty and opportunity


We thank you that through him we see the world in a new light, dare espouse values that are revolutionary, find nourishment even in barren places, embark on journeys we never thought possible, make friends across barriers of culture and race, climb mountains we once only glimpsed through narrow windows, and begin to serve neighbours that we once feared as enemies.


We thank you that when we are weary or wounded, through this blessed Door we can re-enter a warm fold where we can recuperate in safety and peace.


Forgive us, Good Shepherd, for the occasion when we overstay, licking old scars and feeling sorry for ourselves. Forgive the foolish desire which sometimes afflicts us; to hide from the future rather than putting on the shoes of the Gospel of peace and daring to walk once more in the company of debonair pilgrims of light.


Should we prevaricate in our desire to stay put, by your Holy be to us a sharp spur. Keep us from sleeping while it is still day, and propel us out through the Door into that world where both new opportunities and dangers await us on that path which has been already marked by the footsteps of brave souls who have gone on before us.


Through this same Jesus Christ, the Door of salvation.





BREAD OF LIFE     John 6: 35


“I am the bread of life; they who come to me shall not hunger.”



I come to you, Lord of the loaves and fishes. I come as one among the crowd of millions that find in you basic nourishment available no where else on this earth.


I am fed up with the poor stuff which other vendors provide; bread not for my good but for their own profit. I am weary of their marketing pressure, wary of the many hidden additives, discontented with lightweight hedonism, and nauseated by the triviality of their

croissants and cream buns.


 I come hungry as any other beggar in my neighbourhood.

I come for that blessing which turns common loaves into the whole-meal of limitless life.


Praise be to you, for your ongoing miracle,

for the bread of life which transforms every cell and hope in our being,

and for its simplicity, on which little children, and even fools and sinners, can feed.


Thank you for the wholesome truth that expands within my mind and spirit,

for the enhanced hearing and sharpened eyesight it endowers,

and for the increased love that issues from the grain of its goodness.


May I never, not for one second, forget your bread is a free gift for sojourners,

and that it cannot be hoarded like money or misused like power.

Always it if here for us to share, not for solo appetites but as the true communal bread,

blessed and broken for the whole world.


With this my home congregation, and with scattered church of God on earth,

I join my small voice in an anthem of joyful gratitude:

Glory to the Blessed Bread, who was and is and is to come!

Let each beggar and sharer say, glory to the Bread of life!

Let every disciple and martyr say, glory to the Bread of Life!

Let each small child and every saint say, glory to the Bread of Life!


Let all the glorious company of heaven reply:

Amen! Amen! Amen!



JOY   John  15:11


I have spoken this way to you, so that my joy may be in you, and your joy complete.


 God of sorrows and acquainted with grief, God of joy and familiar with laughter, bring us into the love and joy without which no person is complete.


Because we cannot untangle ourselves, because we cannot redeem ourselves, and also because you will not impose yourself on us like a benevolent bully, we beg for more of your Holy Spirit in our lives.


Please expel the rebel within us; rid us of that foolish thing that wants quick pleasures yet finds itself left in discontent.


Expunge the dreary apathy within our souls, and reawaken our capacity to share the tears and laugher of your neighbours.


Exhaust the fear from our hearts, that that without anxiety we may live the life of faith and hope most buoyantly.


Please extend the boundaries of your kingdom within the secret places of our being, so that stretched to capacity we may discover love abundant.


Exercise our spiritual muscles, so that our ability to choose the right, and to implement it, may expand wonder-fully.


With your joy within us, with your love changing us, and with your joy stabilising us in our going out and our coming in, may we live with the holy optimism of those who truly believe that Christ Jesus has conquered “the world, the flesh and the devil.”


In his name we pray.





THE PURE IN HEART            Matthew 5:8


Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.


(Also Hebrews 12: 1-2)­ ­



Loving God, in this arena of life, watched over by the “great cloud of witnesses,” please help us to keep our sincere focus and commitment. Save us from impurity of intention, and from having to look upon the smirking face of the Evil One.


We thank you that we are not expected to become immediate elite athletes. You do not require instant spiritual and ethical perfection. You know how hard it is, on this exhilarating, confusing and dangerous playing field, to be high achievers. Yet you call us to integrity, you ask for single-minded sincerity.


Around us are those who play for short term rewards by fair means or foul, cynics whisper discouragement in our ears, and others who make up their own rules as they go along.  Spectators sit on the sidelines giving gratuitous advice. Should we fall, they deride us as hypocrites. Often the goal seems a long way off, and bruises and injuries are common in Christ’s team.


In your mercy, forgive us each day for our lapses. Whenever we become tired and grumpy, fallen and dirty, dispirited, limping and self pitying, give us a glimpse of you. Just a fragment of second will do. Let us glimpse your face in a neighbour’s face or in a fellow believer’s smile. That will do wonders for us.


Holy Friend, we pray for a daily renewal of our love and hope. We pray for the grace of that single-minded faith which clears the vision, sharpens the wits, and focuses our energies. Give us purity of heart and mind and soul, that sincerity of aim which seeks nothing less than the realm of God and its righteousness.


Then by your generous and patient love, may we live sharingly, love daringly, and at the last — in that passover hour when the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done— may we look upon you, our God, and know that we have returned to the pure Source of all sincerity and truth and find that by sheer grace it is where we truly belong.


Through Jesus Christ our Lord.





IN YOUR SCHOOL    John 14: 16


I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor, the very Spirit of Truth.



One who is all unfit to count

As scholar in your school,

You lovingly have named a friend;

O kindness wonderful!

                             (Narrayan Vaman Tilak)

Rabbi of light, life, and joy,

I am one of your “special needs” students.

I bring you, among many handicaps, dyslexia and ADD:

I get things back to front, and upside down,

and even at your Table my mind can wander.


I could never make it without a one-on-one mentor;

a tutor of extraordinary perception and phenomenal patience.


Thank you for providing such a Helper.

Thank you for the Spirit of Truth, my counsellor and guide.

She is always “as sharp as a tack”,

reading my complex moods and mental caprice.

Day by day she in here,

motivating and encouraging, clarifying,

and enabling without diminishing my self esteem.



Rabbi of light, life and joy,

the fact that I can call you Messiah,

and name the Holy One as my dear Abba,

is a measure of the Mentor’s wisdom and validating love.


What is more, she has joined me

to all the other “special need” students in your school,

drawn us into a close-knit community

where each is now able to freely give as well as gracefully receive.


One who is all unfit to count

As scholar in your school,

You lovingly has named a friend;

O kindness wonderful!







Go and tell John what you have seen and heard:

the blind sear, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up,

and the poor have the gospel preached to them.


I praise you, God of Jesus the Messiah, for all the things we hear and see.


I hear in this generation an outpouring of praise by poets and musicians such as astounds and enriches the people of God.

I see shrinking old world churches, and burgeoning, adventurous third world faith in the words and deeds of the Lord Jesus.


I hear the testimonies of more martyrs, from many lands of this world, than ever before in our turbulent Christian history.

I see today such extensive and intensive involvement in issues of justice and freedom, as would have stunned me in early years of my life in the church.


I hear prayers which express much liberty and creativity, prayers that avoid lofty abstractions and deal with the nitty gritty of daily experience.

I see today a new realisation that the neighbours to be loved are not only in the next street or town, but in every nation upon this planet.


I hear cries of anxiety and doom from believers who are set in old ways, but shouts of hope and joy from those who stand on the new frontiers with Christ.

I see today, as never before in my lifetime, numerous lay people undertaking advanced Biblical studies and theology.


I hear branches of the divided Body of Christ singing praise together, and working side by side in task forces committed to serving their secular community.

I see, in places like Canada, India and Australia, some denominations surrendering old prejudices and coming together in organic union.


I hear lively congregations of Tongans, Koreans, Samoans, Ugandans, Fijians, Philippinos and Chinese, singing the songs of faith in this land of kangaroos and gum trees.

I see new drama and dance enriching public worship, and Protestant clergy engaged in studying and painting Orthodox icons


I praise you, God of all fruitfulness, for the many witnesses to the liberation and healing works Christ Jesus within these sometimes frighting, sometimes exhilarating, days.

Please endow us with his blessed Spirit, that we may be able to read the signs of the times and serve gloriously the Love which makes all things new.


For your name’s sake.








Blessed are the poor, for yours is the kingdom of heaven.



Lord of love, we pray for your poor children, of every nature and in every culture and social class.


We pray for those who are poor in spirit;

some with their self esteem and hope all broken,

some overburdened with shame and regret,

maybe some aware of their spiritual bankruptcy.


By the ministry of your Holy Spirit,

may they not waste this opportunity?

to find the buried treasure which lies in their very own field

waiting to be unearthed, embraced and shared...


We pray for those who suffer physical poverty:

some because of their own indolence and apathy,

some as a result of profligate waste of your gifts,

but most of them desperately poor because of the greed of others.


By the ministry of your holy Spirit,

and through the work of the insightful and generous,

may they not only receive emergency aid,

but also the tools with which to lift up their own lives

with renewed hope and dignity.


Never allow those who are prosperous among us,

To neglect the wisdom the love the poor may have

to impart to each of us.


Through Christ Jesus our Saviour.






The Son of man is Master of the Sabbath.


O feisty Friend, O intrepid Redeemer, you never tire from breaking the rules of servile religion and loosing our chains. You have done so much for our freedom, and at an inordinate price. Bless you, Saviour Christ; bless you liberating Master.


Please have pity on us whenever we lose the plot, and return to the bondage of religious


If we have cried freedom yet never dared to live it, or if we have tried to live it in private, without extending a helping hands to other prisoners:

Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.


If we have been set free, and at first revelled in our new life, only to start looking back over our shoulder with fear instead looking  forward in faith:

Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.


If we listen to bullying voices, and become timid in exercising our freedom; or what is far worse, if by our tone of voice or facial expression, we impugn the Christian freedom of others:     

Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.


If we start growing safety hedges rather than living in your open spaces, or if we hide our talents rather than risk using them in the ruck of life:

Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.


If on occasions we resent those intrepid souls who dare to ascend further up the mountain to where the view is clearer and the very wind sings of freedom:

Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.


O feisty Friend, O generous Redeemer, please do not tolerate any tardiness on our part. We invite you to interfere, to expose our excuses and with the blow torch of your Holy Spirit, to cut trough whatever shackles, visible or hidden, remain.


Each new day, remind us that little binds more than fear and nothing liberates more that the faith which is your holy gift.






IF YOU LOVE ME   John 14: 15


If you love me, you will keep my commandments.


If we love you? That question shakes us, God of truth.


Loving Christ, you alone (among all beings on earth or in heaven) understand how it is with us. You  have been here. You can read the human heart and mind. You know it is much easier for us to make your Word audible than it is too make it visible by our deeds.


We try, you know? Well, most of the time we give it our best shot. But not always. We repent those bad times when we have been so befuddled with our own affairs, that we have lost focus on the larger goal, and also missed the small signals of need given off by those around us.


If we have allowed our love for you and for others to diffuse among many distractions, if we have pushed it sideways for lesser affections, then we cry: “Lord have mercy on me a sinner.”


By your Spirit, root out any rival or apathy within us. Free our mind and our will that we may refocus and recommit.


Do we love you? O holy Friend, you know that we do. No matter how imperfectly our loving has become, it runs deeply through all we really want to be and achieve. Yes, Lord, we love you and want to love you more.


With the degree of sincerity we do have, we pray: Lord of love, by the power of your regenerating Spirit, please enable us to not only talk the talk but to also walk the walk.


And should we get it right, then the glory belongs to the One who sent you to us, full of love and loveliness.