Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Watchnight -- John Wesley

I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Gift

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were shepherd
I would bring a lamb.
If I were a Wise Man
I would do my part.
Yet what can I give Him?
Give my heart.
-Christina Rossetti

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Nativity: John Donne


Immensity, cloister'd in thy dear womb,
Now leaves His well-beloved imprisonment.
There he hath made himself to his intent
Weak enough, now into our world to come.
But O ! for thee, for Him, hath th' inn no room ?
Yet lay Him in this stall, and from th' orient,
Stars, and wise men will travel to prevent
The effects of Herod's jealous general doom.
See'st thou, my soul, with thy faith's eye, how He
Which fills all place, yet none holds Him, doth lie ?
Was not His pity towards thee wondrous high,
That would have need to be pitied by thee ?
Kiss Him, and with Him into Egypt go,
With His kind mother, who partakes thy woe.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Bonhoeffer, Christmas in Prison, 1939

O Heavenly Father,
I praise and thank you
For the peace of the night;
I praise and thank you for this new day;
I praise and thank you for all your goodness and
faithfulness throughout my life.
You have granted me many blessings;
Now let me also accept what is hard
from your hand.
You will lay on me no more
than I can bear.
You make all things work together for good
for your children ....

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Be Near

Be near me, Lord Jesus!
I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever
And love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children
In Thy tender care
And take us to heaven
To live with Thee there.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Don't Give Only of Your Care

Speak tenderly to them.
Let there be kindness in your face,
in your eyes, in your smile,
in the warmth of your greeting.
Always have a cheerful smile.
Don't only give your care,
but give your heart as well.

-- Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It is not how much

It is not how much we do,
but how much love we put in the doing.
It is not how much we give,
but how much love we put in the giving.

-- Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

La Corona: John Donne


Deign at my hands this crown of prayer and praise,
Weaved in my lone devout melancholy,
Thou which of good hast, yea, art treasury,
All changing unchanged Ancient of days.
But do not with a vile crown of frail bays
Reward my Muse's white sincerity ;
But what Thy thorny crown gain'd, that give me,
A crown of glory, which doth flower always.
The ends crown our works, but Thou crown'st our ends,
For at our ends begins our endless rest.
The first last end, now zealously possess'd,
With a strong sober thirst my soul attends.
'Tis time that heart and voice be lifted high ;
Salvation to all that will is nigh.

Monday, December 1, 2008

God Has Given

God has given us a dark wine so potent that,
drinking it, we leave the two worlds.

God has put into the form of hashish a power
to deliver the taster from self-consciousness.

God has made sleep so
that it erases every thought.

God made Majnun love Layla so much that
just her dog would cause confusion in him.

There are thousands of wines
that can take over our minds.

Don't think all ecstacies
are the same!

Jesus was lost in his love for God.
His donkey was drunk with barley.

Drink from the presence of saints,
not from those other jars.

Every object, every being,
is a jar full of delight.

Be a conoisseur,
and taste with caution.

Any wine will get you high.
Judge like a king, and choose the purest,

the ones unadulterated with fear,
or some urgency about "what's needed."

Drink the wine that moves you
as a camel moves when it's been untied,

and is just ambling about.

Mathnawi IV, 2683-96
The Essential Rumi, Coleman Barks

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Teacher's Prayer for Snow

Oh Lord, let it snow.
Let it drift and let it blow.
In the morning, no real fuss,
Just enough to stop the bus.
Enough to make the county say:
"There will be no school today."
Let the radio report: "Snow's deep!"
And I'll roll over for more sleep.
Then later on, say maybe ten,
I'll turn the radio on again.
Just in time to hear them say:
"It's strange, the snow has gone away."
And then I'll know, You made it stop.
So I can go to the mall and shop.
Please Lord, just hear my teacher's plea,
And make it snow for the kids and me.

- John Hillen

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Death Be Not Proud: John Donne


Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so ;
For those, whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy picture[s] be,
Much pleasure, then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou'rt slave to Fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy, or charms can make us sleep as well,
And better than thy stroke ; why swell'st thou then ?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And Death shall be no more ; Death, thou shalt die.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Prayer of Hope

O Lord, in Whom is our hope, remove far from us, we pray Thee, empty hopes and presumptuous confidence. Make our hearts so right with Thy most holy and loving heart, that hoping in Thee we may do good; until that day when faith and hope shall be abolished by sight and possession, and love shall be all in all.

- Christina G. Rossetti, 1830-1895

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Love to Pray

Feel often during the day the need for prayer and pray.
Prayer opens the heart, till it is capable of containing God himself.
Ask and seek and your heart will be big enough to receive Him
and keep Him as Your Own.

- Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Fisherman's Prayer

I pray that I may live to fish
Until my dying day.
And when it comes to my last cast,
I then most humbly pray:
When in the Lord's great landing net
And peacefully asleep
That in His mercy I be judged
Big enough to keep.

-- Anonymous

Friday, November 21, 2008

Evening Prayer

Abide with us, O Lord, for it is toward evening and the day is far spent; abide with us, and with thy whole Church.

Abide with us in the evening of the day, in the evening of life, in the evening of the world.

Abide with us and with all thy faithful ones, O Lord, in time and eternity.

Source: Lutheran Manual of Prayer

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Prayer for Artists

Bless the creators, O God of creation,
who by their gifts make the world
a more joyful and beautiful realm.
Through their labors
they teach us to see more clearly
the truth around us.
In their inspiration
they call forth wonder and awe
in our own living.
In their hope and vision
they remind us
that life is holy.
Bless all who create in your image,
O God of creation.
Pour your Spirit upon them
that their hearts may sing
and their works be fulfilling.

- Vienna Cobb Anderson

Source: Adapted from "Prayers of Our Hearts" 1991 Vienna Cobb Anderson.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

John Shelby Spong

Gracious God,

Send us anywhere in this world You would have us go
Only go thou with us.

Place upons us any burden You desire
Only stand by us to sustain us.

Break any tie that binds us
Except the tie that binds us to thee.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ancient Prayer from Clement of Rome

You, Master, have given them the power of sovereignty through your majestic and inexpressible might, so that we, acknowledging the glory and honor which you have given them, may be subject to them, resisting your will in nothing. Grant to them, Lord, health, peace, harmony, and stability, that they may blamelessly administer the government which you have given them.

For you, heavenly Master, King of the ages, give to the sons of men glory and honor and authority over those upon the earth. Lord, direct their plans according to what is good and pleasing in your sight, so that by devoutly administering in peace and gentleness the authority which you have given them they may experience your mercy. You, who alone are able to do these and even greater good things for us, we praise through the high priest and guardian of our souls, Jesus Christ, through whom be the glory and the majesty to you both now and for all generations and for ever and ever.


(1 Clement 61.1-3).

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Dark Night of the Soul

On a dark night,
Kindled in love with yearnings--oh, happy chance!--
I went forth without being observed,
My house being now at rest.

In darkness and secure,
By the secret ladder, disguised--oh, happy chance!--
In darkness and in concealment,
My house being now at rest.

In the happy night,
In secret, when none saw me,
Nor I beheld aught,
Without light or guide, save that which burned in my

This light guided me
More surely than the light of noonday
To the place where he (well I knew who!) was awaiting me--
A place where none appeared.

Oh, night that guided me,
Oh, night more lovely than the dawn,
Oh, night that joined Beloved with lover,
Lover transformed in the Beloved!

Upon my flowery breast,
Kept wholly for himself alone,
There he stayed sleeping, and I caressed him,
And the fanning of the cedars made a breeze.

The breeze blew from the turret
As I parted his locks;
With his gentle hand he wounded my neck
And caused all my senses to be suspended.

I remained, lost in oblivion;
My face I reclined on the Beloved.
All ceased and I abandoned myself,
Leaving my cares forgotten among the lilies.

-- St John of the Cross

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Prayer of Mother Teresa of Calcutta

The fruit of silence is prayer
the fruit of prayer is faith
the fruit of faith is love
the fruit of love is service
the fruit of service is peace.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Prayer of Martin Luther

O Thou, my God! Do Thou, my God, stand by me, against
all the world's wisdom and reason. Oh, do it! Thou must
do it! Yea, Thou alone must do it! Not mine, but Thine,
is the cause. For my own self, I have nothing to do with
these great and earthly lords. I would prefer to have peaceful
days, and to be out of this turmoil. But Thine, O Lord, is
this cause; it is righteous and eternal. Stand by me, Thou
true Eternal God! In no man do I trust. All that is of the
flesh and savours of the flesh is here of no account. God, O
God! dost Thou not hear me, O my God? Art Thou dead?
No. Thou canst not die; Thou art only hiding Thyself. Hast
Thou chosen me for this work? I ask Thee how I may be
sure of this, if it be Thy will; for I would never have thought,
in all my life, of undertaking aught against such great lords.
Stand by me, O God, in the Name of Thy dear Son, Jesus
Christ, who shall be my Defence and Shelter, yea, my
Mighty Fortress, through the might and strength of Thy Holy
Spirit. God help me. Amen.

Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Monday, November 10, 2008

From a Prayer of Samuel Johnson

O Lord,
in Your hands are held life and death,
by Your power I am sustained,
and by Your mercy I am spared,
I ask that You look down upon me with mercy.
Forgive me that I have until now neglected the duty
which You have given to me.
I know that I must give account of these wasted days and hours
that passed away without any endeavor to accomplish Your will.
Make me to remember, O God, that every day is Your gift,
and ought to be used according to Your wish.
Help me repent of my negligence,
So that I may obtain mercy from You,
and pass my remaining days upholding Your commands
and accomplishing Your will.

(Prayer of Samuel Johnson, in more modern language.)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

We Are Three

    These spiritual window-shoppers,
    who idly ask, 'How much is that?' Oh, I'm just looking.
    They handle a hundred items and put them down,
    shadows with no capital.

    What is spent is love and two eyes wet with weeping.
    But these walk into a shop,
    and their whole lives pass suddenly in that moment,
    in that shop.

    Where did you go? "Nowhere."
    What did you have to eat? "Nothing much."

    Even if you don't know what you want,
    buy something, to be part of the exchanging flow.

    Start a huge, foolish project,
    like Noah.

    It makes absolutely no difference
    what people think of you.

Rumi, 'We Are Three', Mathnawi VI, 831-845

Saturday, November 8, 2008

From Clement of Rome, 96 AD

You, Lord, through your works have revealed the everlasting structure of the world. You, Lord, created the earth. You are faithful throughout all generations, righteous in your judgments, marvelous in strength and majesty, wise in creating and prudent in establishing what exists, good in all that is observed and faithful to those who trust in you, merciful and compassionate; forgive us our sins and our injustices, our transgressions and our shortcomings.

Do not take into account every sin of your servants, but cleanse us with the cleansing of your truth, and "direct our steps to walk in holiness and righteousness and purity of heart," and "to do what is good and pleasing in your sight" and in the sight of our rulers. Yes, Lord, "let your face shine upon us" in peace "for our good," that we may be sheltered "by your mighty hand" and delivered from every sin "by your uplifted arm"; deliver us as well from those who hate us unjustly.

Give harmony and peace to us and to all who dwell on the earth, just as you did to our fathers when they reverently "called upon you in faith and trust," that we may be saved, while we render obedience to your almighty and most excellent name, and give harmony and peace to our rulers and governors on earth.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Make Me Thankful

Jesus, tender Savior,
Thou hast died for me;
Make me very thankful
In my heart to Thee.
When the sad, sad story
Of Thy grief I read,
Make me very sorry
For my sins indeed.

Now, I know Thou livest,
And dost plead for me;
Make me very thankful
In my prayers to Thee.
Soon I hope in glory
At Thy side to stand;
Make me fit to meet Thee
In that happy land!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Prayer of Martin Luther King

O God, our heavenly Father, we thank thee for this golden privilege to worship thee, the only true God of the universe. We come to thee today grateful that thou hast kept us through the long night of the past and ushered us into the challenge of the present and the bright hope of the future. We are mindful, O God, that man cannot save himself, for man is not the measure of things and humanity is not God.

Bound by our chains of sin and finiteness, we know we need a savior. We thank thee, O God, for the spiritual nature of man. We are in nature but we live above nature. Help us never to let anyone or any condition pull us so low as to cause us to hate. Give us the strength to love our enemies and do good to those who despitefully use us and persecute us.

We thank thee for thy Church, founded upon the Word, that challenges us to do more than sing and pray, but go out and work as though the very answer to our prayers depended on us and not upon thee. Then, finally, help us to realize that man was created to shine like the stars and live on through all eternity.

Keep us, we pray, in perfect peace, help us to walk together, pray together, sing together, and live together until that day when all of God's children -- Black, White, Red, and Yellow -- will rejoice in one common band of humanity in the kingdom of our Lord and of our God, we pray. Amen.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

For Whom the Bells Toll

"No man is an island, entire of itself; every
man is a piece of the continent, a part of the
main. If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory
were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or
of thine own were: any man's death diminishes
me, because I am involved in mankind, and
therefore never send to know for whom the bells
tolls; it tolls for thee."

John Donne
Devotions upon
Emergent Occasions, no. 17
1624 (published)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Shield the Joyous

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Surround the Children

Heavenly Father, surround the children,
with your loving presence, make us strong,
and willing. Keep the children safe from
harm, keep them well, healthy and joyful.
Let them, each one, bask in Thy presence,
all day long. And teach us all Thy will
in this, how to raise your children best!
In Jesus Name, Amen.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

God Watches Us

God watches o'er us all the day,
at home, at school, and at our play;
And when the sun has left the skies,
He watches with a million eyes.
-Gabriel Setoun

Saturday, November 1, 2008

From the Didache

We give you thanks Holy Father, for your holy name which you have caused to dwell in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality which you have made known to us through Jesus your servant; to you be the glory forever.

You, almighty Master, created all things for your name's sake, and gave food and drink to men to enjoy, that they might give you thanks; but to us you have graciously given spiritual food and drink, and eternal life through your servant [Jesus]. Above all we give thanks because you are mighty; to you be the glory forever.

Remember your church, Lord, to deliver it from all evil and to make it perfect in your love; and gather it, the one that has been sanctified, from the four winds into your kingdom, which you have prepared for it; for yours is the glory forever.

May grace come, and may this world pass away. Hosanna to the God of David. If anyone is holy, let him come; if anyone is not, let him repent. Maranatha! Amen.

Prayer of Anselm

O Lord our God, grant us grace to desire Thee with our
whole heart; that so desiring we may seek and find Thee; and
so finding Thee may love Thee; and loving Thee, may hate
those sins from which Thou hast redeemed us. Amen. —
Anselm (1033-1109).

Friday, October 31, 2008

Luther's Prayers


In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.


In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have graciously kept me this day; and I pray that You would forgive me all my sins where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Your hands, I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mark 8: 34-37 from The Message

Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sermon on the Mount, Augustine

Augustine, On the Lord's Sermon on the Mount 2.3.14

`But again one might ask whether we are to pray by words or deeds and what need there is for prayer, if God already nows what is needful for us. But it is because the act of prayer clarifies and purges our heart and makes it more capable of receiving the divine gifts that are poured out for us in the spirit. God does not give heed to the ambitiousness of our prayers, because he is always ready to give to us his light, not a visible light but an intellectual and spiritual one: but we are not always read to receive it when we turn aside and down to other things out of a desire for temporal things. For in prayer there occurs a turning of the heart to he who is always ready to give if we will but take what he gives: and in that turning is the purification of the inner eye when the things we crave in the temporal world are shut out; so that the vision of the pure heart can bear the pure light that shines divinely without setting or wavering: and not only bear it, but abide in it; not only without difficulty, but even with unspeakable joy, with which the blessed life is truly and genuinely brought to fulfillment.'

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Come Dear Refreshment

O Love of God, descend into my heart;
Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling,
And scatter there Your cheerful beams.
Dwell in the soul that longs to be Your temple;
Water that barren soil overrun with weeds and briars
And lost for lack of cultivating.
Make it fruitful with Your dew.

Come, dear Refreshment of those who languish;
Come, Star and Guide of those who sail amidst tempests.
You are the Haven of the tossed and shipwrecked.
Come now, Glory and Crown of the living,
As well as the Safeguard of the dying.
Come, Sacred Spirit;
Come, and make me fit to receive You.

-- St. Augustine

Monday, October 27, 2008


Come, O Holy Spirit!
Come, open us to the wonder, beauty, and dignity of the diversity found in each culture,
in each face, and in each experience we have of the other among us.
Come, fill us with generosity
as we are challenged to let go and allow others to share with us
the goods and beauty of earth.
Come, heal the divisions
that keep us from seeing the face of Christ in all men, women, and children.
Come, free us to stand with and for those
who must leave their own lands in order to find work, security, and welcome in a new land,
one that has enough to share.
Come, bring us understanding, inspiration, wisdom, and
the courage needed to embrace change and stay on the journey.
Come, O Holy Spirit,
show us the way.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops • Justice for Immigrants Campaign
202-541-3352 ·

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Amazing Grace

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
and mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we've been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.

traditional hymn - john newton - ± 1760

Saturday, October 25, 2008

23rd Psalm

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff--they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
my whole life long.

- Psalms 23: 1-6

Friday, October 24, 2008

For the Nation

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds... to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

- Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Only Go With Us

Gracious God,

Send us anywhere in this world You would have us go
Only go thou with us.

Place upons us any burden You desire
Only stand by us to sustain us.

Break any tie that binds us
Except the tie that binds us to thee.


Source: John Shelby Spong

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Lord, put courage into my heart,
and take away all that may hinder me serving you.
Free my tongue to proclaim your goodness,
that all may understand me.
Give me friends to advise and help me,
that by working together
our efforts may bear abundant fruit.
And, above all, let me constantly remember
that all my actions are in vain unless they are guided by your hand.

Source: The Royal Military College of Canada