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).