Settle yourself into the quiet


Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths, or the turning inwards in prayer for five short minutes.

~ Etty Hillesum

Blessing of Rest

Curl this blessing
beneath your head
for a pillow.
Wrap it about yourself
for a blanket.
Lay it across your eyes
and for this moment
cease thinking about
what comes next,
what you will do
when you rise.

Let this blessing
gather itself to you
like the stillness
that descends
between your heartbeats,
the silence that comes
so briefly
but with a constancy
on which
your life depends.

Settle yourself
into the quiet
this blessing brings,
the hand it lays
upon your brow,
the whispered word
it breathes into
your ear
telling you
all shall be well
all shall be well
and you can rest

~ by Jan Richardson, from
Visit Jan Richardson’s 2012 blog post for the backstory to this blessing.

Quiet my heart



Quiet my heart, quiet my mind
Gentle Jesus, I seek and I find
I rest in your presence, Prince of Peace.
Shepherd, lead me beside quiet streams
I wrote this song last month, as part of the current 12 Song Challenge hosted by   The recording features my friend, Margriet van Overbeeke, singing harmony.


(inspired by Psalm 37:3-9)

Trust in God, and do what is good;
live with quiet confidence where God has placed you.
Delight in God’s presence,
and you will have all that your heart desires.
Commit everything you do to God — trust Him completely —
and He will never let you down.
Be patient.
Don’t worry or get upset when things don’t go well.
Instead, learn to rest in God’s presence.
For those who trust in God will have everything they need.

~ from re:worship

From the blog
Big strong tree
God of solid joys
Balm to heal the world

In the quiet of God’s smile


A prayer

Sometimes You speak, Lord,
in tongues so strange
that I must pray
for grace to obey
without understanding.

   Sometimes You sing
   such a lovely song
   that I must laugh
   at the silly tune
   I thought was wisdom.

      Sometimes You shout
      in a voice so loud
      that I must awake
      and confess again
      that I was sleeping.

         But in this moment
         when silence is Your word to me
         and stillness is my prayer
         I rest within a confidence
         born in the quiet of Your smile:
         I am beloved.

~ by Paul Thigpen, posted on re:worship

From the blog
Quiet near a little stream
Quiet / rest
In the school of prayer with Ignatius of Loyola

Perfect balance of grace and truth

Spotted in the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam  (Photo: Irene Bom)


The Voice took on flesh and became human and chose to live alongside us. We have seen Him, enveloped in undeniable splendor — the one true Son of the Father — evidenced in the perfect balance of grace and truth.


John 1:14, The Voice


Commentary (from the Introduction to John 1, The Voice translation)

John’s use of logos is unique and has often been rendered as “Word.” While this is a useful translation, even a casual understanding demonstrates that “Word” reflects only part of its meaning. Most readers will interpret “word” as a unit of language—a combination of sounds generally spoken but also written—that carries meaning. To understand what John means, readers need something more than their cultural understanding of “word”; they need a new way of thinking about it. This is why we have chosen to offer another rendering, an interpretive, poetic translation, of what may be one of the most theologically loaded words in Scripture. Since logos essentially refers to the act of speaking or bringing thoughts to expression, we have decided to use the word “voice” to capture that reality. John declares that truth has culminated in the person of Jesus. No single word captures the complete meaning of logos, but “voice” has a number of advantages …

To find out more, click here.

From the blog
Word study: Shema
I hear you
Tree of life

Kingdom of grace

Museum Park, Rotterdam – getting ready for spring


Your Kingdom Come

May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done here on earth,
just as it is in heaven.

The Kingdom of God is at hand – You proclaimed it, Jesus;
      But, it often feels like it’s a million miles away.
You demonstrated its grace and showed its power,
      but the signs often appear faded or absent in our world.

We need Your Kingdom to come, O God,
      in all its fullness, in all its glory;
This waiting, this “now and not yet” experience of Your reign
      is hard and frustrating.

And so we pray for Your Kingdom to be revealed in our lives,
      turning our sickness and sin, our brokenness and fear
      into friendship and compassion, wholeness and joy.
May Your Kingdom come to us now.

We pray for Your Kingdom to be revealed in our neighbourhoods,
      turning our division and suspicion,
            our judgement and our competition
      into fellowship and care, compassion and service.
May Your Kingdom come to us now.

We pray for Your Kingdom to be revealed in our world,
      turning our war and our disparities,
            our consumption and our self-interest
      into peace and collaboration, stewardship and reverence.
May Your Kingdom come to us now.

Your Kingdom is here, and it is coming, O God.
Make us faithful heralds of its message
      and tireless practitioners of its ways.
For Jesus sake.

~ written by John van de Laar, posted on

From the blog
All my days and forever
In small ways
Ding! Dong! Curiosity

Say grace


Bless these thy gifts, most gracious God,
From whom all goodness springs;
Make clean our hearts and feed our souls
With good and joyful things.

~ Source unknown
from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #686

More grace
Theme for January 2019: Grace
Theme: Still small voice [prayer sheet]
God of grace
Go. Speak. Love. Forgive. Receive.
Continue by grace
For courage and grace
Within the ranks of caring angels
Slow time
A holy space
Balm to heal the world

God is our help (Psalm 46)

For some years now I’ve taken part in various editions of the 12-song challenge, a songwriting initiative hosted by The challenges and the supportive songwriting community have kept me writing at least one song a month. even during busy and trying times like vacancies and the pandemic.

This month the assignment was to write Assembly Bangers:

assembly – gathered, collective worship in schools, supposed to be daily and of a broadly Christian character. Though not so common throughout the school experience as it once was, it remains a staple of many children’s experience in primary school (ages 4 to 11)

bangers – a British colloquial terms for great song that make you want to get up and dance

songs that:
– are repetitive and hooky
– have a simple structure
– are easy to play and lead on piano (or guitar)
– have an accessible vocal range
– have words that children can read/memorise/understand

To start with I revamped an existing song called “God is my refuge”, also based on Psalm 46. Slowly but surely the revamp evolved into a song in its own right, including a new verse that references war and peace and a bridge based on “Be still, and know that I am God” (v.10).

I don’t know if I hit the brief exactly. Perhaps the song is too confessional and belongs in the church, more than the school assembly. Time will tell.


God is our help in times of distress
God is our refuge and strength
God is with us always
No need feel afraid
for God will keep us safe.

Even if the earth starts to tremble
and mountains start to slip and slide
even if the waves start to roar like lions
God is by our side


One day God will stop all the fighting
All weapons will be scrapped and burnt
One day God will reign over all the nations
Peace will come on earth


Be still and know God is on the throne
Be still and know, God is in control.


From the blog
Big strong tree
Prayer poem: Not forsaken
Circle me, Lord

3 Prayers for Christian unity

IK IK (ME ME) Reflect


3 prayers on the theme of Christian unity to coincide with the 2023 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, an annual prayer initiative that usually takes place from 18 to 25 January.

Let us pray …


Lord, we pray for the unity of your Church.
Help us to see ourselves as rays from the one sun,
branches of a single tree,
and streams flowing from one river.
May we remain united to you and to each other,
because you are our common source of life;
and may we send out your light
and pour forth your flowing streams over all the earth,
drawing our inspiration and joy from you.

~ after St Cyprian of Carthage (c.200-258),
from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #527


Lord Jesus Christ,
who prayed for your disciples that they might be one,
even as you are one with the Father;
draw us to yourself,
that in common love and obedience to you
we may be united to one another,
in the fellowship of the one Spirit,
that the world may believe that you are Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

~ written by William Temple (1881-1944), from re:worship


You made us, God,
in Your own image,
and then became one of us,
proud of those you have made.

Make us proud of being part of that worldwide family,
and eager to discover and celebrate Your image
in every person, every culture, every nation,
that we are privileged to encounter.

~ from the booklet for the 2023 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Racial justice at forefront of this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Church of Scotland website).

Soft eyes help


Soft Eyes Blessing

“And all the believers met together constantly,
and shared everything they had….”
Acts 2:44

may the god who is community
be with us as we seek to be a community

may god bless our dreams
and may god shatter our dreams

may god help us to be real
and to find depth in weakness and brokenness

may god help us to face and grow through conflict
rather than pretend by being nice

may we look at each other through soft eyes
and truly respect each other as human beings

may god help us let go of control
and the need to fix one another

may god help us discover we are needy in our own souls
and give attention to our own hearts

may god grant us the gift of an extraordinary love
that flows from the heart of god
that covers a multitude of wrongs

~ written by Anna, and posted on the

Note: This blessing is also included in a prayer sheet posted in 2017: Theme: Called into community.


Our theme for January is HELP.

By way of introduction, a brief comment on the gutsy word “help” in the English language.

English has a rich vocabulary, due – in part – to the so-called Latin borrowings, introducing Latin-based alternatives for common English words. “Aid” as a posh alternative for the Old English word, “help”, for example.

In a real-life crisis all that posh language goes out the window, though. “Aid! Aid me!” somehow doesn’t have the same sense of urgency as “Help! Help me!”.

Fortunately God hears and understands us, however we express our distress.


God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.


A prayer

I call upon your Name,
      for You are with me.
I am never alone,
      never without help,
      never without a friend,
      for I dwell in You and You in me!
‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
      I will fear no evil;
      for You are with me.’

by David Adam
from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #122