This far, no further

Praying for Wisdom

based on Job 38

Lord, you laid the earth’s foundations;
    you placed its cornerstone;
while the morning stars sang together
    and all the angels shouted for joy,
you set limits for the sea and said,
     “This far and no further!”

You gave orders to the morning
    and showed the dawn its place;
you moulded the earth until it took shape.

You alone know the springs of the sea;
    you alone comprehend the vastness of the universe;
    you alone know the laws of heaven:

Lord, give wisdom to our hearts
    and understanding to our minds.

~ written by Michael Perry, and posted on re:worship

From the blog
Song in the night
In the school of prayer with Eddie Askew
Continually curious

Flower where you are

Opening Prayer

Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness….Psalm 29:2

O God,
whose holiness is not limited to
      grand cathedrals or saintly persons,
      spectacular mountains or mountain-moving leaders;
O God,
whose holiness is often discovered in simple everyday places
      and simple everyday folk,
plant Your holiness in this place,
      in us now.
Grow us this hour,
      that we might flower,
      right where we are,
      with the beauty of Your holiness.
Through Jesus we pray.

~ posted on My Redeemer Lives website.

Note: Next month’s theme is “Response”. Week by week I will be posting a litany based on the lectionary psalm and a sung response I’ve written specially for services in my church in Rotterdam in the month of August. The psalms are Psalm 17, 105, 133 and 124.
Get in touch if you’d like to use the litanies too. I can provide recordings and basic notation (melody line and chords).

Ever blooming


Kindness, peace, love —
may they never stop blooming
in you and from you.
Jude 1:2,  VOICE


Opening prayer

God of small seeds and mighty plants, you take our meager lives and with your love cause them to produce acts of loving kindness for you in this world. You hear our cries and find us when we are lost and wandering in fear. You bring us home with you so that we may be made whole, rejoicing in your goodness. Help us to joyfully serve you all our days, knowing that you are always watching over us. Prepare our hearts to receive your word and our spirits to respond in eagerness to serve you. In Jesus’ name, we pray. AMEN

~ written by Nancy Townley, posted on

From the blog
Theme: He heals the brokenhearted  [prayer sheet]
The Gift #12 : Recreator
Walk the walk

Asking One, ask us

A prayer of adoration and confession

inspired by Matthew 7:7-11, Luke 11:1-13

Seeking One,
you are the beginning and the end of our search.
Finding One,
you are the alpha and omega of all discovery.
Asking One,
you are the voice and the silence of our exploration.
Giving One,
you are the fullness and the emptiness of all yearning.
Persistent One,
you never abandon your search for us,
nor tire of our repetitive to-ings and fro-ings.
Receiving One,
you endlessly welcome us home,
and spread before us a feast
in the face of our constant requests for mere morsels of bread.

Search us, O God,
and find within us the secrets we hide.
Ask us, O God,
and receive from within us the pain we bear.
Keep knocking at the door of our lives
until we open our wills to your purpose,
our lives to your life, and our yearning to your hope.

When we forget to seek you and discover that we have lost our place:
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

When we ask once and leave it at that:
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

When we draw back from knocking, lest we disturb you:
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Strengthen our courage; bolster our endurance;
spur us onward in your way in our world
through the power of the Holy Spirit
and the name of Christ.

~ written by Anita Monro and posted on re:worship

From the blog
When hot and bothered
Good grief
In the school of prayer with the Celtic Saints

Jesus, pray for us

Prayer of Petition

(inspired by John 17)

just as you prayed for your disciples so long ago
Pray for us,
Pray for our wellbeing,
Pray for our protection.
Pray for your joy to be made complete in us.
Pray for our spiritual growth.
Pray for your truth to be made complete in us.

we often do not know how to pray,
So pray for us,
Pray with us,
That we may be one with you,
One with each other, and
One in ministry to the world.

Pray for your weak ones,
Your strong ones,
Your ones who are ill,
Your ones near death,
Your ones who breeze through life,
Your ones who struggle in life.

We join you in these prayers for all your people,

— written by Rev. Abi and posted on re:worship (adapted)

From the blog
In the school of prayer with Michael Mayne
In the school of prayer with Eddie Askew
In the school of prayer with Terry Hinks

Ask and receive

” … everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Luke 11:10)


A prayer

Lord, we expect good things from you because you are good and you promise to give to those who ask. Teach us to know not only how to ask but also for what we should ask. May all our asking, seeking, and knocking be to further your kingdom in some way, no matter how small or mundane.
~ from Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals, by Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove and Enuma Okoro, p. 298

From the blog
Offer your bodies
Desire and transformation
The empty cup

Burdens to carry

Paul writes, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal 6:2). Then a few verses later he writes, “each one should carry their own load.” (Gal 6:5)

A paradox. Something to ponder, as we approach Pentecost and contemplate what a difference the Holy Spirit makes in carrying one another’s burdens and in carrying our own.

A prayer

God, our Heavenly Father, we draw near to thee with thankful hearts because of all thy great love for us. We thank thee most of all for the gift of thy dear Son, in whom alone we may be one. We are different one from another in race and language, in material things, in gifts, in opportunities, but each of us has a human heart, knowing joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain. We are one in our need of thy forgiveness, thy strength, thy love; make us one in our common response to thee, that bound by a common love and freed from selfish aims we may work for the good of all and the advancement of thy kingdom. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

by Queen Salote of Tonga (1900-1965)
from 2000 Years of Prayer compiled by Michael Counsell, p. 456

From the blog
The Gift booklet
a 12-part series of readings and prayer poems on the Holy Spirit – originally created for Pentecost 2017.

In the school of prayer with Tish Harrison Warren


The night time service of Compline from the Book of Common Prayer carried Tish Harrison Warren in a time of doubt and loss.

Here are some excerpts on prayer taken from her book, Prayer in the Night – including the prayer that gives shape and content to the book.



For most of my life, I didn’t know there were different kinds of prayer. Prayer meant one thing only: talking to God with words I came up with. Prayer was wordy, unscripted, self-expressive, spontaneous, and original. And I still pray this way, every day. “Free form” prayer is a good and indispensable way to pray.
      But I’ve come to believe that in order to sustain faith over a lifetime, we need to learn different ways of praying. Prayer is a vast territory, with room for silence and shouting, for creativity and repetition, for original and received prayers, for imagination and reason.  (p. 16)


I turned to Compline when I didn’t have anything else to say, when I was so bone-tired and soul-spent that I could only receive prayer as a gift. … I also leaned on other ancient ways of praying that rely less on cognitive and verbal ability.
      In particular I found refuge in prayers of silence.
      Theophan the Recluse, a nineteenth-century Russian Orthodox priest, describes the work of silent prayer: “You must descend from your head to your heart…. Whilst you are still in your head, thoughts will easily be subdued but will always be whirling about, like snow in winter or clouds of mosquitoes in the summer.”1  These clouds of mosquitoes – my anger and neurosis, my fears and doubts, my unanswerable questions and exhaustion – buzz around me. Sitting wordlessly before God allows space for the real work to begin in my heart.
      It’s not that “Help” or “Lord, I’m weary” aren’t good enough prayers. God hears and loves even prayers like these. We don’t need to experiment with the prayers of the church or ancient prayer practices to impress God. But when we are weary, it can help to throw ourselves onto what has come before us, the steady practices of prayer that the church has handed down for safe keeping, for this very moment when we come to the end of ourselves.  (p. 110)


Scripted prayers – the prayers of Compline, the Psalms, or any other received prayers – are not static.  As we pray them, we read our own lives back into the words we pray.  Our own biographies shape our understanding of these prayers as much as these prayers shape us and our own stories.  (p. 125)


We pray to endure the mystery of suffering, and the mystery of suffering teaches us to pray. And the end of all of it is the love of God.  (p. 130)


God’s love and devotion to us, not ours to him, is the source of prayer. He is the first mover in prayer, the one who has been calling to us before we could ever call to him. And he will not stop calling, no matter how dark the night becomes. Light, not darkness, is the constant.  (p. 166)

1 quoted in Martin Laird, Into the Silent Land, 2006, p. 27

A prayer

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.


Tish Harrison Warren interview (podcast)
An Order for Compline (liturgy)
Compline service (video)

Roadside assistance

Car on the tramrails on the Erasmus Bridge, Rotterdam

Prayer Litany

Jesus of Bethlehem and Nazareth and Calvary
We celebrate your birth
Come and be born in us

Jesus of the manger and the inn
Jesus of the workshop and the temple
Jesus of the lakeside and the city
Jesus of the fireside and the roadside
We celebrate your life
Come and be born in us

Jesus of Mary and Joseph
Jesus of shepherds and angels
Jesus of children and animals
Jesus of fishermen and priests
Jesus of women and men
Jesus of tax collectors and prostitutes
Jesus of all who will receive you
We celebrate your resurrection
Come and be born in us

— adapted from a prayer by Doug Gay. Posted on re:worship

Company on the road


Emmaus Road Call to Worship

We need your presence on the long road, Lord.
The road between fear and hope,
the road between the place where all is lost
and the place of resurrection.
Like the disciples walking the road to Emmaus,
we are in need of your company!
Jesus, stand among us, in your risen power,
let this time of worship, be a hallowed hour.

~ written by Carol Penner, and posted on Leading in Worship

From the blog
On pilgrimage
To Emmaus and back
Walk the walk