New Book  now Available

        Here is an anthology of over 1100 brief prayers and thought-starters, for each day of the year, with almost 400 original prayers by Bruce Prewer.
        Included is both a subject index and an index of authors-- an ecumenical collection of about 300 different sources.
Prayers for Busy People
        Title:  Brief Prayers for Busy People.
          Author: Bruce D Prewer
        ISBN 978-1-62880-090-6
        Available from Australian Church Resources,
web site
        or by order from your local book shop
        or online on amazon.







Matthew 5: 1-12                                   (Sermon 1: Stand by for a revolution”)

1 Corinthians 1: 18-31

Micah 6: 1-8                                         (Sermon 2: “What does God require?”)

Psalm 15




In the name of that Holy Lover who is beyond all names,

all joy be with you!

And also with you!


Happy are the pure in heart,

For they shall see God.


Wonderful is the God who shapes creation with beauties and fruits beyond numbering.

Wonderful is the God who wears our humanity and redemptively bears our sins.

Wonderful is the God who indwells us with light and leads us into all truth.

Most wonderful is God in whom we trust, and to whom we are drawn by grace.


OR -


What does the Lord God want from us?

To do the just thing, love mercy,

and to walk humbly with our God


Holy God, who dare enter your meeting place,

and who dare stand on your holy mountain?

By grace alone;

by the grace of Jesus Christ, we gather for worship,

by the grace of Christ Jesus we greet each other in peace.


The peace of the Lord be with you all.

And also with you.




God of Jesus, our Holy Friend, by your grace please change us as we worship you. May the words we speak and sing, and the Bible words to which we listen, bite deeply. Let them penetrate into the deep reaches of thought and feeling, and there colonise the essence of our being. May we all be changed and resourced in ways we may not understand yet which will overflow into the lives of those around us.  Through Christ Jesus our Redeemer,



            OR -


Most Holy Friend, please bless all who enter this house of praise with hearts and minds tuned to your love. Also bless with your penetrating love any of us who enter with clouded motives and many reservations. May our time or worship kindle new faith or deepen old faith, and reinforce our capacity to express ourselves with deeds of justice, kindness, peace and love. Through Jesus Christ our Saviour.





My friends, in repenting our sins, we put ourselves on the side of healing.

Let us pray.


Great Creator Spirit, awesome beyond all other glory, before you we are like insignificant specks on one small satellite in your cosmic scene. What are we, that you should notice us?


Do our sins really matter to you, God? Do you care about our folly and guilt?


They do matter to us God,

            all the bad stuff in which we find ourselves involved, willingly or unwillingly,

            and the good things we applaud but don’t get around to doing.

We need to come clean before someone who understands,

            and who is able to pronounce

            the word of forgiveness and renewal.

You, Holy Counsellor,

            are the only one to whom we can turn with full confidence.

According to your loving kindness,

            please have mercy on us, and upon all humankind.


We take heart knowing that you not only notice us, but your love aches over each of our small lives. We thank you that Jesus has taught us that our hairs are numbered and all our names cherished by you.


Therefore in trust we confess to you

  our fumbling and stumbling, our stalling and falling,

  our hurtfulness and our heartlessness.

Our achievements in goodness and mercy are many,

  but they seem to be outmanoeuvred and outnumbered

  by compromises, failures and indifference.


Please continue to save us from ourselves, winsome Redeemer. Forgive all our sins, rinse away our shame, and lift us out of apathy. Give us the confidence born of your free grace in Christ Jesus, and enable us by faith to live boldly and joyfully to your glory. Through Christ Jesus our Lord.





My friends, in the name of the Son of God, take up your healing. In Christ we are transferred out of the kingdom of sin and shame and despair, into the kingdom of grace, mercy and peace.

I declare to you: Our sins are forgiven!

Thanks be to God.




God our special Friend,

please help those kids who are shy or poor,

and be especially close to any who are teased

or bullied because they try to do the right thing.


Make us braver, so that we can speak the truth,

and stand up for those who are picked on.


With your help, we can do this.

We really can, you know.

Through Jesus our Saviour,





            [Note: The only person who can fulfil the conditions

               of this psalm is Jesus of Nazareth]


Holy God, who dare enter your meeting place,

and who dare stand on your holy mountain?


The One who walks faultlessly, doing the right thing,

            who speaks the truth from a full heart;

whose tongue neither deals in gossip,

            nor ever bad-mouths a friend;

who never muddies a neighbour’s name,

            but spurns all that is corrupt.


This is He who honours those who honour God,

            who keeps His word, even when it hurts Him.

Who lends His treasure at no interest,

            and can never be bribed into false evidence.

He is the one at home in God’s meeting place,

            who can stand and never be moved.

                                                                                    ©  B.D. Prewer 2001





The pure in heart are the foolish

among the fools.

For where the wise see chance and fate

and final void,

these dreamers dare

to look on God.


The pure in heart are the inane

among the fools.

For they claim to glimpse their Maker

in coolabahs,

or coral reefs and rainbow schools,

and evening stars.


The pure in heart are the weirdos

among the fools.

For they trace God’s hand in the rise

and fall of nations,

or farmers seeding damp furrows,

and gestations.


The pure in heart are most absurd

among the fools.

For on Skull Hill, where some despair

and powerful goad,

they look upon the torn body

of the true God.

                                                Ó B D Prewer 1998




Lead us, Spirit of undiluted truth, away from the pretensions and deceptions of sophisticated selfishness and nearer to those sincere souls who look on God. Give us a profound admiration for the pure in heart. Teach us their grasp of grace, their spiritual transparency, their commitment to justice and mercy, and their unpretentious service. Redeem in us the atrophied ability to see God in all the changing scenes of life. Through Jesus Christ, the person of grace.





Matthew 5: 1-12


Stand by for a revolution.


Jesus in his sermon on the mountain breaks new ground and calls people to put down their roots and revel in it.

         Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up on the mountain, and when he had sat down,

          his followers gathered around him. And he opened his mouth and taught them saying:


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

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

         Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth


Something radically new is happening here. It is a revolutionary manifesto. And yet, it also has strong echoes of something old.




To begin, let’s look at the “something old.” Every sentence in the beatitudes has echoes of Old Testament passages. The mind that thought up these new Scriptures was saturated in the old Scriptures.


Moreover, Matthew wants us to recall the story of Moses. Moses went up the mountain and came back to the gathered people with the commandments of God; the law by which the people of Israel were to live. Jesus on noticing the crowds that gathered, went up the mountain a little way to deliver his own manifesto. He is the new Moses.


Matthew says Jesus sat down like Rabbi. Rabbis always instructed their disciples from a seat.

Jesus was making it quite clear that he was about to deliver teaching. Maybe Jesus sat down on a protruding ledge, from which vantage point he could look out over the crowd and address them.


Much of what follows through chapters 5, 6 and 7, is ethical teaching. It is about how to live the good life, loving God and loving one’s neighbour. Much of it goes much higher than Moses. Jesus goes from the external; obedience to law to the matters of feeling and thinking; from outward observance to motives and intentions.


Thou shalt not kill” Is extended to “You shall not harbour anger and resentment.”

Thou shall not commit adultery” is elevated to “You shall not harbour lust.”

An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” surpassed by “Turn the other cheek,

         love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”


Jesus raises the raises the religious/ethical bar to a new height.


So much so, that if this were all there was to the so-called “Sermon on the Mount” then Jesus would be just an extremist law giver, who made the burden of goodness even greater for us to carry. In fact, this extreme teaching would make the devout person even more anxious and desperate about pleasing God.




But that is not the whole truth about this Jesus. There is something new here. A deeper and more hopeful message is present in the “Sermon on the Mount.”


I said earlier that there are Old Testament echoes everywhere in what Jesus had to say. But it is all with a new twist and a new message.


The bulk of the sermon is placed between two liberating passages.


He starts his sermon with that remarkable statement which we know as “The Beatitudes”. “Blessed are the-  poor, the sad, the meek, the thirsty, the merciful, the sincere, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted for their faith in Christ.”


Near the end of his sermon, Jesus speaks with winsome, poetical words about the carefree birds of the air and the wild flowers in the field, followed by the admonition: “Your heavenly Father knows your needs before you ask him. Therefore don’t be anxious. Don’t worry.”


This is a call for complete trust in the graciousness of God. Jesus concludes the sermon of highest possible ethical values, with an affirmation of the gracious of God.


I cannot enlarge on this whole section now. We will leave it until a few weeks’ time.


The same emphasis occurs in the beginning of the sermon. Maybe we have so often heard the Beatitudes that they no longer surprise or enlighten us. But for those first listeners, the words of Jesus must have hit them like the proverbial ton of bricks.




Jesus pronounces God’s blessing on certain groups of people. “Blessed are........”


That word blessed in the Greek text is makarioi (makarios). For Greeks it was originally used for the happiness of the gods. In the New Testament it is a God-given happiness.


It is hard to find a contemporary word to bring out the impact of this blessing.


Maybe it could be translated, “The meek have struck it rich!” or “How lucky are the meek, for they have hit the jackpot.”  This would be okay as long us we see this kind of luck, not as chance but as coming from God’s overflowing generosity. 


Others have suggested “O so happy are the meek.” Or “Divinely happy are the meek.”


Maybe the word “congratulations” gets close. Like announcing a bonus from a generous boss: “Congratulations you meek, poor, pure and merciful folk! You shall inherit the earth, etc.”


Whatever word we employ, the key point is that it describes the boundless joy which comes to those who follow Christ and completely trust the kingdom of heaven.




Now to one of the key points in this sermon: Have you noticed that the blessedness which Jesus affirms is a bonus? The blessedness is a free gift of God. They do not have to do anything to earn this blessedness. They are pronounced winners because God chooses to bestow this happiness on them.


The Beatitudes are therefore, about God’s grace. You don’t have to do something to earn this happiness. In truth, it cannot be earned, but just received as a gift from God. Pure gift. Grace.


This is in sharp contrast to the blessings of the Old Testament. There the happiness is conditional. People are urged to act or pray in a certain way, and only then they will receive blessedness. The typical form is:  Blessed is the man who....... does this or that.


In its exact form Psalm 15 [in contrast my very free translation above in this liturgy] offers a happiness which is totally dependent upon conditions. It depends on  living blamelessly, speaking the truth, never gossipping, not seeking revenge, shunning reprobates, honouring God-fearers, never taking a bribe,  and keeping promises even though such integrity proves costly. Conditional blessedness.


The beatitudes of Jesus are not like that.


To quote the eminent N.T. scholar Eduard Schweizer:


“Jesus proclaims blessings on all who are poor, who hunger, and who weep, without the addition of any conditions that men must first fulfil.”


“There are no conditions to be met before someone can be called blessed.”


This is the “something new” which Jesus proclaims. Without lifting a finger, congratulations! You are a winner! God has chosen to bless you. There is abounding grace for those who are poor, thirsty, sincere, merciful, and humble enough to simply receive it. Accept the gift of divine happiness. That is where things commence for the Christian- with God’s free, uncalculating love. Nothing else, but sheer grace!


Like the section near the conclusion to the Sermon on the Mount (with that winsome theme about the birds of the air and the flowers of the field and God’s care for us all) this introduction is a liberating creed that Jesus offers. It is about a God who is already doing far more than we could ever expect, and certainly wonderfully more than we could ever earn by moral or religious rectitude. Legalism breeds anxiety. Grace grants peace.


Anxiety is out. Trust and peace and joy are in. Congratulations!




As I hear it from the lips of Jesus, the central section of the sermon, where Jesus lifts the bar to new heights, must always be taken in the context of God’s free grace. Grace is like bookends between which Christ’s “sermon on the mount” is placed.


We are to aim at far exceeding the legalistic righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, but only without the context of God’s saving grace. We dare to aim high and dare to fail sometimes, maybe fail often, within the certainly of saving grace.  This God of Jesus has blessings for you that are not dependent on attaining an honours degree in the practice of faith and ethics, or maybe not even obtaining a 51% pass mark.  God’s constant love is the fundamental reality, on which we build our security.


Stand by for a special kind of revolution!


Away with legalism, in with grace. Away with anxious religion, in with beatitude! This is the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Saviour.


Congratulations! You have won the first prize. You are the recipients of the happiness of the gods!





Micah 6: 1-8

Psalm 15

Matthew 5: 1-12


This sermon is a three ball juggling act.


Today I want to juggle the reading from Psalm 15, the words of the prophet Micah in chapter 6, and the beginning of Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” as recorded in Matthew’s Gospel.




When I was young (which was, let be assure you, a very short time again in God’s calendar) Psalm 15 was often read antiphonally by the congregation. Even in those days, it left me feeling uncomfortable. As we went through the list of virtues necessary for those who have the right to stand in God’s meeting place (tent/temple/sanctuary) it became alarmingly obvious that I would not have a chance, neither would any of the congregation, nor the minister.

         Lord who shall abide in Thy tabernacle;

            who shall dwell in Thy holy hill?

         He that walketh uprightly and worketh righteousness,

            and speaketh the truth in his heart.

         He that backbiteth not with his tongue,

            nor doeth evil to his neighbour

            nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour


Even as a child, I knew we were all too flawed. Even our saintly Sunday School Superintendent, Mr Benn, would have to miss out.


I wondered if any of the church members thought they had the right? If they did, it was very sad, because they must be either very confused or self-deceived. Even at a tender age, I was aware of the dangers of self deception- the lies that we can rehearse often enough to start believing them. Yet there we were, in God’s meeting place, standing as if we had the right.


As I grew older, it became clear to me that only one person had the right: to be there; and that was Jesus of Nazareth.


As I grew much older (and returned from my teenage rebel ways) I came to understand that we were there not by human right but by divine grace; by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. The church is a community of those who gather because Christ puts his arm around them and says: “You are mine. Don’t be afraid. Stand with me in the temple of God.” With his arm around us, we have no right yet all the right in the world.




Let’s move from Psalm 15 to Micah, and to that favourite text of novice preachers, Micah 6:8

            He has showed you, O man, what is good;

            and what does the Lord require of you

            but to do justice, and to love kindness,

            and to walk humbly with your God.


[ Question: Why did I comment “a favourite text for novice preachers? Simply because it divides up neatly into a 3 point sermon. All the novice has to do is to construct a beginning and a conclusion, and then comment on the three factors of justice, mercy and walking humbly, and they have their sermon. Simple!]


There are not many summaries of the genuinely godly life that surpass this one. It is a blow against any religion that is “so heavenly minded that it is no earthly good.”  The love of God must be meshed with how we treat our human companions. We cannot isolate faith from ethics or politics.


Micah is writing  in the 8th century (not all scholars agree with that dating) before Christ. It is a time of political turmoil. His message is against the background of the arrogance of the powerful and rich, and the destitution of the poor. He is certain that enemy armies arriving in the land are an aspect of the judgement of God.  Micah sets down the profound simplicity of what true faith entails.


Maybe not many listened to him. The arrogant rarely do. But somebody listened; otherwise his words would not have come down to us 2,700 years later. That in itself is a miracle; how many of the words of contemporary preachers or poets, prime ministers or presidents, university dons or scientists, sporting and TV stars, will inform people 2,700 years from now? And if they won’t, why then do we listen to such drivel, reporting every comment they make as if the future of the world hinged on them?


Micah is still relevant, both for our role in the church and our role in the secular community. In dealing with other church denominations, do we do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God? In the eyes of the ever-watching, ever-critical world around us, are we Micah’s people? Are our attitude and actions towards the refugees and indigenous people, to the unemployed and the street kids, fostered by the spirit of Micah?


No doubt to some degree these words of Micah are like the words from Psalm 15. 

Fact 1, we fail Micah’s test badly.

Fact 2, we can, however, pretend that we are righteous and deceive ourselves.

Fact 3, we can become dispirited and apathetic.

Fact 4, we can turn to the grace of Christ Jesus and have our lives renewed daily.


Setting high goals can become an onerous thing. It can be a very discouraging. There is no fun in failing. Some people lower the bar to fit their performance level, and then brag “at least we are not hypocrites”.


But for those of us who live by the grace of Christ, keeping the bar set at great heights makes life a joyful adventure. To fall short is not a disaster. To try again is not intimidating. Always Christ’s grace is with us and in his strength we make small gains of which we ourselves are usually unaware. It is my experience that the genuinely good person is blissfully unaware of it.




If goals were there to shock us and frighten us, then the teaching of Christ would be the ultimate barrier to Christian living.


Jesus set the bar higher than anyone else. Today we started reading from the Sermon on the Mount. When we read on beyond where the Gospel for today stopped, we find Christ making the task of being a righteous person impossible. Not only is murder condemned, but also angry thoughts are outlawed. Not only must we love our neighbour as the Old Testament commands, but we must also love our enemies. Not only must we not commit adultery, we are warned about dwelling on lustful thoughts.


         Lord who shall abide in Thy tabernacle;

            who shall dwell in Thy holy hill?

         He that walketh uprightly and worketh righteousness,

            and speaketh the truth in his heart.

         He that backbiteth not with his tongue,

            nor doeth evil to his neighbour

         nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour


If all there is to Jesus is a higher standard, then we Christians should of all people be most pitied. For we will always be unworthy to stand in his meeting place.


I have a hunch that Christ in the Sermon on the Mount deliberately pushes the idea of personal righteousness to the ultimate limit, so that there is no ground left on which the most exacting, self-disciplined, zealous, religious person can righteously stand. Then, they must fall back on grace, which is the most profound truth in all creation. Grace is where we really belong.


The high ground of Jesus is not a fiction. It is real. It is supremely beautiful. But the way we will finally get there will be by grace.


It is not likely the prophet Micah got anywhere near this Jesus-given insight. However, his lofty, sane view of true godliness still stands and beckons us:

         He has showed you, O man, what is good;

            and what does the Lord require of you

            but to do justice, and to love kindness,

            and to walk humbly with your God.


Like a good teacher, his words can lead us to the new reality in Christ. To slightly alter the Gospel of John: “A highlight of godliness came from Micah, but grace and truth by Jesus Christ.”




I treasure the memory of a sermon given by a young, single mother from her wheel chair. She had been badly and permanently maimed in a road accident. She spoke about the fact that after the disaster she felt useless, like so much trash. But there came upon her an awareness of her special place in the Spirit’s affection. To the Divine she was the most precious thing imaginable. This gave her the impetus to take up her life again and live it gloriously.


This quadriplegic chose the hymn following her sermon. It was: “Amazing grace” :

         Through many dangers, toils and cares,

         I have already come:

         ‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,

         and grace will lead me home.


Normally I consider this hymn has been sadly misused, overused, and trivialised. But on that day I was moved to tears by the young mother’s choice.


What does God require of you? At the deepest level just this: that you may rest your whole being in the grace of Christ, and therefore in whatever circumstances you are found, dare

         to do justice, and to love kindness,

         and to walk humbly with your God.




We believe in God.

Because of Jesus the Christ, our belief is greater than our anxious doubts.


We believe in God

 who cherishes the poor and offers them the riches of the Commonwealth of God,

 who hears sobbing of the sorrowful and provides them with undying comfort,

 who sees those who tread softly and humbly and gives them the earth to look after,

 who satisfies the hungry and thirsty with the hospitality of choicest Table,

 who honours the merciful and shows them the fullness of the mercy of God,

 who recognises pure hearts and allows them to look upon the glory of God,

 who strengthens the peacemakers and names them the free children of God,

 who suffers with the persecuted and promises them the freedom of the City of God..


We believe in God.

Because of Christ Jesus, our belief is greater than our anxious doubts.

Thank God!




Love is not love if it is ever less that justice for all.


Let us pray for humanity. 


God our Saviour, we pray for the redemption of humanity from its bondage to insincerity and spiritual darkness. Come with your pure light:


In circumstances where the church has become more interested in itself than in serving the living God, teach us to--

     Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with out God.


Among politicians, where half-truths, prevarication and expediency are often regarded as smart skills, teach us to --

     Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with out God.


Through the free market economy were deceit is commonly called creative accounting and sending a neighbour broke is success, teach us to --

     Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with out God.


Within the advertising industry where a familiar aim is to exploit the fears and lusts of the weak and undermine the defences of the strong, teach us to --

     Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with out God.


In matters of race, class, gender and religion, where rank prejudice regularly hides under wordy protestations of concern, teach us to --

     Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with out God.


Within this congregation, if ever we are more concerned with putting up a good front rather than grappling with the rough edges of Christ’s teaching, teach us to --

     Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with out God.


You, Holy Friend, are indefatigable love; inspire each of us with your Spirit, that our prayers and deeds may be drawn closer and closer together, to your everlasting honour and joy.

Through Christ Jesus our Saviour.





Although the world and its crying needs are too big for us, it is never too big for God. Therefore, put your hand in the hand of God, and the small things you are able to do will be woven into a pattern of salvation of such grandeur and beauty that your mind shall never encompass its intricate detail and its timeless efficacy.

In the name of Christ Jesus,



Every day your lives will be surrounded and supported by

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

the love of God,

and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.



** Additional resources on



              BY ORDERING ONLINE

My Best Mate,  (first edition 2013)

ISBN 978-1-937763-78-7: AUSTRALIA:

ISBN :  978-1-937763-79- 4: USA

Australian Prayers

Third edition May 2014

ISBN   978-1-62880-033-3 Australia

Jesus Our Future

Prayers for the Twenty First Century

 Second Edition May 2014

ISBN 978-1-62880-032-6

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Although this book was written with young people in mind, it has proved to be popular with Christians or seekers of all ages. Through the eyes and ears of a youth named Chip, big questions are raised and wrestled with; faith and doubt,  unanswered  prayers, refugees,  death and grief, racism and bullying, are just a few of the varied topics confronted in these pages. Suitable as a gift to the young, and proven to be helpful when it has been used as a study book for adults.

Australian Prayers has been a valuable prayer resource for over thirty years.  These prayers are suitable for both private and public use and continue to be as fresh and relevant today as ever.  Also, the author encourages users to adapt geographical or historical images to suit local, current situations.

This collection of original, contemporary prayers is anchored firmly in the belief that no matter what the immediate future may hold for us, ultimately Jesus is himself both the goal and the shape of our future.  He is the key certainty towards which the Spirit of God is inexorably leading us in this scientific and high-tech era. Although the first pages of this book were created for the turn of the millennium, the resources in this volume reflect the interests, concerns and needs of our post-modern world.