|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.
| Title: Brief Prayers for Busy People.|
Author: Bruce D Prewer
Available from Australian Church Resources,
web site www.acresources.com.au
or by order from your local book shop
or online on amazon.
Matthew 5: 38-48
1 Corinthians 3: 10-11, 16-23
Leviticus 19: 1-2, 9-18
Psalm 119: 33-40
Don’t you understand that you yourself
are each a temple of God,
for within you God’s Spirit
chooses to live.
O God, turn my eyes from focussing on vanities,
give me a life that is set in your ways.
You are to be generous like your Father in heaven,
who gives the sun to rise on both rogues and the righteous,
and sends refreshing rain on both the just and the unjust.
O God, teach me the heart of your statutes,
and I will then follow it to the very end
As we arrive for worship, let us remember that love
is not an optional extra for those in Christ’s train;
Say to all the congregation of my people:
You shall be holy, even as I the Lord God am holy.
This means you shall love your neighbour as yourself,
for it is I who am your God.”
O Lord, give us understanding, that we may want to please you,
help us to fulfil your law with all our heart.
Jesus said: I say to you:
Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you.
You therefore must be totally loving,
just as your God is perfectly loving.
Shape our motives so as not to only seek our own gain,
and deflect our eyes from this world’s vanities.
We love because you have first loved us.
PRAYER OF APPROACH
God most holy, God most loving, God most faithful; teach us to fear you without being afraid, to serve you without being slavish, to worship you without being obsequious. For you are indeed holy: You are perfect in grace, perfect in mercy, and perfect in truth. Without you there are only shadows and broken images. With you there is always light and life and holy joy. Wonderful is your name today and for ever!
Through Christ Jesus our Redeemer,
TRUSTING GOD’S FORGIVENESS
Well aware that we are sinners, yet sinners who have a Saviour, let us relax our spirits in the grace of God.
Let us pray.
In our wilful wandering, in cul-de-sacs where we have become stuck, and in dark times when we have missed the right turn and know ourselves to be lost, there is a loving Spirit-Friend who always comes looking for us
The Lord has mercy.
The Lord has mercy!
In our arrogance and our pig-headedness, in our impatience and clumsiness, in our bad days of sulkiness or open rebellion, there is always a loving Spirit-Friend who waits for us to come to our senses.
Christ has mercy.
Christ has mercy.
In the hour of keen self awareness and shame, in our regret for injuries inflicted or love denied, in situations where we have failed God most miserably, there is always a loving Spirit-Friend who forgives and restores us to the peace of salvation.
The Lord has mercy.
The Lord has mercy.
God of inordinate patience, we thank you for absolving both friends and enemies, for sending sunshine on saints and sinners, and blessing with rain both the just and the unjust. We thank you even we have been included in the amnesty of your saving grace and the opportunities of the new age inaugurated by Christ Jesus.
Holy is our God, whose goodness endures for ever!
PRAYER FOR CHILDREN
we know that you have asked us
to forgive our enemies
and pray for those who bully us.
Do you know how tough that really is
for earthlings like us
to actually do it?
Okay, God, we hear you, you do know.
Yes, Jesus at the cross
did pray for his enemies.
So what we really need
is more of his soul inside us,
to make us more merciful?
O God, help us to really want that
with every bit of our energy
from our brains to our toes.
Please make us generous forgivers,
just like you are.
PSALM 119: 33-40
Teach me, O Lord, to see your guide-pots,
and to keep on track to the very end.
Help me to understand your family law,
that I may want to keep it whole-heartedly.
Lead me along the path you command
that I may find your ways a real pleasure.
Instil your common sense in my heart
and stop me looking for vain excuses.
Witness within my heart your promises,
that I may find your ways awesome.
Divert me from dread, failure and self reproach,
for I know all your guidelines are for my own good.
Above all I long to trust your example,
to take the right way and know the good life.
B. D. Prewer 2006
I see that Man without a coat
go walking by.
I stop him in the icy wind
and ask him why?
He smiles and says “To go without
is quite okay,
there comes a third degree of warmth
that comes to stay.”
Those bruises on both of your cheeks,
who struck you there?
And why although they are so raw
you do not care?
He gently touched his right cheek
and said “That’s rough,
but till you give the left as well
it’s not enough.”
“The sun shines freely on
both good and bad
the gentle rain from heaven falls
on wise and mad.”
“Learn from your God the secret life
where love come free,
follow your God with generous love
and happy be.”
“The God who counts your every hair
is perfect grace,
such love is now your ground and goal
so up the pace.”
I thought of all my stingy ways
and hung my head,
he knelt, looked up into my eyes
and my shame fled.
B.D. Prewer 2006
SERMON BE PERFECT
Matthew 5: 48
I have two texts for you today.
(Hey, don’t worry! That does not mean you get two sermons. Just one will do.)
Text 1 is from the Gospel of Matthew: You must be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect. (5:48)
Text 2 is from the Old Testament of Leviticus: You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. (Lev 19:2)
How does that word “holy” sound in your ears?
The word translated “holy”(quodesh) is used often in the O.T. Dig into this word’s origins and qodesh seems to combine two overlapping meanings: different and complete or perfect. That is holiness. Compared with us, even with the best women and men, God is utterly different and utterly perfect.
What quality was it that constituted this qodesh? The special quality is difference and perfection?
Firstly, some of those ancient Jews developed the word to mean something close to the meaning of taboo, Something spooky and powerfully dangerous, to be only approached with extreme care. Get too close and you might get yourself zapped. Remember the ‘ark of the covenant?”
Second, others developed the word to mean a fierce ethical purity. A goodness that exceeds all human goodness. A goodness that is sublime. Get close to this holiness and it will expose all human sinfulness. You will be overawed and fall down in homage before such perfect goodness.
Our old Testament text for today calls for this second brand of holiness. You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. Then it spells out what that will mean in practical, ethical terms:
Look after the needy. At harvest time, leave enough pickings of fruit, and some barely to be gleaned, for the poor and the migrant.
For I am the Lord your God.
Do not steal, cheat or lie.
Don’t swear oaths that you have no intention of keeping.
For I am the Lord.
Do not oppress or rob your neighbour.
Pay a casual day worker immediately (he and his family needs to eat that same evening)
Don’t make fun of the deaf behind their back, nor stick out your foot and trip up the blind.
For I am the Lord.
Don’t make unjust judgements; neither pander to the rich
nor be unfairly influenced by the poor.
Don’t gossip or slander others.
For I am the Lord.
Don’t nurse hatred in your heart, but try to reason with your neighbour.
Don’t bear a grudge or take vengeance, but love your neighbour as yourself.
For I am the Lord.
That, my friends is what it means to be holy. To be like your God.
You will notice how Leviticus follows every warning with the words: I am the Lord.
These high ethical goals flow directly from the unique nature of your God; a God who is holy, who is different and perfect in goodness.
NOW TO THE WORDS OF JESUS
Do I need to remind you that Jesus was a Jew? A Hebrew through and through?
You must be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.
His words echo the one from Leviticus.
The Greek of Matthew’s Gospel uses the word teleiois, perfect. Which means fully developed, ripe, fulfilled, complete, consummated, attaining its perfect end. It is the same root word that in John’s Gospel is spoken by Jesus at his death: “It is finished!”
In Matthew it occurs after the first segment of the “Sermon on the Mount.” Jesus has taught us to go to the spirit of things behind the law, to search our hearts, examine our motivation, to learn to do the right thing for the right reason.
By this, Jesus has goaded us to go further than ever before, to reach beyond not only our natural inclinations but even beyond the letter of the noblest OT teaching.
He has asked us to turn the other cheek, go the second mile, give our coat and even the
shirt off our back.
He wants us to show mercy; to forgive our enemies, and to pray for those who
Only by going down this ethical path can we be true children of God. Christ reminds us that God is impartial in his outpouring of goodness. He does not play favourites.
The merry old sun rises each morning and shines its life giving warmth on both virtuous
citizens and villains,
The refreshing rains fall on the fields of both those who live justly and those who are
crooked in their dealings.
Impartial generosity it at the heart of the perfection of God’s nature. To be a true child of God will mean living with the same generous attitude and action.
Here we are given a definition of holiness which soars above the highest hill tops of the Old Testament, taking giant steps upward towards holy peaks.
To be a holy person has nothing in common with the self righteous bigot. Naught in common with those we refer to as “the holier than thou” people. Self aggrandisement (even if thinly covered in a layer of chocolate-like piety) is an abomination in the eyes of our Lord.
To be perfect as God is perfect is to reach towards the full height of humanity by loving others, even caring about those who abuse us.
The open handed person, the generous spirit, is the key to true Christian perfection. This is the sign of authentic holiness, the earthly reflection of the hidden Holy God.
IS THIS POSSIBLE?
It may seem too much. An impossible dream. Far too spiritual for flawed and leaden-footed, earth-bound creatures like us.
Of course it is impossible in one leap. What is more, it is ‘not on” if we think only in terms of our own strength. But nothing is impossible in the realm of God’s daily grace.
There is another insight from the Bible which can be is an encouragement at this point. The Bible has a high regard for our essential nature. It insists that we have the image of God within us; that at the deep roots of our being, there is something very God-like about us.
To be sure, this image may be covered in dirt like a lost coin; it may be corroded, or bent. Yet the image is not completely effaced. Some of it remains. Through our Saviour Christ, God clearly reveals that image and sets about reclaiming that image.
To be told that we are to become perfect like God is a command to become what we really are. To become our true selves.
It is not like asking a blind man to become an astronomer, nor a pygmy to become a basket ball star, or a deaf person to become a violinist. It is not asking a fish to fly or a butterfly to swim in the depths of the ocean. Our Lord calls us to start becoming what we really are, to commence living as the children of God.
Nor does God expect it to happen perfectly at the first try.
One of my pre adolescent grandsons liked watching the Australian Open tennis on TV. He decided he would become a tennis player. His parents payed for him to start tuition. He did not get beyond the third lesson. It seems his racket did not flow through the air as it did when Leyton Hewitt struck a ball, his arm did not ping the ball into the far corners of the court like Roger Fedderer, and his lobs flew over the rear fence. I am sorry to say, he was soon discouraged and gave it away.
Far too many Christians are like that. They expect too much too soon. They let failures get to them. Discouragement is a big encouragement to the devil’s angels. Should discouragement sink into despair, then it is a sheer delight to the dark Enemy himself.
The command to deal generously with the enemy, must also be applied to ourselves. We are at times our own worst enemy.
Our Lord Jesus knows we cannot become champions overnight. Being a Christian means trying, often failing, yet gladly accepting the grace of God, and then going at it once more. It also means occasionally succeeding. Surprise! We really do get it right sometimes. We find Christ’s work in our souls is not in vain; the true image of God within us can begin to reclaim its glory.
As one sinner who knows what it is like to often fail, yet occasionally succeed, I offer to you (another batch of sinners) the words of our two texts:
You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. (Lev 19:2)
You must be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect. ( Matthew 5:48)
We have two options.
we lower our eyes to a mole hill, where it will be easy for us to sit
and criticise the world around us.
We lift up our eyes to the heights where Christ calls us to be,
and go for it! Yes go for it!
With whatever love and hope and faith we possess, let’s go for it! Daring to risk failure, go for it! In the name of Jesus, go for it! In the name of the Spirit, go for it! In the name of God, go for it now!
A brief general thanksgiving
The Lord be with you etc...
We give thanks and rejoice, loving God;
We rejoice in all your holy mind has planned and in which your holy heart yearned,
in all created things over which your Spirit broods like a mother,
in all you’ve achieved through your seers and poets and law givers;
We rejoice in the light with which you filled that holy Child born at Behlehem,
in the sanity you offered through his healing hands and healing words,
in the grace you unleashed through the bitter yet wonder-full cross,
in the resurgent new life you set loose on Easter morning;
We rejoice the fire you kindled in the heads and hearts of the apostles,
in the long succession of believers who have brought the gospel to us,
and in the glory which you promise will one day perfectly come to be.
Our prayers reach much wider than our capacity to give practical aid. This should; not inhibit us from praying on a grand scale.
Let us pray for others.
Holy Friend of the earth, if we could take the entire world’s needs and sorrows to heart, we would become crushed by their enormity.
As we begin the pray for others, guide us to discern those things we can achieve, and give us the wisdom to leave the remainder in your providential and redeeming hands.
Loving God, with our small assistance or without it, please bless those hordes of people who are hungry, homeless, without family or homeland.
With our assistance or without it, please bless the injured and the diseased, the handicapped and those who suffer grievous mental or emotional illness.
With our assistance or without it, please bless the lonely people, whether they stand isolated in large crowds or whether they timidly hide away from others.
With our assistance or without it, please bless the pained souls who exist without any faith or hope, especially those who today contemplate suicide.
With our assistance or without it, please bless the dying and those who sit with them, and the dead and those who weep for them.
With our assistance or without it, please bless all those people of good will, who try to rectify the world’s ills, and sometimes get abused for their trouble.
God our most Holy Friend, be to all of us a strength in weakness, a light in darkness, a peace in anxiety, a courage in upheaval, and a robust joy in our happiness, Through Christ Jesus our inspiration and guide.
From “Australians at Prayer”
B. D Prewer and Open Book Publishers.
Throughout the long day, may you know the solid ground of God beneath your feet.
When you go to sleep, may the Spirit mend your body, mind and soul.
As each new day dawns, may the grace of Christ be at your side.
Go on your way, knowing that through Christ
all good things are now yours.
THREE BOOKS BY BRUCE PREWER
THAT ARE CURRENTLY AVAILABLE
BY ORDERING ONLINE
OR FROM YOUR LOCAL CHRISTIAN BOOKSHOP
My Best Mate, (first edition 2013)
ISBN 978-1-937763-78-7: AUSTRALIA:
ISBN : 978-1-937763-79- 4: USA
Third edition May 2014
ISBN 978-1-62880-033-3 Australia
Jesus Our Future
Prayers for the Twenty First Century
Second Edition May 2014
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.