A Prayer for the Year’s End

Lord, our Father, you tell us today as you did yesterday, and you will tell us tomorrow as you have today, that you have always loved us and have drawn us to yourself out of pure goodness. We hear you; grant that we hear you correctly! We believe; help our unbelief! We want to obey you; bring an end to everything that is much too weak and much too hard in us, that we may truly and properly obey you! We trust you; cast out all the ghosts from our heads and hearts, that we may wholly and happily trust you! We run to you for shelter; let us earnestly leave behind everything that must be left behind, and let us look ahead and move forward in bright confidence!

Help all who are in this house; all those in this city and in the whole wide world who are in error, who are sorrowful, bitter, and confused; all prisoners; those who are sick in the hospitals and mental hospitals; those in politics who have positions of leadership; those who call out for bread, justice, and freedom; and those nations that wage war, whether with or without reason; the teachers and instructors and the children who are entrusted to them; the churches, regardless of direction or persuasion, that they may guard and spread the pure light of your Word.

We see so much, both near and far, that grieves and discourages us, and that also makes us angry and indifferent. But in you, there is complete order, peace, freedom, and joy. You were the hope for us and for the whole world in the old year, and you will also be the same in the new year. We lift our hearts–no, you be the one to lift our hearts to you! To you, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be the honor, yesterday, today, tomorrow, and forever. Amen.

– From Barth, Fifty Prayers, pp. 14-15.

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An Epiphany Prayer

A prayer for the day of Epiphany, by Karl Barth:

Lord, our God, dear Father, you have loved the world, in that you sent your only begotten Son, so that all who believe in him will not perish, but have eternal life. Write this on our hearts and minds now, and enlighten our understanding that in his death, the old person in each of us is also dead, and that in his resurrection, the new person is born in each of us. Teach us to believe and in faith to go from death to life. You loved us first. Do not leave us in lovelessness, in indecisiveness, and in the cold.

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A Morning Prayer

This prayer from Valley of Vision is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read.

Compassionate Lord,
Thy mercies have brought me to the dawn
of another day.
Vain will be its gift unless I grow in grace,
increase in knowledge,
ripen for spiritual harvest.
Let me this day know thee as thou art,
love thee supremely,
serve thee wholly,
admire thee fully.
Through grace let my will respond to thee,
Knowing that power to obey is not in me, but
that thy free love alone enables me to serve thee.
Here then is my empty heart,
overflow it with thy choicest gifts;
Here is my blind understanding,
chase away its mists of ignorance.
O ever watchful Shepherd,
lead, guide, tend me this day;
Without thy restraining rod I err and stray;
Hedge up my path lest I wander into
unwholesome pleasure,
and drink its poisonous streams;
Direct my feet that I be not entangled
in Satan’s secret snares,
nor fall into his hidden traps.
Defend me from assailing foes,
from evil circumstances,
from myself.
My adversaries are part and parcel of my nature;
They cling to me as my very skin;
I cannot escape their contact.
In my rising up and sitting down they
barnacle me;
They entice me with constant baits;
My enemy is within the citadel;
Come with almighty power and cast him out,
pierce him to death,
and abolish in my every particle
of carnal life this day. Amen.

A Good Friday Prayer

A prayer for Good Friday, by Karl Barth:

Lord our God, merciful and almighty Father, you loved this poor world so much that you allowed your own dear Son to take such a wonderful path for its liberation and for the liberation of us all! For you, this was the right path, and there was no other; and so it should be for us as well. And if this is indeed the case — that we find freedom only through him and in communion with him, that we reach the heights only by going through depths, that we find joy only through suffering, and that we come to life only through death — then we wish to accept this as your good and proper order.

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A Good Friday Prayer

A prayer for Good Friday, by Karl Barth:

Lord our God, we are gathered here on this day to consider how you have carried out your good, firm will for the world and for all of us, by allowing our Lord Jesus Christ, your dear Son, to be captured that we might be free; to be found guilty that we might be found innocent; to suffer that we might rejoice; and to be given over to death that we might live forever.

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A prayer for Saeed Abedini

[Prayed during the worship services at All Saints Presbyterian Church on 3/22/15]

Christ our Savior,

We thank you for making yourself known to people around the world, often in wonderful and miraculous ways. We rejoice that so many people, even from the most hostile places, are turning to you. Like a brother or sister welcomes a new baby into the family, so too we are happy to have new sisters and brothers join our family all around the world.

It does break our heart, though, that so many are born into hostile places where their love for you brings with it a threat to their safety. Continue reading