Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Hi, friends!
There was a monk who kept waking in the night. Trying all the known means of going back to sleep he asked God why he kept waking. God's reply was that the monk was so busy during the day that the night-time was the only time he could could get to speak to him.

I'm awake all night—not a wink of sleep;
I can't even say what's bothering me.
I go over the days one by one,
I ponder the years gone by.
I strum my lute all through the night,
wondering how to get my life together. (Psalm 77:6-7 The Message)


This blog responds to a need. Many people in my little counselling practice talk to me about sleep - or their lack of it. But when you can't sleep, what do you do if counting sheep doesn't work any more?

Well, wouldn't it be nice if someone had devised an easily-remembered litany which could provide a rich prayer/worship time? So far as I know, it hasn't yet been done, so here's my tentative effort.

Feel free to adapt it to your style/needs. It's meant to be a broad-brush approach: as the introduction points out we each have a unique relationship with the living God, differing liturgical and theological stances...

Who am I? Rowland Croucher, an Australian (but really a 'world-citizen') called to be a sort of 'pastor to pastors' but really a 'pastor to anyone'. I spend my life listening to God and listening to people; writing stuff (Google my name or John Mark Ministries); preaching and seminaring in many churches, in Australia and elsewhere... But above all, I too am on a journey to get to know God better and share with others the understandings which have come to me in 72 years of an interesting life.

So let's go... and may God grant you peace, especially in those sleepless hours! Here's a blessing from John Rutter for you as you begin...


Rowland Croucher
















These meditations follow the popular Still Waters Deep Waters format: Scriptures (mostly from Eugene Peterson's The Message, in my view a very good modern English translation), homily/quotes (footnoted, if I remember the source!), prayers/psalms/hymns and benedictions.

See here for an example of the Still Waters Deep Waters chapters (on the subject of A Theology of Sleep). The 'method' is technically termed 'discursive meditation'; if you're more contemplative, you'll weave more periods of silence into the pattern. I also respect personality differences: some reading this might be 'mystical' - seeing (like Jacob in his dream) angels ascending and descending from heaven. Others (I suspect most of you) will be more practical - even prosaic.

I'm using popular and well-tested material from a wide variety of sources - Christian, Jewish and other. They'll come from all the theological traditions summarized in two modern classics - Brian McLaren's A Generous Orthodoxy, and Richard Foster's Streams of Living Water. The sentiments will sometimes not be compatible with where-you-are on your spiritual journey: for example, a popular 'Bible Belt' hymn will be awful for a well-read progressive thinker, or for someone more at home in a Celtic or Taize worship-style . So you'll pick and choose... and maybe add your own. (Feel free to email me with your suggestions).

I've used the excellent American Presbyterian Book of Common Worship (1993) as the main source for classical Christian prayers. Of course, there's a respect there - and here - for the ancient expressions of the Christian faith and life such as the Lord's Prayer, the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds, the Kyrie, Gloria in Excelsis, Sursum Corda, Sanctus and Benedictus, Agnes Dei, Gloria Patri, Te Deum, the Magnificat, and Nunc Dimittis. The language in modern prayers is mostly gender-neutral and the pronouns first person (except for prayers like The Lord's Prayer which are meant to be prayed-in-community).

These ten chapters will be too long for most to remember: so again, you'll 'live' in just one of them for a while, or compress the whole thing to suit your memory's ability.

[More to come: watch this Blog]


Prepare me now, O Lord, to meet you:
Open my heart to love you more
Open my mind to your truth for me
I'm eager to hear your voice, receive your love, and respond to your will.

By your Spirit
Silence any thoughts which do not align with your will for me
And show me what you want me to do.

Through Jesus Christ my Saviour, my Lord, my God, and my Friend.



Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity.

Holy, holy, holy! All saints adore thee,
casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,
which wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.

Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee,
though the sinful human eye thy glory may not see,
only thou art holy; there is none beside thee,
perfect in power, in love, and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All thy works shall praise thy Name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity.


God called to Moses from out of the bush, "Moses! Moses!"

He said, "Yes? I'm right here!"

God said, "Don't come any closer. Remove your sandals from your feet. You're standing on holy ground."

Then he said, "I am the God of your father: The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob."

Moses hid his face, afraid to look at God...

God said, 'I'm sending you to... bring my people... out of Egypt.'


Elijah was told, "Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God. God will pass by."

A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn't to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn't in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn't in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper...


In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Master sitting on a throne—high, exalted!—and the train of his robes filled the Temple. Angel-seraphs hovered above him, each with six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two their feet, and with two they flew. And they called back and forth one to the other,

Holy, Holy, Holy is God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
His bright glory fills the whole earth.

The foundations trembled at the sound of the angel voices, and then the whole house filled with smoke. I said,

"Doom! It's Doomsday!
I'm as good as dead!
Every word I've ever spoken is tainted—
blasphemous even!
And the people I live with talk the same way,
using words that corrupt and desecrate.
And here I've looked God in the face!
The King! God-of-the-Angel-Armies!"

Then one of the angel-seraphs flew to me. He held a live coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. He touched my mouth with the coal and said,

"Look. This coal has touched your lips.
Gone your guilt,
your sins wiped out."

And then I heard the voice of the Master:
"Whom shall I send?
Who will go for us?"

I spoke up,
"I'll go.
Send me!"


Jesus was taken into the wild by the Spirit for the Test. The Devil was ready to give it. Jesus prepared for the Test by fasting forty days and forty nights. That left him, of course, in a state of extreme hunger, which the Devil took advantage of in the first test: "Since you are God's Son, speak the word that will turn these stones into loaves of bread."

Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: "It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God's mouth."

For the second test the Devil took him to the Holy City. He sat him on top of the Temple and said, "Since you are God's Son, jump." The Devil goaded him by quoting Psalm 91: "He has placed you in the care of angels. They will catch you so that you won't so much as stub your toe on a stone."

Jesus countered with another citation from Deuteronomy: "Don't you dare test the Lord your God."

For the third test, the Devil took him to the peak of a huge mountain. He gestured expansively, pointing out all the earth's kingdoms, how glorious they all were. Then he said, "They're yours — lock, stock, and barrel. Just go down on your knees and worship me, and they're yours."

Jesus' refusal was curt: "Beat it, Satan!" He backed his rebuke with a third quotation from Deuteronomy: "Worship the Lord your God, and only him. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness."

The Test was over. The Devil left. And in his place, angels! Angels came and took care of Jesus' needs.


Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom? It's way over our heads. We'll never figure it out.

Is there anyone around who can explain God?
Anyone smart enough to tell him what to do?
Anyone who has done him such a huge favor
that God has to ask his advice?

Everything comes from him;
Everything happens through him;
Everything ends up in him.
Always glory! Always praise!
Yes. Yes. Yes.


God is a circle whose centre is everywhere and circumference nowhere. (Timaeus of Locris)

When we encounter the living God, often words fail us: this feeling of 'the numinous' (Rudolf Otto) may sometimes be an experience of wordless awe and wonder, fear and fascination, maybe even dread...

To be holy is to be like God. Only God is holy 'just as only people are human. God's holiness is his Godness. To speak of anything else as holy is to say that it has something of God's mark upon it. Times, places, things, and people can all be holy, and when they are, they are usually not hard to recognise' (Frederick Buechner).

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries
(Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
(William Cowper)

It is the final proof of God’s omnipotence that he need not exist in order to save us. (Peter De Vries)

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls. (Mother Teresa)

Apart from God every activity is merely a passing whiff of insignificance. (Alfred North Whitehead). Every happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message. (Malcolm Muggeridge)


Eternal God - God of Moses and Elijah and Isaiah and Jesus...
in whom I live and move and have my being

You have made me for yourself
and my heart is restless
until it rests in You.

In your service I will find perfect freedom...

Through Jesus Christ my Saviour, my Lord, my God, and my Friend,
Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.


Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours
now and forever. Amen.


Holy One, holy and eternal, awesome, exciting and delightful in your holiness; make me pure in heart to see you; make me merciful to receive your kindness and to share your love with all your human family; then will your name be hallowed on earth as in heaven...


O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
consider all the works your hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
your power throughout the universe displayed:

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God; to thee,
How great thou art, how great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God; to thee,
How great thou art, how great thou art!

When through the woods and forest glades I wander,
and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
when I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
and hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze;

But when I think that God, his Son not sparing,
sent him to die - I scarce can take it in
that on the cross, our burden gladly bearing,
he bled and died to take away my sin;

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
and take me home - what joy shall fi1l my heart!
Then shall I bow in humble adoration,
and there proclaim: My God, how great thou art!



God is sheer mercy and grace;
not easily angered, he's rich in love.
He doesn't endlessly nag and scold,
nor hold grudges forever.
He doesn't treat us as our sins deserve,
nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.
As high as heaven is over the earth,
so strong is his love to those who fear him.
And as far as sunrise is from sunset,
he has separated us from our sins.
As parents feel for their children,
God feels for those who fear him.
He knows us inside and out,
keeps in mind that we're made of mud.

If we claim that we're free of sin, we're only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won't let us down; he'll be true to himself. He'll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. If we claim that we've never sinned, we out-and-out contradict God—make a liar out of him. A claim like that only shows off our ignorance of God.


Almighty and most merciful Father, I have erred and strayed from Your ways like lost sheep. I have followed too much the devices and desires of my own heart. I have offended against Your holy laws. I have left undone those things which I ought to have done; and I have done those things which I ought not to have done; and there is nothing good in me. O Lord, have mercy upon me, miserable offender. Spare those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore those who are penitent; according to Your promises declared to us in Christ Jesus my Lord. Grant that I may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life; to the glory of Your name. Amen

Most merciful God, I confess that I have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what I have done, and by what I have left undone. I have not loved you with my whole heart; I have not loved my neighbor as myself. I am truly sorry and I humbly repent, for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on me and forgive me; that I may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Lord, those seven deadly sins:

1. Forgive my pride - thinking too much of myself. Enable me to be more humble - like Jesus, who lived for others

2. Forgive my envy at the success of others; help me to genuinely admire what others have without wanting it

3. Forgive my inappropriate anger, which mostly does more harm than good; teach me that I can leave most injustices I suffer for God to deal with, and to practise trustful silence more than I do

4. Forgive my gluttony - an unhealthy appetite for food, drink or anything else meant to be a means-to-living rather than ends in themselves

5. Forgive my lustful thoughts: help me to relate to others as whole persons, rather than as objects to satisfy my desires

6. Forgive my greed - accumulating too much stuff; help me to be more generous

7. Forgive my sloth - not just my laziness, but especially my loss of appetite for you, O God.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner (x3).

If I confess my sins to God, you will keep your promise and will forgive my sins and purify me from all wrongdoing...

God has forgiven me... Thank you Lord... I can now make a fresh start.

Renew me Lord. Create in me a clean heart. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Re-engage me in your service.

I commit myself to forgiving others as you have forgiven me.

I'm yours, Lord: I'm all yours.



The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, is with me.

Notes: Holy Holy Holy (Michael Smith rendition); How Great Thou Art (Celtic accompaniment); Exodus 3: 4-6, 1 Kings 19:11-12, Isaiah 6:1-8, Matthew 4:1-11, Romans 11:33-36, Psalm 103:8-12, 1 John 1:8-9, 2 Corinthians 13:14.
More on holiness.


Be Thou my vision (Celtic version)
Be Exalted O God (1960s song adapted from Psalm 57:5)


God, my shepherd! I don't need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.

Even when the way goes through
Death Valley,
I'm not afraid
when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd's crook
makes me feel secure.

You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.

Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I'm back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.


God claims Earth and everything in it, God claims the world and all who live on it.


Bless the Lord my soul, And all that is within me, bless your holy name...
Lord in your mercy, Lord in your mercy, hear my prayer...
In the Lord I'll be ever thankful
Lift up your voices... the Lord is here...
(Taize songs and prayers)


* What we believe about God is the most important thing about us (A.W. Tozer)

* God loves each of us as if there were only one of us (St. Augustine) To say that I am made in the image of God is to say that love is the reason for my existence, for God is love. Love is my true identity. Selflessness is my true self. Love is my true character. Love is my name (Thomas Merton)

* Saint Augustine wrote in his Confessions: 'You are my God, my Life, my holy Delight, but is this enough to say of you? Can any man say enough when he speaks of you?'

* 'In the beginning God...' That's the way the Bible begins. Our story starts with God. In fact, if God had not said, 'Let there be...' we would have had no story to tell... The much-maligned doctrine of the Trinity is an assertion that, appearances to the contrary withstanding, there is only one God. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit mean that the mystery beyond us, the mystery among us, and the mystery within us are all the same mystery. Thus the Trinity is a way of saying something about us and the way we experience God. [Frederick Buechner]

* There is a God-shaped vacuum in every heart... [And] tt is the heart which experiences God, not the reason. (Blaise Pascal)

* Some people want to see God with their eyes as they see a cow, and to love Him as they love their cow-for the milk and cheese and profit it brings them. This is how it is with people who love God for the sake of outward wealth or inward comfort.
(Meister Eckhart)

* I love you, Lord,
not doubtingly but with absolute certainty.
Your Word beat upon my heart
until I fell in love with you
and now the universe
and everything in it
tells me to love you... (Augustine).

* O God, I love thee, I love thee -
Not out of hope of heaven for me
Not fearing not to love and be
In the everlasting burning.
Thou, thou, my Jesus, after me
Didst reach thine arms out dying,
For my sake sufferedst nails and lance,
Mocked and marred countenance,
Sorrows passing number,
Sweat and care and cumber,
Yea and death, and this for me,

And thou couldst see me sinning:
Then I, why should not I love thee,
Jesus, so much in love with me?
Not for heaven's sake; not to be
Out of hell by loving thee;
Not for any gains I see;
But just the way that thou didst me
I do love and I will love thee:
What must I love thee, Lord, for then?
For being my king and God. Amen.

(Gerard Manley Hopkins)


Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
Cleanse the thoughts of my heart
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that I may perfectly love you
and worthily magnify your holy name:
through Jesus Christ my Lord.


O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!
Bow down before him, his glory proclaim;
with gold of obedience, and incense of lowliness,
kneel and adore him: the Lord is his Name!

Low at his feet lay thy burden of carefulness,
high on his heart he will bear it for thee,
and comfort thy sorrows, and answer thy prayerfulness,
guiding thy steps as may best for thee be.

Fear not to enter his courts in the slenderness
of the poor wealth thou wouldst reckon as thine;
for truth in its beauty, and love in its tenderness,
these are the offerings to lay on his shrine.

These, though we bring them in trembling and fearfulness,
he will accept for the Name that is dear;
mornings of joy give for evenings of tearfulness,
trust for our trembling and hope for our fear.

O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!
bow down before him, his glory proclaim;
with gold of obedience, and incense of lowliness,
kneel and adore him: the Lord is his Name!


O God,
light of the minds that know you,
life of the souls that love you,
strength of the thoughts that seek you:
Help me so to know you
that I may truly love you,
so to love you
that I may fully serve you
whose service is perfect freedom;
through Jesus Christ my Lord.


O most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother,
may I know you more clearly,
love you more dearly,
and follow you more nearly,
day by day. Amen.


Faithful One, so unchanging
Ageless One, You're my rock of peace.
Lord of all, I depend on You.
I call out to You.
Again and again
I call out to You.
Again and again.

You are my rock in times of trouble.
You lift me up
when I fall down.
All through the storm
your love is the anchor

My hope is in you alone.


Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill to all people.
I praise you, I bless you, I worship you, I glorify you, I give thanks to you for your great glory.
Lord, King, heavenly God, Father, almighty; Lord, the only‑begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit.
Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy on me, you who take away the sins of the world.
Receive my prayer, you who sit at the right hand of the Father, and have mercy on me.
For you only are holy, only you are Lord
Jesus Christ, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.
Each day I bless you, and I praise your name forever and to the ages of ages.



The Nicene Creed (modern version)

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. AMEN.

Notes: Be Thou my Vision (Celtic Version), another version with beautiful graphics; Be Exalted O God;, Psalm 23, Psalm 24:1; Taize songs and prayers; O Worship the Lord; 'O Most Merciful Redeemer' is adapted from a prayer by Richard of Chichester; Faithful One - about the best song to come out of the Vineyard movement - try this for accompaniment or this for chords.


To begin this session, listen to Pie Jesu or Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart

We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God's original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.

He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he's there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.


Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.

Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.


With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, [a] fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ's being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death... We can be sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good... With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn't hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn't gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God's chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We're sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I'm absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.


You are holy, O God of majesty,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son our Lord.
In Jesus, born of Mary, your Word became flesh
and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.
He lived as one of us, knowing joy and sorrow.
He healed the sick,
fed the hungry,
opened blind eyes,
broke bread with outcasts and sinners,
and proclaimed the good news of your kingdom to the poor and needy.
Dying on the cross,
he gave himself for the life of the world.
Rising from the grave,
he won for us victory over death.
Seated at your right hand,
he leads us to eternal life.
We praise you that Christ now reigns with you in glory,
and will come again to make all things new.


Jesus, Thou Joy of loving hearts,
Thou Fount of life, Thou Light of men,
From the best bliss that earth imparts,
We turn unfilled to Thee again.

Thy truth unchanged hath ever stood;
Thou savest those that on Thee call;
To them that seek Thee Thou art good,
To them that find Thee all in all.

We taste Thee, O Thou living Bread,
And long to feast upon Thee still;
We drink of Thee, the Fountainhead,
And thirst our souls from Thee to fill.

Our restless spirits yearn for Thee,
Wherever our changeful lot is cast;
Glad when Thy gracious smile we see,
Blessed when our faith can hold Thee fast.

O Jesus, ever with us stay,
Make all our moments calm and bright;
Chase the dark night of sin away,
Shed over the world Thy holy light.


APOSTLES' CREED (modern version)

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. AMEN.


O sacred head, surrounded
by crown of piercing thorn!
O bleeding head, so wounded,
reviled and put to scorn!
Our sins have marred the glory
of thy most holy face,
yet angel hosts adore thee
and tremble as they gaze

I see thy strength and vigor
all fading in the strife,
and death with cruel rigor,
bereaving thee of life;
O agony and dying!
O love to sinners free!
Jesus, all grace supplying,
O turn thy face on me.

In this thy bitter passion,
Good Shepherd, think of me
with thy most sweet compassion,
unworthy though I be:
beneath thy cross abiding
for ever would I rest,
in thy dear love confiding,
and with thy presence blest.


When I survey the wondrous cross
where the young Prince of Glory died,
my richest gain I count but loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
save in the cross of Christ, my God:
all the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.

See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were an offering far too small;
love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.


I cannot tell how he whom angels worship
should stoop to love the peoples of the earth,
or why as shepherd he should seek the wanderer
with his mysterious promise of new birth.
But this I know, that he was born of Mary,
when Bethlehem's manger was his only home,
and that he lived at Nazareth and labored,
and so the Savior, Savior of the world, is come.

I cannot tell how silently he suffered,
as with his peace he graced this place of tears,
or how his heart upon the cross was broken,
the crown of pain to three and thirty years.
But this I know, he heals the broken-hearted,
and stays our sin, and calms our lurking fear,
and lifts the burden from the heavy laden,
for yet the Savior, Savior of the world, is here.

I cannot tell how he will win the nations,
how he will claim his earthly heritage,
how satisfy the needs and aspirations
of east and west, of sinner and of sage.
But this I know, all flesh shall see his glory,
and he shall reap the harvest he has sown,
and some glad day his sun shall shine in splendor
when he the Savior, Savior of the world, is known.

I cannot tell how all the lands shall worship,
when, at his bidding, every storm is stilled,
or who can say how great the jubilation
when every heart with perfect love is filled.
But this I know, the skies will thrill with rapture,
and myriad, myriad human voices sing,
and earth to heaven, and heaven to earth, will answer:
'At last the Savior, Savior of the world, is King!'


Jesus remember me
When you come into your kingdom (Taize)

Notes: Colossians 1:15-20, Philippians 2:5-11, Romans 8:1, 28, 38-39; You are holy O God of majesty - from the American Presbyterian Book of common Worship 1993 p.70. Jesus Thou Joy common tune; O Sacred Head; When I Survey; I Cannot Tell
Jesus Remember Me (Taize)


God of grace
You have given me a mind to know you
a heart to love you
and a voice to sing your praise.

Fill me with your Spirit
that I may celebrate your love
worship you in spirit and in truth
and live your will for me.



Come, Holy Spirit
Come as holy fire to burn in me
come as holy wind to cleanse me within
come as holy light to lead me in the darkness
come as holy truth to dispel my ignorance
come as holy power to enable my weakness
come as holy life to dwell in me.
Convict me, convert me, consecrate me
until I am set free from merely serving myself
to be your servant in the world.



Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me.
Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me.
Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.
Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me.

Notes: Spirit of the Living God



I believe in God the Father, Creator and Creative
He gives me his steadfast love
and shares my joy
and gives me strength when I suffer.

His power is available for me. I trust him.

I follow Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man.
His death is my victory
His resurrection is my hope.
In him the Word has become flesh.

In him I am offered forgiveness of all my sins,
renewal from failure,
reconciliation from brokenness,
release from despair.

I am guided by the Holy Spirit, God's presence in my life and in the world.
By the Spirit I am called to belong to Christ's church,
To celebrate his love
To seek justice and resist evil.

Because we are his disciples, his pilgrim people, we joyfully
covenant with each other
to walk together in love,
to pray for one another,
to care for one another,
to live in koinonia.

In life, in death, in life beyond death
God is with us.
We are not alone.
Thanks be to God!


Blessed Lord,
who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning;
Grant that I may hear them,
read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them,
that I may embrace and ever hold fast
the blessed hope of everlasting life,
which you have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ.


Merciful Lord,
when we come to your table
I do not presume to trust in my own goodness
but in your all-embracing love and mercy...

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Lift up your hearts

We lift them to the Lord

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God

It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is truly right and our greatest joy to give you thanks and praise, O Lord our God, creator and ruler of the universe. In your wisdom you made all things and sustain them by your power. You formed us in your image, setting us in this world to love and to serve you and to live in peace with your whole creation. When we rebelled against you, refusing to trust and obey you, you did not reject us, but still claimed us as your own. You sent the prophets the call us back to your way. Then in the fullness of time, out of your great love for the world, you sent your only Son to be one of us, to redeem us and heal our brokenness. For our sakes he opened his arms on the cross; he put an end to death and revealed the resurrection. In this he fulfilled your will and won for you all holy people. Therefore we praise you, joining our voices with choirs of angels, with the prophets, apostles and martyrs, and with all the faithful of every time and place, who forever sing to the glory of your name, saying:

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.


Almighty God, bless your church [with whom/where I worship and throughout the world].
There may the faithful find salvation
And the careless be awakened.
May the doubting find faith,
and the anxious be encouraged.
May the tempted find help,
and the sorrowful comfort.
May the weary find rest,
and the strong be renewed.
May the aged find consolation,
and the young be inspired,
through Jesus Christ my Lord.


Lord, bless your people who are living in danger of persecution, violence, torture and sometimes death, for 'The Name' - 70% of the world's population of nearly 7 billion people.


Eternal God and Father,
by whose power we are created and by whose love we are redeemed:
guide and strengthen us by your Spirit,
that we may give ourselves to your service,
and live this day in love to one another and to you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Notes: 'It is truly right and our greatest joy' - adapted from the widely-used 'Great Thanksgiving', prayed in many communion services. More on persecution of Christians - see here.


God's already made it plain how to live, what to do,
what God is looking for in men and women.
It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don't take yourself too seriously—
take God seriously.

Jesus: You're hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but on the meat of God's Law, things like fairness and compassion and commitment—the absolute basics!—you carelessly take it or leave it. Careful bookkeeping is commendable, but the basics are required. Do you have any idea how silly you look, writing a life story that's wrong from start to finish, nitpicking over commas and semicolons?

I've had it with you! You're hopeless, you Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but manage to find loopholes for getting around basic matters of justice and God's love. Careful bookkeeping is commendable, but the basics are required.


So what are followers of Jesus to do in their world? Short answer: whatever Jesus did in his. And it can all be put under these headings: evangelism, compassion/mercy, justice, reconciliation and peace-making...


Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
when there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand,
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying [to ourselves] that we are born to eternal life.


Lord, I have not loved you with a pure heart,
nor loved my neighbour as myself.
I am guilty of ignoring injustice,
I have not been kind when I had so many opportunities,
I have been proud, and not walked humbly before you, my God...

Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy...

Jesus, Lamb of God
have mercy on me.

Jesus, bearer of my sins,
have mercy on me.

Jesus, redeemer of the world,
grant me your peace.


I will go out into the world in peace
and with courage,
holding on to what is good,
returning to no one evil for evil,
strengthening the fainthearted,
supporting the weak, helping those who suffer,
honoring all people
loving and serving the Lord,
rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.


Lord I receive your ancient blessing:

God bless you and keep you,

God smile on you and gift you,

God look you full in the face
and make you prosper.

Notes: Micah 6:8, Matthew 23:23, Luke 11:42, Prayer of St. Francis, Aaronic blessing Numbers 6:24-26.


God can do anything, you know — far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Glory to God in the church!
Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!
Glory down all the generations!
Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!


When you walk through the storm, hold your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark.
Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain,
Though your dreams be tossed and blown.
Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone,
You'll never walk alone.


1. Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment,
I've no cause for worry or for fear.
He, whose heart is kind beyond all measure,
Gives unto each day what He deems best,
Lovingly it's part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

2. Every day the Lord Himself is near me,
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear and cheer me,
He whose name is Counsellor and Pow'r.
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
"As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,"
This the pledge to me He made.

3. Help me then, in every tribulation,
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith's sweet consolation,
Offered me within Thy holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
E'er to take, as from a father's hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till with Christ the Lord I stand.


Happiness in 850 words or less:

* What you make of your life is up to you. God has given you all the tools and resources you need; what you do with them is up to you. When you lose, don't lose the lesson. The choice is yours. The grass is NOT greener anywhere else. Life is what you make it. Avoid the 'if only...' syndrome at all costs. A certain amount of opposition is of great help: kites rise against, not with, the wind. A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour

* Others are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself. A grudge is a heavy thing to carry. When you say, "I'm sorry", look the person in the eye. Give away smiles, and watch them come back to you a hundred times over. Be the first to congratulate an opponent who succeeds. Be loving to those who do not love you, and they may change. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut): this single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble. Love is the greatest of all gifts so share it even if you receive nothing in return

* A serenity of spirit cannot be achieved until we become the masters of our own action and attitudes. To let another determine whether we shall be rude or gracious, elated or depressed, is to relinquish control over our own personalities, which is ultimately all we possess. The only true possession is self-possession

* Don't undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others. It is because we are different that each of us is special

* Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape

* Free your heart from hatred,
Free your mind from worries
Live Simply
Give More
Expect Less

* Count your blessings. Take your work seriously, but not yourself at all. Appreciate, appreciate, appreciate others around you

* Spend some time alone

* Today. . . I will look in the mirror and I will see a person worthy of my respect and admiration. This capable individual looking back at me is someone I enjoy spending time with and someone I would like to get to know better

* Get organized so everything has its place

* Surviving and living your life successfully requires courage. The goals and dreams you're seeking require courage and risk-taking. Learn from the turtle -- it only makes progress when it sticks out its neck. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a stroke of luck

* Trust in God but lock your car

* 40% of anxiety is about things that will never happen; 30% relates to things about the past that can't be changed; 12% is about criticism by others, mostly untrue; 10% of anxiety concerns our health, which gets worse with the stress; and 8% is about real problems that we will actually face

* I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do (Helen Keller)

* Be wise enough to know that you do not know everything. Be foolish enough to believe in miracles

* Be gentle with the earth. Every day be amazed at something in God's creation

* He who dies with the most toys is still dead. Simplify and unclutter your life

* For the body - assume you've had a heart attack; now live accordingly. For the heart - assume everything you say about another, they can overhear; now speak accordingly (Steven Covey)

* The journey to happiness involves finding the courage to go down into ourselves and take responsibility for what's there: all of it (Richard Rohr)

* The idea that there are shortcuts to happiness which bypass personal strengths and virtues 'lead to legions of [wealthy] people [who are] starving spiritually'. Some key ingredients in happiness include - in addition to optimism - qualities like altruism, the ability to postpone gratification, future-mindedness, and humor (Martin Seligman)

* Don't let your life slip through your fingers by living in the past or for the future. By living your life one day at a time, you live all the days of your life!

* Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.

* Work like you don't need money,
Love like you've never been hurt,
And dance like no one's watching

* God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons we could not learn in any other way. The way we learn those lessons is not to deny the feelings but to find the meanings underlying them. (Stanley Lindquist)

* Actually, you already have everything you need to live a joyful life. You have Christ. You have eternal life. You are loved by a heavenly Father who has promised to supply all your needs. No wonder the Bible repeatedly commands us to be thankful (1 Thessalonians 5:18). If you really want to be happy, learn to be thankful for what you have and not covet what you don't have (Neil Anderson).


Lord, for the years your love has kept and guided,
urged and inspired us, cheered us on our way,
sought us and saved us, pardoned and provided:
Lord for the years, we bring our thanks today.

Lord, for that word, the word of life which fires us,
speaks to our hearts and sets our souls ablaze,
teaches and trains, rebukes us and inspires us:
Lord of the word, receive your people's praise.

Lord, for our land in this our generation,
spirits oppressed by pleasure, wealth and care:
for young and old, for commonwealth and nation,
Lord of our land, be pleased to hear our prayer.

Lord, for our world where men disown and doubt you,
loveless in strength, and comfortless in pain,
hungry and helpless, lost indeed without you:
Lord of the world, we pray that Christ may reign.

Lord for ourselves; in living power remake us-
self on the cross, and Christ upon the throne,
past put behind us, for the future take us:
Lord of our lives, to live for Christ alone.


God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen.


Lord, I believe in the sun even if it isn’t shining. I believe in love even when I am alone. I believe in you even when you are silent.


Lord, set me free from a past that I cannot change;
open to me a future in which I can be changed;
and grant me your grace
to grow more and more in your likeness and image;
through Jesus Christ, the light of the world.


Almighty and merciful God
from whom comes all that is good,
I praise you for your mercies,
for your goodness that has created me,
your grace that has sustained me,
your discipline that has corrected me,
your patience that has borne with me,
and your love that has redeemed me.

Help me to love you,
and to be thankful for all your gifts
by serving you and delighting to do your will
through Jesus Christ my Lord.

I arise today through God's strength to pilot me;
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me ...

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise.

Christ in the heart of every person who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of every one who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength the invocation of the Trinity.


Notes: Ephesians 3:20-21; When You Walk Through the Storm (Mahalia Jackson); Day by Day words and music - this hymn has become well-known around the world especially where evangelical American missionaries have been ministering. The happiness quotes have been selected from the John Mark Ministries website. Try the keyword happiness. The tune for Lord for the years is here. The Serenity Prayer is variously attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr, or before him Friedrich Oetinger? Boethius? 'I Arise Today' - the famous prayer of St. Patrick.


Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours
now and forever. Amen.


Then the Angel showed me Water-of-Life River, crystal bright. It flowed from the Throne of God and the Lamb, right down the middle of the street. The Tree of Life was planted on each side of the River, producing twelve kinds of fruit, a ripe fruit each month. The leaves of the Tree are for healing the nations. Never again will anything be cursed. The Throne of God and of the Lamb is at the center. His servants will offer God service—worshiping, they'll look on his face, their foreheads mirroring God. Never again will there be any night. No one will need lamplight or sunlight. The shining of God, the Master, is all the light anyone needs. And they will rule with him age after age after age...

"Come!" say the Spirit and the Bride.
Whoever hears, echo, "Come!"
Is anyone thirsty? Come!
All who will, come and drink,
Drink freely of the Water of Life!

He who testifies to all these things says it again: "I'm on my way! I'll be there soon!"

Yes! Come, Master Jesus!

The grace of the Master Jesus be with all of you. Oh, Yes!


* In the world to come, I shall not be asked, "Why were you not Moses?" I shall be asked, "Why were you not Zusya?" (Rabbi Zusya)

* 'There is only one path to Heaven. On Earth, we call it Love.'

* For the Christian, heaven is where Jesus is. We do not need to speculate on what heaven will be like. It is enough to know that we will be for ever with Him.
(William Barclay)

* Union with God is the only heaven there is, and it begins here on earth.
(Macrina Wiederkehr - A Tree Full of Angels)

* Silently one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven, Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels. (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

* Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven. (Henry Ward Beecher)

* God’s in his heaven: All’s right with the world. (Robert Browning)

* Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish; Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal. (Thomas Moore - Come Ye Disconsolate)

*Those who never rebelled against God or at some point in their lives shaken their fists in the face of heaven, have never encountered God at all. (Catherine Marshall - Christy)

* A teardrop on earth summons the King of heaven. (Charles R. Swindoll)

* Be at peace with your own soul, then heaven and earth will be at peace with you.
(St. Jerome) Lower your expectations of earth. This isn’t heaven, so don’t expect it to be. (Max Lucado)

* Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind. (C.S. Lewis) All this, and Heaven too!
(Philip Henry)

* ...the traffic of Jacob’s ladder
Pitched between Heaven and Charing Cross. (Francis Thompson)

* If I cannot smoke cigars in Heaven, I shall not go. (Mark Twain). If there is no laughter in heaven, I'm not going there (Martin Luther).



Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous;
teach me to serve You as You deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to seek reward,
except that of knowing that I do Your will.


God be in my head, and in my understanding;
God be in mine eyes, and in my looking;
God be in my mouth, and in my speaking;
God be in my heart, and in my thinking;
God be at mine end, and at my departing.


Abide with me: fast falls the eventide;
the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide:
when other helpers fail and comforts flee,
help of the helpless, O abide with me.

I need thy presence every passing hour;
what but thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless;
ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death's dark sting? where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if thou abide with me.

Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes;
shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies;
heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.


Lighten our darkness, Lord,
and by your great mercy defend me from all perils and dangers of this night;
for the love of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

Notes: Excerpts Revelation 22; 'Lord Jesus teach me to be generous' is the famous prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Music for God be in my head (Sarum Primer) is here, and Abide with me here.