Friday, December 18, 2015

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Story Begins Again

The Church calendar helps us tell the gospel story of Jesus. The following simple and succinct explanation of the Church year is given by Brian Zahnd:

ADVENT anticipates the coming of Messiah.
CHRISTMAS celebrates the birth of Jesus.
EPIPHANY remembers the revelation of Christ to the Gentiles.

LENT is the solemn journey to the cross.
EASTER is the celebration of the resurrection.
PENTECOST marks the birth of the church.
ORDINARY TIME (or Kingdom Time) leads us through the year and back to Advent.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Glory to God

Glory to you, O God, Creator and Father,
for the universe in which we live, 
and for men made in your own image. 
Glory to you, O Christ,
who took a human body and redeemed our fallen nature. 
Glory to you, O Holy Spirit, 
who made our bodies the temple of your presence. 
Glory to Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
 whose will it is that we should be made whole
 in body, mind and spirit. 
Glory to God to all eternity.

~ ~ ~ George Appleton (1902-1993)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Grant Us Grace

O Lord our God,
grant us grace to desire thee with our whole heart,
that so desiring, we may seek and find thee; 
and so finding thee we may love thee; 
and loving thee we may hate those sins from which thou hast redeemed us;
for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen
~ ~ ~ Anselm (1033-1109)

Monday, November 2, 2015

How Great Is Your Goodness

How great is your goodness, dear Lord!
Blessed are you for ever!
May all created things praise you, O God,
for loving us so much that we can truthfully speak
of your fellowship with mankind, even in this earthly exile;
and however virtuous we may be,
our virtue always depends on your great warmth
and generosity, dear Lord.
Your bounty is infinite.
How wonderful are your works!
~ ~ ~ St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)

Saturday, October 31, 2015

A Prayer for Communion (Tozer)

Dear Lord and Savior, we come to your table in faith, for you have told us, "As often as you do this, do it in memory of Me." Help us to celebrate this remembrance of death and resurrection in the very best way we know how. Do then, we pray Thee, overshadow us with Thy very breathing Presence. Breathe on us, O Breath of God; quicken and heal and purify and cleanse. Strengthen and perfect that which is wanting in us. Bless the strangers and the friends who happen to be within our gates today. Dear Lord, make them sense that they have found a home among us as we worship, and to realize that they are just as much "owners" here as we are; for it is the Lord's house and the Lord's table—it is not ours. We are all guests and children in the household—all of us! And we pray that we may love Thee acceptably, for we would not wound Thee again! Thou didst love us with such poured-out love that not even the blood in Thy veins was dear enough to Thee—we were dearer than that blood! All of this we ask in Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. ~ ~ ~ A. W. Tozer

Sunday, October 25, 2015


May God bless you with discontent with easy answers, half truths, superficial relationships, so that you will live from deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, abuse, and exploitation of people, so that you will work for justice, equality, and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you will reach out your hand to comfort them and to change their pain to joy.

May God bless you with the foolishness to think you can make a difference in this world, so that you will do the things which others tell you cannot be done.

If you have the courage to accept these blessings, then God will also bless you with
      happiness—because you will know that you have made life better for others.
      inner peace—because you will have worked to     secure an outer peace for others.
      laughter—because your heart will be light.
      faithful friends—because they will recognize your worth as a person.

These blessings are yours—not for the asking, but for the giving—from One who wants to be your companion, our God, who lives and reigns, forever and ever. Amen.

Sister Ruth Fox, OSB
Sacred Heart Monastery
Richardton, ND

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Flavel on the Lord's Supper

“The Lord’s Supper comes to us like a ring plucked off from Christ’s finger, or a bracelet from His arm; or rather like His picture from His breast, delivered to us with such words as these, 'As oft as you look on this, remember me.'” - John Flavel (1627-1691)

Friday, October 9, 2015

Prayer to the God of Creativity

Creator God,
your Spirit enables our own creative abilities as we allow Him to work
through our words, our hands and our imaginations.

We thank you for the beauty of created things,
for pots and bowls moulded
by the skilful manipulation of clay,
for a portrait which captures the essence of a personality,
for the written word which transports us to a faraway place
a poem that captures the raw emotion of a moment,
a prayer that speaks to our heart and soul.

You are present wherever mankind opens its eyes to see, can be heard whenever mankind opens its ears to hear, can be felt as hands are outstretched in faith.

 - John Birch,

Monday, September 28, 2015


O Lord,
grant that I may meet the coming day in peace.
Help me in all things
to rely upon Thy Holy Will.
In every hour of the day,
reveal Thy will to me.
Bless my dealings with all who surround me.
Teach me to treat all that comes to me
throughout the day with peace of soul,
and with the firm conviction

that Thy will governs all.
In all my deeds and words,
guide my thoughts and feelings.
In unforeseen events, let me not forget
that all are sent by Thee.
Teach me to act firmly and wisely,
without embittering and embarrassing others.
Give me the strength to bear the fatigue
of the coming day with all that it shall bring.
Direct my will.
Teach me to pray.
Pray Thou Thyself in me.

~ ~ ~ Philaret of Moscow (Russsia/1782-1867)

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Prayer for Watchfulness

Keep us, O Lord,
while we tarry on this earth,
in a serious seeking after you,
and in an affectionate walking with you,
every day of our lives;
that when you come,
we may be found not hiding our talent,
nor serving the flesh,
nor yet asleep with our lamp unfurnished,
but waiting and longing for our Lord,
our glorious God forever. Amen.
~ ~ ~ Richard Baxter (1615-1691)

Friday, August 28, 2015

Monk cartoons to make you smile

Just a couple of cartoons I ran across in my clippings.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


“Steer the ship of my life, good Lord, to your quiet harbour, where I can be safe from the storms of sin and conflict. Show me the course I should take. Renew in me the gift of discernment, so that I can always see the right direction in which I should go. And give me the strength and the courage to choose the right course, even when the sea is rough and the waves are high, knowing that through enduring hardship and danger in your name we shall find comfort and peace.” ~ ~ ~ St. Basil of Caesarea.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Prayer for Trust in Jesus

O Christ Jesus,
when all is darkness
and we feel our weakness and helplessness,
give us the sense of Your presence,
Your love, and Your strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
in Your protecting love
and strengthening power,
so that nothing may frighten or worry us,
for, living close to You,
we shall see Your hand,
Your purpose, Your will through all things.

- Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556)

Monday, June 22, 2015

A Prayer of Ambrose of Milan

O Lord, who hast mercy upon all, take away from me my sins,
and mercifully kindle in me the fire of thy Holy Spirit.
Take away from me the heart of stone,
and give me a heart of flesh,
a heart to love and adore thee,
a heart to delight in thee,
to follow and to enjoy thee,
for Christ's sake.

 ~ ~ ~ Ambrose of Milan (340-397 a.d.)

Friday, June 19, 2015

In the Cross

"In the Cross is salvation;
in the Cross is life;
in the Cross is protection against our enemies;
in the Cross is infusion of heavenly sweetness;
in the Cross is strength of mind;
in the Cross is joy of spirit;
in the Cross is excellence of virtue;
in the Cross is perfection of holiness.
There is no salvation of soul, nor hope of eternal life, save in the Cross. Take up the Cross, therefore, and follow Jesus, and go forward into eternal life." ~ ~ ~ Thomas  à Kempis (1380-1471)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

On the Simplicity of Jesus

The Lord ate from a common bowl, and asked the disciples to sit on the grass. He washed their feet, with a towel wrapped around His waist – He, who is the Lord of the universe! He drank water from a jug of earthenware, with the Samaritan woman. Christ made use His aim, not extravagance.
 ~ ~ ~ Clement of Alexandria (c.150-215 a.d.)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion  to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 
                     ~ ~  ~ Book of Common Prayer

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

St. Nikon of Optina Quotes

“In order to fulfill the commandments of Christ, you must know them! Read the Holy Gospel, penetrate its spirit and make it the rule of your life.”  ~ ~ ~ St. Nikon of Optina

"Do not forget prayer; it is the life of the soul."  ~ ~ ~ St. Nikon of Optina

“Most of our sins happen because we forget the commandments of God.” ~ ~ ~ St. Nikon of Optina

“We must consider all evil things, even the passions which war against us, to be not our own, but of our enemy the devil. This is very important. You can only conquer a passion when you do not consider it as part of you.” ~ ~ ~ St. Nikon of Optina

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Zwingli and Holy Communion

When it comes to the ordinance or sacrament of Holy Communion, a number of Protestant churches (through one of which I am ordained) often state that they hold to the "Zwinglian view of Communion." Usually this means that they believe Communion is simply a memorial only, focusing on Jesus' words, "Do this in remembrance of Me." What many fail to realize is what Zwingli* actually said and believed about Communion. Here are his words:

 "We believe that Christ is truly present in the Lord’s Supper; yea, that there is no communion without such presence ... We believe that the true body of Christ is eaten in the communion, not in a gross and carnal manner, but in a sacramental and spiritual manner by the religious, believing and pious heart." (In his 1531 "Confessions to King Francis 1.")

Zwingli, at least in his later years, did not believe Holy Communion was merely a memorial, but that Christ was truly present. 

* Huldrych Zwingli was a Swiss reformer (1484-1531)

Saturday, April 4, 2015


Discouragement . . .

but what a difference a Day can make!

Friday, April 3, 2015

What Happened on the Cross

By nothing else except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ has death been brought low:
  •       The sin of our first parent destroyed,
  •       hell plundered,
  •       resurrection bestowed,
  •       the power given us to despise the things of this world,
  •       even death itself,
  •       the road back to the former blessedness made smooth,
  •       the gates of paradise opened, 
  •       our nature seated at the right hand of God,
  •       and we made children and heirs of God.

By the cross all these things have been set aright:
  •       It is a seal that the destroyer may not strike us,
  •       a raising up of those who lie fallen,
  •       a support for those who stand,
  •       a staff for the infirm,
  •       a crook for the shepherded,
  •       a guide for the wandering,
  •       a perfecting of the advanced,
  •       salvation for soul and body,
  •       a deflector of all evils,
  •       a cause of all goods,
  •       a destruction of sin,
  •       a plant of resurrection,
  •       and a tree of eternal life

- John of Damascus (675-749 a.d.)

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Not as I will, but as Thou wilt

"My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt." - Matthew 26:39

Oh, Jesus, in deepest night and agony You spoke these words of trust and surrender to God the Father in Gethsemane. In love and gratitude I want to say in times of fear and distress, "My Father, I do not understand You, but I trust you."

This stone plaque is located just outside the Church of All Nations, which is officially named the Basilica of the Agony. It is located at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem next to the Garden of Gethsemane.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

About Fools, Wiser Than The World

“We are fools for Christ’s sake” (1 Corinthians 4:10).

Thus speaks the great Apostle Paul who in the beginning was guided by worldly wisdom, which is against Christ, until he recognizes the falsehood and decay of the wisdom of the world and the light and stability of the wisdom of Christ. Then, the holy apostle did not become angry with the world because they called him “a fool for Christ’s sake” neither did he, in defiance of the world, hesitate to be called by this name.

It is not of any value to us how the world is going to regard or call us. However, it is important, and extremely important, how the holy angels in the heavens will regard and call us when, after death, we meet with them. This is of crucial importance and everything else is nothing.

Either we are fools for the world because of Christ or we are fools for Christ because of the world. O how short-lived is the sound of a word of the world! If the world would say to us “fool,” the world will die and its word will die! What then is the value of its word? But if the heavenly, immortal ones say to us “fool,” that will neither die nor is it removed from us as eternal condemnation.

Whoever does not believe in the Living God, nor in eternal life, nor in the Incarnation of the Lord Christ, nor in Christ’s Resurrection nor in the truth of the Gospel nor in God’s eternal mercy and justice – is it any wonder if he considers that one a fool who does believes in all of this?

O, may every one of us who cross ourselves with the Sign of the Cross not only find it easy to endure but with satisfaction receive the name “fool” for Christ’s sake! Let us rejoice and be glad if the non-believers call us such, for that means that we are close to Christ and far away from the non-believers. Let us rejoice and be glad and repeat with a powerful echo in the ears of the world: yes, yes, indeed we are fools for Christ’s sake!

O Lord Most-wise, strengthen us by Your power that we not fear the non-believing world neither when they lash us with whips nor when they insult us with words for Your sake.\

— St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Message of the Donkey

"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey."
- Zechariah 9:9

On Palm Sunday we commemorate Christ's "triumphal entry" into Jerusalem. There was great celebration and jubilation as Jesus entered that city, just a few days before the One being proclaimed as king would be put to death. Notice that he came, however, riding on a donkey and not a horse. This is significant. The Bible mentions horses some 185 times, always in some sort of military context. When a king or general who was bent on war would enter a city, he would come riding in on a horse - a war horse, if you will, but when he was on a mission of peace, he would ride in on a donkey. Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem was as the Prince of Peace, not as a military general nor as a warrior king. May we, like our King, be people of peace.

"Hosanna! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!' The King of Israel!" - John 12:13

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Perspective on Prayer

Our Father,

Thy name;

Thy kingdom ;

Thy will;

(our stuff)

Thy kingdom;

Thy power;

Thy glory;


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Breathe in me O Holy Spirit,

that my thoughts may all be holy.

Act in me O Holy Spirit, 

that my work, too, may be holy.

Draw my heart O Holy Spirit,

that I love but what is holy.

Strengthen me O Holy Spirit, 

to defend all that is holy.

Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, 

that I always may be holy. Amen.


~ ~ ~ St. Augustine (Algeria/354-430)

Prayer Against the Fear of the Unknown

O Lord, we beseech thee to deliver us from the fear of the unknown future; from fear of failure; from fear of poverty; from fear of bereavement;

from fear of loneliness; 

from fear of sickness and pain; 

from fear of age; 

from fear of death.

Help us, O Father, by thy grace to love and fear thee only, fill our hearts with cheerful courage and loving trust in thee; through our Lord and Master Jesus Christ.

~ ~ ~ Akanu Ibaim (Nigeria/1906-1995)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Saint Patrick's Prayer

May the Strength of God pilot us.
May the Power of God preserve us.
May the Wisdom of God instruct us.
May the Hand of God protect us.
May the Way of God direct us.
May the Shield of God defend us.
May the Host of God guard us.
Against the snares of the evil ones.

Against temptations of the world.
May Christ be with us!
May Christ be before us!
May Christ be in us,
Christ be over all!
May Thy Salvation, Lord,
Always be ours,
This day, O Lord, and evermore. Amen.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Prayer to Do Good

"Forgive me, most gracious Lord and Father, if this day I have done or said anything to increase the pain of the world. Pardon the unkind word, the impatient gesture, the hard and selfish deed, the failure to show sympathy and kindly help where I had the opportunity, but missed it; and enable me so to live that I may daily do something to lessen the tide of human sorrow, and add to the sum of human happiness." ~ ~ ~ F.B.Meyer (England, 1847-1929)

Monday, February 23, 2015

A Prayer for the Persecuted Church

Heavenly Father,
We pray for our brothers and sisters around the world who are suffering for Your Name's sake -
for those who have lost homes and possessions, family and friends simply because they profess faith in your Son, Jesus.

We pray for those who have been arrested, beaten, imprisoned, tortured beyond what we can even imagine, for the sake of Christ and the Gospel,
for the multitude of Christians who are in prison even now as we gather in the comfort of our church sanctuary.

Grant these Your grace that they may endure,
grant them courage that their faith would not waver;
may they remain true to the One who suffered and died for them.

Give them the assurance that the sufferings of this present time
are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Give them love for their enemies that they might bless and not curse them,
that, in their suffering, they might testify of the love of Jesus for sinners.

May they rejoice that they are considered worthy to suffer for His name.
Give them joy in spite of their suffering,
and peace in spite of their pain,
knowing that a great reward awaits them.

We pray for their families,
that You would meet all their needs,
that they would not lose hope,
that their faith in You would remain strong.

We do pray for the release of these, Your children,
but until that day, may Your grace prevail and the
name of Jesus be glorified.

We ask this in the name of Your Son Jesus,
Who suffered and died for us. Amen.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

John Wesley's Rules for Congregational Singing (1761)


1. Sing all. See that you join with the congregation as frequently as you can. Let not a slight degree of weakness or weariness hinder you. If it is a cross to you, take it up and you will find a blessing.

2. Sing lustily, and with a good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of it being heard, then when you sing the songs of Satan.
3. Sing modestly. Do not bawl, as to be heard above, or distinct from, the rest of the congregation, that you may not destroy the harmony; but strive to unite your voices together, so as to make one clear melodious sound.
4. Sing in time. Whatever time is sung, be sure to keep with it. Do not run before, not stay behind it; but attend closely to the leading voices, and move therewith as exactly as you can. And take care you sing not too slow. This drawling way naturally steals on all who are lazy; and it is high time to drive it out from among us, and sing all our tunes just as quick as we did at first.
5. Above all, sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing Him more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to do this, attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually; so shall your singing be such as the Lord will approve of here, and reward when he cometh in the clouds of heaven.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Save the Afflicted

We beseech thee, Master,
to be our helper and protector.
Save the afflicted among us;
have mercy on the lowly;
raise up the fallen; 
appear to the needy;
heal the ungodly;
restore the wanderers of thy people;
feed the hungry;
ransom our prisoners;
raise up the sick;
comfort the faint-hearted.
 ~ ~ ~ Clement of Rome (1st Century) 
For the poor and the oppressed,
for the unemployed and the destitute,
for prisoners and captives,
and for all who remember and care for them,
let us pray to the Lord.
"Lord, have mercy."
~ ~ ~ Book of Common Prayer

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Prayer for Ephiphany 2015

Lord Jesus Christ, 
You have shown yourself to the nations and transformed many by your radiant light. 

Your ongoing revelations bring a continual rebirth, recreating each of us in your likeness. 

May today’s rising sun remind us that your light is for the healing of the nations. Amen.

~ ~ ~ from Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Nativity Prayer of St. Augustine

As our Christmas season comes to a close (today is the 11th Day of Christmas), here is what is known as the Nativity Prayer of St. Augustine.

Let the just rejoice,
for their justifier is born.

Let the sick and infirm rejoice,
For their saviour is born.

Let the captives rejoice,
For their Redeemer is born.

Let slaves rejoice,
for their Master is born.

Let free men rejoice,
For their Liberator is born.

Let All Christians rejoice,
For Jesus Christ is born.


St. Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-440)