Vivian Pomeroy

From within the gloom of his beloved Dorothy’s death, when they were in the midst of life, and shadowed by a great war which threatened his native land and burdened his adopted one, Vivian Pomeroy captured in simple words the elusive questions and inevitable answers of everyone’s lire experiences. Here is the key to the man: All is well, whatever our troublous and complicating inventions, we shall be comfortable. It is God’s plan, that the best is yet to be.

Prescott B. Wintersteen


A New Prayer in the Old Church

O God, we speak the same name when we lift our hearts to you, but you know that we each mean something a little different, and some of us scarcely know what we mean. We come again that we may repose and reinforce our souls in you; for we feel that our lives have meanings beyond all that we have been able to discern of good and evil; meanings higher and deeper than our worst fears or loveliest dreams. So teach us to pray by somewhat yielding to the Greater Spirit which is beyond any name; and answer our prayers by the up springing of some fresh courage and wisdom. Forbid that we make our God in our own image and that alone; yet help us to know you in the depths of our own being, in all that concerns our truest selves and our love for others. Help us to hear in the worst the cry for the best, and to realize that all the patient, undaunted struggles are shared by you. Help us that we may help one another along the winding road of life, not merely by getting through but by getting up, by a gathering together nearer to a Light and Love including us all. Whatever else we receive in this time of worship, may we be touched by some assurance that the best is yet to be, because it is already in thy holy will for us and for all people; and we are yours now and forever.
New Prayers in Old Places


In The Morning I Will Look Up 

Light of the world, let this day fill up all its blue in our hearts, whatever it may bring to our skies. May we live it as those for whom all the yesterdays mark some better way than leads to dusty death. May we march with a song; may our feet be shod with a fine hard faith in living; and may we win at least some little token of the Eternal from the fleeting hours. We bless you for the work we have to do, and for our measure of health with which to do it, and for the spirit’s assurance that even by the weakest there is always something to be done. If doing without must be our portion, may we accept it with the valor of a decisive act. We bless you for the hopes which struggle out of our most wretched failures; for the chagrin which disturbs our shallow successes; and for the secret laughter which is somewhere in our bitterest tears. We bless you for the constant love of those with whom we dwell; for the friends who remain faithful even in their woundings; and for the surprising kindness we often meet from strangers. We bless you for those who are wiser than we are, and make us a little less foolish when we read their living words; and for those who are braver than we are, and make us a little less fearful when we behold their immortal deeds. We bless you for the dear Christ who gave himself for us all, and for the Christian family, beyond number or name, whereby the giving has never ceased and never shall. O True Light of life, we lift this day to thee.

New Prayers in Old Places


When the Old Year Ended 

O God of Life, we thank you for beautiful little things which we never dreamed could make us so happy, and for the way the stars shone on long hard stretches of the road we had to tread. We thank you for the small expectations which ended in great delight; for the visitations of friendships which took us by surprise in this quarrelling world of ours, and for the success which startled a heart schooled to face frequent defeat. We thank you that when we prayed for courage to face the worst, there was often the in- finite mercy of so much less than the worst; and we thank you that some of our desires were not satisfied because a wisdom deeper than our own withheld what we wanted for the moment and gave us what we needed forever. We bless you that, bereft of some things we felt we could not live without, we have had bestowed upon us other things to enable us to live on—a vision in the restless night, a quiet heart in the dreaded tumult, an inspiring thought when we were at our wits’ end, a sufficient grace in spite of our weakness. We praise you for that within us which, bloody and also bowed, has not been utterly conquered and never shall be, because those who love us make us continually ashamed of lying in the dust. Bless our future days to courage in our own troubles and kindness in the troubles of others. Bless our work to a little splendor and our homes to great loving. Bless our country to responsible freedom and our world to new hope. Forgive our sins against thee and against one another; and lead us gently down the years, out of the good that is into the better that is yet to be.

New Prayers in Old Places


From the Heart of Youth

O God, we thank you for life, and for all it holds of happiness and work and play and risk and courage and beauty.

We thank you for all the adventures of the mind, whereby we pursue what is true, grapple with difficult problems, and share a little in the vast heritage of human knowledge.

We thank you for the firmness of reasonable people in refusing to follow extremists; but we also thank you for the pioneers of advancing thought in science, art and religion.

We thank you for all heroic souls who shame our cowardice; for all sympathetic souls who communicate encouragement; for all saintly souls, seldom wearing haloes, who kindle our desire to be really good.

We thank you for friendship and the faces of those who look kindly upon us, even when we fail, and who greatly help to bring us 8ack to our bravest selves again.

We thank you for the exchange of gifts, for letters to and from those we love, for the sparkle of a pleasant wit, for the refreshment of unforced laughter, and for the song remembered for the singer’s sake.

We thank you for the freedom which growing older gives us from the troubles of being very young, so that we have more big things to care about and fewer little things to cry about.

Above all, we thank you for your call to be ourselves at our best, without miserably trying to be somebody else. So may we grow in the strength to make the best of things, trusting you that they will make the best of us.

New Prayers in Old Places


Another Year

O God, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, may we number our years as those whose hearts increase at least a little unto wisdom. And may such wisdom as we win never be a burden on our backs, but rather a staff in our hands and a lantern for our path. May the lessons of experience never be lifted up by us with conceit to throw a shadow before the feet of those younger than ourselves; but may the touch of time grant us the lovely magic of unconscious influence for good, even although what seems good to us is a little different to others. May our faces shine with understanding, however worn by our own joys and sorrows. May we be wise enough not to grieve when others refuse our counsel and find their way by a light of their own. May we always be sensible enough not to take ourselves too seriously. May growing old not make us pompous or servile, but may we be sufficient to our human situation. May age quicken our appreciation of the wonders of this earth and deepen our sense of things unseen. And may our memories be ministers to our hopes even when the tale of our years is told.

New Prayers in Old Places


For Healing after Pain

O God our undying hope, we thank you for the warmth which steals back into our hearts after a while:

for the healing which comes to wounded bodies and spirits through time;

for the blessed fact that the flood of pain does not last forever, and for the incredible bliss when the tide begins to ebb;

for the cheerfulness which breaks into our dark dungeon and strikes off our fetters when least expected, we know not how;

for the strange sadness which haunts our brightest hours because our hearts are made for a joy deeper than happiness;

for the insurgent courage which lifts its head above past mistakes and woes, and affirms its right to try again;

for the way in which old quarrels often become forgetful, and afford us the opportunity of being calm and compassionate;

for the golden thread of valor and good will never quite lost in the tragic wanderings of people and nations;

for the labors of whose who have sown that others may reap;

for the dear kindness of those who see us as once we were.

We thank you, God of our little faith, our greater hope, and above all our faltering love, which can never fail because it is more yours than ours.

New Prayers in Old Places


Bright Morning 

God of Life, we praise thee for the glory of earth’s sunshine, and for another day bright with the hope of our doing better than we did yesterday, and bringing its demand that we take account of our nearest duty and proceed to do it. We praise thee for that in us which responds to the bustle of our work time in the crowded city, and also for that in us which responds to the eloquent silence of the hills and quiet places.

We praise thee for the precious jewels which lie hidden in each day’s most common work, and for the priceless chance we have to serve our world, and for the assurance that the smallest task is not without its greatness when nobly done, and that nothing, however big, is fit to endure unless the spirit of humanity endures. We praise thee that there~ is no abiding place for hatred in this world.

We praise thee for the music made upon the strings of life by faithful, kindly hands; for the touch which turns material things into a means of grace and joy; for those who feed our bodies and refresh our spirits at the same time, and who sweeten our cup with their friendship. We praise thee for the remembered love which heals us of our self-despisings.

We praise thee for possessions we never bought and cannot sell and will never lose. We praise thee for the things we learn to do without, and the things we never cease to want but never win. We praise thee for the things we hold by letting go. We praise thee for the limitations of this mortal life, and bare walls upon which we hang the beauty of our eternal dream.

New Prayers in Old Places


Light at Eventide

O Dear God, sometimes, when the evening shadows are stretched out, there creeps into our hearts a longing which cannot be told. We are weary with the buffeting of the crowd and we are worn with the chatter of our own thoughts. We are dim and sad without quite knowing why. If we flee to the places of glitter and frivolity, we shall only find ourselves in the company of phantoms; and if we sit alone, we shall only hear the sighing in our gloomy hearts. May we not miss the moment of our tryst with thee. May we slip into the deep silence where you dwell — such a little way to go since you are so near we cannot see you. May our darkened spirits light their candles at your secret shrine — such a little flame, but showing so much when we patiently wait. Receive us then; overcome our vain dejection with the sternness of your beauty and defend us from all perils and dangers of our own night. Embrace us with your ever-presence, which makes the light and darkness both alike with a brightness more lovely than the sun or moon; and in self forgetfulness may we find our amiable souls again For your love’s sake

New Prayers in Old Places


“Thou Preparest a Table”


O God, whose goodness and mercy have followed us all the days of our life, we bless you because the beautiful cup of our love and friendship is not large enough to hold all that we feel at such a time as this. The cup runs over, and our thanksgiving spills itself toward an Infinite Giver, who is great enough to understand our humble joy.

We thank you that we do not become aloof from human worth by our gratitude to you. We thank you that we have known at least a little how true it is that where love is, God is. You have prepared a table before us, not only in the presence of our enemies, but in the presence of our dearest ones, and in the face of a most friendly company.

We bless you for the deep meaning of the word that goodness follows us and at some significant moment may catch up with its. So often it is only when we look back that we begin to understand a strange experience, and see that we were guided by a stronger power than our intention. We thank you for the keys given to unlock doors which once were fast; and for the discovery of golden treasure which now never can be spoiled and never consumed.

We bless you for the tender things which hearts can never fully tell in words; for the delicate flowers of affinity which speech is too clumsy to hold; for the hopes which shine like distant stars; for a faith in the future, a faith in life, which can look over the dark valleys and see the light of dawn on the faraway hills. Shepherd of all souls, in spite of all our fears, may we trust your enfolding love, and feel safe when all safety is lost.

New Prayers in Old Places


Every Day

O God of the Common Life, we thank you for all the things which are so ordinary that often we do not see that they are better than any marvels. We bless you for the sunrise which never has failed us yet, and for the sundown which softens even the hardest day. We bless you for the recruited vigor with which we turn to our work, and for the recurring weariness which prevents us working all the time. We bless you that every morning we awake from our dreams and every night escape from our realities. We bless you that ever and again some thing we disliked doing has made us strangely glad when we have done it. We have found that routine has a music of its own when we are patient to receive it. We bless you for the people whose love is so constant that they have no need to shout from the housetops; we bless you for all the people who serve us so faithfully that they never will be acclaimed as heroic; we bless you for the unnumbered kindnesses which forbid our despair of a cruel world. We bless you for our bodily health which we scarcely measure unless it runs short; we bless you because none of us can live forever, so can love life so much as to live it a day at a time. We bless you for the hosts of men and women who prove by their willingness that greed of gain is not the chief incentive to good work; we bless you for the inextinguishable joy of unfortunate persons, and for the solace of feeling oneself necessary to someone or something very near to one’s heart. May every day bring us happy astonishment at the exceeding value of what is ordinary.

New Prayers in Old Places



O my quiet mind, take me beneath the fretful surface of my thoughts about the people I dislike or those who dislike me. I would not wear the smooth smile of one who pretends to like everybody alike; nor would I be armored with the hardness of one who cannot feel a little hurt. But let me not measure others by the spot which is not warm towards me; and let not my heart declare war on those whose approval I do not win. Why should I complain so loudly within myself because somebody does not praise me, when all the time I know how much undeserved praise I receive? Why should I rage so bitterly because I meet some small unfairness, when I know of far greater things for which in all honesty I must condemn myself? Why should I expect everybody to be perfect in their attitude to me, when I share so lavishly the common imperfections? Teach me to profit from my mild foes as well as from my generous friends. Even an ignorant hostility can tell me something about myself. Let me put things in the balance, one thing against another; but forbid that I tip the balance and satisfy myself with loving favor while forgetting the value of adverse judgments. And save me from the dark vanity which makes it easier to condemn others than to be candid with myself. Let me understand that, when others are harsh towards me, it may be because they are unhappy about themselves. Let me not drive them deeper into their unhappiness by my resentments. Tell me, O my quiet mind, tell me again and again, that we are all children in a dark forest, finding our way, and seeing now and then gleams of glorious light. And let me not burden myself with the magnified faults of others when my own are so heavy on my back.

New Prayers in Old Places


God Save the People

O God of the Ages and of Today, whom with countless vain repetitions we have called our Parent, may we hallow thy name by helping to bring one family upon our earth, for there is no other way to do it; and may we seek thy reign in the justice and mercy of the commonweal of humanity, for otherwise we shall never find the gate. Again the hosts of the young have endured hardship and suffered agonies and spilled their lives for the dream of a world set free from the dread of war; and millions who never took the sword have perished, seeing more of cruel hate than of thy goodness in the land of the living. But the old fears are gathering to hold us in new thrall; the old furies are hastening to seize the power of new weapons; and some of us, who would not raise a rough hand against others, murder them with our genteel lips. 0 God of Truth and Love, speak in the minds and move in the wills of people everywhere and their governments, that they may raise the banners of a common faith, obey the summons of a common law, and work together for a common goal. Let us all awake from delusions and walk in the light of larger loyalties. Let us learn from each other that we may come to trust each other. Let us not only wish for enduring peace but venture forth to make it. And may our souls be swift to answer both thy whisper and thy trumpets, who art our Lover and our Judge in one.

New Prayers in Old Places


On Charter Day at an Academy

O God, who is the ancient of days and the ever new, we invoke your most gracious favor upon this good occasion.

You make the outgoings of the morning to rejoice.

Humbly we offer to you the pride and happiness we feel in the long continuance of this beloved school — its simple beginnings, its worthy history, its undaunted heart.

We give you thanks for those whose deed was the cornerstone of what was greater than their dreams, and whose liberal hand brought forth harvests far beyond their sight.

We praise you for their will to start, their patience to go on, and their healthy impatience to create truer opportunity for the youth of their town and their country.

We praise you for those who were content to be meritoriously obscure, whose own garlands were withered by the frost, but whose fortitude and graces, begotten of their trust in life and in thee, have grown into the enduring friendship of this school.

May the loyalty that was in their littleness still be in our largeness, so that always they shall have built better than they knew.

Strengthen beautifully at this time our bonds of kinship with our own past. Let all our memories reinforce our endeavors for the future. Let them not be as a sword hung upon the wall, but rather as the steel-true quality of our courage and our hopes.

So may we remain fit to hold this trust; and in thanksgiving for the old may we have faith for the new, that the memorial of the parents may be richly cherished by their children, and all our works be to the glory of thy Holy Name.

New Prayers in Old Places


In the Meetinghouse

Gracious Power, the world prevading, we with our imperfect offices of praise and prayer are met again to worship you. We are impelled by our desire to celebrate life.

By your wisdom mind is lighted,

By your love the heart excited,

Light and love all flow from you.

We pray that to this church all souls may be welcome and may feel gathered in by a spirit greater than our coming together. Here may little children love to come because they naturally are gifted with wonder. Here may the hearts of young men and women be lifted up because they want to live greatly, not meanly. Here may the weak be touched to a little more strength, and the strong be subdued to some gentle wisdom. Here may the sorrowing find a sweet morsel of comfort, and the happy ones be confirmed in the joy of self-forgetfulness. Here may the lost be encouraged to take the next step on their way, and the aged see a gleam of beauteous light at eventide. Here may the truth be spoken in love, and love cast out fear of the truth. Gracious Power, the world pervading, when you open the gates of the morning, may there be in this place of meeting an open door which no one can shut.

New Prayers in Old Places


A Christmas Prayer

God of all the Ages and of the Dayspring within these hearts of ours, we bless your name for the story of long ago, which becomes our story, too, and shall touch with its glory the souls of men and women forever. We praise you for the good tidings of great joy through thy wondrous Child.

We think of the babe, so small and tender, lying in the straw of the manger among the patient beasts, whose quiet breathing was his lullaby. And we pray that we may so reverence the life within ourselves that we may not injure bird or beast in malice or carelessness, or for the sake of vanity; but, having tenderness for all innocent things, may we rejoice in the friendship of faithful creatures.

We think of that night of waiting, amid the haste and noise of the time, when Mary Mother lay listening to the hurried footsteps of travelers and all the rough sounds of the inn. And we pray for all the mothers of babes soon to be born; and pray that compassion may be upon all young children, for fear that in our greedy tumult and blind speed we bring upon ourselves the condemnation of those who cause little ones to perish.

We think of the Wise Men, who came with their gifts,, following the star. And we pray that today the knowledge and power which we have gained by discovering the secrets of earth and sky may be devoted to the good of the world and not its evil, and may be used to save life and not to destroy it. We pray that the children of the future may escape the doom of war, and that all people may come together within the City of the Light.

We think of the shepherds, who heard the glad tidings while doing their daily work, abiding in the field. And we pray for all toilers to whom this happy season means weary hands and feet and long hours of labor. May they be visited by the strong comfort which has its abiding place in common things! And we pray for those in distress because no one has hired them. May they find refuge in the help of others; and may all the world have new hope!

We think of all who heard the song in the night, sounding faint and far away. And we pray for those who will keep their Christmas in strange places and away from their dear homes. We pray for those upon whom the en- chanted season throws a shadow of happy years gone by. May they light candles of patience, kindness and grateful memory, even when there are dark corners in their hearts. So may all our separations show us how far love can reach, and our broken circles teach us how closely love can bind.

God of all the Ages and of the Light that lights every one, we bless your holy name; and, with the multitude of the heavenly host and with the magnitude of the lowly ones of earth, we praise you, saying: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward all.

New Prayers in Old Places


Another Sunday in the Church

Source of all souls, once more we gather in this familiar place, which to many of your children has been as the house of God and the gate of heaven. Here again, each and all, we would renew our best resolutions, and be responsive to our brightest visions, and think on things that are true and just and lovely and of good report. If we do begin, as we must, at the human end, may we soon see that this life of ours can be divinely lived — has been, is, and always shall be, more and more; and that this fact is a revelation from the deep heart of all things. Here may we be not only a community of seekers, but of finders, too. When we cannot see eye to eye, may we see heart to heart, and not allow differences of opinion to harden too quickly into differences of spirit. May this church keep its place as a company of those who have different ways and different dispositions, but are drawn together because the spirit of Christ and the spirit of charity are greater than sect or creed. We want this church to abide as a place happily and nobly haunted; a house where, for young and old, one short hour helps to make all Sunday a good day and a glad day — a day of refreshing preparation for a well-spent week. We want this church to be a house of God just because we need leave nothing truly human outside its doors. We would bring the work we do — often hard — to be blessed with a touch of new light; and our joys however simple, and our sorrows however bitter, and our hopes for the world however frail — all to be taken up into the sense that we belong to one another and to you. As we gather, gather us in.

New Prayers in Old Places


Common Prayer

O God, the holy name for the heights we have seen — and how much more; the name for the depths we have felt — and how much more; we know in our hearts that we are weak and foolish as we come to you. And yet One who, we believe, knew you best, knew the heights of your law and the depths of your love, did say forever that, far from being weary of our coming, you do wait for us to come; you even run to meet us. We are so foolish often in our satisfactions as well as in our discontents; in our sadness as well as in our mirth; in our righteousness as much as in our sins. But let none of these states shut us up in our own smallness of spirit. Do bring us up from the glooms that wrap us round only because we are sorry for ourselves; do bring us down from the prides that stand only because we have been comparing ourselves with others. Show thy mercy upon us.

O God, we are speaking aloud to you, who knows us altogether, because we need to listen to the still voice none but ourselves can hear; we are speaking of such personal concerns in this our common prayer, because we need you to deal with us in the solitariness of our own souls. Bring courage and vision into ascendancy. If we have held small things too close to our eyes until the whole horizon has been filled with the trivial, set us in a large place and give us perspective. Bring some marching order out of the confusion of our anxieties. Let not the terrors of this present world fix tyrannical fears in our minds; but grant us a quiet and defiant confidence that we may face life as your free children.

New Prayers in Old Places


Dulce et Decorum est pro Patria Mon

O God of the Love Eternal, who stands within the dark mystery and yet stirs and cries in the cradle of these human hearts of ours, behold us now praising you for life; even now, when we are all grave and sorry, still blessing you for life; still thinking greatly, thankfully, of life; not thinking of it meanly or fearfully, but greatly, nobly, proudly — for the sake of these ones we are silently naming, who shared the spirit of this school, and served their country and their world even unto death. For in this our prayer, O Lord of all Being, we would be lifted up by the comfort and the truth that death is only the little thing, and life the great thing; and that for these of the young, brave, eager hearts and minds, life was the great thing; life with its search, its striving, its beauty and its joy. And nothing can take away what they had and what others had in them; and nothing can shame it now. Not death, nor the cruel mischanges of life can ever take it away. “They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old; nor shall the years condemn.” Now from the depths of these tender hearts of ours we pray to let the spirit’s friendship be as the candle of God, lighting us on our way and amid the shadows. And let the spirit’s love be as a rose ever blooming, coming out of the darkness as our sign to carry on as much of their purposes as we can. Thus in our lives may they — with all those we have loved and will love — still live on, to our consolation and courage, to the welfare of this dear land and of this dear earth. So may our fleeting days be made richer with the things which nothing can steal from us — the things of honor and integrity, of devotion and duty done, and peace at the last.

New Prayers in Old Places


In the Venerable House

We are specially moved at this time to thank thee, 0 God of Life, for all the blessed seasons we have enjoyed together in this simple and beautiful sanctuary, where the people of many generations have waited upon thee and helped to make the spirit of the place. We thank you that sometimes, when our hearts have been slow to stir to the call of worship, the good custom of the years has brought us to communion with you in one another’s company. We thank you that sometimes we have come here scarcely knowing why we came, but the poor cup we brought became a golden bowl, and we have received refreshment for our souls from the source of being. We thank you that, sometimes, when the spoken word was weak, the silent word was strong, and in the depths of our hearts we have heard more than could be told. We thank you that often one brief hour, uplifted by our hope in you, has made some happy difference to all the week, and helped us to see that our dear common life can be our true service to you.

May the years ahead greatly bless the one who shall minister here and all

who shall assemble within this house.

Here may the weary find rest, and the strong be renewed;

may the aged be fortified, and the young be inspired;

may there be courage without harshness;

conviction without bigotry;

faith without credulity;

reason without coldness of heart;

warmth of spirit without weakness of mind.

New Prayers in Old Places


At a Youthful Marriage

O God of the love that never fails, it is in the hearts of all of us under this gracious roof to bless you because we have been witnesses of most dear and sacred promises. Some of us are old in years, but not too old to rejoice that love is always young and new. Now we commend to your gentle favor these, your two children, wishing for them an abundant and growing happiness; wishing for them courage in every fortune, good sense in every circumstance, and conquering love through everything May they never surrender to any treachery of the moment. Every day, with its delights and toils and trials, may they feel sure and proud that they are “chosen, charmed, endangered” — the captives of the free spirit. May their home help to make the world more homelike. May they keep the humility which treads lightly on each other’s dreams. And, amid the mazy ways of life, may there always be for them both a straight path back to the tenderness and beauty of this hour. For thy love’s sake and ours.

New Prayers in Old Places



Wisdom of the Most High, teach us to hold by letting go.

May we not cling so firmly to the form that we crush the spirit;

May we not consider ourselves so indispensable that we are unwilling to depart when our hour is striking;

May we be strong enough to lay down our life that we may take it again;

May we not stand in the way of our chosen successors;

May we not shadow the timely joy of those younger;

May we not miss the gift of the morning star by nursing the dying lamp;

May we have more of the spirit of Christ, who went away to come again in the larger life.

New Prayers in Old Places


The Elixir

O God of the sun and moon, of joy and beauty, of loneliness and sorrow, we thank you for all the magic in our human lives, often turning our drabness into gold. We thank you for the wonder of being loved; for the loyalty of friends; for the sweetness of being forgiven; for the strength to forget what is not worth remembering; for the strength to remember things which become more precious as the years go on, and for discovery that in the darkness there are presences which are hidden from us by the light. Touch into living flame again the hearts which have grown cold and dreary with the weight of things; and when duty tires grant us the love which goes gladly all the way.

A Book of Prayers


The Near

O God, who sets the solitary in families and brings out those which are bound with chains, help us when things are not quite right at home and all else seems wrong. Save us from going round the world to find what all the time is at our own door. Save us from showing our worst to our dearest and keeping our best for the public occasion. But save us also from being shut up in a comfort which has no sympathy with a suffering world. Save us from the selfishness which makes the home a prison of the soul. Let our windows be open towards the gleam of your holy city; and may we love more nearly as we pray.

A Book of Prayers


The Desire

O Spirit, strangely near, it is you whom we seek when we know not what we seek; it is you whom we have when we know not how much we have; it is you to whom we give ourselves in all our good endeavor. So teach us to pray, although our speech falters, with a sincere desire which goes on all the day when we are busy with things; which speaks to us and through us when we are striving only to be faithful to the work committed to us and friendly to the people around us and hopeful for the world we are in. Teach us to pray with the desire which is beneath our hurrying thoughts and urgent duties; teach us to pray by thy power working within us, which can do above all that we ask or think.

A Book of Prayers


The Lamp

O Wisdom of the Most High,

Let thy beauteous light lead us all our way.

Be the truth of all our thinking;

Be the joy of all our pleasure;

Be the strength of all our doing,

And the glow of all our friendship.

Give us knowledge enough to live sensibly;

Give us faith enough to live deeply;

Give us love enough to live greatly;

And bring us safely through all the shadows to our own.

A Book of Prayers


The Spring

O God of Life, you renew the face of the earth and quicken all things, we bless you for this lovely time; we praise you for all the beauty it brings to our eyes and for all the cheer it gives to our hearts. Forbid that we be sullen when the trees break forth into singing; forbid that we be unmoved when the great tide is flowing again. Make us eager not only to be good but also to be happier, knowing that joy is one of the fruits of the spirit. May we not defraud ourselves of the fleeting day, but drink here and now of the sweetness of life.

A Book of Prayers


The Gift

God of our Life, who is the light in all things lovely and true, we thank you for the gift which is in us, which is ours not because we made it but because we received it. You have given it to us through other people; through those who lived in ancient time and who labored before us; and through our families, our teachers and our friends; and through some who just passed by and never knew that they had given us so much. We thank you for this wonderful gift. We shall never be old enough to earn it; but may we be wise enough to cherish it. And may we think truly and love faithfully and strive nobly so that others may have the gift also because we have lived.

A Book of Prayers


The Unexpectant

O Life of God, who is unfathomed yet flowing round our little lives for our greater being and doing, flood today over our small-mindedness, our small-heartedness and all our insufficiency. May we know that we belong to one another and to something very great. Forgive us our expecting too little from our friendship. Forgive us our listening to the words of others while deaf to their intention. Forgive us our speaking over-much and having too little to proclaim to a troubled world. Forgive us for having loved our own ideas more than we have loved the ideas of others. Forgive us for being more ready to fight than bravely to think. Gather us now into a deep communion of mind that we may go forth strong and free and rejoicing.

A Book of Prayers


The Forgotten

O God, who remembers when we so soon forget, invade our minds today with the bright host of the forgotten ones whom you ever bring with you. Remind us of those in the house of our childhood, who loved us more than they loved themselves. Remind us of our first helpers, who passed long ago but left an influence which lingers still. Remind us of the better side of those from whom we are estranged, their pleasant words and the former happiness of their presence. Remind us of those separated from us by different conditions of life, and those who suffer because we forget. Astonish us with the beauty of familiar things, and may our eyes behold the land that is very far off.

A Book of Prayers


The Moment

O God, who is our home and also our long way; our rest and our ongoing courage; our haven and our saving hope, we praise you for this mortal life.

We praise you for the flow of time on which all things pass;

We praise you for the spirit in humanity greater than the flowing tide;

We praise you that there are grand moments better than a thousand days;

We praise you that in the greatness of life the hearts of young and old come very close together, and even the distant ones come back.

We praise you that in high moments, when hearts are full, there is someone to praise.

A Book of Prayers


The Star

O God, may we live as those who constantly expect a beautiful surprise. May everything which happens to us be received as bringing a new experience we cannot do without — even sorrow bringing a new-born joy in her arms. May we see the priceless worth of ordinary people and seize the hidden gold of every hour. May we never pass blindly by the Christ of Love who stands disguised in the midst of our common life. May the star of our exalted moments be our inspiration for lowly duties, and when our star has vanished may we tend our fire. May we leave the heart’s door ever on the latch, because at any hour the Christ may come and we would not let that one knock in vain. So may we follow in the steps of shepherds and sages and come even unto Bethlehem.

A Book of Prayers



God of our better selves and good endeavor, set us free from the sins of stupidity.

From making ourselves miserable at the way in which others enjoy themselves;

From expecting to improve persons by maintaining an attitude of mute reproval;

From getting thrills by ways that imperil the lives of others;

From pursuing a little grievance until it grows to a lusty wrong;

From winning an argument and losing a true friend;

From being mean about money when we have enough;

From being grudging of praise when it is deserved;

And from praying with vain repetitions;

O God, deliver us.

Hidden Fire



Eternal Spirit of our True Life, make a prayer for us when we cannot make one for ourselves. Make a prayer for us out of the things we blindly take as having no prayer in them. Let the works we have to do each day be our thanksgiving; for so often the day’s duty has saved us from ourselves. Let the love of our friends be the uplifting of our hearts; for so often we have been comforted by the coming of a friend. Let our longings for something high be our spirit’s aspirations; for so often we have won our souls by patience. Let our faith in life be our faith in you, who is ever in the midst of life. Let our striving to be faithful in little things be our vision of you, who is ever among the least. Let our wonder in all grand moments be our worship of you, for you are the glory. O Spirit of Life, do for us more than we ask or think, and help our unbelief.

Hidden Fire



O God in Christ, who is our strength in weakness, our peace in storm, and the wholeness of things sadly broken, we pray that the comfort of your Spirit may be very close to us in this time of need. We bless you for the faithful help of human skill and for the tenderness of friendly sympathy and we bless you that beyond our best doing and our deepest feeling there are the secret forces of your healing power. May our home at this time of sickness be an abiding place under the shadow of the Almighty. In you may we have quietness and confidence; in you may we have sleep and waking; and by our faith may fear be cast out and our love restored to the joy of your salvation.

Hidden Fire



Our God, may we never forget that we are close to the Gate. Often we feel that we are lost in a maze, with life walled on either side by worry and dread; often we are pursued by dark foes or oppressed by the weary drag of things. Yet always we are very near the wonderful Gate, which opens so quickly into the larger mind where irritations are forgotten and fear is allayed and fate is not the strong foe it sometimes seems to be. Always and everywhere is the Gate at hand, and the garden of your peace and joy, even when what we counted happiness has fled. May this truth come with delivering power when we need it most. May we know that we have not to wait for death to enter your heaven, but that it is in the midst of life, along the busy road, where the trouble is thickest; and that the key is a thought of you, a moment of courage, a deed of love.

Hidden Fire



O Thou, whose gentleness touches us with greatness, we bless you that it is mostly little things that make us greatly happy. We bless you for little customs, little kindnesses, and all moments of simple mirth. We bless you for companionable books, enchanting pictures, and the exchange of small gifts. We bless you for snatches of song, sudden laughter, and letters from those we love. We bless you for small gardens and small corners and the dear places of the heart. May we not miss the happy gate by rushing about too much. May we not become blind to the ageless things by staring at the novel things. May we not think everything is wrong because some things are not right. And may we never believe that this beautiful earth belongs to the greedy and the ungentle.

Hidden Fire



O Eternal, in whose long silence there is a great love, give us grace to hold our tongues when it is better so to do. Again and again we have been sorry for the harsh word spoken in haste, the unproved report sent further, and the unwise remark dropped as a stone for another’s stumbling. Turn our regret into the repentance which saves us from being quite so foolish next time; and teach us often to say nothing because we have nothing good to say. May our words arise from the calm depths of truth and be endued with a fearless love. May we not scatter seeds of unkindness. Give us courage to speak when only cowards keep silence; but also give us wisdom to sheathe our tongues and win the victory of your peace.

Hidden Fire



O God, forgive us that often we forgive ourselves so easily and others hardly;

Forgive us that we expect perfection from those to whom we show none;

Forgive us for repelling people by the way we set a good example;

Forgive us the folly of trying to improve a friend;

Forbid that we should use our little idea of goodness as a spear to wound those who are different;

Forbid that we should feel superior to others when we are only more shielded;

And may we encourage the secret struggle of every person.

Hidden Fire