a prayer for lives full of joy

Father God, keep us from the things which are bound to make our life unhappy.

Keep us from:

the eyes which can always find some fault to see;
the tongue which can always find something to grumble about;
the heart which can always find some grudge and some bitterness to cherish.

Keep us from:

the perverseness which does not want anything it gets, and which always wants what it has not got;
the ingratitude which does not even realize what it is getting;
the attitude of mind that lives in continual resentment.

Give us in the place of these dark things:

an even temper that can take things as they come;
a sense of humor which can always find some cause to smile;
a gratitude which can always find something for which to be thankful;
a cheerfulness which not all of Earth’s shadows and disappointments can diminish.

Gives us the spirit which can enjoy life, and which can help others to enjoy it as well.

Use us, Father God, for whatever purpose, and in whatever way, you desire. We place before you our poor, needy hearts, our ever-leaking, empty vessels, so that you may fill them with your grace. Bring us to life again and again and again, daily. Refresh us with your love. Speak through our lips. Give us the thoughts that we would think. Move our hands and feet to act for you. Never let our faithfulness and confidence in you waiver. Establish our hearts so that we ever say with conviction and clarity, “Jesus is Lord!” Amen.

Excerpted, and lightly edited from, A Barclay Prayer Book by William Barclay (Westminster John Knox Press, 1990), first published under the titles Epilogues and Prayers (1963) and Prayers for the Christian Year (1964)

a prayer for life’s opportunities

God our Father, you have filled our lives with opportunities. Help us to miss none of these opportunities when they come to us.

Help us not to miss the opportunities of learning and help us to work, to study, to train, and to accept your discipline so that we may:

deepen our lives;
enrich our minds;
learn our trade;
master our craft;
be efficient in our job;
and be equipped for our profession.

Help us never to miss the opportunities of helping others that we may be ready:

to share with the poor;
to sympathize with the sad;
to encourage the depressed;
to help those who’ve made mistakes to get back on track again;
to lend a hand to those who are finding things difficult.

Help us to never miss an opportunity to show where we stand that we may:

set a Christian example wherever we are;
always make it easier for others to do and be good;
never make it easy for others to do any wrong thing;
always be good advertisements of you and your church.

So help us to grasp every opportunity you send, and to use every gift you have given us, that we may make our lives what you meant them to be.

God our Father of life, you give us peace at the end of this day, your gift. Grant that your restfulness would rest on us throughout the rest of this week. Let the praises of our lips give to you every day prays that you are due from our lives. May the power of your love be with us in everything we do. By purity and knowledge and tenderness may we glorify you, through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Excerpted, and lightly edited from, A Barclay Prayer Book by William Barclay (Westminster John Knox Press, 1990), first published under the titles Epilogues and Prayers (1963) and Prayers for the Christian Year (1964)

a prayer for all who we remember

Holy God our Heavenly Father,

Bless our friends and our loved ones and keep them safe from harm and danger.
Bless our enemies and those who dislike us, and help us by caring for them to make them our friends.
Bless those who are in pain of body, anxiety of mind, or sorrow of heart.
Bless those who are lonely because death has taken from them a dear friend or loved one.
Bless those who are old and who now are left alone.
Bless those who’ve made a mess of life and who know all too well that they have no one but themselves to blame.
Bless those who have fallen into temptation and who are sorry now, and give them grace to begin again and this time not to fall.
Bless all who are in trouble and help them to wind their way through it.
Bless each one of us not as we think we need, but as you know we need.

Give us, O Lord, minds like yours, so that our delight is doing your will. May your word be written on our hearts. Give us courage and resolve to do our very best in living for your glory and your praise. As you give us each of the rest of the days of our lives, may we use them all for what they are, precious gifts from you. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

Excerpted, and lightly edited from, A Barclay Prayer Book by William Barclay (Westminster John Knox Press, 1990), first published under the titles Epilogues and Prayers (1963) and Prayers for the Christian Year (1964)

a prayer for all who are in trouble

God our Father, bless those for whom life is very difficult now:

Those who have difficult decisions to make, and who honestly do not know what is the right thing to do;
Those who have difficult tasks to do and who fear they may fail in them;
Those who have difficult temptations to face, and who know only too well that they may fall to them, if they try to meet them alone;
Those who have a difficult temperament and nature to master, and who know they can be their own worst enemies;
Those who have difficult people to work with;
Those who often have to suffer unjust treatment, unfair criticism, and unappreciated work;
Those who are sad because someone they love has died;
Those who are disappointed in something for which they hoped very much;
Those who have been hurt by the malice of their enemies, or, what is far more bitter, by the faithlessness and the disloyalty of their friends.

Dear God, through the work of your Spirit, pour your love into our hearts. Give us more self-denial, and more likeness of Christ. Teach us to sacrifice our comfort to others, and our likings for the sake of the good of all that all might do good. Make us more kind and thoughtful, more gentle in our words, more generous in our deeds. Teach us afresh how it is better to give than to receive; that it better to forget ourselves than to put ourselves forward; and that it is better to serve than to be served. And to you, great God of love, be all the glory and praise, both now and forever. Bless us all tonight, with whatever need we come to you, we pray in the name of your son, our only true Savior, Jesus. Amen.

Excerpted, and lightly edited from, A Barclay Prayer Book by William Barclay (Westminster John Knox Press, 1990), first published under the titles Epilogues and Prayers (1963) and Prayers for the Christian Year (1964)

a prayer of thanksgiving for others

Tonight, dear God, we bring our thanks to you, and specifically our thanks for the people you have brought into our lives:

For those who are an example to us, and those who in their lives and show us what life ought to be.
For those who are an inspiration to us, and all who fill us with desire to make our lives sacrifices of praise to you.
For those who are a true comfort us when life has hurt us.
For those who are our real strength to us, and in whose company we feel fit to tackle any task.
For those who, although we do not know them personally, have by their words or ways influenced us for good.
For those whose love, care, service and understanding we so often take for granted.
For those who give loyal friendship and for those who give us and others, true, lasting love.
For all of these, this night, we thank you, our good and loving God.

Spirit of God, breathe into us your good grace. Take us by the hand and lift us up from the ways of this world. Give us fresh eyes to see your goodness and glory that we might be prepared to love those around us with your true life. This we pray in the name of him who is our life, Jesus. Amen.

Excerpted, and lightly edited from, A Barclay Prayer Book by William Barclay (Westminster John Knox Press, 1990), first published under the titles Epilogues and Prayers (1963) and Prayers for the Christian Year (1964)

a prayer for guidance

God of heaven, always speak to us the word we need, for Father, how we need it.

Speak to us:

The word of encouragement when we are discouraged and depressed.
The word of warning when we are likely to go astray.
The word of comfort when life has hurt us.
The word of guidance when we do not know what to do and where to go.
The Lord of strength to enable us to resist our temptations.
The word of power to make us able for work and ready for any burden.
Whatever word we need, Father, speak it to us now.

Take from us:

Everything which would keep us from hearing your voice.
Any and all lack of attention in our minds and our wandering thoughts.
The coldness in our hearts and weakness of our wills.
Our self-will which disregards your truth.
The prejudice we cannot hear or see, but which is always with us and sees only what it wants to see.
The desire not to be disturbed, and our misplaced fear of being confronted by your truth.

Help us in this place to hear your word, and in the deepest place of all, our hearts, so that we might always obey it.

Lord God, teach us we beg you, to ask right and for the right blessings. Guide our hearts and lives toward you in every way and through all of life’s storms. Show us the way that we should go. Renew a willing spirit within us. Lead us and enable us into all that is your true good. For yours is the glory and praise throughout all that is heaven and earth. Amen.

Excerpted, and lightly edited from, A Barclay Prayer Book by William Barclay (Westminster John Knox Press, 1990), first published under the titles Epilogues and Prayers (1963) and Prayers for the Christian Year (1964)

a prayer of forgiveness

Father God, we’ve come to you together tonight to say that we are sorry for all the wrong things that we’ve done.

For the work that we have done carelessly.
For the work that we have left half finished.
For the work that we have not even begun.
Forgive us, God our Father.

For the people we have hurt.
For the people we have disappointed.
For the people we have failed when they needed us most.
Forgive us, God our Father.

For the friends to whom we have been disloyal.
For the loved ones to whom we have been untrue.
For the promises have broken.
For the vows we have forgotten.
Forgive us, God our Father.

For the ways in which we have disobeyed you.
For the ways in which we have grieved you.
For our failure to love you as you have loved us.
Forgive us, God our Father.

Father God, we ask through the name of our high priest, Jesus Christ, that you would build us up in faith in truth and love. That you would grant to us all of our days a place among your people. We pray that your fruit would abound through us and that you would make us perfect in Christ our Lord. Amen.

Excerpted, and lightly edited from, A Barclay Prayer Book by William Barclay (Westminster John Knox Press, 1990), first published under the titles Epilogues and Prayers (1963) and Prayers for the Christian Year (1964)