Prayers ‘n’ poems


Here is a selection of poems and prayers which I’ve written in recent years.  Some were written to be used on particular occasions, and some were simply for my own discipline and pleasure.

You are free to use any of them for your personal use or in a public setting.  All I would ask  –  since writing is intrinsic to my ministry and part of how I earn my living  –  is that, where appropriate, you acknowledge my authorship.

 

FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH…
(I wrote this because I wanted to have a rant about some things that just tick me off!)

53_VH1_forwhatitsworth_00

just saying
for what it’s worth
I’m not taken in by the celebrity culture of glossy magazines
I’m not impressed by your obvious falsity
I want to know
are you any good
good at doing what you do
good at being who you are
just plain good
as in being a good person who makes a difference to the world
I’m not taken in by the celebrity culture

just saying
for what it’s worth
I’m not taken in by the prosperity gospel of telly evangelists
I’m not impressed by your perverted theology
I want to know
do you have good news
good news for everyone
good news in every situation
just plain good
as in calling good people to live well for others
I’m not taken in by the prosperity gospel

just saying
for what it’s worth
I’m not taken in by the austerity policies of wealthy politicians
I’m not impressed by your economic philosophy
I want to know
have you any good words
good words like justice and fairness
good words like equality and opportunity
just plain good
as in making the world a good place where people can thrive
I’m not taken in by the austerity policies

just saying
for what it’s worth
I’m not taken in by any of it
in fact I’m just not having it any more
you can keep your celebrity culture
I’m with the One who came as the servant of all
you can keep your prosperity gospel
I’m with the One who became poor for the sake of others
you can keep your austerity economics
I’m with the One who came to give life in all its fullness to everyone
I want to live life for what it’s worth
I want to live life for all it’s worth
CY 08.01.2016

 

A PRAYER FOR TIMES OF CHANGE

Life span of dandelions

Lord Jesus,
thank you for the changing seasons of my life
and for the times when you call me
to move to new places
to meet new people
to fulfil new ministries

Holy Spirit,
grant me your unchanging presence in my life
and the gifts to equip me
the grace to cope with big changes
the wisdom to make good choices
the courage to face hard challenges

Father,
show your unchanging love through my life
and through the work you have set for me
the thoughts that I hide in my heart
the words that I speak with my lips
the deeds that I do with my hands

and may I live always and only for your glory
amen

CY

 

A PRAYER FOR DISCIPLES

footsteps discipleship

Father
we commit ourselves again to you
to be true disciples
in obedience to your Word
in the power of your Spirit
in the name of Jesus
and in the hope of his coming

Father
we commit ourselves again to you
to be disciple-makers
declaring the good news of the Kingdom to all we meet
modelling the life of Jesus in all we do
and calling men and women to follow him wherever we go

Father
we commit ourselves again to you
for the joy of following Jesus
for the building up of your church
for the sake of your world
for the work of your kingdom
and for the glory of your name
Amen

CY

 

BIRDCharlie Parker
written after listening to the music of Charlie Parker (1920-1955)
jazz saxophonist, musical genius, heroin addict
died tragically young at the age of 35, known to all jazz lovers simply as ‘Bird’

the beauty of unfettered freedom
the artistry of uncompromising creativity
the glory of uninhibited improvisation
that was Bird
that was his flight

the mockery of uncontrollable compulsions
the brevity of unbearable brilliance
the tragedy of unlived life
that was Bird
that was his fall

I grieve for the pain of his journey
I delight in the riches of his legacy
I pray for the hope of his safety
a place for Bird
in the peace of the Father

CY 01.09.2014

 

EVERY MOMENT IS BLESSED AND HOLYThe_Clock_Is_Ticking_1

When I wake in the morning bleary-eyed and muddle-headed…
Help me to remember that every moment is blessed and holy.

When I open the door to face an unknown day and an uncertain future…
Help me to remember that every moment is blessed and holy.

When I’m confronted by difficult problems and demanding people…
Help me to remember that every moment is blessed and holy.

When I laugh with faithful friends and listen to funny stories…
Help me to remember that every moment is blessed and holy.

When I enjoy steaming coffee and engage in stimulating conversation…
Help me to remember that every moment is blessed and holy.

When I listen to improvised jazz and laugh with abandoned joy…
Help me to remember that every moment is blessed and holy.

When I walk through the maze of confusion and confront the mystery of suffering…
Help me to remember that every moment is blessed and holy.

When I lock the door and lay down to sleep…
Help me to remember that every moment is blessed and holy.

And at my dying day, when I risk everything on the Love that is stronger than death…
Help to remember that this moment, above all moments, is blessed and holy.

CY 06.10.2011

 

PRAYER AT THE CLOSE OF A SUNDAY

an_evening_in_city_park

FATHER,

at the close of this day
I thank you
for truths expounded from your word
for tasks accomplished in your name
for time well spent with your children

in the hours of sleep
I trust you
for the certainty of your presence
for the safety of your protection
for the tranquillity of your peace

and at the start of a new day
I ask you
for intimacy as I walk with you
for energy as I work for you
for authority as I witness for you

in Jesus’ name
amen

CY

 

A PRAYER ON GOOD FRIDAY

goodfriday

Father,
thank you for the ironies of this day
when the worst atrocity in our history reveals the unsurpassed generosity of Your story
when the place of execution becomes the gateway to life
when the unjust death of an innocent man brings undeserved liberty to the guilty
when a loving father forsakes his son so that unloving people become children of God
thank you for GOOD Friday

CY

 

EASTER empty_tomb11DAY

it’s Easter Day
morning has come
and the sun has risen in the sky
but nothing will ever be the same

for the cross leaves its long dark shadow
life has been extinguished by death
love by hate
good by evil
what other conclusion could there be…

weary with grief and exhaustion
disciples make their way through the garden
on an errand of mercy
paying their last respects to the body of their crucified leader

the morning is overtaken by mystery
the tomb is empty
there is no obvious explanation
is this the criminal activity of grave-robbers
or the cautious action of worried religious and civil authorities
fearful that the grave might become a shrine

or have they come to the wrong tomb

but mystery upon mystery
not tomb is not entirely empty
the body is gone
but the discarded grave-clothes are still there
collapsed in on themselves
as if the body had suddenly ceased to be
as if some unbelievable transformation had happened.

now mystery gives way to miracle
the Risen Lord
in the garden
the sound of that voice
the look in those eyes
this is Jesus
he has broken through death

he bears the aching wounds of Calvary
but he carries the unmistakable air of victory
he is no sickly survivor
he is no sinister ghost
he is alive
alive in a new way
alive in a way the world has never seen before

it’s Easter Day
morning has come
and the Son has risen on the earth
and nothing will ever be the same

CY 30.03.2012

 

Easter SundayMary and risen Jesus

breaking dawn
broken hearts
grieving woman
quiet garden
early visitor
displaced stone
empty tomb
angelic beings
discarded grave-clothes
mistaken identity
troubled question
Mary’s name
sudden recognition
RISEN LORD
HALLELUJAH

CY

 

AND IN THE MORNING…engineering a sunrise

and in the morning
the sun will rise again
the light will conquer the darkness
and there will be the glorious prospect of a new day

and in the morning
the day will break
life will conquer death
and there will be the glorious prospect of new beginnings

and in the morning
the King will reign
good will conquer evil
and there will be the glorious prospect of new opportunities

and in the final Morning
the story will be complete
the victory will be won
and there will be the glorious reality of a new heaven and a new earth

CY 22.11.2012

 

WHEN THE GROUND BENEATH OUR FEET IS SHAKEN

140805Tremor-jpg

When the ground beneath our feet is shaken –
May we stand in your steadfast love.

When all we hold dear is washed away –
May we cling to your faithful promises.

When all around us life is absurd and unfair –
May we fix our minds on your unchanging goodness.

When it is impossible to see any purpose in the pain –
May we bring meaning as we serve in your name.

And in the midst of suffering and confusion
May we discover again the place of the cross and the power of the resurrection.

CY

 

I LOVE THE COMING OF CHRISTMAS TIME

I love the coming of Christmas timeChristmas nativity
When the days grow short and the year grows old;
And carollers sing and church bells chime
In nights that are dark and days that are cold.
For that’s when the ancient story‘s re-told
In home-spun costumes and simple rhyme.

I love the stillness of Christmas Eve
When the air is filled with expectancy:
And children wonder what they’ll receive
When Santa’s made his delivery:
For this is the night of nativity
And the Christ-child comes to all who believe.

I love the excitement of Christmas Day
When the kids are awake and it’s still not seven
And ‘Thanks’ is the only word to say
When you’re taken aback by the gift you’ve been given
For this is a touch of the joy of heaven
And you’re not sure whether to dance or pray.

But more than all these, I love Christmas night
When I’m ready to sleep and the day’s almost done;
And I head off to bed as I turn off the light
Seeking rest from the feasting and family and fun.
For I know that story has only begun
And the Christ-child will one day put all wrongs to right.

CY 12.12.2013

NOT A CHRISTMAS LULLABY

aleppo-children

It’s two o’clock in the morning, 13th December 2016, and I can’t sleep, having watched the images on the news from Aleppo and the Yemen. The plight of helpless little children in the face of such violence and evil is terrible to behold. This isn’t time for a Christmas lullaby. Quite the opposite.
But I don’t know what the word is for the opposite of a lullaby. So I just called this NOT A CHRISTMAS LULLABY

Dear Jesus, do not sleep tonight
In stable and in manger,
But rise and stop the men who fight,
For children are in danger

The sound of war is heard abroad
And human life is cheap.
So leave your crib. Now be our God.
Let other children sleep.

Too long we’ve sung our Christmas songs
And heard the church bells ring;
But now it’s time to right these wrongs,
The children need a King.

The rulers of our age have failed
To end this bitter strife.
Unless you rise and love prevails
These children have no life

Do what no other King can do
Empower us to forgive.
And teach us how to love like you,
And let these children live.
CY 13.12.2016

 

 

WHAT IF…

What if tomorrow doesn’t bringrm-what-if-front
The news that I had hoped to hear?
And what if I should learn something
That overwhelms my heart with fear?

What if the future takes a road
I never thought I’d travel on?
And what if I should lose something
That I have set my heart upon?

What if the sky above turns dark
And I can barely see my way?
What if the prospect is so stark
That it might take my breath away?

What then? I know what happens then –
Whatever rocky road begins –
I’ll trust the timeless truth again:
Life changes, but love always wins.

CY