William Barclay (1907-1978) was a Church of Scotland minister, professor of Biblical Studies at the University of Glasgow, and author. These prayers are from his 1959 book The Plain Man’s Book of Prayers, pages 110-117 (edited).
Before Going on Vacation
O God, our Father, we thank Thee for this time of rest from our daily work and our daily business. We thank Thee for time to spend with our family and in the circle of those most dear. We thank Thee for the open road, and the hills and the seashore, and for the clean wind upon our faces. We thank Thee for games to play, for new places to see, new people to meet, new things to do. Grant that the days of our holiday may refresh us in body and in mind, so that we may come back to work the better, because we rested awhile: through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
In the Time of Disappointment
O God, my Father, Thou knowest the disappointment which has come to me today. Thou knowest that that which I wished for and longed for has not come to me. Keep me from feeling resentful and bitter. Keep me from feeling ill-used and from developing a grudge against life. Keep me from being jealous and envious of those who have entered into that which was denied to me. Keep me from wasting my time in vain regrets, and from making myself wretched and making others unhappy. Help me to count the blessings that I have. Help me to serve Thee and to serve others with my whole heart in whatsoever place life has set me, and in whatsoever work Thou hast given me to do: through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
After a Quarrel
O God, Thou knowest that today I have broken Thy commandment of love, and that I have parted with ____ in anger. Even if I have been wronged and insulted, teach me how to forgive. Even if I was right, help me to make the first approach and to take the first step to putting things right again. Keep me from foolish pride and from nursing my foolish anger. Help me to be looking at Jesus, that in Him I may see the example of how to forgive, and that in Him I may find the will and the power to forgive. I ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.
In Time of Worry and Anxiety
O God, Thou knowest how worried and anxious I am about ___________. Help me to be sensible, and to see that worrying about things does not make them any better. Help me to be trustful, and to do all that I can, and then to leave the rest to Thee. Help me to be sure that nothing can happen to me through which Thou canst not bring me in safety; and that nothing can separate me from Thy eternal love. Help me to lose my anxiety in the certainty that Thy everlasting arms are underneath me and about me. Give me something of that peace which the world cannot give, and cannot ever take away: through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
When We Have Made Mistakes and Fallen to Temptation
O God, my Father, Thou knowest that today I have fallen to temptation and that I have done wrong. I have brought shame to myself, anxiety to those who love me, and grief to Thee. O God, in Thy mercy, forgive me for Jesus’ sake. Help me to be brave enough not only to confess this sin to Thee and to ask Thy forgiveness, but to ask the forgiveness of the person I have hurt and wronged and injured, and to do all I can to put things right again. Keep me from too much regret and too much remorse, and help me to rise above the wrong I have done. In the days to come help me to not make the same mistake again. Give me a conscience that is quick and tender, and give me grace always to obey it. Help me to walk with Jesus that in His company I may be saved from sin and enabled to do what is right. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
“If you pray only when you’re in trouble, you’re in trouble.”
Ephesians 6:18a — Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.