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Christmas Daily Prayer Podcast Worship

Prayer for 30 December 2020

Listen to or read a service of Prayer for Wednesday 30 December 2020, the Sixth Day of Christmas

Preparation

O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Praise

God in Trinity,
eternal unity of perfect love:
gather the nations to be one family,
and draw us into your holy life
through the birth of Emmanuel,
our Lord Jesus Christ.
Amen.

Psalm 96.7-10

Ascribe to the Lord, you families of the peoples;
ascribe to the Lord honour and strength.

Ascribe to the Lord the honour due to his name;
bring offerings and come into his courts.

O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness;
let the whole earth tremble before him.

Tell it out among the nations that the Lord is king.
He has made the world so firm that it cannot be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now and shall be for ever. Amen.

Reading:
Luke 2.36-40

There was a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him.

Reflection

Yesterday we met faithful Simeon, today Luke’s account of Jesus’ Presentation in the Temple concludes with Anna’s encounter with the Holy Family.

In very few words, Luke reveals a lot about Anna. We know her age and that, as a much younger woman, she had been married for just seven years before enduring the tragedy of widowhood. In our own communities there are many people of a similar age to Anna who remember the horrors of the Second World War. Anna would have remembered similar horror from the days of her youth. Anna would have remembered the days when brutal and ruthless Romans had conquered Jerusalem. Then, like so many in our twenty-first century world, she lived out her days under the oppressive regime of tyrannical forces. Despite this, Luke singles Anna out as one of three significant women in the story of Christ’s nativity: Mary, Elizabeth and Anna.

Today’s reading is not long and yet it tells us much about the remarkable Anna. As well as being a woman, a widow and a survivor, we know that she is a person of poverty, a faithful remnant of the tribe of Asher, a devout person, a student of God’s word, a teacher and a prophet, an evangelist for Christ. It is easy to see why Anna’s memory is honoured in the gospel narrative.

Anna and Simeon both waited and prayed. Both Anna and Simeon received the divine revelation that the baby presented by Mary and Joseph was the child they had waited for all their lives. Both Anna and Simeon understood that their hopes, and the hopes of the whole world were cradled in Mary’s arms. Anna came to know that the hurts she had experienced in her life were being healed in the baby she gazed upon in the Temple on the day of his Presentation. Jesus was already at work, reconnecting this troubled and divided world with the God who created it. Jesus was already giving humanity the reason for living and hoping.

The story of Anna, alongside that of Simeon, invites us to lay aside false hopes and worldly disappointments. Instead, we are invited to join them in bearing witness to the hope and light that Jesus brings into this world. It is our calling to be successors of Anna and Simeon, bearers of the hope, the light and the glory that are to be found in Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God.

Prayers of Intercession

Unlooked for, Christ comes. To shepherds, watching their sheep through the long, dark night, he comes with the glory of the angels’ song and in the humility of the manger. Loving God, we pray for our community. In the midst of our everyday lives, surprise us with glimpses of your glorious, humble love, at the heart of existence.

Searched for, Christ comes. To the wise and powerful, star-led to Bethlehem, seeking a king, he comes, child of Mary, crowned with meekness, worthy of every gift. Loving God, we pray for the leaders of the world. Guide them with your light to seek wisdom, justice and peace.

Longed for, Christ comes. To Anna and Simeon, whose days are lived in faithful expectation, he comes, a new life to the old, a living prophecy of hope. Loving God, we pray for the Church in all the world. Unite us by your Spirit, and make us faithful witnesses to the hope we have in you.

Prayed for, Christ comes. To men and women, girls and boys, crying out in darkness, pain and loneliness, he comes, at one with us, our Saviour, healer and friend. Loving God, we pray for those whose lives are hard and painful or whose existence is sorrowful, bitter or empty. In their need, may they know your healing touch, reaching out to comfort, strengthen and restore.

Unlooked for and not searched for, longed for and prayed for, loving God, you come to us now as you have come to your people in every age. We thank you for all who have reflected the light of Christ. Help us to follow their example and bring us with them to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayer for Christmas

Holy Child of Bethlehem,
born in a stable, laid in a manger,
no place is too low or mean for you to enter.
Come to us this Christmas time,
dwell in our hearts and homes,
and fill them with your love,
your peace,
yourself,
now and always.
Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

The Grace

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore. Amen.

Hymn

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
let earth receive her King;
let every heart prepare him room,
and heaven and nature sing,
and heaven and nature sing,
and heaven, and heaven and nature sing.

Joy to the world, the Saviour reigns!
let all their songs employ;
while fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
and makes the nations prove
the glories of his righteousness
and wonders of his love,
and wonders of his love,
and wonders, wonders of his love.

Isaac Watts (1674–1748)