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Daily Prayer Podcast Worship

Prayer for 6 January 2021

Listen to or read a service of Prayer for 6 January 2021, the Wednesday after Epiphany Sunday

Preparation

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

Praise

Creator of the heavens,
who led the Magi by a star
to worship the Christ-child:
guide and sustain us,
that we may find our journey’s end
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Psalm 72.1, 10-13

Give the king your judgements, O God,
and your righteousness to the son of a king.

The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall pay tribute;
the kings of Sheba and Seba shall bring gifts.

All kings shall fall down before him;
all nations shall do him service.

For he shall deliver the poor that cry out,
the needy and those who have no helper.

He shall have pity on the weak and poor;
he shall preserve the lives of the needy.

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:
Mark 6.45-52

Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After saying farewell to them, he went up on the mountain to pray.

When evening came, the boat was out on the lake, and he was alone on the land. When he saw that they were straining at the oars against an adverse wind, he came towards them early in the morning, walking on the lake. He intended to pass them by. But when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought it was a ghost and cried out; for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’ Then he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.

Reflection

No human life is without times of crisis. This has been brought home to all of us during the course of the last ten months. For almost a year, no one has been able to avoid the health crisis that has struck the whole world. Work and leisure, family life and friendships, daily routines and major life events have all been affected. No human life has avoided this time of crisis.

Whilst we cannot deny the impact of the sadness, and the tragedies, of 2020, for many people the sadness has been rooted in inconvenience and frustration, rather than in real tragedy. Having said that, there are, of course, young people whose lives have been damaged by poverty, abuse, and interrupted education or leisure activities that can only be attributed to the Covid 19 pandemic. There are families that have had to cope with problems associated with employment, finance and housing … problems that were unknown to them prior to the introduction of lockdown and tiers. There are older people who are struggling with health and isolation issues that were unknown prior to March 2020. And … of course … there is the tragedy of Covid compliant separation. There are so many loved ones who have not been able to find the consolation of an embrace, or a kiss, or even a smile because of a universal crisis that none of us can really understand. And yet, there are still those who expend so much energy in fighting the ‘inconvenience’ rather than working with others to bring about a happier, mutually supportive world.

In today’s reading from Mark’s gospel Jesus, having just miraculously fed the five thousand, sent his disciples on ahead of him as he sought the time of prayer that had been denied him earlier in the day. Several of the disciples had been fishermen prior to following Jesus’ call to follow him. For them, sailing the few miles across the Sea of Galilee would not have been a challenge. As with our ‘normal’ pre-pandemic daily lives, so with their routine crossing of the beautiful inland lake which provided food and income for many. But … then came the storm …

Even the most experienced sailors know that some things can happen at sea which are far beyond their abilities to master. All seamen know that life-threatening situations can quickly blow up, apparently from nowhere. Modern-day medics and scientists, for all their sophisticated knowledge and experience, know that the storms of disease can be just as unpredictable and threatening as an unforeseen storm on a previously becalmed inland lake.

Jesus saw the dangerous conditions that presented such a grave danger to his disciples; Jesus sees all that we are struggling against now. As Jesus calmed the storm for his disciples, so he can calm the storms that are raging in our hearts and minds. Jesus said to his disciples: Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid, then he got into the boat with them and the storm passed. If we listen carefully we will hear Jesus saying the same words to us as, at the same time, he offers to come on board and calm our storms.

Prayers of Intercession

Let us pray to God, who rules all things in heaven and on earth.

Fill the Church with the zeal of the Gospel, that your word may go out into all the world. With eyes fixed upon our Saviour, may your people never fail in faith.

Calm the storms that trouble the world. Through the word of truth, bring a new vision of Christ who is close to all but unseen by many.

Grant that we shall live in peace with all around us. Give to our community the spirit of mutual love, that all may be one in you. May Christ, always present among us, draw us all to himself.

Bear up those who sink beneath the waves of pain and sorrow. Bring them close to you in perfect trust.

Receive into your care the dead who have heard and trusted in your word. Have mercy on those whose faith was weak but in their lives sought to reach you.

That the power of Christ may uphold us in peril and in our weakness, we pray in his name.

Prayer for the week

Almighty God,
who by the light of a star
led wise men to Jesus:
by the light of your Word
lead us and all nations to him,
the Saviour of the world;
that together we may bring him our best gifts,
and pay homage to him as our King.
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

By gracious powers so wonderfully sheltered
and confidently waiting, come what may,
we know that God is with us night and morning,
and never fails to meet us each new day.

We know that God is with us night and morning,
and never fails to meet us each new day.

If once again, in this mixed world, you give us
the joy we had, the brightness of your sun,
we shall recall what we have learned through sorrow,
and dedicate our lives to you alone.

We shall recall what we have learned through sorrow,
and dedicate our lives to you alone.

Fred Pratt Green (1903–2000), Keith W. Clements (b. 1943)
based on the German of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906–1945)