Podcast Worship

Daily Prayer for 18 January 2023 (Epiphany 2: Wednesday)

Listen to a service of Daily Prayer for 18 January 2023 (Epiphany 2: Wednesday), including a reflection on the gospel reading


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

Blessed are you, Sovereign God,
king of the nations,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
From the rising of the sun to its setting
your name is proclaimed in all the world.
As the Sun of Righteousness dawns in our hearts
anoint our lips with the seal of your Spirit
that we may witness to your gospel
and sing your praise in all the earth.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever.

Mark 3.1-6

Jesus entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man who had the withered hand, ‘Come forward.’ Then he said to them, ‘Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?’ But they were silent. He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him. 


Throughout the gospel narrative there are many accounts of Jesus changing the lives of ordinary men and women by healing them from life-inhibiting disabilities and illnesses. Through his words and actions lives were changed in radical ways. Today we hear of one such moment in Jesus’ ministry. In the synagogue Jesus encountered a man who had a withered hand. Setting aside the desire of the Pharisees to find an excuse to accuse him, we find Jesus doing good on the sabbath by restoring the disabled man’s damaged hand. Another miraculous healing!

As we read of Jesus restoring that which was damaged, I often find myself pondering what difference it made to the way in which those who had been healed lived the rest of their lives. The gospel narrative focuses on the mission and ministry of Jesus, but I often find myself wondering about how the story unfolded for those who heard him preach and teach, for those who felt his loving touch, for those whose lives were physically changed for the better. We cannot know the answer to this question because the lives of ordinary people, many of whom would have been considered outcasts, were not recorded in any way. But I do not think that such a question is idle speculation. 

Jesus’ ministry of healing and wholeness was passed on to his disciples. That same ministry has passed down the generations to us. Whilst we may not be able to restore withered hands, we are able to inject life, light and hope into damaged lives … in the name of Jesus Christ. Maybe we have known such a moment of healing and change in our own lives! But, what difference has it made since that sense of release and joy swept over us? Have we gone out praising God, or have we kept the Good News of that healing to ourselves?

Today’s reading ends with the Pharisees and the Herodians conspiring to destroy Jesus. But what about the man who had been healed? Sometimes we read of the healed person going out and shouting their joy from the rooftops and sometimes, like today, we are told nothing about the reaction of the one who received Christ’s healing touch. 

The challenge for us is to consider what our reaction might be. We will all know times when Jesus shares his peace and his joy with us. What do we do with that great gift? Do we step out as ones changed by Christ, or do we revert to type … rejoicing in the negative, finding fault in all around us? Let us pray that we might know and recognize Jesus’ healing touch in our lives, and let us pray for the strength to share the joy we have received with others.


From the rising of the sun to its setting, 
let us pray to the Lord.

That the people of God in all the world
may worship in spirit and in truth,
let us pray to the Lord.

That the Church may discover again 
that unity which is the Father’s will,
let us pray to the Lord.

That the nations of the earth
may seek after the ways that make for peace,
let us pray to the Lord.

That the whole creation, groaning in travail,
may be set free to enjoy the glorious liberty of the children of God,
let us pray to the Lord.

That all who with Christ have entered the shadow of death
may rest in peace and rise in glory,
let us pray to the Lord.

Let us commend the world, to which Christ showed the way,
to the mercy and protection of God.

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.

Believing the promises of God,
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.

Christ the Son of God
perfect in us the image of his glory
and gladden our hearts 
with the good news of his kingdom;
and may the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among us and remain with us always.