Podcast Worship

Daily Prayer for 18 March (Lent)

Listen to a service of Daily Prayer for 18 March, including a reflection on Luke 18.9-14 (Lent 3: Saturday)


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

Hear our voice, O Lord, according to you faithful love,
according to your judgement give us life.

Blessed are you, God of compassion and mercy,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
In the darkness of our sin,
your light breaks forth like the dawn
and your healing springs up for deliverance.
As we rejoice in the gift of your saving help,
sustain us with your bountiful Spirit
and open our lips to sing your praise.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever.

Luke 18.9-14

Jesus told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax-collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax-collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.” But the tax-collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.’ 


The tax collector said: God, be merciful to me, a sinner!

In today’s reading we are presented with two very different approaches to matters of faith. First we hear of the arrogance and sense of entitlement of the Pharisee. Rather than praying for forgiveness in all humility, he assumes the attitude of one who seems to be demanding gratitude from God. He speaks of his superiority over other people and of his tithing and fasting. He also makes clear his contempt for those whom he considers to be inferior, such as the tax collector who is also praying in the temple.

On the other hand we are invited to consider the attitude of the tax collector. A tax collector was a hated member of society. Tax collectors were seen as collaborators with the occupying Roman regime, and as those who stole from honest people. In general, the tax collectors were lumped together with the untouchables of first century Jewish society. However, this tax collector was a man of faith. Despite all his faults, he still came to the temple to pray, and in that prayer he demonstrated humility and his understanding of his need for forgiveness.

The Pharisee and the tax collector in Jesus’ parable can be seen in the world today. As we look around us we can all identify those who adopt an attitude of superiority over others and, sadly not so often, we can also recognise those who have sufficient self-knowledge to understand that they are in constant need of God’s forgiveness in their lives. The challenge for us today is stark … are we a ‘Pharisee’ in our attitude to matters of faith, or are we a ‘tax collector’? That is a very demanding challenge because we live in a world that celebrates an unfounded level of arrogance; a world in which the self-acclaimed sinner is seen as weak and inadequate.

Today, Jesus makes it plain that the one who will be welcomed into the kingdom of heaven is the one who is humble and self-deprecating. The Pharisee will be the one whose ultimate fate is eternal damnation. Today we are being challenged to set aside all that gives us an inflated sense of self-importance and to come to God acknowledging our need for his forgiveness in our lives.

Let us pray that we might recognise the ‘tax collector’ in ourselves, and allow God the space he needs to take us to himself. Let us also pray for those whose arrogance separates them from God, that they might come to understand that they are loved for who they really are, and not for the persona they don to impress others.


In penitence and faith let us make our prayer to the Father
and ask for his mercy and grace.

For your holy people,
that they may triumph over evil and grow in grace,
we pray to you, O Lord.

For candidates for baptism and confirmation,
that they may live by every word that proceeds from your mouth,
we pray to you, O Lord.

For the leaders of the nations,
that you will guide them in the ways of mercy and truth,
we pray to you, O Lord.

For the needy,
that they may not be forgotten,
nor the hope of the poor be taken away,
we pray to you, O Lord.

For the sick in body, mind and spirit,
that they may know your power to heal,
we pray to you, O Lord.

For the poor in spirit,
that they may inherit the kingdom of heaven
and see you face to face,
we pray to you, O Lord.

Let us commend the world, for which Christ suffered,
to the mercy and protection of God.

Almighty God,
by the prayer and discipline of Lent
may we enter into the mystery of Christ’s sufferings,
and by following in his Way
come to share in his glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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 give us grace to grow in holiness,
to deny ourselves, 
take up our cross, 
and follow him;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among us and remain with us always.