Podcast Worship

Daily Prayer for 19 January 2023 (Epiphany 2: Thursday)

Listen to a service of Daily Prayer for 19 January 2023 (Epiphany 2: Thursday), 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 3.7-12

Jesus departed with his disciples to the lake, and a great multitude from Galilee followed him; hearing all that he was doing, they came to him in great numbers from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, and the region around Tyre and Sidon. He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him; for he had cured many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him. Whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and shouted, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But he sternly ordered them not to make him known. 


We live in a media-driven age. We live in an age where ‘fame’ is, so often, valued above all else. From an early age children become indoctrinated with the desire to be like their favourite pop star or sports personality. For the majority this is a passing phase but, for some, it becomes a life-inhibiting disability. How many times have you, like me, heard the ‘star’ of a school play described as being ‘professional’? This is, of course, complete nonsense. Professional actors and musicians undergo years and years of specialist training, they do not rise ready-made from our classrooms. Fortunately, such talk does not affect many, but there are those who believe the hype, and then go on to waste their lives chasing an unrealistic dream!

Today we hear of Jesus’ fame: a great multitude from Galilee followed him. Jesus’ reputation had spread throughout the region. People were clamouring to be near him. Just like those arena-based pop concerts and major sporting fixtures, great crowds gathered around Jesus. In fact, so many people gathered around him that they had to retreat to a boat so that they would not crush him

We are told that Jesus had cured many. In a time of primitive medical practice such miraculous acts of healing would have been an attraction to everyone who could make the journey into his presence. But, at the end of our reading we hear these words: he sternly ordered them not to make him known. Jesus was not only curing physical illnesses, he was also casting out unclean spirits. Those unclean spirits (or demons) recognized the authority and power of Jesus. They shouted: You are the Son of God. It is these unclean spirits that Jesus orders to be silent.

Jesus was performing great acts in the name of his Heavenly Father. He was restoring health and bringing about the reality of new lives. As people were healed of their physical illnesses others could see and believe. But, the power of the spoken word, just like the power of our modern media, is fickle. That which can appear to be making a positive statement can easily be twisted by accomplished word-smiths into something negative and damaging. Demons could not, and cannot, be trusted! 

Every day we encounter news of events that are twisted in this way. Every day we see and hear the work of the devil in the way that which is good is distorted and manipulated into scandalous gossip, or worse. We witness the making-up of back stories to suit particular agenda. Perhaps we join in that cynical twisting of the truth into something unpleasant and damaging?

Let us pray that we might not be distracted from the truth of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Let us pray that we might not get caught up in the ‘fame’ culture of this world but rather remain true to our faith, the faith which is rooted in the word and works of God alone.


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.