Podcast Worship

Daily Prayer for 20 December 2022 (Advent: O Clavis David)

Listen to a service of Daily Prayer for Advent: O Clavis David, Tuesday 20 December 2022, including a reflection on the gospel reading

O Clavis David

O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel; 
you open and no one can shut; 
you shut and no one can open: 
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house, 
those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.


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

Blessed are you, Sovereign God of all,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
In your tender compassion
the dawn from on high is breaking upon us
to dispel the lingering shadows of night.
As we look for your coming among us this day,
open our eyes to behold your presence
and strengthen our hands to do your will,
that the world may rejoice and give you praise.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever.

Luke 1.26-38 
The birth of Jesus foretold

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her. 


From yesterday’s account of the foretelling of the birth of John the Baptist, we move to the foretelling of Jesus’ birth. We move from the conception of the Messiah’s forerunner, to the conception of the Messiah himself. Yesterday our reading focused on Zechariah and Elizabeth, the human parents of John. Today we hear of Mary, the one whom God has chosen to bear his Son. Yesterday we heard of Zechariah’s scepticism, today we hear of Mary’s lack of hesitation as she said: Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.

Mary, that simple peasant girl; the one who said, ‘Yes,’ to God; the one who was with Jesus throughout his earthly life and death, has been the focus of many myths and legends down the centuries. Mary, whom Orthodox Christians call Theotokos, which means ‘God bearer’, has been elevated to a divine status in her own right. Many Christians call upon the Virgin Mary as the one who can most effectively carry their prayers to God because of her unique place in the history of the Christian faith. However any of us choose to view the role of Mary over the centuries since Christ’s birth, death and resurrection, the words of scripture remain unchanged. Mary was, in effect, the first to respond to God’s call into a life of Christian discipleship. Surely, that alone is something we should celebrate and give thanks for.

Notwithstanding social taboos and doctrinal niceties, today’s reading is inviting us to reflect upon our own response to God’s call in our lives. Each and every one of us is called, by God, into a life of discipleship. Each call is unique and matches the gifts and talents God knows that we have. Each call will be a challenge because it will ask more of us than we believe we can manage. In the same way, Mary was being asked to believe that she would bear a child, even though she was a virgin, and that that child was the Son of God. Whatever God asks of us, it will never match his call to Mary. Then, when we reflect upon Mary’s response, how can we justify our obfuscation and prevarication?

Our journey through Advent has been a journey of preparation. Yes, it is a journey preparing us for a time of great celebration, but it has also been a journey that should have equipped us to join Mary in saying, ‘Yes,’ when God calls on us to play our part in his story. Let us pray that we might not hesitate when that call comes.


Watchful at all times, let us pray for strength to stand with confidence before our Maker and Redeemer.

That God may bring in his kingdom with justice and mercy, let us pray to the Lord. 

That God may establish among the nations his sceptre of righteousness, let us pray to the Lord. 

That we may seek Christ in the scriptures and recognize him in the breaking of the bread, let us pray to the Lord.

That God may bind up the broken hearted, restore the sick and raise up all who have fallen, let us pray to the Lord. 

That the light of God’s coming may dawn on all who live in darkness and the shadow of death, let us pray to the Lord.

That, with all the saints in light, we may shine forth as lights for the world, let us pray to the Lord.

Let us commend the world, which Christ will judge, to the mercy and protection of God.

Almighty God,
as your kingdom dawns,
turn us from the darkness of sin to the
light of holiness,
that we may be ready to meet you
in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Uniting our prayers with the whole company of heaven,
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 Sun of Righteousness shine upon us,
scatter the darkness from before our path,
and make us ready to meet him when he comes in glory;
and may the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among us and remain with us always.