Daily Prayer for 20 February


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

Blessed are you, creator of all,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
As your dawn renews the face of the earth
bringing light and life to all creation,
may we rejoice in this day you have made;
as we wake refreshed from the depths of sleep,
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.

Mark 9.14-29

When Jesus, with Peter and James and John, came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them. When the whole crowd saw him, they were immediately overcome with awe, and they ran forward to greet him. He asked them, ‘What are you arguing about with them?’ Someone from the crowd answered him, ‘Teacher, I brought you my son; he has a spirit that makes him unable to speak; and whenever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, but they could not do so.’ He answered them, ‘You faithless generation, how much longer must I be among you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.’ And they brought the boy to him. When the spirit saw him, immediately it threw the boy into convulsions, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the father, ‘How long has this been happening to him?’ And he said, ‘From childhood. It has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you are able! – All things can be done for the one who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’ When Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, ‘You spirit that keep this boy from speaking and hearing, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!’ After crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, ‘He is dead.’ But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he was able to stand. When he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ He said to them, ‘This kind can come out only through prayer.’ 


The father of the child cried out: I believe; help my unbelief!

In our everyday lives we are bombarded with accounts of how the life of faith is irrelevant. Humanists and other secularists try to convince us that to believe in Christ is to base our lives on a ‘fairy tale’, a story that has a moral, but remains a work of fiction. Statisticians and others would like to think that they have the killer argument in such matters … no one in their right mind could possibly believe in a loving God who allows terrible things to happen in his own created world. As we prepare to enter the season of Lent we would do well to pause and reflect on such matters lest they overwhelm us and undermine our relationship with God.

In today’s reading we hear of a boy, possessed by an evil spirit, who is brought before Jesus for healing. The disciples have already tried to exorcise the demon, but without success. In desperation the father of the possessed boy presents the problem to Jesus himself. Knowing that the disciples have failed to work this act of healing and wholeness, Jesus speaks of faith: All things can be done for the one who believes.

No matter what confronts us we are all called to have faith; we are all called to stand firm in that faith; we are all called to take Christ’s message of healing and wholeness into the world. But, too often, we feel like the disciples who could not exorcise the possessed boy. We pray fervently and sincerely, but still nasty things go on around us. Unless we are strong in our faith, it is at these moments that doubt begins to creep in … we begin to see the ‘wisdom’ of those who have no faith at all.

The life of Jesus shows us that even the Son of God could not stop terrible things happening. But, the life of Jesus also shows us the reward that awaits those who are firm in their faith. In today’s reading the father of the possessed son knew that he believed in Jesus’ power to heal, but he also recognized that that faith was constantly being assailed by evil forces. Today we are called to pray for a renewed strength and vigour in our lives of faith. We are called to pray that we might trust completely in God’s love for us as we wade through the changes and chances of this world.


High and holy God,
robed in majesty,
Lord of heaven and earth,
we pray that you will bring justice, faith and
salvation to all peoples.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

You chose us in Christ to be your people
and to be the temple of your Holy Spirit;
we pray that you will fill your Church with
vision and hope.
Lord, hear us. 
Lord, graciously hear us.

Your Spirit enables us to cry, ‘Abba! Father!’,
affirms that we are fellow-heirs with Christ
and pleads for us in our weakness;
we pray for all who are in need or distress.
Lord, hear us. 
Lord, graciously hear us.

In the baptism and birth of Jesus,
you have opened heaven to us
and enabled us to share in your glory:
the joy of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
from before the world was made.
May your whole Church, living and departed,
come to a joyful resurrection in your city of light.
Lord, hear us. 
Lord, graciously hear us.

Let us commend ourselves, and all for whom we pray,
to the mercy and protection of God.

Holy God,
you know the disorder of our sinful lives:
set straight our crooked hearts,
and bend our wills to love your goodness and your glory
in 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.

The Lord bless us and watch over us,
the Lord make his face shine upon us
and be gracious to us,
the Lord look kindly on us
and give us peace;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among us and remain with us always.