Podcast Worship

Daily Prayer for 21 March (Lent)

Listen to a service of Daily Prayer for 21 March, including a reflection on John 5.1-3, 5-16 (Lent 4: Tuesday)


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.

John 5.1-3, 5-16

There was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 

Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. In these lay many invalids – blind, lame, and paralysed. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?’ The sick man answered him, ‘Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Stand up, take your mat and walk.’ At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk.

Now that day was a sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had been cured, ‘It is the sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.’ But he answered them, ‘The man who made me well said to me, “Take up your mat and walk.” ’ They asked him, ‘Who is the man who said to you, “Take it up and walk”?’ Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had disappeared in the crowd that was there. Later Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, ‘See, you have been made well! Do not sin any more, so that nothing worse happens to you.’ The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. Therefore the Jews started persecuting Jesus, because he was doing such things on the sabbath. 


The sick man said to Jesus: Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.

How often, when you have been driving, have you seen someone accelerate to prevent another driver joining a stream of busy traffic? Perhaps you can recall just a few of the times when you have done this yourself! How often, when holidaying in a foreign country, have you been appalled by the way in which local people pay no respect to the British notion of queueing? Perhaps you can recall just a few of the times when you have done this yourself, and not necessarily when you have been trying to fit in with local culture! How often, when going about your normal daily life, have you pushed yourself forward in a spirit of ‘first come, first served’, no matter who might be deprived or offended by your course of action?

Today, all those instances of ‘first come, first served’ are addressed by the account of the disabled man who, for thirty-eight years, has been pushed aside so that others might get to the front of the queue. 

Our ‘survival of the fittest’ way of going about our daily lives does not sit well with Christ’s call to love and serve, to put ourselves at the back of the queue, rather than fighting tooth and nail to be first in all things. Our aggressive instinct acts in direct opposition to any profession we may make in respect of our being followers of Christ. Our determination to be the best, the first, in all matters denies Jesus’ entire earthly ministry, denies our engagement with Christ’s journey towards the cross, and beyond.

In today’s reading we are being warned not to be one of those who steps down ahead of others. As the patience of the disabled man is rewarded by Jesus’ presence and healing touch, we also hear that Jesus disappeared in the crowd. Jesus journeys with us through all the ups and downs of our earthly lives, but those who deny his teaching, those who consider themselves too important to be anywhere other than at the front of the queue, those whose detachment and pride will not allow others to benefit from all that may relieve their distress and their misery will be among those who look for Jesus in vain. 

Let us pray that we might set self aside in order that those weaker than ourselves will know some of the relief and consolation that might otherwise be theirs. Let us pray that we might find the courage and humility to sacrifice self as we follow Jesus’ call to love and serve in his name.


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.