Podcast Worship

Daily Prayer for 23 January

Listen to a service of Daily Prayer for 23 January, including a reflection on the gospel reading, Mark 3.22-30 (Epiphany 3 / DEL Week 3: Monday)


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 3.22-30

The scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, ‘He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.’ And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, ‘How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered. 

‘Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin’ – for they had said, ‘He has an unclean spirit.’ 


Jesus said: If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.

Too often our Christian communities behave as though they are mini-kingdoms in their own right. A few strong-willed people dominate and, as they dominate, they dictate the way in which ‘their’ community of faith behaves. Sometimes their behaviour even distorts the basic tenets of the faith – just like those Pharisees we read of throughout the Gospel narrative. As such people gain influence and power over others, the kingdom of God in those communities becomes divided and the devil finds his way into their midst.

These may seem strong words, but it is exactly what Jesus is saying to us today. Jesus has been accused of casting out demons by the authority of the devil, rather than the authority and power of God. It is in this context that Jesus asks: How can Satan cast out Satan? It is in this context that Jesus says: If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. Jesus is making it clear that all who profess a faith in him and his Heavenly Father are required to live in peace and unity. Jesus is making it clear that there is no room in any Christian community for the bigot and the bully, even if their words and actions are wrapped up in pseudo-theological terms!

Today’s reading contains a warning that we would do well to heed. Jesus is warning us to stay true to the teachings of scripture, even when those teachings stand in the way of our shaping the Church to suit our own ends. Today’s readings warns the leaders of Christ’s Church to listen to God and then to work with those they lead in a spirit of humility and love. Today’s reading warns us to set aside our human wisdom and accept that only God’s wisdom is truly wise!

Let us pray that we and others may not be the cause of division within our communities of faith. Let us pray that we might be self-sacrificial in the way we live out our lives as true disciples of Christ. Let us pray that the true humility for which we strive might lead others towards God. Let us pray that all division within the Church might cease.


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.