Podcast Worship

Daily Prayer for 24 April (George, martyr and patron of England; Easter Season)

Listen to a service of Daily Prayer for the Festival of George, martyr and patron of England, including a reflection on John 15.18-21


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

In your resurrection, O Christ,
let heaven and earth rejoice. Alleluia.

Blessed are you, Lord God of our salvation,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
As once you ransomed your people from Egypt
and led them to freedom in the promised land,
so now you have delivered us from the dominion of darkness
and brought us into the kingdom of your risen Son.
May we, the first fruits of your new creation,
rejoice in this new day you have made,
and praise you for your mighty acts.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever.

John 15.18-21

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, “Servants are not greater than their master.” If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 


Jesus said to his disciples: ‘If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own.’

For rather arcane theological reasons, the Church is celebrating George, the patron Saint of England today, rather than on 23rd April. The reasons for this transposition are of no great consequence, it is more important that George is not overlooked in our calendar of saints.

George was a member of the Praetorian Guard of the Roman emperor Diocletian. Despite this comparatively elevated position he was executed during the Diocletian Persecution of Christians in the year AD 303. He was executed because he refused to recant his faith. In standing firm as a practising Christian he condemned himself to a martyr’s death.

The word ‘martyr’ and the concept of ‘martyrdom’ are often used in respect of those who suffer some sort of inconvenience that disrupts their daily routines. Or we use these words to describe the way in which someone endures a physical or mental ailment, as in when we describe someone as being a martyr to backache, or insomnia, or whatever. However, this use of the words ‘martyr’ and ‘martyrdom’ are belittling in their triviality. To be a martyr is to follow the example of St George and every other believer who has stood firm in their faith, even to the point of death. To be a martyr is to suffer for one’s beliefs, and not just to be a victim of an awkward, and possibly self-inflicted, inconvenience.

We do our best to avoid that which we might describe as either physical or social martyrdom. We blow with the wind to ensure the favour of family, friends and neighbours. We are even willing to compromise to the point of standing in direct opposition to our profession of faith if it will give us an ‘easier’ life, and help us to avoid the vilification of others.

Sometimes our keenness to avoid being made a ‘martyr’ is tested to the extreme and we choose to stand out from the crowd ‘on principle’. But, how often do we stand out from the crowd ‘on an issue of faith’? How often do we find our earth-bound principles aligning with the tenets of our faith?Let us give thanks for the example of all those martyrs through the ages who have made the ultimate sacrifice because of the strength of their faith. Let us pray that we might, in our turn, stand firm as we proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. Let us pray that we might turn our backs on the trivial and bear the banner of Christ in a world where so much is focused on the passing fancies of the secular and the self-serving.


To Christ, the Lamb who was slain,
and who now lives in the glory of the Father,
let us lift our voices in praise, saying:
risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

Lord Jesus, you are the Amen, the faithful witness,
the firstborn of the dead:
Risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

You are Alpha and Omega,
the one who is, and was, and who is to come:
Risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

You search into the thoughts and affections of all people:
Risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

You reprove and chasten those whom you love:
Risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

You open the eyes of the blind
and set the prisoners free:
Risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

In your paschal victory,
you have proclaimed the coming of the kingdom:
Risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

God of glory,
by the raising of your Son
you have broken the chains of death and hell:
fill your Church with faith and hope;
for a new day has dawned
and the way to life stands open
in our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Rejoicing in God’s new creation,
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 God of peace,
who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,
that great shepherd of the sheep,
through the blood of the eternal covenant,
make us perfect in every good work to do his will,
working in us that which is well-pleasing in his sight;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among us and remain with us always.