Podcast Worship

Daily Prayer for 24 February (Lent)

Listen to a service of Daily Prayer for 24 February, the Friday after Ash Wednesday, including a reflection on Matthew 9.14-15


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.

Matthew 9.14-15

The disciples of John came to him, saying, ‘Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘The wedding-guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.’


Jesus said: The day will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.

Weddings have always been times of celebration … and excess. In my ministry I meet many couples who are journeying towards their ‘Big Day’, the day when they will publicly declare their love for each other as they exchange lifelong and life-changing vows. After the first tentative meeting, when we go through the legal formalities associated with a wedding, we travel a long and winding path towards their wedding day. That journey will involve an overview of the wedding service and an in-depth consideration of the commitment that is being made as those well-known phrases are uttered before a congregation of family and friends. The journey will also see a growing engagement with the commercial aspects of marriage. Despite saying that they understand that the important part of their wedding day is the time they will spend in church, the issues that will come to occupy their minds the most will revolve around family politics and money. Sometimes it takes a lot of determined work to keep those couples focused on that which is truly important.

In today’s reading we hear Jesus using the comparison of himself and his followers as bridegroom and bride. He is explaining that his very presence should be seen as a time of celebration, and not a time of penitential fasting, because the presence of bride and bridegroom should be seen as a time of rejoicing. However, Jesus is also warning those who are questioning him that his physical presence will soon come to an end, he will not be walking this world in human form for ever. 

We know what lay ahead for the human Jesus. We also know what was to follow. The resurrection from the dead and the eternal presence of Christ demands faith, faith in that which we cannot see. There are times when such faith can seem elusive. When we struggle to hold on to our faith in the risen and ascended Christ, then we will need strategies to keep our minds focused on the divine, rather the on the chaos of this mortal world. Fasting is one of those disciplines that act as a constant reminder of our commitment to Christ.

Let us pray that our journey through Lent might see us growing in faith, and not weakening in the face of all that might challenge our certainty in that which is important. Let us pray that our Lenten disciplines might not be focused on personal gain, but on the nurturing of those amongst whom we live and work. Let us pray that through our faith we might come to know the joy of living in the presence of the divine Bridegroom for evermore.


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.