Podcast Worship

Daily Prayer for 25 February (Lent)

Listen to a service of Daily Prayer for 25 February, the Saturday after Ash Wednesday, including a reflection on Luke 5.27-32


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.

Luke 5.27-32

Jesus went out and saw a tax-collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up, left everything, and followed him. 

Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house; and there was a large crowd of tax-collectors and others sitting at the table with them. The Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, saying, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax-collectors and sinners?’ Jesus answered, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.’ 


And [Levi] got up, left everything, and followed him.

These words from the 28th verse of the 5th chapter of Luke’s gospel are some of the most challenging in the gospel narrative. Jesus certainly lays a whole series of challenges before us, such as taking up our cross, loving neighbours and enemies, and placing ourselves at the back of the queue, but there is another life-changing challenge in Levi’s response to Jesus’ call to follow.

Very often, when we look back to the original Greek from which our New Testament was translated we find what might be described as ‘wriggle room’. That is, we find an ambiguity in the translation which will allow us to change the gauntlet that the narrative seems to be throwing down into a more comforting and warming mitten! Today, we are not given that option. The original Greek carries exactly the same message: and having left behind everything [and] having arisen he [Levi] was following him.

Scripture makes it clear that God is always calling us into a deeper relationship with himself. Some recognize that call slowly, it evolves over a long period of time, sometimes years. Others find their faith in God developing at a faster pace. Then, others, although far fewer than those mentioned above, respond instantaneously. They hear God’s invitation: Follow me, and they get up, leave everything and follow.

Whenever this account of the Call of Levi comes up in the lectionary, or whenever it is addressed in the context of a Bible study session, there are always those who try to water it down, to make it less dramatic than it sounds. Surely Levi had to cash up his takings before following Jesus. Surely Levi had to sort out his domestic affairs before following Jesus. Surely Levi would have had to make preparations for the journey that lay ahead. Sadly, these bursts of ‘common sense’ are prevarications, excuses being made on behalf of one who is showing how we should respond to God’s invitation to us, the invitation to Follow me.

To follow Christ is demanding. To follow Christ is to make sacrifices that will inconvenience and may cause discomfort or pain. But, as Jesus warned, a true disciples will take up his or her own cross, they will sacrificially love neighbour and enemy alike, and they will place others before themselves. In fact, they will get up, leave everything and follow.

Let us pray for the strength of faith to follow Levi’s example and follow Christ in the certainty that there is no other path worth following.


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.