Podcast Worship

Daily Prayer for 26 February (1st Sunday of Lent, Year A)

Listen to a service of Daily Prayer for the First Sunday of Lent, 26 February, including a reflection on Matthew 4.1-11 (Year A)


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 4.1-11

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’ But he answered, ‘It is written, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”’ 

Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, “He will command his angels concerning you”, and “On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.”’ Jesus said to him, ‘Again it is written, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”’ 

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour; and he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! for it is written, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.”’ 

Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him. 


Jesus said: Away with you, Satan! for it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’

It is a fact of the human condition that we are daily confronted with the issue of temptation. We convince ourselves that these temptations are inconsequential because they will not cause harm to ourselves, or to anyone else. However, allowing ourselves to follow the path of temptation, no matter how ‘inconsequential’ we may consider it to be, is to step out onto a dangerous path.

If we reflect upon the temptations to which we so readily succumb we will notice that each one brings us some sort of earthly reward. If we over-indulge in food and drink we will have a level of satisfaction that is not enjoyed by the majority of people in this world. If we break the speed limit when we are driving we will have the satisfaction of arriving at our destination earlier, but we may also have endangered the lives of others. If we spread falsehoods about others we may well improve our own status in the eyes of our friends, but what about the harm that is being done to those who are innocent?

Every time we succumb to the temptations that we encounter in our daily lives, and every time we chase the superficial reward that we seek in our weakness and sinfulness, we are distancing ourselves from the God who loves us, and who made us in his own image. In fact, we are engaging in an act of betrayal … just like those in the crowd who screamed for Jesus’ crucifixion.

At the beginning of Jesus’ adult ministry he journeyed into the wilderness. For forty days he lived alone during a time of prayerful preparation and dedication. As those challenging days passed Jesus, like us, found himself tempted to stray from the path that lay before him. The devil offered him sustenance and power. But, Jesus stood firm. The devil even tried to increase the pressure on the fasting Jesus by selectively quoting scripture at him. But, Jesus stood firm.

The notion of the devil seems archaic in our modern times, but the devil (the power of evil) is constantly in our midst. Every time our resolve to follow God’s path is undermined, it is the work of the devil. Every time we allow ourselves to be distracted and diverted from the path of righteousness, it is the work of the devil. Today we are called to remain alert. Today we are called to join Jesus in resisting the temptations of this world as we join him in saying: Away with you, Satan! Today we are called to heed Jesus’ words and: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.


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.