Podcast Worship

Daily Prayer for 27 March (Passiontide)

Listen to a service of Daily Prayer for 27 March, including a reflection on John 8.1-11 (Lent 5: Monday; Passiontide)


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

Let your ways be known on earth,
your saving power among the nations.

Blessed are you, Lord God of our salvation,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
As a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief
your only Son was lifted up
that he might draw the whole world to himself.
May we walk this day in the way of the cross
and always be ready to share its weight,
declaring your love for all the world.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever.

John 8.1-11

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’ They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus straightened up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, sir.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.’ 


Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.

We live in a busy world, in a world that take the old adage ‘the devil makes work for idle hands’ very seriously indeed. Those who are in full-time employment often find the concept of ‘full-time’ to have expanded beyond any bounds that might be defined as ‘reasonable’. Those who are retired take the same principle of perpetual motion into the way in which they fill every waking moment of every day. We live in a busy world, a world where we leave no time for careful thought and sincere prayer.

In today’s reading we hear of Jesus being asked a life-or-death question. A woman has been caught in adultery and, according to Jewish law, she should be stoned to death. The scribes and the Pharisees bring the woman before Jesus and test him by asking his opinion in the matter. Rather than jumping up and entering upon a verbal crusade to save the woman’s life, we are told that Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.Then, after taking time to think, he said: Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her. Then Jesus returned to his doodling in the dust on the ground.

We are often confronted with difficult questions. The decisions we make and the opinions we offer might not concern the life and death of another person, but they may have ramifications far beyond our imaginings. In today’s reading we are being given a model of how to behave when faced with the challenges of daily life. Jesus wrote with his finger on the ground when he was asked to pronounce on the serious issue of how to deal with the woman caught in adultery. Jesus paused and thought. We can also presume that in the time he was doodling on the ground he was also engaged in prayer. Jesus’ actions should be the blueprint by which we live out our own daily lives.

As Jesus looked and thought and prayed he realised that this woman should not die because this was not the message he brought into this world. Yes, he came to fulfil the law, but the law he came to honour was God’s law, a law based on compassion and forgiveness, and not on spiteful retribution and the setting of examples.

Too often we stand with the scribes and the Pharisees in the way we quickly condemn those who are different from us. We adopt, and defend,  principles and codes of conduct that make sense to us without ever considering the terrible effects our words and actions might be having on others. Rather than seeking the compassionate path of forgiveness and love, we reinforce the shields with which we surround ourselves and seek retribution and revenge.

Let us pray that we might learn to bend down in all humility, write on the ground in all patience, and then allow our words and actions to be guided by our heavenly Father. Then, when God does lead us down the path he chooses for us, let us pray for the courage to stand up to the bullies and help those who are weak and in need of Christ’s loving embrace.


With faith and love and in union with Christ,
let us offer our prayer before the throne of grace.

Have mercy on your people,
for whom your Son laid down his life:
Lord, in your mercy – hear our prayer.

Bring healing and wholeness to people and nations,
and have pity on those torn apart by division:
Lord, in your mercy – hear our prayer.

Strengthen all who are persecuted for your name’s sake,
and deliver them from evil:
Lord, in your mercy – hear our prayer.

Look in mercy upon all who suffer,
and hear those who cry out in pain and desolation:
Lord, in your mercy – hear our prayer.

Bring comfort to the dying,
and gladden their hearts with the vision of your glory:
Lord, in your mercy – hear our prayer.

Give rest to the departed
and bring them, with your saints, to glory everlasting:
Lord, in your mercy – hear our prayer.

Let us commend the world, for which Christ died,
to the mercy and protection of God.

Gracious Father,
you gave up your Son
out of love for the world:
lead us to ponder the mysteries of his passion,
that we may know eternal peace
through the shedding of our Saviour’s blood,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

Standing at the foot of the cross,
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 crucified draw us to himself,
to find in him a sure ground for faith,
a firm support for hope,
and the assurance of sins forgiven;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among us and remain with us always.