Podcast Worship

Daily Prayer for 29 March (Passiontide)

Listen to a service of Daily Prayer for 29 March (Passiontide), including a reflection on John 8.31-42 (Lent 5: Wednesday)


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 8.31-42

Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’ They answered him, ‘We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, “You will be made free”?’ 

Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there for ever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you look for an opportunity to kill me, because there is no place in you for my word. I declare what I have seen in the Father’s presence; as for you, you should do what you have heard from the Father.’ 

They answered him, ‘Abraham is our father.’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing what Abraham did, but now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are indeed doing what your father does.’ They said to him, ‘We are not illegitimate children; we have one father, God himself.’ Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own, but he sent me. 


Jesus said: If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples.

In order that society might function in an orderly way we are all required to live by a set of rules. The rules that govern our country are formulated and brought into force by the group of representatives we elect to form our parliament. This process of delegating the authority to regulate our lives has been in force for centuries. As a system of government its origins are not that clear-cut. It took many years for us to finally take the responsibility of decision-making out of the hands of just one person, a person whose authority was based upon accident of birth rather than any discernible gift for leading others. Of course, our system of parliamentary democracy is flawed, but there is no human-based system that will ever achieve the perfection we would like to see.

In today’s reading Jesus speaks of a different way of living, a way that is laid out for us in scripture. This way of organising and regulating our daily lives is not based on human wisdom, but rather on the wisdom of God. Jesus makes it clear that if we are to be his true disciples (followers) we must not only read the word of God, but we must live according to its every word. This is not easy. As our society grows and evolves issues will arise that seem to bring the disciples of Christ into direct conflict with the rules and regulations laid down by our secular leaders. It is at these times that we must decide whether to stand firm or to compromise, to be faithful disciples or to fit in with the crowd.

When we bend or break the laws of our country there is an obvious system of checks and balances that will correct, or even punish, our poor decisions. There is a legal system that may call us to account for breaking the law and thus diminishing the lives of those amongst whom we live. When we bend or break the laws laid down in scripture there is no such obvious recourse to judgement and punishment, but that does not mean that it is not there.

Today, as in all times, those who profess a faith in Jesus Christ are in a state of constant temptation. There is a constant temptation to water down the example and the teachings of Jesus. Theologians offer us ‘new’ ways of reading and interpreting the word of God. These ‘new’ ways usually involve us in the process of making scripture fit the latest trends and fads in social engineering. But … Jesus makes it clear that we must stand firm.

The word ‘sin’ does not have much traction in our daily lives in the 21st century. We do not view our disobedience as sin, but rather as our using scripture to justify the convenient version of Christianity we create for ourselves. However, Jesus makes it clear that if we are to inherit the eternal life he came to give us we must honour our side of the deal … we must continue in the word. This is the challenge that faces us today and every day. Let us pray for the strength to stand firm in the word and resist the many calls upon us to compromise, to manipulate … to sin.


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.