Podcast Worship

Daily Prayer for 3 February

Listen to a service of Daily Prayer for 3 February, including a reflection on Mark 6.14-29 (DEL Week 4: Friday)


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

Blessed are you, creator of all,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
As your dawn renews the face of the earth
bringing light and life to all creation,
may we rejoice in this day you have made;
as we wake refreshed from the depths of sleep,
open our eyes to behold your presence
and strengthen our hands to do your will,
that the world may rejoice and give you praise.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever.

Mark 6.14-29

King Herod heard of the healings and other miracles, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some were saying, ‘John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason these powers are at work in him.’ But others said, ‘It is Elijah.’ And others said, ‘It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.’ But when Herod heard of it, he said, ‘John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.’ 

For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. For John had been telling Herod, ‘It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.’ And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.’ And he solemnly swore to her, ‘Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.’ She went out and said to her mother, ‘What should I ask for?’ She replied, ‘The head of John the baptizer.’ Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, ‘I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.’ The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb. 


Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him.

One of the worst phrases we can ever utter is: I can never forgive. This notion of the ‘unforgiveable’ permeates so much of our daily lives. We hear it reported in the media, it provides the central plot line for much of the fiction we see, hear or read, and it dominates the way some of us live out our daily lives. Of course, people do inhumane and spiteful things to each other. When such things occur we do feel a sense of profound anger at the cruelty some people can inflict upon others, and particularly upon those who are weaker than themselves. But, no matter how dreadful the action of the wrongdoer, Jesus says: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. In another moment in the gospel narrative there is this exchange between Jesus and Peter: Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.” Jesus’ response to Peter’s question is significant because the phrase seventy-seven times was linguistic code for ‘times without number’.

Jesus’ command to forgive and love are not just words. They are demonstrated in all his words and actions. He touched the untouchable, he dined with the sinner, he welcomed the persecutor and he forgave those who nailed him to the cross. Forgiveness is not easy, and our nature is not divine, but it is the ideal towards which we are called to strive.

In today’s reading we see the consequence of Herodias’ anger at John the Baptist. As a result of his preaching the Jewish law, he is imprisoned and then, through subterfuge, he is brutally executed. This terrible action is routed in an inability to forgive on the part of Herodias, and Herod’s failure to stand up for what is right.

Yesterday we turned our focus from the crib to the cross. Today we are being invited to expunge ourselves of one of the most evil aspects of human nature, that of unquenchable anger. We get angry at so many petty things. We seethe as we see and hear people following different lifestyles. We become resentful at those who lives appear to be more successful and fulfilled than our own. So quickly we adopt the nature of Herodias, turning our backs on the nature of Christ.

Let us pray that we might strive to follow Jesus’ commandments to forgive and love. Let us pray that we might remove the filters that cause us to see others in a perpetually negative light. Let us pray that we might play our part in bringing about the new earth in which God’s way of living can and should prevail.


High and holy God, robed in majesty,
Lord of heaven and earth,
we pray that you will bring justice, faith and salvation to all peoples.
Lord, hear us. 
Lord, graciously hear us.

You chose us in Christ to be your people
and to be the temple of your Holy Spirit;
we pray that you will fill your Church with vision and hope.
Lord, hear us. 
Lord, graciously hear us.

Your Spirit enables us to cry, ‘Abba! Father!’,
affirms that we are fellow-heirs with Christ
and pleads for us in our weakness;
we pray for all who are in need or distress.
Lord, hear us. 
Lord, graciously hear us.

In the baptism and birth of Jesus,
you have opened heaven to us
and enabled us to share in your glory:
the joy of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
from before the world was made.
May your whole Church, living and departed,
come to a joyful resurrection in your city of light.
Lord, hear us. 
Lord, graciously hear us.

Let us commend ourselves, and all for whom we pray,
to the mercy and protection of God.

God of our salvation,
help us to turn away from those habits 
which harm our bodies
and poison our minds
and to choose again your gift of life,
revealed to us in 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.

The Lord bless us and watch over us,
the Lord make his face shine upon us
and be gracious to us,
the Lord look kindly on us
and give us peace;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among us and remain with us always.