Podcast Worship

Daily Prayer for 4 February

Listen to a service of Daily Prayer for 4 February, including a reflection on Mark 6.30-34 (DEL Week 4: Saturday)


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 6.30-34

The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, ‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. 


As a parish priest I am constantly being reminded to ‘look after myself’. I am told that I should have a weekly rest day (sabbath), and that I should set aside time to read, study and pray. I am told that I should not fill every moment of every day with ‘work’, and that I should have several hours each day when I can relax. Such advice may sound like a model of sensible working practice, but … Every time I am given one of these lectures, or when I read such advice in the barrage of papers on clergy wellbeing that crop up from time to time, I think of today’s passage from Mark’s gospel.

Earlier in Mark, chapter 6, Jesus is rejected in his home town of Nazareth, then he called the twelve and began to send them out. These events are immediately followed by the account of the death of John the Baptist. And, today, the disciples returned and told him all that they had done and taught. Jesus’ response to this is to invite them to a time of rest and recuperation. Like those concerned for the wellbeing of modern clergy, he recognised their need for rest, leisure and food. But, then the crowds gathered around them once again.

As with so many modern-day clergy, Jesus was moved by the needs of those whom he came to serve. We are told that he had compassion for them, because they were life sheep without a shepherd. Those who call at our vicarages, or on our telephones or via email and text are, so very often, like the crowds who gathered around Jesus and his disciples: like sheep without a shepherd.

The need to feed and tend God’s sheep, our fellow human beings, is well documented in the gospels. But, do we always recognise that need? The providing of spiritual nourishment, refreshment and recuperation is not necessarily the responsibility of clergy alone, although that is part of their vocation within the Church! Rather than relying on the one who is ordained, we are all called to show Christ’s compassion to those in need. We are all called to set self to one side, even when we are tired and hungry, and to extend Christ’s loving and healing hand to those who are in need. 

Let us pray that we might learn to set self aside in order that we may be agents of Christ’s love in this world. Let us pray that even when we are tired and hungry we may see the greater needs of our fellow human beings. Let us pray that we may join Jesus and his disciples in providing the spiritual home they seek.


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.