Podcast Worship

Daily Prayer for 7 March (Lent)

Listen to a service of Daily Prayer for 7 March, including a reflection on Matthew 23.1-12 (Lent 2: Tuesday)


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 23.1-12

Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practise what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honour at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the market-places, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father – the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.’


Jesus said: All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

We live in a society that places great value on hierarchy. Whether we are supporters of the monarchy or not, our nation exists within a regime that respects and values a system that radiates out from just one figurehead, our King or, as it has been for the past seventy years, our Queen. Of course, it is more complicated than that. The ways in which constitutional and political powers interact have evolved over the centuries, arriving at the hierarchical pyramid that provides the construct for our national life as it is today. But … it is more complicated than that!

It is a common feature of any hierarchy that those lower down the social ladder strive to improve their status. It is a common human trait that we seek a level of recognition that does not go with our real place in the world. We indulge in the political chicanery that is often referred to as ‘spin’, as we portray ourselves in a more flattering light than is really the case. Perhaps we claim a more superior social standing because of our tenuous association with someone who is generally recognized as being higher up the social scale. Perhaps we assume the superior façade of an improved accent or expensive clothes in order that we might stand out from the crowds in which we find ourselves. No matter what strategy we may adopt for inflating our status in the eyes of others, today’s reading makes it clear that we are aligning ourselves with the misguided scribes and Pharisees, and not with Christ.

The Christian calling is one of humble and loving service. Those who profess a faith in Jesus Christ have a duty to place themselves at the back of the queue, at the bottom of the social ladder. This teaching flies in the face of our modern dog-eat-dog way of living. But, Christians are called to stop elbowing others aside in order that they might be seen as the best, the strongest, the richest, the most important. Christians are called to be where the greatest need exists, and then to make a difference, even if accident of birth has placed them naturally at the top of one of society’s organisational hierarchies!

Let us pray that we might be Christ-like in the way we live a life of humble love and service. Let us pray that we might set aside our desire to be honoured and respected in order that we might focus our energies on shining the light of Christ into the dark places of this world.


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.