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Daily Prayer Podcast Worship

Prayer for 24 March 2021

Listen to or read a service of Prayer for 24 March 2021 (Lent 5: Wednesday)

Preparation

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

Praise

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.
Amen.

Canticle: Bless the Lord

(The Song of the Three 29–34)

Blessed are you, the God of our ancestors,
worthy to be praised and exalted for ever.

Blessed is your holy and glorious name,
worthy to be praised and exalted for ever.

Blessed are you, in your holy and glorious temple,
worthy to be praised and exalted for ever.

Blessed are you who look into the depths,
worthy to be praised and exalted for ever.

Blessed are you, enthroned on the cherubim,
worthy to be praised and exalted for ever.

Blessed are you on the throne of your kingdom,
worthy to be praised and exalted for ever.

Blessed are you in the heights of heaven,
worthy to be praised and exalted for ever.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

Reading
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.’

Reflection

Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits a sin is a slave to sin.

How often have you made, and kept, a New Year’s resolution? How often have you vowed to give something up for Lent only to find yourself ‘cheating’? How often have you ‘conveniently’ forgotten to keep a promise, or tweaked that promise to your own advantage? How often have you broken some rule, regulation or law having persuaded yourself that your transgression is too minor to matter? How often have you committed a sin because ‘everyone else is doing it’? These soul-searching questions, and the many I have not asked, lie at the heart of the text we are reflecting upon today: … everyone who commits a sin is a slave to sin.

We all struggle with sin. Whenever we are confronted with some level of restriction we feel a strong urge to resist. Sometimes the restriction concerns something major. It is obvious why we are told not to commit murder, and most of us manage to resist the temptation to sin in this way. But what about other restrictions that, despite our ability to trivialize them in our own minds, still carry the force of law? A simple example can be seen every single day in our small rural community. A significant road runs through the village, a road with a slower speed limit and a need for caution. The road is crossed by children going to and from their schools, placing an added need to observe the reduced speed limit on all who drive up and down that road. Needless to say, the reduced speed limit is almost universally ignored. The speeds achieved show no remorse for the breaking of the law and no care for the lives that are put at risk.

We sin when we break the laws of the society in which we live, just as we sin when we break God’s law. Breaking the laws of this world endanger the welfare of others; breaking God’s law may do the same, but it also endangers our very souls as we betray our relationship with God.

Slaves have no choice in how they live out their lives, they are required to obey the whims of others. As we become increasingly comfortable with the continuing sins we commit, we give up our freedom to draw closer to God and become slaves to sin.

Let us pray that we might turn from sin and adhere to God’s law, the law that will lead us into eternal life with Him.

Prayers of Intercession

United in the company of all the faithful and looking for the coming of the kingdom, let us offer our prayers to God, the source of all life and holiness.

Merciful Lord, strengthen all Christian people by your Holy Spirit, that we may live as a royal priesthood and a holy nation to the praise of Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Bless our bishop, and all ministers of your Church, that by faithful proclamation of your word we may be built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets into a holy temple in the Lord. Lord, have mercy.

Empower us by the gift of your holy and life-giving Spirit, that we may be transformed into the likeness of Christ from glory to glory.

Give to the world and its peoples the peace that comes from above, that they may find Christ’s way of freedom and life.

Hold in your embrace all who witness to your love in the service of the poor and needy; all those who minister to the sick and dying; and all who bring light to those in darkness.

Touch and heal all those whose lives are scarred by sin or disfigured by pain, that, raised from death to life in Christ, their sorrow may be turned to eternal joy.

Remember in your mercy all those gone before us, who have been well-pleasing to you from eternity; preserve in your faith your servants on earth, guide us to your kingdom, and grant us your peace at all times.

Hasten the day when many will come from east and west, from north and south, and sit at table in your kingdom.

We give you thanks for the whole company of your saints in glory, with whom in fellowship we join our prayers and praises; by your grace may we, like them, be made perfect in your love.

Prayer for the week

Almighty and everlasting God,
whose Son our Saviour Jesus Christ
triumphed in death on the cross
that he might win life for the world;
help us in the power of his victory
to triumph over evil
and to glory in his cross alone;
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever.
Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

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. Amen.

The Grace

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore. Amen.

Hymn

Like sheep that stray we leave God’s path,
to choose our own and not his will;
like sheep to slaughter he has gone
obedient to his Father’s will.

For on his shoulders God has laid
the weight of sin that we should bear;
so by his Passion we have peace,
through his obedience and his prayer.

Brian Foley (1919–2000), based on Isaiah 53