Podcast Worship

Prayer for Friday 10 December 2021

Listen to a service of Prayer for 10 December 2021 (Advent 2: Friday), including a reflection on the gospel reading


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


Almighty God,
purify our hearts and minds,
that when your Son Jesus Christ
comes again as judge and saviour
we may be ready to receive him,
who is our Lord and our God.

Psalm 1

Blessed are they who have not walked
in the counsel of the wicked,
nor lingered in the way of sinners,
nor sat in the assembly of the scornful.

Their delight is in the law of the Lord
and they meditate on his law day and night.

Like a tree planted by streams of water
bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither,
whatever they do, it shall prosper.

As for the wicked, it is not so with them;
they are like chaff which the wind blows away.

Therefore the wicked shall not be able to stand in the judgement,
nor the sinner in the congregation of the righteous.

For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked shall perish.

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.

Matthew 11.16-19

Jesus said to the crowds, ‘To what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market-places and calling to one another,
         “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
         we wailed, and you did not mourn.”
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He has a demon”; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners!” Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.’


How often do we find ourselves passing an opinion on the words and actions of other people? We see or hear something and feel the need to comment upon it, even if we have no idea of context or the full facts of the matter. Politicians are the constant victims of this ‘bar room wisdom’. They are presented with a problem; they task experts to provide them with all the facts available; they employ analysts to map out the possible outcomes of a whole variety of actions. Then, having come to an informed decision, their words and actions are criticized by people like us … because we believe that we know better.

I highlight the life and work of politicians because their situation is easy to understand. However, the same can be said of the daily reality for many other people. Those who work in the world of education are forever being told they are getting it wrong. Well, we all went to school so we are all experts in education. Lawyers, and especially judges, can never get it right. They are condemned as being too harsh or too lenient, too gullible or too cynical. Despite their many years of study and training, we know better from the comfort of our ill-informed armchairs.

The final words of today’s reading gives us Jesus’ view in this matter: wisdom is vindicated by her deeds. True wisdom is not that which our gut instincts, native wit or inbred prejudices dictates. True wisdom is rooted in the wisdom we receive from God. Such wisdom is found in scripture, and it is found in God’s answers to our prayers. As we struggle to resolve a complex problem, or as we see others in the same dilemma, we fall back, time and time again, on the wisdom we feel we have – indeed, the wisdom on which many people pride themselves. However, such human wisdom is always going to fall short because it excludes the One whose wisdom is complete and all-seeing … the wisdom of God.

As we live out our earthly lives we will see many things that either enrage or encourage, that either anger or amaze, that either enthral or repel us. Whichever emotional response we may have, we need to seek God’s guidance, God’s wisdom. It is not for us to decide on what is or is not acceptable to God, that decision rests in God’s wisdom alone. Let us pray that we might take all to God in prayer, and that we might be ready to be led along unpredictable paths as he schools us in his wisdom, which will always be rooted in love and service to others.

Prayers of intercession

Watchful at all times, let us pray for strength to stand with confidence before our Maker and Redeemer.

That God may bring in his kingdom with justice and mercy, let us pray to the Lord.

That God may establish among the nations his sceptre of righteousness, let us pray to the Lord.

That we may seek Christ in the scriptures and recognize him in the breaking of the bread, let us pray to the Lord.

That God may bind up the broken-hearted, restore the sick and raise up all who have fallen, let us pray to the Lord.

That the light of God’s coming may dawn on all who live in darkness and the shadow of death, let us pray to the Lord.

That, with all the saints in light, we may shine forth as lights for the world, let us pray to the Lord.

Let us commend the world, which Christ will judge, to the mercy and protection of God.

Prayer for the week

Father in heaven,
our hearts desire the warmth of your love
and our minds are searching for the light of your Word.
Increase our longing for Christ our Saviour
and give us the strength to grow in love,
that the dawn of his coming
may find us rejoicing in his presence
and welcoming the light of his truth. 

The Lord’s Prayer

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 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.