Podcast Worship

Prayer for Monday 9 August 2021

Listen to a service of Prayer for 9 August 2021 (Trinity 10 / DEL Week 19: Monday), including a reflection on the gospel reading


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


Lord of heaven and earth,
as Jesus taught his disciples to be persistent in prayer,
give us patience and courage never to lose hope,
but always to bring our prayers before you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Psalm 147.13-21

Sing praise to the Lord, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion;

For he has strengthened the bars of your gates
and has blest your children within you.

He has established peace in your borders
and satisfies you with the finest wheat.

He sends forth his command to the earth
and his word runs very swiftly.

He gives snow like wool
and scatters the hoarfrost like ashes.

He casts down his hailstones like morsels of bread;
who can endure his frost?

He sends forth his word and melts them;
he blows with his wind and the waters flow.

He declares his word to Jacob,
his statutes and judgements to Israel.

He has not dealt so with any other nation;
they do not know his laws.

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 17.22-27

As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised.’ And they were greatly distressed.

When they reached Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax came to Peter and said, ‘Does your teacher not pay the temple tax?’ He said, ‘Yes, he does.’ And when he came home, Jesus spoke of it first, asking, ‘What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tribute? From their children or from others?’ When Peter said, ‘From others’, Jesus said to him, ‘Then the children are free. However, so that we do not give offence to them, go to the lake and cast a hook; take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a coin; take that and give it to them for you and me.’


The incident recounted in today’s reading would have been easily understood by those who witnessed the situation being described while, for us, it may seem a little confusing. The temple tax was an annual levy on every male who was aged twenty or older. It was the equivalent of two days’ wages and it was used to create a fund dedicated to the upkeep of the temple.

At first glance the question asked by the ‘collectors of the temple tax’ seems straightforward. All adult males were required to pay the temple tax; do Jesus and his disciples meet their obligation in this respect? Peter offers reassurance that they do pay the tax. At this point the matter seems to be closed.

However, when Peter returns home Jesus himself raises the issue with this question: From whom do the kings of the earth take toll or tribute? He then goes on to question the motivations and fairness of those who have the power to impose levies upon others. He asks whether human authorities are ‘fair’ in the way they administer the financial affairs over which they have control.

We live in a world where the paying of taxes is a matter of routine. The level of taxes to be paid by each individual is set by our elected representatives and, for most, it is then deducted directly from our salaries while, for others, it is a matter of negotiation through complicated administrative procedures. However we handle these matters, we are all very aware of the obligation to pay our taxes.

The taxes raised by governments are used to create a healthier and more supportive society than would otherwise be the case. Of course, not everyone will agree with the differing priorities set by different governments. But, no matter what our personal opinions in these matters may be, we do expect fairness and transparency. We do not expect to find that the burden of taxation is reduced for those who have some sort of personal relationship with the legislators. This seems to be what Jesus is hinting at when he asks whether they levy their taxes: From their children or from others?

Jesus is not telling us that we should avoid our obligations to support the society in which we live. Instead he is making a profound theological point. Jesus sends Peter to gather the money to pay the temple tax from the miraculous bounty of God’s creation. However, in this action Jesus is implying that he is not talking about earthly children as being the ones who are favoured, but those who are the children of God, those whose faith is strong and who live the life of true discipleship.

We are called to play our part in supporting the societies in which we live. That support should be offered willingly and cheerfully. That support should be seen in the way we share our time, our talents, and our worldly wealth. The open and joyous way in which we share those things should reflect our understanding that they are not our possessions but gifts we have been given to share … gifts from God.

Let us pray that we might never hoard that which is the manifestation of God’s gracious love to us, but rather that we might always be generous in the way we join in the mission of sharing God’s bounty with all.

Prayers of intercession

Let us pray to the Father whose Son suffered betrayal and death for the salvation of the world.

Cleanse the Church from temptation to worldly ambition and false triumphalism. In childlike simplicity, may your people follow you without fear, in loving one another.

Bring peace to the troubled places of the world, where war destroys both human life and the beauty of your creation. Make peaceful the minds of those who contend for power, that they may know the freedom of your service.

Bless the children of our families and those in our community. Let their innocence teach us to avoid all that may destroy the harmony of living.

Have mercy on the victims of war and violence… those who have lost their loved ones and been driven from their homes. Grant them a place of refuge to rebuild their lives.

Have mercy on those who have died in war or through human violence. Grant mercy to those who died unprepared and impenitent, by the love of Christ who served others even to death. Grant them the peace that they were denied in their last hour.

As servants of Christ, we humbly offer our prayers in his name.

Prayer for the week

Almighty God,
in whose service lies perfect freedom:
teach us to obey you
with loving hearts and steadfast wills;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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.