Podcast Worship

Prayer for Saturday 18 December 2021

Listen to a service of Prayer for 18 December 2021 (Advent 3: Saturday; O Adonai), including a reflection on the gospel reading


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

O Adonai

O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm. 


God for whom we watch and wait,
you sent John the Baptist
to prepare the way of your Son:
give us courage to speak the truth,
to hunger for justice,
and to suffer for the cause of right,
with Jesus Christ our Lord.

Psalm 72.1-2, 12-13, 18-19

Give the king your judgements, O God,
and your righteousness to the son of a king.

Then shall he judge your people righteously
and your poor with justice.

For he shall deliver the poor that cry out,
the needy and those who have no helper.

He shall have pity on the weak and poor;
he shall preserve the lives of the needy.

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
who alone does wonderful things.

And blessed be his glorious name for ever.
May all the earth be filled with his glory.
Amen. Amen.

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 1.18-24

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
         ‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
         and they shall name him Emmanuel’,
which means, ‘God is with us.’ When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife.


Every Christmas we gather in our churches, we hear the familiar readings from scripture and we sing hymns and carols. One of the words that features a lot in both scripture and in our carols is Emmanuel. It is not a word that we tend to use in our everyday speech, and yet it is an important word in the context of our faith. Emmanuel is a Hebrew word that occurs immediately after the genealogy of Jesus we reflected upon yesterday. It is an indication of the role Jesus was destined to play in the history of humanity. Emmanuel is the name foretold in the writings of the prophet Isaiah, when he says: ‘Look, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel’, which means, ‘God is with us.’

The genealogy was a writer’s attempt to justify the importance of Jesus in the eyes of those who afforded credence to such matters. The words of the angel to Joseph, put Jesus into his proper context: Emmanuel … God is with us

As we journey through the final days of Advent we are invited to examine how focused we really are on the Incarnation of Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, the One who came into the world to bring forgiveness and redemption to us all.

As the days speed past we tend to become less focused on that which is truly important and increasingly obsessed with meeting the irrelevant deadlines and demands of this world, rather than making the prayerful journey to the stable in the hilltop town of Bethlehem. As the next week passes we will worry about presents, and cards, and social gatherings, and food, and all the other nonsense that has grown around our celebration of that which is central to our faith: the Incarnation of Jesus.

Jesus was born in a humble stable. As he came in all humility, we are called to live our lives in humility. As he came to give his entire self in love and service to humanity, we are called to love and serve in his name, and in the completeness he modelled for us. Let us pray that we may know the joy of Emmanuel … God is with us as we come towards the end of our Advent pilgrimage in the coming week.

Prayers of intercession

Let us pray with confidence in the promise that what we ask in the name of our Lord Jesus will be acceptable to our heavenly Father.

Strengthen your Church in the name of Jesus, to know the power of the Saviour, of God with us. Hold us fast in the obedience and faith that enabled Joseph to perform your will in the work of salvation.

Give hope and assurance to those who bear the burden of authority in difficult times. May all who are doubtful and anxious know that the promise of salvation is made to all who will receive it.

Help us to be worthy of the name of Jesus, which we honour in our faith. Number us among those who bear the message of salvation, to be a light to those with whom we live and work.

Bring new hope and confidence to all who are in doubt and uncertainty. Give peace to the troubled minds that distrust those near to them, and bring them new strength to love.

We give thanks for those who have known and believed the message of salvation and who now rejoice in in its fulfilment. Be merciful to those who in this world were doubtful and did not find perfect trust: make them also sharers of the promise.

In humble trust we offer these prayers to Almighty God, through the Name that is above every name.

Prayer for the week

Father in heaven, the days draws near 
when the glory of your Son will make radiant 
the night of the waiting world.
May the lure of greed not impede us from the joy
which moves the hearts of those who seek him.
May the darkness not blind us to the vision of wisdom
which fills the minds of those who find him.

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. 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.