Podcast Worship

Prayer for the Lesser Festival of the Saints and Martyrs of England

Listen to a service of Prayer for the Festival of the Saints and Martyrs of England, Monday 8 November 2021, including a reflection on the gospel reading

The date when Christianity first came to England is not known, but there were British bishops at the Council of Arles in the year 314, indicating a Church with order and worship. Since those days, Christians from England have shared the message of the good news at home and around the world. As the worldwide fellowship of the Anglican Communion developed, incorporating peoples of many nations and cultures, individual Christian men and women have shone as beacons, heroically bearing witness to their Lord, some through a simple life of holiness, others by giving their lives for the sake of Christ.


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


God, whom the glorious company of the redeemed adore,
assembled from all times and places of your dominion:
we praise you for the saints of our own land
and for the many lamps their holiness has lit;
and we pray that we also may be numbered at last
with those who have done your will
and declared your righteousness;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Psalm 15

Lord, who may dwell in your tabernacle?
Who may rest upon your holy hill?

Whoever leads an uncorrupt life
and does the thing that is right;

Who speaks the truth from the heart
and bears no deceit on the tongue;

Who does no evil to a friend
and pours no scorn on a neighbour;

In whose sight the wicked are not esteemed,
but who honours those who fear the Lord.

Whoever has sworn to a neighbour
and never goes back on that word;

Who does not lend money in hope of gain,
nor takes a bribe against the innocent;

Whoever does these things
shall never fall.

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.

John 17.18-23

Jesus looked up to heaven and said, ‘As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.

‘I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.’


Since March 2020 many people have been struggling with the different levels of restriction that have been imposed upon our lives by politicians and scientists. One of the things that seem to have caused the greatest distress has been our inability to travel. Holidays, business trips, family visits, including the celebration of significant life events, and simple leisure trips have been on hold for a long time. For many there has been no travelling for almost two years.

The effect of this enforced lack of mobility can be seen in the way many have lost their confidence and have suffered reduced mobility. A significant number of people whose pre-pandemic life included regular trips out, visits to family and friends and the occasional holiday are now housebound, fearful of the virus and uncertain of their own ability to safely walk even to local shops.

In the light of this rather gloomy snapshot of contemporary life, we need to consider how we might respond to the opening words in today’s reading: As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. What do these words mean to you? As a member of the clergy, I am expected to be out and about. I spend a lot of time travelling as I seek to share the Good News with others and engage in pastoral ministry. But … how does this work when we are forced to lock ourselves away?

Whilst our shopping and vacation hopes and expectations may have been curtailed over the last eighteen months, the same is not true of the mission and ministry of Christ’s Church. Clergy and church communities have had to find new ways to honour Christ’s call by making themselves visible in a world of apprehension and fear. This website is an example of this. From small beginnings and a strong desire to minister to those who had been isolated from physical contact with their churches we have striven to find a new way of letting people know that Christ is journeying alongside them.

Faith has remained strong and a desire to share God’s love has resulted in some amazing examples of Christian ministry. People have created new ways of caring for each other, just as we have created new ways of sharing the word of God. Of course, there are those who have emerged from the restrictions even more entrenched than they were before. For many of them the last eighteen months has simply been a time of hibernation, a time of turning their backs on Christ’s call.

Today we are reminded that, no matter what the circumstances, we are called by Christ to allow ourselves to be sent into the world. This may look different from earlier times, but the call is just as strong. Let us pray for the strength to respond to that call, and let us give thanks for the God-given imagination and skill which makes it all possible, even if isolation is still imposed upon us.

The map shows where those visiting this website have come from, from its start in April 2020 until 6 November 2021. Let us thank God for his blessing so many across the world, even when we were locked out of our physical churches in rural Lincolnshire. [Web editor]

Prayers of intercession

Let us pray to God, whose saints have shown his glory in the Church and in the world.

Guide your Church to follow the example of all your saints through the ages, and in this generation to glorify your name with joyful praise and reverent worship. May we ever remember that to be called to your service is to be called to holiness.

We pray for a spirit of service towards those in need. Fill our lives with love for you and for your creatures. Sanctify all human striving towards a better world, that all may work together for good.

In all our relationships, grant us such love and grace that our discipleship shall be made plain. Take away false showing and self-regard, to enable us to share our faith with those with whom we share our lives.

Have mercy on those whose goodness is exploited and whose innocence is abused. Be close to those whose lives have been damaged because they stood firm for truth and goodness. Give them strength to continue following those who have been your chosen witnesses.

We give thanks for all who have glorified you by their lives on earth and left us a good example. Give us grace to praise the memory of the saints not in words alone, but in lives that may make us worthy to share with them in your everlasting glory.

Knowing that we too are called to be saints, we pray for sanctification through Christ.

Prayer for the week

Lord Jesus,
you have shown us how great is the price of freedom
by giving your life to deliver us from evil.
Teach us to give to the uttermost;
to respect that which others have secured for us;
and to pursue peace in obedience to your will,
until all the kingdoms of this world come to you
as Lord and Saviour of all.

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.