Podcast Worship

Prayer for Thursday 16 December 2021

Listen to a service of Prayer for 16 December 2021 (Advent 3: Thursday), including a reflection on the gospel reading


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


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 30.1-5, 11-12

I will exalt you, O Lord,
because you have raised me up 
and have not let my foes triumph over me.

O Lord my God, I cried out to you 
and you have healed me.

You brought me up, O Lord, from the dead; 
you restored me to life from among those that go down to the Pit.

Sing to the Lord, you servants of his; 
give thanks to his holy name.

For his wrath endures but the twinkling of an eye,
his favour for a lifetime. 
Heaviness may endure for a night,
but joy comes in the morning.

You have turned my mourning into dancing; 
you have put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness;

Therefore my heart sings to you without ceasing; 
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks 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.

Luke 7.24-30

When John’s messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who put on fine clothing and live in luxury are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written, “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.”

‘I tell you, among those born of women no one is greater than John; yet the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.’ (And all the people who heard this, including the tax-collectors, acknowledged the justice of God, because they had been baptized with John’s baptism. But by refusing to be baptized by him, the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves.)


What sort of holidays do you like? Do you enjoy spending time doing as little as possible, or do you like to fill your time with new experiences? Do you plan your holidays around sun and sand, or around the visiting of famous places and sights? Or, do you like a subtle blend of the two, mixing complete relaxation with a level of casual tourism that isn’t too taxing and yet offers some variety and stimulation? However you respond to my initial question, let me ask this: what is it that you hope to get out of each holiday you take?

In these modern, technologically-driven times, many of us travel the world. Many are no longer bound by the distance we can walk and the demands of surviving in a hand-to-mouth, moment-by-moment way. We can now plan to travel for the sheer fun of it. We can have some choice over the experiences with which we season our daily routines. We can browse the brochures and the internet to whet our appetites as we contemplate the next time we can switch off. But, how do we make those choices … and why?

In today’s reading Jesus asks: What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? He asks that question of the crowds who rushed to see John the Baptist when he was preaching and baptizing in the wilderness. Those crowds would have made that journey in response to eye-witness statements and rumour. There was no way in which they could have prepared themselves for what they were to find when they finally came into John’s presence. In a similar way, we are often disappointed or surprised by the reality of some famous landmark … it being so much smaller than we expected!

Jesus is asking the crowds why they made the journey; he is also asking them what difference they allowed it to make in their lives. Furthermore, Jesus is asking us the same question. He is not asking about the journeys we make for our leisure and refreshment, rather he is asking about our journeys of faith.

We often travel into the metaphorical wilderness in an attempt to find meaning and purpose in our lives. As we travel we encounter our loving Lord and Saviour. Very often we meet him in unexpected places. Let us pray that we might always be ready for those encounters, whenever and wherever they may come, and let us pray that we might feel the warmth and the joy of experiencing anew his love for us, as we strive to share that love with others.

Prayers of intercession 

Let us pray to God to open our lips to speak as messengers of his gospel.

May we who are the Church of Christ on earth hear his call to repentance. As we see the signs of his healing power, make us ready to receive him into our hearts at this time and to look for his coming in glory.

Come in mercy to the people who seek for help in the kingdoms of this world and do not look to the signs of the Kingdom of Heaven. Break through the doubt and uncertainty that cloud the vision, the false values that hide the truth, that all may know that salvation has come.

Make us faithful witnesses, to bring the knowledge of Christ into our homes, our work, our meeting with others. Guide all in this community so to seek that they may truly find.

Have mercy on the sick in body or mind, the disabled, the sorrowful. Lead them from the wilderness into the fertile land of your healing love, where they may be made whole.

Lord Christ who raised the dead, receive into your Kingdom the souls of the departed. As they saw the signs of your power in this world, may they enter into the fullness of your glory.

We offer our prayers through the one long expected who has come to be among us, Christ the Lord.

Prayer for the week

Father in heaven, the day 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.