Podcast Worship

Prayer for Wednesday 1 December 2021

Listen to a service of Prayer for 1 December 2021 (Advent 1: Wednesday), including a reflection on the gospel reading


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


Almighty God,
as your kingdom dawns,
turn us from the darkness of sin
to the light of holiness,
that we may be ready to meet you
in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd;
therefore can I lack nothing.

He makes me lie down in green pastures
and leads me beside still waters.

He shall refresh my soul
and guide me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You spread a table before me
in the presence of those who trouble me;
you have anointed my head with oil
and my cup shall be full.

Surely goodness and loving mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord 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.

Matthew 15.29-37

Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, and he went up the mountain, where he sat down. Great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the maimed, the blind, the mute, and many others. They put them at his feet, and he cured them, so that the crowd was amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.

Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Where are we to get enough bread in the desert to feed so great a crowd?’ Jesus asked them, ‘How many loaves have you?’ They said, ‘Seven, and a few small fish.’ Then ordering the crowd to sit down on the ground, he took the seven loaves and the fish; and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all of them ate and were filled; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full.


On Monday we read of Jesus being amazed at the faith of the Roman centurion, today we read of the crowd being amazed. However, there is a difference in these two states of amazement. Jesus was amazed at a simple statement of belief and commitment, the crowds are amazed at the wondrous things they are seeing with their own eyes. This difference is significant because it is rooted in that which is intangible … faith. On Monday we saw Jesus rewarding the faith of the centurion, today we see the crowd offering their approbation almost as though it were a reward for a ‘conjuring trick’ well executed.

Of course, today’s reading does not stop at this point. The crowds have been bringing their sick to Jesus for three days. Throughout that time he has worked many acts of miraculous healing. Then Jesus has compassion for them, acknowledging their need to eat. As with the earlier miracle of the feeding of the five thousand, there are little resources to work with. But, from seven loaves and a few small fish, Jesus provides an abundance that sees seven baskets of broken pieces left over.

I wonder what it must have been like to have been in that crowd of four thousand? They had probably become anaesthetised to the curing of the incurable, having witnessed that for three whole days, but what about the less immediate provision of a meal? How long would it have taken that great crowd to realize what was happening? Did they all come to that realization, or were many content with the fact that food had been provided before they set off on their journey home? When we read these two accounts together we are presented with a challenge to the complacency we often display when Jesus provides for us.

Sometimes we witness an answer to prayer that leaves us speechless. Sometimes we thank God for answering our prayer, and sometimes we speak of our ‘good luck’. On other occasions we experience a gradual understanding of God’s presence in our lives. Again, sometimes we thank God for answering our prayer, and sometimes we speak of our ‘good luck’.

Today we are being invited to reflect upon our response to God’s loving presence in our lives. Do we need a level of empirical evidence before we offer thanks and praise to God, or is our faith stronger than that? Do we only look for God’s presence and power in the big things of life, or are we ready to find God in the simple and the mundane? Are we ready to find that we are constantly fed by God’s love and compassion for us, or are we dead-set on fending for ourselves?

Prayers of intercession

Let us pray to Jesus who is present with us to eternity.

Jesus, light of the world, bring the light and peace of your gospel to the nations.

Jesus, bread of life, give food to the hungry and nourish us all with your word.

Jesus, our way, our truth, our life, be with us and all who follow you in the way. Deepen our appreciation of your truth and fill us with your life.

Jesus, Good Shepherd who gave your life for the sheep, recover the straggler, bind up the injured, strengthen the sick and lead the healthy and strong to new pastures.

Jesus, the resurrection and the life, we give you thanks for all who have lived and believed in you. Raise us with them to eternal life.

Jesus, Lord of life, in your mercy, hear us, accept our prayers, and be with us always. Amen.

Prayer for the week

God of all hope and joy,
open our hearts in welcome,
that your Son Jesus Christ,
at his coming,
may find in us a dwelling prepared for him
who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.

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.