Podcast Worship

Prayer for Wednesday 15 September 2021

Listen to a service of Prayer for 15 September 2021 (Trinity 15 / DEL Week 24: Wednesday), including a reflection on the gospel reading


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


Lord God,
defend your Church from all false teaching
and give to your people knowledge of your truth,
that we may enjoy eternal life
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Psalm 111.1-5

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the faithful and in the congregation.

The works of the Lord are great,
sought out by all who delight in them.

His work is full of majesty and honour
and his righteousness endures for ever.

He appointed a memorial for his marvellous deeds;
the Lord is gracious and full of compassion.

He gave food to those who feared him;
he is ever mindful of his covenant.

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 7.31-35

Jesus said to the crowds, ‘To what then will I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the market-place and calling to one another,
         “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
         we wailed, and you did not weep.”

‘For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, “He has a demon”; the Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners!” Nevertheless, wisdom is vindicated by all her children.’


Yesterday I mentioned the conversations I have when preparing couples for Holy Matrimony. I focused on my helping them to understand what is meant by the word ‘love’ in a Christian context. In those preparatory conversations I also, at some point, ask them: Which one of you sulks? This question leads into a conversation about how they understand the concept of forgiveness. Today’s reading leads me to ask the same question, albeit in a slightly different form: What makes you sulk?

Most of us will have an answer to that question, even if we are reluctant to admit that we can be so childish in the way we interact with others. For one thing, everyone knows what I mean by ‘sulk’. We have that knowledge because we have seen that negative trait in others … and we know that we have it ourselves. We like to get our own way in all things. When we don’t, we sulk. Sometimes that involves noisy tantrums and sometimes it involves long periods of silence. Wherever we, as individuals, might sit on that spectrum, we do still sulk. It is not just a thing of childhood, although it never ceases to be childish.

Today’s reading comes from a moment in Luke’s gospel when messengers from John the Baptist are seeking to understand where Jesus fits into God’s narrative for humanity. John’s followers had accepted his teaching of repentance and baptism. They had learnt to sacrifice worldly things in order that they might draw closer to God. Then they see the one whom people are proclaiming to be the Messiah, and his followers, living a different life, a life that is not so austere and self-sacrificial. Perhaps we should be surprised that they needed help in understanding exactly who this Jesus was!

We are in a privileged position. We know the whole of the gospel narrative. For the followers of John the Baptist there was still much to unfold and to be revealed. We know that the need to repent, to turn from our worldly ways, is essential if we are to enter into a meaningful relationship with Jesus, our Saviour and our Lord. We know that, as Jesus walked the earth, people should have rejoiced at his presence, because the time for fasting and self-denial would come after humanity had done its worst. We know that despite the cruelty and cowardice of the spiritual and worldly leaders of the day, Jesus would not be defeated, not even by the cruel death of crucifixion.

Too often we ‘sulk’ by trying to align the Christian message with our own way of thinking, and fail. We want to rearrange the pieces until the picture that emerges is the one that agrees with our flawed, human wisdom. In reality, we are called to rearrange the pieces that make up the persona we present to the world until we conform to God’s wisdom.

Let us pray that we might set aside childish ways and be led by the wisdom of God in all that we say, and think, and do.

Prayers of intercession

Let us pray through the Son to the Father, Lord of heaven and earth.

Keep the Church strong in the law of Christ, resisting the temptation to accept false values. May your people in their generation be truly the children of wisdom.

Have pity on a world full of discontent, restless and finding no lasting satisfaction. Guide into the right way all who desire the good but give way to evil.

Help us to discern and follow the right way in all our relationships. May the knowledge of your truth be known to this community. Give wisdom to those who hold responsibility in it and make them agents of your law of love.

Have mercy on those whose lives are weary and whose burdens are heavy. May they come to know the freedom of trust in Jesus Christ.

We pray for those who have been delivered from their mortal bodies. Now that the struggle with sin is over, receive them into your presence.

Secure in the rest that Christ has given, we pray in his name.

Prayer for the week

Into the hands of your love and mercy,
O God our Father,
we commit our lives this day:
our work and the tasks that await us;
our homes and the members of our families;
our loved ones and especially those in need.
Give to us your guidance,
your strength and your protection,
according to our needs
and throughout this and every day
keep us abiding in your love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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.