Wednesday, 3 February 2016

4 February 2016


Prayers developed from the daily readings 

Thursday 4 February 2016
Morning Prayer

Psalm 80

This psalm is a prayer for deliverance from national enemies. It compares Israel to a vine. It asks for God’s hand to be on the one at God’s right hand, to give us life, to restore us and to save us.

Jeremiah 14: 7 – 16

Jeremiah prays for the people for the sake of God’s name since God is the Hope of Israel. God replies saying that the people love to wander. Their wickedness is being remembered and they are going to be punished. God tells Jeremiah again to not pray for these people. God is not going to listen to their fasting or their offerings. Jeremiah says that God’s other prophets are saying that the people will not die from famine or the sword. God says these prophets are not true, not directed by God and their prophecies are false. Indeed they too will die of famine and violence. The people they prophesy to will be dead in the streets with no one to bury them.

Luke 3: 1 – 14

In the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar when Pontius Pilate is governor of Judea and Annas and Caiaphas are high priests, John the son of Zechariah receives God’s word and begins preaching a baptism of repentance and forgiveness of sins. This fulfils the words of the prophet Isaiah. John fiercely tells those who come that they are vipers and trying to escape God’s wrath. If they claim being children of Abraham as their “free pass” John reminds then that God can turn the stones into more chosen people. They cannot come and pretend to repent. Their lives must show the fruits of repentance: share belongings, only collect the tax you are supposed to collect and soldiers are to be content with their pay and not extort more from the people.

Collect for Morning Prayer

Morning waves
Indian Ocean off Mandurah WA
L Osburn
Almighty God you made us, and you can restore us when we come in full, honest and deep repentance to you. In our warring world, when we are lost and without hope of redemption, when we are oppressed, wandering and self-destructive and when our appeals are just a lot of snake hisses; bring us up short. Help us hear the voice of your prophets and take responsibility by admitting, repenting and coming clean so that we can be your faithful people, generously share, honestly work and be satisfied with what we have through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, and the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.

Thursday 4 February 2016 Evening Prayer

Psalm 81

The psalm begins with praise and thanksgiving. It moves on to remembering the gifts of God and how God saved and delivered the people. Finally there is a lament that the people’s hearts are hard, that they are not listening and until they do they will be besieged. God wants to feed us with fine things. The choice is left open.

Genesis 21: 1 – 21 (22 – 34)

Sarah has a child in her old age who is called Isaac. The baby is circumcised at 8 days old. When Isaac is weaned there is a celebration but Sarah sees Ishmael mocking. She tells Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael away so that Ishmael cannot inherit anything from Abraham. Abraham is distressed but God reaffirms the promise to make Ishmael a nation.

Abraham gives Hagar and Ishmael food and water. When the water runs out Hagar despairs and sits a distance from Ishmael. The Lord hears the crying. The angel of the Lord says to Hagar to not worry, get up and take the boy’s hand for God has promised to make him a nation. She does so and finds a well. Ishmael grows, becomes and archer and marries an Egyptian woman.

Meanwhile, Abimelech and his commander confirm with Abraham that he will be loyal in Abimelech’s kingdom. Abraham agrees but complains about a well he dug which Abimelech’s people had seized. Abimelech and Abraham make a treaty. Abraham brings 7 ewe lambs from his flock as part of the deal. The well is called Beersheba (meaning well of the 7 or well of the oath). Abraham plants a tamarisk tree at Beersheba.

Philippians 2: 1 – 11  

Paul says that if the Philippians have received encouragement from being united with Christ, comfort from the love of Jesus, fellowship with the Holy Spirit, tenderness and compassion then be like that – live that out. Do nothing out of selfish ambition but for the service of others.

We should have the same attitude as Christ who did not seek to be equal with God but became a servant, became human, humbled himself and became obedient even to death on a cross. Therefore Christ is exulted by God so that at Jesus’s name every knee shall bow and everyone confess that Christ is Lord to the glory of God.

Collect for Evening Prayer

Under the surface
Mandurah Estuary WA  L Osburn
Holy and generous God you want to give all humans fine things, to enable us to survive, to protect us and to know that Jesus is Lord to your glory. When our hearts are softened, when we are humble you have intervened with angels and provided water and life. Help us to remember your great gifts to us and let our hearts kneel, our voices praise and our lives show that we are of one heart and mind with Jesus your son, our Lord saviour and name above all names. Amen.

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