Prayers at Mid-day for Monday, 10 August, 2020 (Proper 19, Trinity 9)


Memorial of Laurence, Deacon and Martyr at Rome (d 258)





O God, make speed to save us.


Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.



The Lord is our refuge and our strength:  O come, let us worship.


Hebrew Scriptures

Judges 12.1-7



Psalm 89.19-52

Then you spoke in a vision to your faithful one, and said:

   ‘I have set the crown on one who is mighty,

   I have exalted one chosen from the people. 

I have found my servant David;

   with my holy oil I have anointed him; 

my hand shall always remain with him;

   my arm also shall strengthen him. 

The enemy shall not outwit him,

   the wicked shall not humble him. 

I will crush his foes before him

   and strike down those who hate him. 

My faithfulness and steadfast love shall be with him;

   and in my name his horn shall be exalted. 

I will set his hand on the sea

   and his right hand on the rivers. 

He shall cry to me, “You are my Father,

   my God, and the Rock of my salvation!” 

I will make him the firstborn,

   the highest of the kings of the earth. 

For-ever I will keep my steadfast love for him,

   and my covenant with him will stand firm. 

I will establish his line for ever,

   and his throne as long as the heavens endure. 

If his children forsake my law

   and do not walk according to my ordinances, 

if they violate my statutes

   and do not keep my commandments, 

then I will punish their transgression with the rod

   and their iniquity with scourges; 

but I will not remove from him my steadfast love,

   or be false to my faithfulness. 

I will not violate my covenant,

   or alter the word that went forth from my lips. 

Once and for all I have sworn by my holiness;

   I will not lie to David. 

His line shall continue for ever,

   and his throne endure before me like the sun. 

It shall be established for ever like the moon,

   an enduring witness in the skies.’


But now you have spurned and rejected him;

   you are full of wrath against your anointed. 

You have renounced the covenant with your servant;

   you have defiled his crown in the dust. 

You have broken through all his walls;

   you have laid his strongholds in ruins. 

All who pass by plunder him;

   he has become the scorn of his neighbours. 

You have exalted the right hand of his foes;

   you have made all his enemies rejoice. 

Moreover, you have turned back the edge of his sword,

   and you have not supported him in battle. 

You have removed the sceptre from his hand,

   and hurled his throne to the ground. 

You have cut short the days of his youth;

   you have covered him with shame.


How long, O Lord? Will you hide yourself for ever?

   How long will your wrath burn like fire? 

Remember how short my time is—

   for what vanity you have created all mortals! 

Who can live and never see death?

   Who can escape the power of Sheol?


Lord, where is your steadfast love of old,

   which by your faithfulness you swore to David? 

Remember, O Lord, how your servant is taunted;

   how I bear in my bosom the insults of the peoples, 

with which your enemies taunt, O Lord,

   with which they taunted the footsteps of your anointed. 


Blessed be the Lord for ever.Amen and Amen.




Acts 5.12-26

Now many signs and wonders were done among the people through the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. None of the rest dared to join them, but the people held them in high esteem. Yet more than ever believers were added to the Lord, great numbers of both men and women, so that they even carried out the sick into the streets, and laid them on cots and mats, in order that Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he came by. A great number of people would also gather from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all cured.

Then the high priest took action; he and all who were with him (that is, the sect of the Sadducees), being filled with jealousy, arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors, brought them out, and said, ‘Go, stand in the temple and tell the people the whole message about this life.’ When they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and went on with their teaching.

When the high priest and those with him arrived, they called together the council and the whole body of the elders of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. But when the temple police went there, they did not find them in the prison; so they returned and reported, ‘We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them, we found no one inside.’ Now when the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these words, they were perplexed about them, wondering what might be going on. Then someone arrived and announced, ‘Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!’ Then the captain went with the temple police and brought them, but without violence, for they were afraid of being stoned by the people.



John 3.1-21


Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, “You must be born from above.” The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can these things be?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?

‘Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgement, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.’ 


Commentary (Father Michael)


Nicodemus’ journey to Jesus, under cover of night, is presumably self-protective, the care of a prominent Jewish leader not to be seen in the light of day with a potentially dangerous and subversive preacher.  Nicodemus doesn’t need that sort of trouble, but he is one of several prominent people in the gospels and in Acts who still want to know more about Jesus.   His nighttime journey sets the tone for Jesus to say that “those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God” (Jn 3.21). Light always triumphs over darkness in the gospel.  The dead (Lazarus, Jesus) emerge from their tombs into the light of day.  Prisoners  like Peter in today’s reading from Acts 5 emerge from dark prison cells and are found preaching.  


Whatever victories darkness, tombs, and prisons may achieve always prove to be transitory, even if it may seem so at times.   Laurence, who we remember today, was martyred during one of the Roman persecutions, but his courage and decency lead many to become others to become Christians.


When we think of Christians in prison, like Peter in Acts, we can also think of contemporary figures like the late US Congressman John Lewis, who was arrested an astonishing 40 times between 1960 and 1966 for his participation in the Civil Rights struggle.  As his New York Times obituary put it, “He spent countless days and nights in county jails and 31 days in Mississippi’s notoriously brutal Parchman Penitentiary”.  Today Lewis is remembered for his role in a movement that was founded in the gospel belief that all are precious children created by God, regardless of their skin colour, and in the faith that God’s righteousness would prevail.


Let us have faith that the light, truth, and goodness of God will always prevail over the forces set against them, and let us remember that whatever darkness we are in will always fade in the light of God.



Have you been the recipient of God’s generosity?  How did that generosity change you?  What other questions come to mind in today’s passages?




Let us pray in faith to God our Father, to his Son Jesus Christ, and to the Holy Spirit, saying, “Lord, hear and have mercy.”


For the Church of the living God throughout the world, let us ask the riches of his grace.  Today we pray in the Anglican Communion Cycle of Prayer for the clergy and people of the diocese of Ohaji / Egbema (Nigeria) and their bishop, The Rt Revd Chidi Collins Oparaojiaku, and the clergy and people of the Diocese of Brisbane (Australia) and their Diocesan Bishop, The Most Revd Phillip John Aspinall.

Lord, hear and have mercy.


For all who proclaim he word of truth, especially all who struggle to communicate the gospel within the isolation and restrictions of the pandemic, 

Lord, hear and have mercy.


For all who have consecrated their lives to the kingdom of God, and for all struggling to follow the way of Christ, let us all the gifts of the Spirit.

Lord, hear and have mercy.


For Elizabeth our Queen, for Justin our Prime Minister, and for all who govern the nations, that they may strive for justice and peace, let us ask the strength of God.

Lord, hear and have mercy.


For the people of Lebanon, as they face the aftermath of the terrible explosion in Beirut, and for the many injured and homeless, and for those who mourn.

Lord, hear and have mercy.


For scholars and research workers, particularly for those working on treatments and a vaccine for Covid 19, and for all whose work seeks to benefit humanity, let us ask the light of the Lord.

Lord, hear and have mercy.


We pray to be forgiven our sins and set free from all hardship, distress, want, war, and injustice.

Lord, hear and have mercy.


For all who have passed from this life in faith and obedience,  and for all who have perished from Covid 19 and from diseases that went untreated because hospitals were overwhelmed, let us ask the peace of Christ.

Lord, hear and have mercy.



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.





Almighty God, you sent your Holy Spirit to be the life and light of your Church.  Open our hearts to the riches of your grace, that we may bring forth the fruit of your Spirit in love, joy, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.


Almighty God, you called your holy deacon Laurence to minister the riches of Christ, and for the sake of Christ’s name gladly to pour forth his life.  Grant to us who keep his feast such faithfulness in our service to one another and such joy in bearing witness to you, that the world may be stirred to open its heart and attend to your word of salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.


Let us bless the Lord.

Thanks be to God.