Prayers at Mid-day for Thursday, 13 August, 2020 (Proper 19, Trinity 9)


Today in our church calendar we remember Florence Nightingale, nurse and social reformer (d 1910)





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  (Samson’s Marriage)

Judges 14.1-19



Psalm 105

O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name,

   make known his deeds among the peoples. 

Sing to him, sing praises to him;

   tell of all his wonderful works. 

Glory in his holy name;

   let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. 

Seek the Lord and his strength;

   seek his presence continually. 

Remember the wonderful works he has done,

   his miracles, and the judgements he has uttered, 

O offspring of his servant Abraham,

   children of Jacob, his chosen ones. 


He is the Lord our God;

   his judgements are in all the earth. 

He is mindful of his covenant for ever,

   of the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations, 

the covenant that he made with Abraham,

   his sworn promise to Isaac, 

which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute,

   to Israel as an everlasting covenant, 

saying, ‘To you I will give the land of Canaan

   as your portion for an inheritance.’ 


When they were few in number,

   of little account, and strangers in it, 

wandering from nation to nation,

   from one kingdom to another people, 

he allowed no one to oppress them;

   he rebuked kings on their account, 

saying, ‘Do not touch my anointed ones;

   do my prophets no harm.’ 


When he summoned famine against the land,

   and broke every staff of bread, 

he had sent a man ahead of them,

   Joseph, who was sold as a slave. 

His feet were hurt with fetters,

   his neck was put in a collar of iron; 

until what he had said came to pass,

   the word of the Lord kept testing him. 

The king sent and released him;

   the ruler of the peoples set him free. 

He made him lord of his house,

   and ruler of all his possessions, 

to instruct his officials at his pleasure,

   and to teach his elders wisdom. 


Then Israel came to Egypt;

   Jacob lived as an alien in the land of Ham. 

And the Lord made his people very fruitful,

   and made them stronger than their foes, 

whose hearts he then turned to hate his people,

   to deal craftily with his servants. 


He sent his servant Moses,

   and Aaron whom he had chosen. 

They performed his signs among them,

   and miracles in the land of Ham. 

He sent darkness, and made the land dark;

   they rebelled against his words. 

He turned their waters into blood,

   and caused their fish to die. 

Their land swarmed with frogs,

   even in the chambers of their kings. 

He spoke, and there came swarms of flies,

   and gnats throughout their country. 

He gave them hail for rain,

   and lightning that flashed through their land. 

He struck their vines and fig trees,

   and shattered the trees of their country. 

He spoke, and the locusts came,

   and young locusts without number; 

they devoured all the vegetation in their land,

   and ate up the fruit of their ground. 

He struck down all the firstborn in their land,

   the first issue of all their strength. 


Then he brought Israel out with silver and gold,

   and there was no one among their tribes who stumbled. 

Egypt was glad when they departed,

   for dread of them had fallen upon it. 

He spread a cloud for a covering,

   and fire to give light by night. 

They asked, and he brought quails,

   and gave them food from heaven in abundance. 

He opened the rock, and water gushed out;

   it flowed through the desert like a river. 

For he remembered his holy promise,

   and Abraham, his servant. 


So he brought his people out with joy,

   his chosen ones with singing. 

He gave them the lands of the nations,

   and they took possession of the wealth of the peoples, 

that they might keep his statutes

   and observe his laws.

Praise the Lord!



Acts 6.15 – 7.16 (Stephen’s Speech to the Council)



John 4.27-42


Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, ‘What do you want?’ or, ‘Why are you speaking with her?’ Then the woman left her water-jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, ‘Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?’ They left the city and were on their way to him.

Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, ‘Rabbi, eat something.’ But he said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’ So the disciples said to one another, ‘Surely no one has brought him something to eat?’ Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. Do you not say, “Four months more, then comes the harvest”? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, “One sows and another reaps.” I sent you to reap that for which you did not labour. Others have laboured, and you have entered into their labour.’

Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I have ever done.’ So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there for two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Saviour of the world.’


Commentary (Father Michael)


The story of Jesus and the Samaritan women in John 4 is one of the theologically riches passages in all of the gospels.  It speaks to our understandings of gender (Jesus having a respectful and compassionate conversation with a woman), race (Samaritans as people seen by the Jews as inferior and unholy), grace and forgiveness (the women’s sexual past notwithstanding), and Christology (the Samaritans recognizing Jesus as “the Saviour of the world”).   In the denouement of this long episode, to which the disciples return at the end, bewildered because they’ve missed the main event, we hear a lot about evangelism.


In contrast to today’s psalm, Psalm 105, which focuses on God’s salvation of Israel as his chosen people, John seems to broaden the aperture of salvation.   Jesus’ comments to the disciples about fields ready for harvesting, whatever they may mean, seem linked to the receptiveness of the Samaritans to him.  The woman at the well, who has become the first evangelist to the Samaritans, has in a few days brought may people to hear and meet Jesus, and they have also come to belief.   The gospel message is the sown crop, the harvest are believers, and with these new Samaritan believers, John seems to be saying that salvation in Jesus, the “Saviour of the world”, is for all people.


I  confess that in our increasingly secular age, where more and more people seen frankly indifferent to the Christian message, I sometimes struggle to have faith that there is much of a harvest.  The fields are vast, but there doesn’t seem to be much to reap.   In these moments of doubt, I think I need to remember another harness metaphor from another gospel, the parable of the sower and the seed from Matthew 13.   The point of course is that the seed is good, and needs to be thrown widely.  I’ve seen unlikely people come to a deep and rooted faith, against the odds of there upbringing.   Perhaps one lesson from John 4 is that if the church stays within its pious lanes, and keeps its seed to itself, then the people who need to hear the gospel, like the Samaritan women and her neighbours, will never come to faith.





How do you see evangelism in your churchs life?  In your life?  What does sowing and reaping mean to 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 Okene (Nigeria) and Bishop The Rt Revd Emmanuel Onsachi, the clergy and people of the diocese of Buhiga (Burundi) and their bishop, The Rt Revd Evariste Nijimbere, and the clergy and people of the Diocese of Bujumbura (Burundi) and their bishop, The Rt Revd Eraste Bigirimana.  In our Diocesan cycle, we pray for the clergy and people of St. John, West Toronto.

 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.


Life-giving God, who alone have power over life and death, over Health and sickness: Give power, wisdom, and gentleness to those who follow the example of your servant Florence Nightingale, that they, bearing with them your Presence, may not only heal but pain and fear; through Jesus Christ, the healer of body andf soul, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


Let us bless the Lord.

Thanks be to God.