Prayers for Wednesday, 19 August, 2020 (Proper 20, Trinity10)





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 18.16-31



Psalm 128


Happy is everyone who fears the Lord,

   who walks in his ways. 

You shall eat the fruit of the labour of your hands;

   you shall be happy, and it shall go well with you. 


Your wife will be like a fruitful vine

   within your house;

your children will be like olive shoots

   around your table. 

Thus shall the man be blessed

   who fears the Lord. 


The Lord bless you from Zion.

   May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem

   all the days of your life. 

May you see your children’s children.

   Peace be upon Israel!



Acts 8.14-25



John 6.1-15


After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias.  A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming towards him, Jesus said to Philip, ‘Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?’ He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, ‘Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.’ One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, ‘There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?’ Jesus said, ‘Make the people sit down.’ Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, ‘Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.’ So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, ‘This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.’

When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.



Commentary (Father Michael)


As these devotions have been following Matthew until recently, along with the Common Lectionary for our worship on Wednesdays and Sundays, we can feel overly familiar with today’s reading from John:  “Oh, hear’s another feeding miracle”.  We’ve had Matthew’s account of the feeding of the Five Thousand, and then again of the Four Thousand, in our lections recently.  Or, we might say, “Here’a another variant of the feeding story”, if we think that the six accounts of the feeding of crowds in the four gospels are different tellings of one incident that captivated the four evangelists.  If this is our reaction, it would be helpful if we can suspend our feeling of “nothing to see here” and actually look at the details of the text.


N.T. Wright notes that John dates this event as being near Passover.   This key detail gives perspective to the miracle of the feeding of the crowd, because it reminds us of how the Jewish people were fed by manna, bread from heaven, as they travelled through the wilderness during their escape from heaven (Ex 16).   The connection with the Exodus story helps us understand Jesus’ identity as the Messiah or Saviour, which is a slow-rolling reveal throughout John’s gospel.   In chapter six, after this miracle, Jesus will speak of himself as the bread from heaven, further pointing us to towards his identity.


For us as believers who get and accept these points, what can we take away from this simple story (other than the detail about Jesus giving thanks and distributing the food, which may make us hunger even more for the eucharist in this pandemic fasting time)?  Wright also notes a lovely detail in today’s reading about how Andrew doesn’t know what to do anymore than Philip or the rest of the disciples, but does have the presence of mind to bring the boy with the merger food to Jesus’ attention.  The story thus reminds us that bringing things to Jesus, in faith that “something new and creative may happen”, is always a good starting point in our faith lives.



Do you struggle with bible stories being over-familiar?   What can you bring to Jesus’ attention today?  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 these Dioceses and for their bishops:  Oklahoma (The Episcopal Church) The Rt Revd Edward Konieczny, and Bunbury (Australia) The Rt Revd Dr Ian Coutts. 


 In our Diocesan cycle, we pray for the clergy and people of St. Michael and All Angels, 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 Belarus, as they struggle to claim their stolen election, and for the people of Lebanon, dealing with failed government and the aftermath of the Beirut explosion.

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 have broken the tyranny of sin and sent into our hearts the Spirit of your Son.  Give us grace to dedicate our freedom to your service, that all people may know the glorious liberty of the children of God; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Let us bless the Lord.

Thanks be to God.