Prayers for Thursday, 20 August, 2020 (Proper 20, Trinity10)


Today in the church calendar we remember William and Catherine Booth, founders of the Salvation Army (d 1912, 1890).  





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 

Job 1.1-22

There was once a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job. That man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. He had seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred donkeys, and very many servants; so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east. His sons used to go and hold feasts in one another’s houses in turn; and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. And when the feast days had run their course, Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt-offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, ‘It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.’ This is what Job always did.


One day the heavenly beings came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’ Satan answered the Lord, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.’ The Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil.’ Then Satan answered the Lord, ‘Does Job fear God for nothing? Have you not put a fence around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.’ The Lord said to Satan, ‘Very well, all that he has is in your power; only do not stretch out your hand against him!’ So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.


One day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in the eldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, ‘The oxen were ploughing and the donkeys were feeding beside them, and the Sabeans fell on them and carried them off, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; I alone have escaped to tell you.’ While he was still speaking, another came and said, ‘The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; I alone have escaped to tell you.’ While he was still speaking, another came and said, ‘The Chaldeans formed three columns, made a raid on the camels and carried them off, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; I alone have escaped to tell you.’ While he was still speaking, another came and said, ‘Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house, and suddenly a great wind came across the desert, struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; I alone have escaped to tell you.’

Then Job arose, tore his robe, shaved his head, and fell on the ground and worshipped. He said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’

In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrongdoing.



Psalm 131

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up,

   my eyes are not raised too high;

I do not occupy myself with things

   too great and too marvellous for me. 

But I have calmed and quieted my soul,

   like a weaned child with its mother;

   my soul is like the weaned child that is with me. 


O Israel, hope in the Lord

   from this time on and for evermore.



Acts 8.26-40



John 6.16-27


When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, got into a boat, and started across the lake to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The lake became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the lake and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’ Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land towards which they were going.

The next day the crowd that had stayed on the other side of the lake saw that there had been only one boat there. They also saw that Jesus had not got into the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. Then some boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus.

When they found him on the other side of the lake, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.’


Commentary (Father Michael)


Seeing as the BAS two-year lectionary which we follow has started the story of Job today, a refreshing change from the rather unedifying story of Judges, I thought I would focus these commentaries on Job going forward.  I am hoping that I, at least (I have no idea who is reading this) will benefit from looking at Job.


Two initial comments.  The first is on the relationship of God and Satan, who hear does not appear to have a specifically evil o demonic role, but is simply one of the “heavenly beings” that come together before God.   I’m currently reading Tom Holland’s book Dominion, a history of Christianity’s evolution and its influence on global culture.   Holland notes that the opening of the Book of Job may have been influenced by the exilic period when the Jewish people fell under the control of the Babylonian and later Persian kings, so that God appears to preside over a court like other great rulers.   Satan, who has appeared from prowling the earth, may be reminiscent of secret services and spies that these rulers employed, as his job here seems to involve bringing people like Job to God’s attention.  N.T. Wright, in one of his podcasts, addresses the role of Satan in Job and elsewhere, if you’re interested:


The other initial comment involves Job.  While we often think of Job as a proverbial figure of long-suffering endurance (“having the patience of Job”), it’s interesting that our introduction to him gives him a priestly quality.  Job observes the feast days, he sanctifies (blesses?) his family, and prays on their behalf, acting as a kind of intercessor (‘It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts’) to protect them and advocate for them.  While this description of Job’s piety helps the narrative buildup (will Job himself curse God in his heart?), it also makes us think about how faith and prayer work even in the midst of their apparent denial.   After Job learns of the death of the same children that he tried to protect in his prayers, he falls down and worships God.   How many of us could bless God immediately after receiving the worst news?  Our questions going forward in this book should include whether we see Job as a fable of one exemplary man, or whether there is any pastoral advice and counsel here for how we can live our own faith lives?




What impressions have you had of the book of Job in your previous bible studies?   What would you like to learn about Job going forward?  What questions would you ask of this text?  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:  Okrika (Nigeria) The Rt Revd Tubokosemie Atere, and Bungoma (Kenya) The Revd George Mechumo 

 In our Diocesan cycle, we pray for the clergy and people of St. St. Olave, Swansea.

 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.