Sunday, 23rd August

Together in Prayer

O Lord, open our lips
And our mouth shall declare you praise!

The night has passed, and the day lies open before us;
let us pray with one heart and mind.


As we rejoice in the gift of this new day,
so may the light of your presence, O God,
set our hearts on fire with love for you;
now and for ever.

Preparing our hearts
Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord.

Reading: Matthew 16: 13-20
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’ Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

Thought for the week: Rev Fred Long
The Gospel for today comes at a critical stage in the ministry of Jesus. The end is coming ever nearer, and Our Lord needs all the time alone with his disciples that he could gain. He has much to say and so much to teach them. So he withdraws to an area twenty-five miles north of the Sea of Galilee, an area that was mainly non-Jewish.

Confronting Jesus has been a multitude of followers who have displayed a divergence in their understanding of who he is. So then at Ceasarea Philippi he demands a verdict from his disciples. He begins by asking what people were saying about Him and who they took Him to be. The disciples give a number of answers that reflect that diversity of what people are saying about Him, and who they took Him to be. It is then that He makes it a personal challenge, “But who do you say that I am?” At that question there may well have been a moment’s silence. It falls however, to Peter to make his great discovery and not be afraid to confess, “You are the Christ.”

The passage teaches us that the discovery of Jesus Christ must be a personal discovery. You – what do you think of me? A person might know of every verdict that has ever been passed on Jesus and give a competent summary of his teachings by the greatest of thinkers and theologians and yet still not be a Christian. Christianity never consists in knowing about Jesus, but it always consists in knowing Jesus. Jesus Christ demands a personal verdict.
In our Baptism and Confirmation service we are given the opportunity to make such a response. “Do you turn to Christ” and for the person of faith they reply, “I turn to Christ.” It is this fact that is at the heart of the Church’s belief and Christian soul, in their journey of faith.

To each one of you, in the words of St David. “Be joyful, keep the faith, and do the small things.”
God Bless: Fred Long

What do you think of the scripture reading? If you are with others, maybe discuss the passage and include anything that inspires you or raises any questions for you.

Collect for the eleventh Sunday after Trinity
O God, you declare your almighty power
most chiefly in showing mercy and pity:
mercifully grant to us such a measure of your grace,
that we, running the way of your commandments,
may receive your gracious promises,
and be made partakers of your heavenly treasure;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Lord we present ourselves, our souls, and bodies, to you.
You give us life, you give us love, you give us yourself.
May we give our lives, our love, ourselves to you.
We pray for the unity of your church,
That we may work together for the good of all.
We give thanks for the gifts you have given to us;
let us use them to your glory.
We pray especially for all who exercise the gifts of ministry,
teaching, and healing.
Christ, Son of the living God,
Hear us and help us.

We pray for all people, that their talents and abilities may be
able to be used wisely during these troubled times.
We ask that you bless each in their vocation and work.
We remember all those who have been made redundant, and those
who are unemployed.
We pray for all who are forced to use food banks and who struggle to
put food on the table for their children.
We pray for all who are facing being made homeless as they cannot pay
their bills through no fault of their own.
We ask Lord that you give all who are struggling at this time the strength
they need to go on.
We pray for our government and ask that they do not abandon those in
most need at this time
Hear us and help us.

Lord we pray for our loved ones, our neighbours, our friends, and give you
our grateful thanks that we are blessed to live in such a rich and wonderful
We thank you for all that you do for us each day, for your love, care, compassion
and understanding when we don’t always get it right.
We give thanks for all who have been strengthened by their faith,
for all who have come back to faith, and we pray for all who have died in faith.
Lord, we ask that you grant us with them a share in your heavenly kingdom and
We give thanks to Christ, Son of the living God.

Open prayer for God’s world, our communities, the church and for our lives
Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son our saviour Jesus Christ.

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.

Lord, set your blessing on us
as we begin this day together.
Confirm in us the truth
by which we rightly live;
confront us with the truth
from which we wrongly turn.
We ask not for what we want
but for what you know we need,
as we offer this day and ourselves
for you and to you
through Jesus Christ, our Saviour