Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

FRIDAY THE NINETEENTH OF MAY, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

O God, the life of the faithful, the bliss of the righteous: mercifully receive the prayers of your suppliants, that the souls which thirst for your promises may evermore be filled from your abundance, through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

PSALM EIGHTY-SIX

All nations you have made
shall come and worship you, O Lord.

Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and in misery.
Preserve my soul, for I am faithful;
save your servant, for I put my trust in you.
Be merciful to me, O Lord, for you are my God;
I call upon you all the day long.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
For you, Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.

Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer
and listen to the voice of my supplication.
In the day of my distress I will call upon you,
for you will answer me.

Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord,
nor any works like yours.
All nations you have made
shall come and worship you, O Lord,
and shall glorify your name.
For you are great and do wonderful things;
you alone are God.

Teach me your way, O Lord,
and I will walk in your truth;
knit my heart to you,
that I may fear your name.

I will thank you, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
and glorify your name for evermore;
For great is your steadfast love towards me,
for you have delivered my soul
from the depths of the grave.

O God, the proud rise up against mE
and a ruthless horde seek after my life;
they have not set you before their eyes.
But you, Lord, are gracious and full of compassion,
slow to anger and full of kindness and truth.

Turn to me and have mercy upon me;
give your strength to your servant
and save the child of your handmaid.
Show me a token of your favour,
that those who hate me may see it and be ashamed;
because you, O Lord, have helped and comforted me.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

All nations you have made
shall come and worship you, O Lord.

God of mercy,
who in your great love
drew your Son from the depths of the Pit,
bring your people from death to life,
that we may rejoice in your compassion
and praise you now and for ever. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

The Martyrs of Sudan: no abandoning of God as they knew him

“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church,” the third-century North African teacher, Tertullian, once wrote and in no place is that observation more apt than in Sudan, Africa’s largest country, and a land long torn by violence.

British policy in the late nineteenth century was to arbitrarily divide the vast country between a Muslim North and a multiethnic South, limiting Christian missionary activity largely to the latter, an artificial division that has created enduring problems. Since independence, on the first of January, 1956, three civilian governments and three military dictatorships have ruled a country that has experienced forty-one years of civil war. During the 1980s Sudan’s internal armed conflict assumed an increasingly religious character, fuelled by a northern-dominated Islamic government imposing authoritarian political control, Islam as the state religion, a penal code based on Sharia law, and restrictions on free speech and free assembly.

On the sixteenth of May, 1983, a small number of Episcopal and Roman Catholic clerical and lay leaders declared they “would not abandon God as they knew him.” Possibly over two million persons, most of them Christians, were then killed in a two-decade civil war, until a comprehensive peace treaty was signed in January 2005. During those years, four million southern Christians may have been internally displaced, and another million forced into exile in Africa and elsewhere. Yet despite the total destruction of churches, schools, and other institutions, Sudanese Christianity has both solidified as a faith community, and gradually expanded at home and among refugees, providing steadfast hope in often-desperate setting.

Scripture. In the tenth chapter of Hebrews, at verses thirty-five and thirty-six, we read:

"Do not, therefore, abandon that confidence of yours; it brings a great reward. For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the Christians of North and South Sudan.

... for an end to the government sponsored Islamic oppression of other faiths throughout the world.

... for those who have died and for those who mourn their passing.

... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.

... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.

... for ourselves.

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.

READING

From "The Apology" (chapter fifty) by Tertullian:

In that case, you say, why do you complain of our persecutions? You ought rather to be grateful to us for giving you the sufferings you want. Well, it is quite true that it is our desire to suffer, but it is in the way that the soldier longs for war. No one indeed suffers willingly, since suffering necessarily implies fear and danger. Yet the man who objected to the conflict, both fights with all his strength, and when victorious, he rejoices in the battle, because he reaps from it glory and spoil. It is our battle to be summoned to your tribunals that there, under fear of execution, we may battle for the truth. But the day is won when the object of the struggle is gained. This victory of ours gives us the glory of pleasing God, and the spoil of life eternal.

But we are overcome. Yes, when we have obtained our wishes. Therefore we conquer in dying; we go forth victorious at the very time we are subdued. This is the attitude in which we conquer. Naturally enough, therefore, we do not please the vanquished; on account of this, indeed, we are counted a desperate, reckless race. But the very desperation and recklessness you object to in us, among yourselves lift high the standard of virtue in the cause of glory and of fame.

But go zealously on, good presidents, you will stand higher with the people if you sacrifice the Christians at their wish, kill us, torture us, condemn us, grind us to dust; your injustice is the proof that we are innocent. Nor does your cruelty, however exquisite, avail you; it is rather a temptation to us. The oftener we are mown down by you, the more in number we grow; the blood of Christians is seed. Many of your writers exhort to the courageous bearing of pain and death, as Cicero in the Tusculans, as Seneca in his Chances, as Diogenes, Pyrrhus, Callinicus; and yet their words do not find so many disciples as Christians do, teachers not by words, but by their deeds. That very obstinacy you rail against is the preceptress. For who that contemplates it, is not excited to inquire what is at the bottom of it? Who, after inquiry, does not embrace our doctrines and when he has embraced them, desires not to suffer that he may become partaker of the fulness of God's grace, that he may obtain from God complete forgiveness, by giving in exchange his blood? For that secures the remission of all offences. On this account it is that we return thanks on the very spot for your sentences. As the divine and human are ever opposed to each other, when we are condemned by you, we are acquitted by the Highest.

CLOSING PRAYER

O God, steadfast in the midst of persecution, by your providence the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church: as the martyrs of the Sudan refused to abandon Christ even in the face of torture and death, and so by their sacrifice brought forth a plentiful harvest, may we, too, be steadfast in our faith in Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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