St. Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh
Midweek Devotion 7th October 2021
Led by Rev Douglas A O Nicol
The Psalmist wrote: ‘The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call upon him in truth’ (Psalm 145: 18)
Let us worship God.
The Gospel according to St. Luke, chapter 11, verses 5 to 13:
‘And Jesus said to them, ‘Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.” And he answers from within, “Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed: I cannot get up and give you anything.” I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
‘So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’
Sir Winston Churchill once said: ‘Never give in! Never give in! Never, Never, Never, Never – in anything great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.’
The great wartime leader was reminding us of the importance of persistence … and in our Gospel reading today Jesus is underlining for all of us the importance of persisting in prayer.
Some background information might assist our understanding of the passage:
Jesus explains that in the end persistence will win over the most reluctant friend – and that there is no reluctance on God’s part to answer our prayers.
The assurance of Jesus’ response to persistence in prayer is clearly offered in a hymn of John Newton:
Approach, my soul, the mercy-seat,
where Jesus answers prayer;
there humbly fall before his feet,
for none can perish there.
Thy promise is my only plea;
with this I venture nigh:
thou callest burdened souls to thee,
and such, O Lord, am I.
May we all know the blessings of answered prayer this day and always!
Let us pray:
God of unfailing power,
you give vigour to the weary,
fresh hope to the exhausted.
We look to you to win new strength,
that we may soar as on eagle’s wings,
run and not feel faint,
march on and not grow weary.
Keep us aglow with your Spirit,
that with unflagging zeal we may serve the Lord.
God of faithfulness,
your generous love supplies us
with the fruits of the earth in their season.
Give us grace to be thankful for your gifts,
to use them wisely,
and to share our plenty with others;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We commend to your generous goodness
all those who are in any way afflicted and distressed,
especially at this time by Coronavirus.
Comfort and relieve them according to their individual needs;
give them patience under their sufferings,
and a happy release out of all their afflictions.
all this we ask for the sake of Jesus Christ.
We remember before You this day
our families and loved ones.
May they know of Your hope and love
as they journey through their lives.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done, in 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, and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever, Amen.
The guarding of the God of life be on you,
the guarding of the loving Christ be on you,
the guarding of the Holy Spirit be on you
to aid you and enfold you
each day and night of your lives.
Dieterich Buxtehude Nun bitten wir den heiligen Geist BuxWV 208