Prayer for the Day – Wednesday 19 August

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Lord of heaven and earth,
as Jesus taught his disciples to be persistent in prayer,
give us patience and courage never to lose hope,
but always to bring our prayers before you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Acts 4.13–31
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized them as companions of Jesus. When they saw the man who had been cured standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. So they ordered them to leave the council while they discussed the matter with one another. They said, ‘What will we do with them? For it is obvious to all who live in Jerusalem that a notable sign has been done through them; we cannot deny it. But to keep it from spreading further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.’ So they called them and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it is right in God’s sight to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard.’ After threatening them again, they let them go, finding no way to punish them because of the people, for all of them praised God for what had happened. For the man on whom this sign of healing had been performed was more than forty years old.

After they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. When they heard it, they raised their voices together to God and said, ‘Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and everything in them, it is you who said by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant:
“Why did the Gentiles rage,
   and the peoples imagine vain things?
The kings of the earth took their stand,
   and the rulers have gathered together
     against the Lord and against his Messiah.”
For in this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’ When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.

from Psalm 77
    I cry aloud to God;
   I cry aloud to God and he will hear me.
    In the day of my trouble I have sought the Lord;
   by night my hand is stretched out and does not tire;
      my soul refuses comfort.
    I think upon God and I groan;
   I ponder, and my spirit faints.
    You will not let my eyelids close;
   I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
    I consider the days of old;
   I remember the years long past;
    I commune with my heart in the night;
   my spirit searches for understanding.
    Will the Lord cast us off for ever?
   Will he no more show us his favour?
    Has his loving mercy clean gone for ever?
   Has his promise come to an end for evermore?
    Has God forgotten to be gracious?
   Has he shut up his compassion in displeasure?
      And I said, ‘My grief is this:
   that the right hand of the Most High has lost its strength.’
      I will remember the works of the Lord
   and call to mind your wonders of old time.
      I will meditate on all your works
   and ponder your mighty deeds.
      Your way, O God, is holy;
   who is so great a god as our God?
      You are the God who worked wonders
   and declared your power among the peoples.