Prayer for the Day – Monday 14 December

O Lord Jesus Christ,
who at your first coming sent your messenger
to prepare your way before you:
grant that the ministers and stewards of your mysteries
may likewise so prepare and make ready your way
by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just,
that at your second coming to judge the world
we may be found an acceptable people in your sight;
for you are alive and reign with the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 49.14–25
     But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me,
   my Lord has forgotten me.’
     Can a woman forget her nursing-child,
   or show no compassion for the child of her womb?
Even these may forget,
   yet I will not forget you.
     See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands;
   your walls are continually before me.
     Your builders outdo your destroyers,
   and those who laid you waste go away from you.
     Lift up your eyes all around and see;
   they all gather, they come to you.
As I live, says the Lord,
   you shall put all of them on like an ornament,
   and like a bride you shall bind them on.
     Surely your waste and your desolate places
   and your devastated land—
surely now you will be too crowded for your inhabitants,
   and those who swallowed you up will be far away.
     The children born in the time of your bereavement
   will yet say in your hearing:
‘The place is too crowded for me;
   make room for me to settle.’
     Then you will say in your heart,
   ‘Who has borne me these?
I was bereaved and barren,
   exiled and put away—
   so who has reared these?
I was left all alone—
   where then have these come from?’
     Thus says the Lord God:
I will soon lift up my hand to the nations,
   and raise my signal to the peoples;
and they shall bring your sons in their bosom,
   and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.
     Kings shall be your foster-fathers,
   and their queens your nursing-mothers.
With their faces to the ground they shall bow down to you,
   and lick the dust of your feet.
Then you will know that I am the Lord;
   those who wait for me shall not be put to shame.
     Can the prey be taken from the mighty,
   or the captives of a tyrant be rescued?
     But thus says the Lord:
Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken,
   and the prey of the tyrant be rescued;
for I will contend with those who contend with you,
   and I will save your children.

Psalm 40
    I waited patiently for the Lord;
   he inclined to me and heard my cry.
    He brought me out of the roaring pit,
      out of the mire and clay;
   he set my feet upon a rock and made my footing sure.
    He has put a new song in my mouth,
      a song of praise to our God;
   many shall see and fear
      and put their trust in the Lord.
    Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
   who does not turn to the proud that follow a lie.
    Great are the wonders you have done, O Lord my God.
      How great your designs for us!
   There is none that can be compared with you.
    If I were to proclaim them and tell of them
   they would be more than I am able to express.
    Sacrifice and offering you do not desire
   but my ears you have opened;
    Burnt offering and sacrifice for sin you have not required;
   then said I: ‘Lo, I come.
    ‘In the scroll of the book it is written of me
      that I should do your will, O my God;
   I delight to do it: your law is within my heart.’
      I have declared your righteousness in the great congregation;
   behold, I did not restrain my lips,
      and that, O Lord, you know.
      Your righteousness I have not hidden in my heart;
      I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
   I have not concealed your loving-kindness and truth
      from the great congregation.
      Do not withhold your compassion from me, O Lord;
   let your love and your faithfulness always preserve me,
      For innumerable troubles have come about me;
      my sins have overtaken me so that I cannot look up;
   they are more in number than the hairs of my head,
      and my heart fails me.
      Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me;
   O Lord, make haste to help me.
      Let them be ashamed and altogether dismayed
      who seek after my life to destroy it;
   let them be driven back and put to shame
      who wish me evil.
      Let those who heap insults upon me
   be desolate because of their shame.
      Let all who seek you rejoice in you and be glad;
   let those who love your salvation say always,
      ‘The Lord is great.’
      Though I am poor and needy,
   the Lord cares for me.
      You are my helper and my deliverer;
   O my God, make no delay.