Prayer for the Day – Friday 18 December

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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 51.17-23
Rouse yourself, rouse yourself!
   Stand up, O Jerusalem,
you who have drunk at the hand of the Lord
   the cup of his wrath,
who have drunk to the dregs
   the bowl of staggering.
There is no one to guide her
   among all the children she has borne;
there is no one to take her by the hand
   among all the children she has brought up.
These two things have befallen you
   —who will grieve with you?—
devastation and destruction, famine and sword—
   who will comfort you?
Your children have fainted,
   they lie at the head of every street
   like an antelope in a net;
they are full of the wrath of the Lord,
   the rebuke of your God.
Therefore hear this, you who are wounded,
   who are drunk, but not with wine:
Thus says your Sovereign, the Lord,
   your God who pleads the cause of his people:
See, I have taken from your hand the cup of staggering;
you shall drink no more
   from the bowl of my wrath.
And I will put it into the hand of your tormentors,
   who have said to you,
   ‘Bow down, that we may walk on you’;
and you have made your back like the ground
   and like the street for them to walk on.

Psalm 51
    Have mercy on me, O God, in your great goodness;
   according to the abundance of your compassion
      blot out my offences.
    Wash me thoroughly from my wickedness
   and cleanse me from my sin.
    For I acknowledge my faults
   and my sin is ever before me.
    Against you only have I sinned
   and done what is evil in your sight,
    So that you are justified in your sentence
   and righteous in your judgement.
    I have been wicked even from my birth,
   a sinner when my mother conceived me.
    Behold, you desire truth deep within me
   and shall make me understand wisdom
      in the depths of my heart.
    Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean;
   wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
    Make me hear of joy and gladness,
   that the bones you have broken may rejoice.
      Turn your face from my sins
   and blot out all my misdeeds.
      Make me a clean heart, O God,
   and renew a right spirit within me.
      Cast me not away from your presence
   and take not your holy spirit from me.
      Give me again the joy of your salvation
   and sustain me with your gracious spirit;
      Then shall I teach your ways to the wicked
   and sinners shall return to you.
      Deliver me from my guilt, O God,
      the God of my salvation,
   and my tongue shall sing of your righteousness.
      O Lord, open my lips
   and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
      For you desire no sacrifice, else I would give it;
   you take no delight in burnt offerings.
      The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit;
   a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
      O be favourable and gracious to Zion;
   build up the walls of Jerusalem.
      Then you will accept sacrifices offered in righteousness,
      the burnt offerings and oblations;
   then shall they offer up bulls on your altar.