Sunday 8 August

Let your merciful ears, O Lord,
be open to the prayers of your humble servants;
and that they may obtain their petitions
make them to ask such things as shall please you;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Hebrews 12.1–17
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as children—
‘My child, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
   or lose heart when you are punished by him;
 for the Lord disciplines those whom he loves,
   and chastises every child whom he accepts.’
Endure trials for the sake of discipline. God is treating you as children; for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline? If you do not have that discipline in which all children share, then you are illegitimate and not his children. Moreover, we had human parents to discipline us, and we respected them. Should we not be even more willing to be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share his holiness. Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.
 Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and through it many become defiled. See to it that no one becomes like Esau, an immoral and godless person, who sold his birthright for a single meal. You know that later, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, even though he sought the blessing with tears.

Psalm 91
    Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
   and abides under the shadow of the Almighty,
    Shall say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my stronghold,
   my God, in whom I put my trust.’
    For he shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
   and from the deadly pestilence.
    He shall cover you with his wings
      and you shall be safe under his feathers;
   his faithfulness shall be your shield and buckler.
    You shall not be afraid of any terror by night,
   nor of the arrow that flies by day;
    Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
   nor of the sickness that destroys at noonday.
    Though a thousand fall at your side
      and ten thousand at your right hand,
   yet it shall not come near you.
    Your eyes have only to behold
   to see the reward of the wicked.
    Because you have made the Lord your refuge
   and the Most High your stronghold,
      There shall no evil happen to you,
   neither shall any plague come near your tent.
      For he shall give his angels charge over you,
   to keep you in all your ways.
      They shall bear you in their hands,
   lest you dash your foot against a stone.
      You shall tread upon the lion and adder;
   the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
      Because they have set their love upon me,
      therefore will I deliver them;
   I will lift them up, because they know my name.
      They will call upon me and I will answer them;
   I am with them in trouble,
      I will deliver them and bring them to honour.
      With long life will I satisfy them
   and show them my salvation.