Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

Conclude with

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Psalm 40

Thanksgiving for Deliverance and Prayer for Help

To the leader. Of David. A Psalm.

I waited patiently for the Lord;
 he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the desolate pit,
 out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
 making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
 a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
 and put their trust in the Lord.

Happy are those who make
 the Lord their trust,
who do not turn to the proud,
 to those who go astray after false gods.
You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
 your wondrous deeds and your thoughts towards us;
 none can compare with you.
Were I to proclaim and tell of them,
 they would be more than can be counted.

Sacrifice and offering you do not desire,
 but you have given me an open ear.
Burnt–offering and sin–offering
 you have not required.
Then I said, ‘Here I am;
 in the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight to do your will, O my God;
 your law is within my heart.’

I have told the glad news of deliverance
 in the great congregation;
see, I have not restrained my lips,
 as you know, O Lord.
I have not hidden your saving help within my heart,
 I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
 from the great congregation.

Do not, O Lord, withhold
 your mercy from me;
let your steadfast love and your faithfulness
 keep me safe for ever.
For evils have encompassed me
 without number;
my iniquities have overtaken me,
 until I cannot see;
they are more 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 all those be put to shame and confusion
 who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonour
 who desire my hurt.
Let those be appalled because of their shame
 who say to me, ‘Aha, Aha!’

But may all who seek you
 rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
 say continually, ‘Great is the Lord!’
As for me, I am poor and needy,
 but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
 do not delay, O my God.

Isaiah 10:5–19

Arrogant Assyria Also Judged

Ah, Assyria, the rod of my anger—
 the club in their hands is my fury!
Against a godless nation I send him,
 and against the people of my wrath I command him,
to take spoil and seize plunder,
 and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.
But this is not what he intends,
 nor does he have this in mind;
but it is in his heart to destroy,
 and to cut off nations not a few.
For he says:
‘Are not my commanders all kings?
Is not Calno like Carchemish?
 Is not Hamath like Arpad?
 Is not Samaria like Damascus?
As my hand has reached to the kingdoms of the idols
 whose images were greater than those of Jerusalem and Samaria,
shall I not do to Jerusalem and her idols
 what I have done to Samaria and her images?’

When the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, he will punish the arrogant boasting of the king of Assyria and his haughty pride. For he says:

‘By the strength of my hand I have done it,
 and by my wisdom, for I have understanding;
I have removed the boundaries of peoples,
 and have plundered their treasures;
 like a bull I have brought down those who sat on thrones.
My hand has found, like a nest,
 the wealth of the peoples;
and as one gathers eggs that have been forsaken,
 so I have gathered all the earth;
and there was none that moved a wing,
 or opened its mouth, or chirped.’

Shall the axe vaunt itself over the one who wields it,
 or the saw magnify itself against the one who handles it?
As if a rod should raise the one who lifts it up,
 or as if a staff should lift the one who is not wood!
Therefore the Sovereign, the Lord of hosts,
 will send wasting sickness among his stout warriors,
and under his glory a burning will be kindled,
 like the burning of fire.
The light of Israel will become a fire,
 and his Holy One a flame;
and it will burn and devour
 his thorns and briers in one day.
The glory of his forest and his fruitful land
 the Lord will destroy, both soul and body,
 and it will be as when an invalid wastes away.
The remnant of the trees of his forest will be so few
 that a child can write them down.

II Peter 2:17–22

These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm; for them the deepest darkness has been reserved. For they speak bombastic nonsense, and with licentious desires of the flesh they entice people who have just escaped from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for people are slaves to whatever masters them. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment that was passed on to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb,

‘The dog turns back to its own vomit’,


‘The sow is washed only to wallow in the mud.’

St. Matthew 11:2–15

Messengers from John the Baptist

When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offence at me.’

Jesus Praises John the Baptist

As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written,

“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
 who will prepare your way before you.”

Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John came; and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. Let anyone with ears listen!

A Story for the Day

Learn how a VBS lesson opened a young girl's eyes to the need for obedience and that God blesses those who obey.

Source for Collects: The Collects are from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979.

Source for Revised Common Lectionary Prayers: Reproduced from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers copyright © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress. Used by permission. A complete edition of the prayers is available through Augsburg Fortress.

Source for Scripture Passages: Scripture texts are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Anglicised Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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