26 December 2016

Praying at Christmas with USPG,
(2): 26 December 2016

The first Christmas … the Nativity scene in a stained-glass window in the north ambulatory in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2016)

Patrick Comerford

Christmas Day is over, but the Christmas season continues, and today [26 December 2016] is the feast of Saint Stephen the Deacon and First Martyr. Each morning throughout the Twelve Days of Christmas I am using the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency, USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel), for my morning prayers and reflections.

This week, the prayers in the USPG Prayer Diary focus on the needs of mothers and children in Palestine and Israel.

The USPG Prayer Diary:

Monday 26 December 2016, Saint Stephen, Deacon and First Martyr:

Pray for Palestine’s public health system, which is under enormous strain due to Israeli import restrictions, a lack of resources and often badly qualified personnel.

Readings (Revised Common Lectionary, the Church of Ireland, Holy Communion):

II Chronicles 24: 20-22; Psalm 119: 161-168; Acts 7: 51-60; Matthew 10: 17-22.

The Collect of the Day:

Gracious Father,
who gave the first martyr Stephen
grace to pray for those who stoned him:
Grant that in all our sufferings for the truth
we may learn to love even our enemies
and to seek forgiveness for those who desire our hurt,
looking up to heaven to him who was crucified for us,
Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Advocate,
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever..

Post Communion Prayer

Merciful Lord,
we thank you for these signs of your mercy,
we praise you for feeding us at your table
and giving us joy in honouring Stephen,
first martyr of the new Israel;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Continued tomorrow

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