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Lord, answering your call is often difficult.
Sometimes we are discouraged by our failures,
but at other times it is success that prevents us.
Like Jesus, we must go against those who admire us and the work we are doing.
They want us to continue where we are,
they remind us of the good we do for people,
as friends, teachers, doctors, nurses or counsellors,
how we take them by the hand and help them,
so that the fever leaves them and they can wait on us.
They point out the people bringing to us all who are sick,
and those who are possessed by devils,
so that it feels as if the whole town is there crowding round the door or our house.
We ourselves are pained to leave the many who are suffering from diseases
of one kind or another,
or who need devils to be cast out.
Teach us to follow the example of Jesus;
remind us that if we want to do your will
we must learn to get up in the morning, long before dawn,
and leave our house to go off to a lonely place and pray there,
so that when others come in search of us saying, “Everybody is looking for you,”
like Jesus, we will be free enough to choose what we know is right for us.
We will go to neighbouring regions where no one else has gone,
relate to those we have been keeping at arm’s length,
so that we can bring the good news of your love there too,
remembering that this is why we have come into the world.
Lord, forgive us, your church, that we have become complacent,
that we are content to congratulate ourselves at whole towns crowding round our doors.
We pray that we will never lose the missionary spirit of Jesus,
so that, just as he went through all Galilee,
the church too will go through all areas of society and all cultures,
preaching your love wherever people are gathered,
and casting out every kind of evil spirit.