Prayer for the City

This devotional is written by Jenny Peters. Jenny and John moved to St Mary’s in 2000. Jenny now runs Connected Lives, an early intervention family support project, which runs out of St Mary's. She has a go at most things but could only be described as exceptional at parallel parking. 

Luke 4:14-21

Jesus rejected at Nazareth 14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18 'The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour.'[a]

20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, 'Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.'


Jesus was born into and died in poverty. When he was a young child his family was forced to flee the country of his birth because of atrocities perpetuated by those in authority. This passage in Luke, is where Jesus uses this passage from Isaiah to lay out as his manifesto for his earthly ministry at its inception in the synagogue at Nazareth. In it he proclaims good news to the poor, freedom for the prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind, the release of the oppressed and 'the year of the Lord's favour'. While there are definite spiritual implications to all of these things (we are all sinners in need of his mercy and therefore spiritually poor etc) defining these things purely in spiritual terms is too narrow and doesn't fit in with the rest of the Bible. Jesus himself preached the importance of the kingdom of God over earthly wealth and influence. He also spent time with those excluded or shunned by mainstream society, paying very little attention to those in power and authority, both temporal and spiritual. Jesus cared deeply about the economically poor and the spiritually poor.

As Christians we are called to imitate Jesus. At St Mary's we show our care for the spiritually poor by praying for and having conversations with friends, family and colleagues about Jesus We show our care for the economically poor and oppressed by things we do directly (e.g. homeless meals or the Social Supermarket) and by joining in with local charities (e.g. Westminster Food Bank, Westminster CAP centre or a safe house for trafficked women. If you would like to be involved in any of these areas then please go to the Love Marylebone tab on the church website and you'll find out all the different ways that you too can bring good news to the poor.

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