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Mark's Gospel

HERO DAY: Catherine and William Booth

Week: Mark's Gospel

  • P.R.A.Y
  • Pause
  • Rejoice
  • Reflect
  • Ask
  • Yes
Phil Selah
With Phil and Selah
Welcome to Lectio For Families. Today is a Hero Day, and so we’re taking a break from our usual pattern to pray a little differently. On Hero Days we pause to celebrate and learn from the life of people who followed Jesus in a really inspiring way. Today we are thanking God for the extraordinary example of Catherine and William Booth, the founders of the Salvation Army, heroes of justice and hospitality.


We start by pausing and taking a deep breath:

In and out.

In and out.

We remember that God is here, and so together we prepare ourselves to be with God.


Prayer of Welcome

Mighty God, open our eyes, stir our hearts and teach us how, ‘To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly’ with You today. (Micah 6:8)


Bible Reading

Catherine and William Booth were married in 1855 and they dedicated their lives to bringing the message of Jesus’ love to the people who needed it most – people who were living in poverty and who were struggling with addictions. Today, we’re REFLECTING on a verse from the book of Isaiah that Catherine and William Booth would’ve loved a lot.

Read by Selah
Isaiah 1:17
[The Lord said] Learn to do good.
Seek justice.
Help the oppressed.
Defend the cause of orphans.
Fight for the rights of widows.

Isaiah 1:17 (NLT)

One day in 1865, outside The Blind Beggar pub in London, William Booth began preaching to crowds of people and many of them gave their lives to Jesus. This was the beginning of what became known as The Salvation Army – a church which has now spread into more than 30 countries around the world, helping many millions of people.

The Booths understood that sharing Jesus’ love didn’t just mean caring for people’s spiritual lives, it meant helping with their practical needs too. Over the years, the Salvation Army has demonstrated this by setting up hostels for people who were homeless, schools for poor families, food banks for the hungry, homes for elderly people, programmes to help people stop using drugs, and so much more.

The Booths often faced strong opposition to their work – people made fun of them and even attacked them, but they kept on going. ‘To better the future,’ said Catherine Booth, ‘we must disturb the present.’*

Let’s press pause and talk about today’s question, which is: What do we think Catherine meant by this… ‘to better the future we must disturb the present’?

  • PAUSE the audio player now


ASK Prayers

Catherine Booth’s words, and her and William’s example, are deeply challenging.

Loving God, we ASK You to disturb our lives, so that we can live wholeheartedly for You, just like the Booths did.

  • OPTIONAL: PAUSE the audio player now and pray

Catherine and William Booth took the message of Jesus to those who needed it most. Who does this make us think of in our neighbourhood or in our city?

God of Justice, we ASK You to reach out to those with the most needs right now… those who need a home and a family, those who need food, those who need to be rescued. And if there’s anything that we can do to meet those needs, please speak to us, like You spoke to Catherine and William Booth.

  • OPTIONAL: PAUSE the audio player now and pray


On May 9th, 1912, in William Booth’s final speech to thousands of Salvation Army friends, he said these amazing words:

‘While women weep as they do now, I’ll fight;
while little children go hungry as they do now, I’ll fight;
while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight;
while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God I’ll fight – I’ll fight to the very end!’**


YES Prayer

And now, let’s say YES to God together.

Lord Jesus, we say YES to following You and fighting against all forms of injustice, just like the Booths did. Fill us with Your Spirit and give us the strength we need to take the love of Jesus to the people who need it most.

Closing Prayer

Let’s put a hand on our heart.
Father God, fill us with Your love. Help us to love You, and everything that You’ve made.

Let’s point to our eyes.
Lord Jesus, help us to see You, and to see others the way that You see them too.

Let’s point to our ears.
Holy Spirit, help us to hear You, and give us courage to do what You say.

*Nealson Mun and David Collinson, Insane: the Stories of Crazy Salvos Who Changed the World, pg 2.
** Nealson Mun and David Collinson, Insane: the Stories of Crazy Salvos Who Changed the World, pg 186.


Your Memory Verse

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Phil lives close to a beach in the north of England with his wife, his daughters and his dogs. Phil works for 24-7 Prayer, mostly doing Lectio stuff, and helping to run Prayer Spaces in Schools. He runs a lot, usually for long distances. He likes curry, mountains, reading books and he still plays Pokemon Go.



Selah is 14 and she lives in Kansas City, in the USA, with her parents, her sisters and their dogs. Selah is a born adventurer and plays all kinds of sports. She also enjoys coding and science, and she likes inventing or building things… especially if they help others in some way. Selah loves friendship.

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