Year III: Week 1 of Lent

Ash Wednesday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

FAST: Ash Wednesday: Today marks the beginning of the season of Lent, the traditional 40 days of prayer, fasting, reflection and repentance that precedes the great Easter celebrations. Just as Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness learning to overcome the Enemy, so we set this time aside for spiritual warfare and renewal. It is common during this time to imitate the simplicity of Jesus in the wilderness by abstaining from rich foods and strong drink, and to devote extra time to the practice of the spiritual disciplines.

Ash Wednesday, being the first day of this season is marked by a Greater Fast, where it is common to abstain from all food and drink (with the exception of water) and devote as much time as you can to prayer, the examination of the conscience and to repentance, confession and putting things right with other people. The daily intercessions throughout the entire Lenten season reflect this focus, and drill deeply into our selfish attitudes and sinful actions.

Commemoration: St. Valentine:  St. Valentine is still celebrated today as the patron saint of romantic love.  Ancient sources identify him as a priest who was beheaded near Rome by the emperor Claudius II in 269 AD for helping Christian couples wed. It appears he was born in Terni in Italy.

CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader:
Lord, Open my lips.
All:
And my mouth will give you praise.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


INVITATORY PSALM:

Psalm 67 (Doxology)

All:

An Invocation and a Doxology
To the Chief Musician. On stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song.

God be merciful to us and bless us,
And cause His face to shine upon us,
That Your way may be known on earth,
Your salvation among all nations.

Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy!
For You shall judge the people righteously,
And govern the nations on earth. Selah

Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
Then the earth shall yield her increase;
God, our own God, shall bless us.
God shall bless us,
And all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.

All:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


MORNING PSALM

Psalm 6

A Prayer of Faith in Time of Distress
To the Chief Musician. With stringed instruments. On an eight-stringed harp. A Psalm of David.

O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your anger,
Nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure.
Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak;
O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled.
My soul also is greatly troubled;
But You, O Lord—how long?

Return, O Lord, deliver me!
Oh, save me for Your mercies’ sake!
For in death there is no remembrance of You;
In the grave who will give You thanks?

I am weary with my groaning;
All night I make my bed swim;
I drench my couch with my tears.
My eye wastes away because of grief;
It grows old because of all my enemies.

Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity;
For the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping.
The Lord has heard my supplication;
The Lord will receive my prayer.
Let all my enemies be ashamed and greatly troubled;
Let them turn back and be ashamed suddenly.

 All:

Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


WORSHIP

All:
(A time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


PRAYER & INTERCESSION

Reader:
Let us pray for the day and its tasks, for the church and her life, and for the world and its needs.

(You may use these prayers as written or use them as ‘prayer pointers’ for your own spontaneous petitions.

Personal Requests

  • Almighty God, we come to you on this Ash Wednesday as we set aside this season of Lent to examine our hearts. Make straight in us that which is crooked, loose that which is bound, enlighten that which is dark, renew that which is damaged and forgive that which is past.
    – Lord, have mercy…
  • Father God, we confess that we have sinned in thought, word and deed.
    – Lord, have mercy…
  • For our past unfaithfulness: the pride, hypocrisy and impatience of our lives.
    – Lord, have mercy…
  • For our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our exploitation of other people.
    – Lord, have mercy…

Family and Friends

  • Father of all, we have been called to follow Christ by forgetting ourselves and living for others. Forgive us when we have been deaf to your call to serve and have not been true to the mind of Christ. In this we have grieved your Holy Spirit.
    – Lord, have mercy…
  • For all false judgements, uncharitable thoughts towards our neighbours and for our prejudice and contempt towards those who differ from us.
    – Lord, have mercy…
  • For the wrongs we have done against those closest to us. For our blindness to human need and suffering, and our indifference to injustice and cruelty.
    – Lord, have mercy…

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, you gave your life for the church. Forgive our frustrations and unkind words towards your Bride, forgetting that if she has spot or wrinkle it is we who have made her that way.
    – Lord, have mercy…
  • For our lack of love and charity towards other parts of your Body across this world.
    – Lord, have mercy…
  • For our arrogant opinions, self-righteous sentiment and self-confident assentions.
    – Lord, have mercy…

The World

  • God of grace, you called us to be ambassadors of the Kingdom of Heaven. Forgive us when we have brought discord rather than harmony, when we have brought suffering rather than peace and when we have sown confusion rather than hope.
    – Lord, have mercy…
  • For a world un-won, a gospel un-preached, hearts unchanged and a harvest un-gathered.
    – Lord, have mercy…
  • For our waste and pollution of your creation and our lack of concern for those who come after us.
    – Lord, have mercy…


THE LORD’S
PRAYER

Reader:
And so we pray…

All:
Our Father in heaven,
Holy is Your Name.
Your Kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
Forever and ever. Amen.


GOSPEL READING

Luke 18:1-14

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterwards he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Reader:
The Word of the Lord.
All:
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection…

READING: THE WAY OF CHRIST (Optional)

Principle of discipleship drawn from the book, “The Way of Christ”

Reader:
The Way of Peace: The Principle of Ecumenism Amongst the Churches.

Conscious of the terrible disfigurement to the face of Christ through the fragmenting of His body on earth, I will work for the fulfilment of Jesus’ Prayer “that they may be one.” As a follower of the Way of Peace, I will not engage in unprofitable theological controversy, or allow my personal opinions to break the bond of love with my brothers and sisters of other churches, but will humbly seek to learn from their experience of faith.

All:
This is The Way of Peace: The Principle of Ecumenism Amongst the Churches.


Pause for Reflection…


THE APOSTLES CREED

Reader:
And so we make our declaration of faith…

All:
We believe in God the Father, Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried:
He descended into the grave;
The third day he rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
And sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From there he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
We believe in the Holy Spirit;
The Holy Worldwide Church;
The Communion of Saints;
The Forgiveness of sins;
The Resurrection of the body,
And the Life everlasting. Amen.


COLLECT

Reader:
(Either this or an alternative closing prayer may be said.)

Almighty and everlasting God,
You hate nothing you have made,
And forgive the sins of all who come to you.
Create in us new and contrite hearts,
That we, acknowledging our sin and fragility,
May obtain from you, the God of all mercy,
Perfect forgiveness and assurance of salvation;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns
With you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

And may Christ give you grace to grow in holiness,
To deny yourselves, take up your cross, and follow him;
And may the blessing of God almighty,
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
Be among you and remain with you always. Amen

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