Year V: Beginning 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 possible 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.


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 (Deus misereatur)

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

For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be accompanied by an eight-stringed instrument.

O Lord, don’t rebuke me in your anger
    or discipline me in your rage.
Have compassion on me, Lord, for I am weak.
    Heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.
I am sick at heart.
    How long, O Lord, until you restore me?

Return, O Lord, and rescue me.
    Save me because of your unfailing love.
For the dead do not remember you.
    Who can praise you from the grave?

I am worn out from sobbing.
    All night I flood my bed with weeping,
    drenching it with my tears.
My vision is blurred by grief;
    my eyes are worn out because of all my enemies.

Go away, all you who do evil,
    for the Lord has heard my weeping.
The Lord has heard my plea;
    the Lord will answer my prayer.
May all my enemies be disgraced and terrified.
    May they suddenly turn back in shame.

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 & 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 assertions.
             – 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

God Will Answer His People

Then Jesus used this story to teach his followers that they should always pray and never lose hope. “In a certain town there was a judge who did not respect God or care about people. In that same town there was a widow who kept coming to this judge, saying, ‘Give me my rights against my enemy.’ For a while the judge refused to help her. But afterwards, he thought to himself, ‘Even though I don’t respect God or care about people, I will see that she gets her rights. Otherwise she will continue to bother me until I am worn out.’”

The Lord said, “Listen to what the unfair judge said. God will always give what is right to his people who cry to him night and day, and he will not be slow to answer them. I tell you, God will help his people quickly. But when the Son of Man comes again, will he find those on earth who believe in him?”

Being Right with God

Jesus told this story to some people who thought they were very good and looked down on everyone else: “A Pharisee and a tax collector both went to the Temple to pray. The Pharisee stood alone and prayed, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people who steal, cheat, or take part in adultery, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I give one-tenth of everything I get!’

“The tax collector, standing at a distance, would not even look up to heaven. But he beat on his chest because he was so sad. He said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you, when this man went home, he was right with God, but the Pharisee was not. All who make themselves great will be made humble, but all who make themselves humble will be made great.”

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 Repentance Towards God.

Accepting that my sin has cut me off from God and caused untold suffering to others, I turn from a life of selfishness; receiving the forgiveness offered in Christ. As a follower of the Way of Peace, I determine to live a life of holiness.

All:
This is The Way of Peace: The Principle of Repentance Towards God.


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


Psalms in Bold – Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved

All other Psalms – Scripture quotations are taken from The Living Bible copyright © 1971. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

All other Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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