Loving God, you create us from the dust of the earth; may these ashes be for us a sign of our penitence and our mortality, and a reminder that only by the cross do we receive eternal life in Jesus Christ our Saviour.
-Book of Common Prayer
Prayer of the Bible
“Yet even now,” declares the Lord,“return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.”Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster…consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people. Consecrate the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber. Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep and say, “Spare your people, O Lord, and make not your heritage a reproach, a byword among the nations.
(Free expression of praise and thanksgiving to God)
Confession of Sin
Lord wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
-Psalm 51:7-8, 9-10
(Time of silence for confession of sin)
The Words of Jesus
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
(Think deeply on these life-giving words of Jesus)
Prayers for Ourselves and Others
Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.
(Time to bring before God our own needs and the needs of others)
Triune God, You formed us from the dust of the Earth. You brought us to new life by the work of Your Son. As we journey through these forty days of Lent, help us to see Jesus in everyone we meet. Help us to serve Him in all persons, especially the forgotten, vulnerable, and lost. By Your grace, may our prayers and sacrifices this Lent help us grow in intimacy with You and in love and oneness with Your bride, the church.