Ash Wednesday Prayers

Gracious God, today begins a period of inner reflection and examination. The days stretch before me and invite me inward to that silent, holy space that holds your Spirit. This special time beckons me to see my life through Christ's eyes and the truth and reality of your love incarnate. Give me the grace to enter the space of these days with anticipation of our meeting. And, when I open my soul to your presence, let your loving kindness flow over me and seep into the pockets of my heart. I ask this for the sake of your love.

Almighty God, as we enter the days of penitence our fault is upon us, for we know well the desert places, the wild beasts, the satanic murmurings. We are afraid in the silences. We have refused others our hearts. We have fawned over the demons that promise power. We feel the wrath. Gracious Lord, create in us now a great repentance wherewith we can stand against the evil one, move with love through the terror and the drab hours, and trust in your promises - resonant and redemptive among all things and people, world with-out end.

Our sins are upon us, O Lord; their dark hovers over us, and their evil prowls in us. We confess them, that they turn us from thee, and so from what is holy and pure; we acknowledge them, that they divide us from others, and so from pity and compassion; we fear them, that they carry in them a torment; we repent them, that they bear against us a judgment. O gracious One, recover us from the principalities and powers, this death in life, this chaos that destroys us, and grant us thy forgiveness which cleanses and thy pardon which sets us free, even Jesus Christ our Lord.

Jesus, you place on my forehead the sign of my sister Death: "Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return." How not hear her wise advice? One day my life on earth will end; the limits on my years are set, though I know not the day or hour. Shall I be ready to go to meet you? Let this holy season be a time of grace for me and all this world.

You thumbed grit into my furrowed brow, marking me with the sign of mortality, the dust of last year’s palms. the cross you traced seared, smudged skin, and I recalled other ashes etched into my heart by those who loved too little or not at all.

Merciful God, you called us forth from the dust of the earth; you claimed us for Christ in the waters of baptism. Look upon us as we enter these Forty Days bearing the mark of ashes, and bless out journey through the desert of Lent to the font of rebirth. May our fasting be hunger for justice; our alms a making of peace; our prayer the chant of humble and grateful hearts. All that we do and pray is in the name of Jesus, for in his cross you proclaim your love for ever and ever.

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

As we live through this Ash Wednesday, may the crosses of ashes that mark our foreheads be a reminder to us and to those we meet that we belong to your Son. May our worship and prayer and penitence this day be sustained throughout these 40 days of Lent. Bring us refreshed and renewed to the celebration of Christ’s resurrection at Easter. We ask this through your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.

Father in Heaven, the light of your truth bestows sight to the darkness of sinful eyes. May this season of repentance bring us the blessing of Your forgiveness and the gift of Your light. Grant this through Christ our Lord.

Gracious God, today begins a period of inner reflection and examination. The days stretch before me and invite me inward to that silent, holy space that holds your Spirit. This special time beckons me to see my life through Christ's eyes and the truth and reality of your love incarnate. Give me the grace to enter the space of these days with anticipation of our meeting. And, when I open my soul to your presence, let your lovingkindness flow over me and seep into the pockets of my heart. I ask this for the sake of your love.