Prayers for Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent, the season leading up to Easter. The Lenten season is traditionally a season of fasting and spiritual discipline with a focus on repentance. Ash Wednesday, in particular, has a strong tradition of fasting and repentance. Services often involve the application of ashes to the foreheads of those attending with the reminder “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

The set of prayers chosen for this proposed use of an Anglican rosary sticks with this theme of repentance by using verses directly from Psalm 51 for the week beads. This psalm is a powerful expression of confession, repentance, and acceptance of the forgiveness God offers us.

Cross:Almighty and everlasting God,
you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent.
Create in us new and contrite hearts that we may receive your forgiveness,
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(adapted from the contemporary collect for Ash Wednesday from The Book of Common Prayer)
Invitatory bead:Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name. Amen. (confession from Rite II of The Book of Common Prayer)
Cruciform beads:The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Ps. 51:18)
Week bead 1:Have mercy on me, O God, according to your loving-kindness;
in your great compassion blot out my offenses. (Ps. 51:1)
Week bead 2:Wash me through and through from my wickedness
and cleanse me from my sin. (Ps. 51:2)
Week bead 3:Purge me from my sin, and I shall be pure;
wash me, and I shall be clean indeed. (Ps. 51:7)
Week bead 4:Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquities. (Ps. 51:9)
Week bead 5:Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me. (Ps. 51:10)
Week bead 6:Cast me not away from your presence
and take not your holy Spirit from me. (Ps. 51:11)
Week bead 7:Open my lips, O Lord,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise. (Ps. 51:15)
Invitatory bead:Almighty God have mercy on us,
forgive us all our sins through our Lord Jesus Christ,
strengthen us in all goodness,
and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life. Amen.
(diaconal response to confession in Rite II of The Book of Common Prayer)
Cross:As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. (Ps. 103:12)
Glory to Father and to the Son and the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

 


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