A Short Devotional Liturgy for Ash Wednesday

This short devotional liturgy can be used in the home, or for the beginning of a school day or a church meeting. It can also be used at any time during the Lenten season.

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy blot out our transgressions.  (Psalm 51:1)

O God,
you do not desire the death of sinners,
but you want them to turn to you and live.
Look with pity on the weakness of our mortal nature.
We confess that we are but ashes,
and for our wickedness we deserve to return to the dust.
Forgive all our sins,
and give us the blessings that come with true repentance;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Isaiah 59 or another portion of Scripture is read.

Isaiah 59:12-20

For our transgressions are multiplied before you, and our sins testify against us; for our transgressions are with us, and we know our iniquities: 13 transgressing, and denying the Lordand turning back from following our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart lying words. 14 Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter. 15 Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. The Lord saw it, and it displeased him  that there was no justice. 16 He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him. 17 He put on  righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak. 18 According to their deeds, so will he repay, wrath to his adversaries, repayment to his enemies; to the coastlands he will render repayment. 19 So they shall fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream,  which the wind of the Lord drives. 20 “And a Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,” declares the Lord(ESV)

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Let us pray.
Lord God, heavenly Father,
as the result of his rebellion,
you told father Adam,
“You are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
We have followed Adam in his rebellion,
and have earned the same reward.
Lift us up from this dust of death
by the rising of your Son Jesus Christ.
Restore us to life with you
by forgiveness through his blood.
Empower us to walk with him in newness of life,
and in the obedience that leads to righteousness.
Finally, on the Last Day,
raise us from the dust of death
to live in the joy of your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand;
through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one true God, now and forever.
Amen.

During these days of Lent, may the Lord focus our hearts on our Lord Jesus Christ as we look to him for cleansing from all our sin and follow him in his obedience.

The blessing of almighty God, the Father, the + Son and the Holy Spirit be with us all.
Amen.

__________

This devotional liturgy and original prayers are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International LicensePlease contact for permission for any commercial use.

This devotion can be downloaded as a pdf here.

All scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.

The opening prayer is freely modified from Mozarabic Collects, and can also be read here.

The closing prayer is newly composed by Paul C. Stratman © 2017, and can also be read here.

The short exhortation was written for this devotional liturgy.

The Anaphora

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The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord.
It is right and just.

We give thanks to you God,
through your beloved son Jesus Christ,
whom you sent to us in former times
as Savior, Redeemer, and Messenger of your Will.
He is your inseparable Word,
through whom you made all,
and in whom you were well-pleased.
You sent him from heaven into the womb of a virgin,
who, being conceived within her, was made flesh,
and appeared as your Son,
born of the Holy Spirit and the virgin.
It is he who, fulfilling your will
and acquiring for you a holy people,
extended his hands in suffering,
in order to liberate from sufferings
those who believe in you.

Who, when he was delivered to voluntary suffering,
in order to dissolve death,
and break the chains of the devil,
and tread down hell,
and bring the just to the light,
and set the limit,
and manifest the resurrection,
taking the bread, and giving thanks to you, said,

“Take, eat, for this is my body which is broken for you.”

Likewise he took the cup, saying,

“This is my blood which is shed for you.
Whenever you do this, do this in memory of me.”

Therefore, remembering his death and resurrection,
we set before you the bread and the cup,[1]
giving thanks to you, for you have made us worthy
to stand before you and to serve you.

And we pray that you would send your Holy Spirit
on the offering of your Holy Church.
In their gathering together,
give to all those who partake of your holy mysteries the fullness of the Holy Spirit,
toward the strengthening of the faith in truth,
that we may praise you and glorify you,
through your son Jesus Christ,
through whom to you be glory and honor,
Father and Son,
with the Holy Spirit,
in your Holy Church,
now and always.
Amen.

Source: The Anaphora of Hippolytus, third century

Note:

  1. In the early church, it was the custom for members of the church to present bread and wine as gifts to be used for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, which is the “offering” or “setting before” (offerimus) mentioned here. Later (especially in the Council of Trent), the Lord’s Supper was wrongly viewed as a re-sacrificing of Christ’s body and blood. (See Hebrews 7:27 and 9:26).

Original in Latin:

Dominus vobiscum.
Et cum spiritu tuo.

Sursum corda.
Habemus ad Dominum.

Gratias agamus Domino.
Dignum et iustum est. 

Et sic iam prosequatur. Gratias tibi referimus, Deus per dilectum puerum tuum Jesum Christum, quem in ultimis temporibus misisti nobis salvatorem et redemptorem et angelum voluntatis tuae. Qui est Verbum tuum inseparabile, per quem omnia fecisti et bene placitum tibi fuit. Misisti de calo in matricem Virginis, quique in utero habitus incarnatus est et Filius tibi ostensus est ex Spiritu Sancto et Virgine natus. Qui voluntatem tuam complens et populum sanctum tibi adquirens extendit manus cum pateretur, ut a passione liberaret eos qui in te crediderunt. Qui cumque traderetur voluntariae passioni ut mortem solvat et vincula diaboli dirumpat et infernum calcet et iustos inluminet et terninum figat et resurrectionem manifestet, accipiens panem gratias tibi agens dixit: Accipite, manducate: hoc est corpus meum, quod pro vobis confringetur. Similiter et calicem dicens: Hic est sanguis mcus qui pro vobis effunditur. Quando hoc facitis, meam commemorationem facitis. Memores igitur mortis et resurrectionis eius offerimus tibi panem et calicem gratias tibi agentes quia nos dignos habuisti adstare coram te et tibi ministrare. Et petimus ut mittas Spiritum tecum Sanctum in oblationem sancta Ecclesiae. In unum congregans des omnibus qui percipiunt sanctis in repletionem Spiritus Sancti ad confirmationem fidei in veritate, ut te landemus et glorificemus per puerum tuum Jesum Christum, per quem tibi gloria et honor Patri et Filio cum Sancto Spiritu in sancta Ecclesia tua et nunc et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Reading the Names of the Faithful Departed (All Saints Day)

This is provided with two options: Option 1, For use by itself as a service, or Option 2, for use as an element within a service.

OPTION 1: For use by itself as a service:

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.
And also with you.

If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 15:19-20)

With hope in Christ and in the resurrection to eternal life, we remember those in this congregation who have died in the last year:

The names of those who have died in the last year are read.

For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:21-22)

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.
Yes, they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them. (Revelation 14:13)

Let us pray.

Lord Jesus Christ, you told Mary and Martha that you are the Resurrection and the Life. You promised your disciples that you would prepare a place for them. You promised the repentant thief that he would be with you in Paradise. And through the disciple John, you revealed to us that you will wipe away every tear from our eyes in the Day when there is no death or sorrow or crying or pain. Fill our hearts with these firm and certain promises. Comfort us with the assurance that those who have died in faith now see you face to face. You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, surrounded by a great multitude that no one can count, one God, now and forever.
Amen.

Our Father…

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus + Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.
Amen.

OPTION 2: For use as an element within a service:

If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 15:19-20)

With hope in Christ and in the resurrection to eternal life, we remember those in this congregation who have died in the last year:

The names of those who have died in the last year are read.

For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:21-22)

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.
Yes, they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them. (Revelation 14:13)

Let us pray.

Lord Jesus Christ, you told Mary and Martha that you are the Resurrection and the Life. You promised your disciples that you would prepare a place for them. You promised the repentant thief that he would be with you in Paradise. And through the disciple John, you revealed to us that you will wipe away every tear from our eyes in the Day when there is no death or sorrow or crying or pain. Fill our hearts with these firm and certain promises. Comfort us with the assurance that those who have died in faith now see you face to face. You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, surrounded by a great multitude that no one can count, one God, now and forever.
Amen.

Our Father…

“Blessed are They Which Are Called,” or another hymn may be sung.

Source: Prepared for A Collection of Prayers.

Scripture is from The Holy Bible: New International Version. 

Daily Devotion

If used with a group, normal type is read by the leader, bold is read by the group. If used by an individual, all text is read.

O Lord, open my lips.
And my mouth shall declare your praise. (Psalm 51:15)

Hasten to save me, O God.
O Lord, come quickly to help me. (Psalm 40:13)

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
(Alleluia.Alleluia is omitted during Lent.
During Lent: 
Praise to you, O Christ, King of endless glory. 

READINGS

Click this link for readings from the Daily Office in the Revised Common Daily Lectionary (Complementary) from BibleGateway. (Opens in a new window.) Includes daily Old and New Testament readings.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive 
those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and 
the glory are yours
now and 
forever. Amen.

MORNING

Other Prayers may then be said, and after them this PRAYER FOR GRACE.

My mouth is filled with your praise,
and with your glory all the day. (Psalm 71:8)

Lord God, almighty Father, eternal God, you have brought us to the beginning of this day. Defend us today with your saving power so that we neither fall into sin nor run into any danger, but in everything we do, subject our words and direct our thoughts to what is right in your sight; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Amen.

EVENING

Other Prayers may then be said, and after them this PRAYER FOR PEACE.

May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless his people with peace! (Psalm 29:11)

O God, all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works come from you. Give your servants that peace which the world cannot give, that our hearts may be set to obey your commandments. Defend us from the fear of our enemies, that we may pass our time in rest and quietness; through the merits of Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.
Amen.

Let us praise the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

The grace of the Lord + Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)
Amen.

Dunkeld Litany

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The litany below is a shortened version of a litany which was sung at public processions of a group of ascetic monks called Culdees. It was used at the ancient Scottish monastery of Dunkeld.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

God, the Father in heaven, have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.

You are three, and yet one God, have mercy on us.

Be gracious, free us, Lord.
Be gracious, hear us, Lord.
Be gracious, spare us, Lord.

From every evil,
from every evil inclination,
from every impurity of heart and body,
from a haughty spirit,
from the evil of sickness,
from the snares of the devil,
from enemies to the Christian name,
from destructive storms,
from famine and nakedness,
from thieves and robbers,
from wolves and all dangerous animals,
from floods  of water,
from trials of death,
in the day of judgment, free us, Lord.

By your advent,
by your birth,
by your circumcision,
by your baptism,
by your passion,
by sending the counseling Spirit, free us, Lord.

We sinners pray, free us, Lord.

Holy Father, we pray, hear us.

To give us peace and concord,
to give us life and health,
to give us the fruits of the earth,
to protect our livestock from all pestilence,
to give us favorable weather,
to give us rain at the proper time,
to give us perseverance in good works,
to work true repentance in us,
to move us in charity for those in need,
to give us fervor in your service,
to give all Christian people peace and unity,
to keep us in the true faith and religion,
to preserve and spread your holy church,
to give long life and health to pastors, teachers and all leaders in the church,
to protect the leaders of our land from all enemies and snares.
to give them victory and long life,
to drive out the enemies of Christians from the earth,
to bring them to holy baptism,
to give all Christians your mercy,
to spare us,
to grant us mercy,
to look upon us, we pray, hear us.

Son of God, hear us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world,
have mercy on us, Lord.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world,
have mercy on us, Lord.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world,
grant us peace.

Christ conquers,
Christ rules,
Christ commands.

O Christ, hear us.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

O Christ, give us your grace,
O Christ, give us joy and peace.
O Christ, give us life and salvation.
Amen.

Let us pray.

Our Father…

Let us pray.
Almighty and gracious God, in your majesty remember us. Grant us forgiveness of all sins, increase your heavenly grace to us, and give us your help against all the snares of our enemies, seen and unseen. In the same way, protect our hearts by your command, so that after this mortal life, we may rejoice together with all your saints in the glory of the kingdom of God, serving our Jesus Christ our Lord and Redeemer, who has all power and rule, one with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

Source: Kalendars of Scottish Saints by Alexander Penrose Forbes, Bishop of Brechin, Edmonston and Douglas, Edinburgh, 1872, p. lvi-lxv.

Source of this version: Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church, © 2018, Paul C. Stratman

Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church is a collection of prayers from the time of Patrick (d. ca. 460-493) to the Synod of Whitby (664), and also from the Celtic Christian tradition that remained after Whitby. A few of the prayers in this book may be familiar from their appearance in other prayer books. Some may be appearing in English for the first time. All prayers (with one exception) are rendered or revised into contemporary English with the hopes that they will be useful in private and corporate worship. Includes prayers from The Antiphonary of Bangor, The Lorrha-Stowe Missal, The Book of Cerne, The Book of Dimma, St. Patrick, St. Columba and many other sources.  Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church is available in paperback through Amazon.com. It is also available for Amazon Kindle.

Note: This litany is very similar to the Litany of All Saints, which was adapted by Martin Luther for his Latin Litany Corrected and his German Litany.

A Celtic Litany

The Lorrha Missal (also called the Stowe Missal) was a book containing the texts of the mass, written in Ireland in the late 8th century. The litany below is freely modified from the Litany of St. Martin from the Lorrha Missal. It would have been prayed between the reading of the Epistle and Gospel.

Let us all pray to the Lord.
Hear us, Lord, and have mercy.

With all our heart and mind,
to the Lord who looks over the earth and makes it tremble,
let us pray:
Lord, have mercy.

For blessed peace and most tranquil times for us,
for the holy church to extend from our borders to the ends of the earth,
let us pray:
Lord, have mercy.

For our pastors, teachers, servants,
and all leaders in our church,
let us pray:
Lord, have mercy.

For this place and those who live in it,
for faithful leaders,
and for all who serve to defend our land,
let us pray:
Lord, have mercy.

For those who dedicate themselves to the Lord’s service,
for the needy, for widows and orphans,
let us pray:
Lord, have mercy.

For those who travel by land, sea and air,
for those striving to live lives of repentance,
for those instructed in the Christian faith,
let us pray:
Lord, have mercy.

For those who bear fruits of mercy in Christ’s holy church,
let us pray:
Hear us, Lord almighty.

That we may live in the Christian faith and die in peace,
let us pray,
Lord, hear our prayer.

That God’s kingdom may remain among us,
that his will be done among us in the holy bonds of charity,
let us pray,
Lord, hear our prayer.

To preserve the Christian faith among us in all holiness and purity,
let us pray.
Lord, hear our prayer.

O Lord,
cleanse us from all our sins,
and restore us in your sight.
Graciously hear our prayers
and receive our praise;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.
Amen.

Source: Freely modified from The Litany of Supplication of St. Martin in the Lorrha-Stowe Missal, p. 6-7. Translated and prepared for A Collection of Prayers. The closing prayer is a very free adaptation of the litany’s closing collect.

Original in Latin:

Lorrha Litany.png

A more literal translation of all the petitions may be found here: http://www.liturgies.net/Liturgies/Other/stowe.htm

The Lorrha-Stowe Preface and Sanctus

The Lorrha Missal (also called the Stowe Missal) was a book containing the texts of the mass, written in Ireland in the late 8th century. It begins in the same way as the Roman rite, but becomes a beautiful poem on the attributes of God.

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It good and right.

It is truly good, right and salutary
for us to give thanks to you always and everywhere,
holy Lord, almighty and eternal God,
through Christ our Lord;
with your only Son and the Holy Spirit you are
one immortal God,
incorruptible and unchangeable God,
invisible and faithful God,
wonderful and praiseworthy God,
honorable and mighty God,
most high and magnificent God,
living and true God,
wise and powerful God,
holy and glorious God,
great and good God,
awesome and peaceful God,
beautiful and righteous God,
pure and benevolent God,
blessed and just God,
pious and holy God,
not one singular person,
but one Trinity of substance.

We believe you.
We bless you.
We adore you.
We praise your name forever and ever
through him who is the salvation of the world,
through him who is the life of humanity,
through him who is the resurrection of the dead.

Through him the angels praise your majesty,
the dominions adore,
the powers of the highest heaven tremble,
the virtues of the blessed seraphim rejoice together.
We pray, grant that we may join our voices with theirs, confessing you and saying:

Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of Sabaoth.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who came down from heaven that he might live on the earth, be made fully human, and gave his flesh as a sacrificial victim, and by his passion gave eternal life to those who believe.

Source: Lorrha-Stowe Missal, eighth century. Translated by Paul C. Stratman for A Collection of Prayers.

Original in Latin:

Stowe Preface.png

A facsimile of the book can be seen here: https://archive.org/details/stowemissalmsdii01cath

But wait… there’s more!

Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church is a collection of prayers from the time of Patrick (d. ca. 460-493) to the Synod of Whitby (664), and also from the Celtic Christian tradition that remained after Whitby. A few of the prayers in this book may be familiar from their appearance in other prayer books. Some may be appearing in English for the first time. All prayers (with one exception) are rendered or revised into contemporary English with the hopes that they will be useful in private and corporate worship. Includes prayers from The Antiphonary of Bangor, The Lorrha-Stowe Missal, The Book of Cerne, The Book of Dimma, St. Patrick, St. Columba and many other sources.

Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church is available in paperback through Amazon.com. It is also available for Amazon Kindle.