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.

Be gracious to me, God, according to your mercy.
Erase my acts of rebellion according to the greatness of your compassion.
(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.

Isaiah 59 or another portion of Scripture is read.

Isaiah 59:12-20

Yes, our rebellious deeds are many before you, and our sins testify against us. Our rebellious deeds are with us, and as for our guilty deeds, we are aware of them. 13 Those deeds are rebellion and treachery against the Lord. We turn back from following our God. We incite oppression and apostasy. We conceive and mutter deceitful words from our hearts. 14 Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away, for truth stumbles in the city square, and honesty cannot enter it. 15 The truth is missing, and anyone who turns from evil makes himself prey. The Lord looked and saw something evil— there was no justice. 16 He saw that there was no one. He was appalled that there was no one who could intervene. So his own arm worked salvation for him, and his own righteousness supported him. 17 He clothed himself with righteousness like armor and wore a helmet of salvation on his head. He dressed in garments for vengeance, and he wrapped himself with zeal like a cloak. 18 He will repay in full what they have earned, namely, wrath to his foes and full payment to his enemies. He will repay even the distant coastlands. 19 From the west they will fear the Lord’s name, and from the rising of the sun they will fear his glory, for he will come like a raging river, driven by the Spirit of the Lord. 20 Then a redeemer will come for Zion and for those in Jacob who turn from rebellion. This is the declaration of the Lord. (EHV)

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.

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.


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 Evangelical Heritage Version. www.wartburgproject.org

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.

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Mozarabic, ad.

Our True Rest

Lord of heaven and earth,
reveal your glory to us
in our Lord Jesus Christ,
so that we may lay
our sin and guilt
and all the burdens of life
on him,
and find in him
our true rest;
through your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.

Source: Paul C. Stratman, © 2019 from Now and Forever: New Collects for Modern Lectionaries, Collect for Proper 9 / Pentecost 7, Year A, based on Matthew 11:25–30.


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For Light

O Sun of Righteousness and the Light Eternal,
you give gladness to all things!
Shine on us both now and forever
that we may walk always in the light of your presence;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source: An Ancient Collect, sixth century

Source of this version: Freely modified from Prayers of the Early Church, edited by J. Manning Potts, 1953

Prayer for Pardon

O Lord Jesus Christ,
you gave your life for us
that we might receive pardon and peace.
Mercifully cleanse us from all sin,
and always keep us in your favor and love;
for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.

Source: An Ancient Collect, sixth century

Source of this version: Freely modified from Prayers of the Middle Ages, edited by J. Manning Potts, 1954



Advent 4

Advent 1

O Lord,
you have established your house and your kingdom forever
through your Son Jesus Christ.
Reveal your saving purpose and your holy love to us,
and move our hearts to faith and obedience;
through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.

Source: Paul C. Stratman, newly composed, © 2017

Awaken Us

Advent 1

Dear Lord God,
awaken us,
that we may be ready
when your dear Son comes,
that we may receive him with joy
and serve you with pure hearts;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Source: Die pommersche Kirchen-Ordnung und Agenda, p. 282. Translated for A Collection of Prayers.

This prayer has also been attributed to Martin Luther. [Die Gebete Luthers, #10]

Original in German:

Lieber Herr Gott, wecke uns auf, daß wir bereit sind, wenn dein lieber Sohn kömmt, ihn mit Freuden zu empfahen, und dir mit reinem Herzen zu dienen, durch denselbigen deinen Sohn Jesum Christum, unsern Herrn. Amen.



Advent 1

Advent 1

Stir up your power, O Lord, and come.
Keep us watchful and ready for the day and hour of your return.
Empower us with the gifts and strength we need,
and keep us faithful to the end;
through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.

Source: Paul C. Stratman, newly composed, © 2017

Two Advent Prayers

Advent 1

Dear God,
protect us and keep us in your grace
that we may be that little flock,
which gladly receives Christ,
singing, “Hosanna! God be praised,”
that we receive him as our King,
and that we may be Christians.
We know why we are called Christians,
namely, after our King Christ,
since we are baptized in his name
and washed in his blood.
Help us remain in him.

O dear God, heavenly Father,
give prosperity and salvation
to the Son of David,
your dear Son Christ Jesus,
and to his kingdom.
Let him also
come to us
in your name,
that we also may be blessed.

Source: Martin Luther

Source of this version: Translated for A Collection of Prayers. German source: Gebetbuch, enthaltend die sämtlichen Gebete und Seufzer Martin Luther’s, ….Evangelischer Bücher-Verein, 1866, #553, 554.

Originals in German:

553 Lieber Gott, behüte uns und gieb uns deine Gnade, daß wir das Häuflein sind, die Christum gern wollen annehmen und singen: Hosianna, Gott sei gelobet, daß wir diesen König haben und Christen sind und heißen: wir wissen, warum wir also heißen, nämlich von unserm König Christo, daß wir in seinen Namen getauft und in seinem Blut gewaschen sind; hilf daß wir dabei bleiben. Amen. Luther.

554 Ach du lieber Gott, himmlischer Vater, gieb Glück und Heil dem Sohne Davids, deinem lieben Sohne Christo Jesu, zu seinem Königreich. Laß ihn auch bei uns einreiten in deinem Namen, daß es gebenedeiet sei und wohl gehe Amen Luther.