Praying in Lent

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Once people have gathered, a candle may be lit or an item to focus thoughts may be placed centrally among those present. Each paragraph may be said by the leader or by members of the group in turn while parts in bold italic may be said by all.

Opening

One:
Christ your light shall rise in the darkness
and your healing shall spring up like the dawn.
Two:
Blessèd are you, Sovereign God, Shepherd of your pilgrim people:
their pillar of cloud by day, their pillar of fire by night.
Three:
Stir up in us the fire of your love
which shone forth from your Son
enthroned on the cross,
that we may be cleansed of all our sins
and remain in your presence,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
All:
Blessèd be God for ever!

Prayer

One:
As our evening prayer rises before you, O God,
All:
so may your mercy come down upon us to cleanse our hearts
and set us free to sing your praise, now and for ever.
Two:
O Lord, I call to you; come to me quickly;
All hear my voice when I cry to you.
Three:
Set a watch before my mouth, O Lord,
and guard the door of my lips.
All:
Let my prayer rise before you as incense,
the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
Four:
Let not my heart incline to any evil thing;
All:
let me not be occupied in wickedness.
Five:
But my eyes are turned to you, Lord God,
in you I take refuge; do not leave me defenceless.
All:
Let my prayer rise before you as incense,
the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
Six:
Through Christ our Lord, Word made flesh in whose words we pray:
All:
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.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and for ever.
Amen.

Scripture Readings (select one to be read)
1
“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing — grain offerings and drink offerings for the LORD your God.
Joel 2

2
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
Matthew 4

3
Then the devil took Jesus to the holy city and had Him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”
Matthew 4

4
Again, the devil took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.'” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
Matthew 4

5
All of you, clothe yourselves with humility towards one another, because,
‘God opposes the proud
but shows favour to the humble.’
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1Peter 5

6
I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. … I know that everything God does will endure for ever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.
Whatever is has already been,
and what will be has been before;
and God will call the past to account.
Ecclesiastes 3

Prayers for healing

One:
God of grace and life: we thank you for the gift of this season, for
giving us rhythm to our lives, and drawing us into deeper communion
with you.
Two:
Recognising that all come from dust, and to dust all return,
we nonetheless celebrate that you created man and woman
from the dust, and breathed life into their frames.
Three:
Giving life is part of your nature, and we look forward to Easter,
seeing in Christ’s Cross the truth that no death is final and
anticipating the transformation which comes through your salvation.
Four:
Made from dust to which we return, we hold to your promise of life in
eternal glory with you through Christ. Remind us these weeks both of
your holiness and the depth of your love toward us.
Five:
For ourselves and fellow believers we pray: that we may walk through
this season intentionally, removing distractions, quieting the noise that
pulls us from adoration and draws our attention to lesser things.
Six:
Surrendering what has been burdensome, we turn from evil and seek
to be drawn closer to your heart, that we might know you better and
understand you more completely.
Seven:
We pray for those in our community and known to us who are sick;
those in hospital or at home;
those whose minds struggle with anxiety and fear;
those oppressed or broken in spirit;
for those who turn to us for healing and comfort:
that, together in you, we may find wholeness and peace.
Eight:
We pray for those whose names and situations are known to us:

Prayers for individuals; and for matters within, and beyond, our situation.

Nine:
God of forgiveness and grace: thank you that you are with us in
whatever we face, and that you are greater than the trials we have
brought before you.
Ten:
Knowing and recognising that you are Sovereign,
we thank you for the victory that is ours because of Christ Jesus,
and we trust your goodness for our future:
for you make all things new in Christ. Amen.

Hymn
Select one or more verses of the following

1.1
My song is love unknown,
my Saviour’s love to me;
love to the loveless shown
that they might lovely be.
O who am I, that for my sake,
my Lord should take frail flesh and die?

1.2
He came from his blest throne,
salvation to bestow;
but people scorned, and none
the longed-for Christ would know.
But O my Friend, my Friend indeed,
who at my need his life did spend.

1.3
Sometimes they strew his way,
and his sweet praises sing;
resounding all the day
hosannas to their King.
Then ‘Crucify!’ is all their breath,
and for his death they thirst and cry.

1.4
Why, what hath my Lord done?
What makes this rage and spite?
He made the lame to run,
he gave the blind their sight.
Sweet injuries! yet they at these
themselves displease, and ‘gainst him rise.

1.5
They rise and needs will have
my dear Lord made away:
a murderer they save,
the Prince of Life they slay.
Yet cheerful he to suffering goes,
that he his foes from thence might free.

1.6
In life no house, no home
my Lord on earth might have;
in death, no friendly tomb,
but what a stranger gave.
What may I say? Heaven was his home;
and mine the tomb wherein he lay.

1.7
Here might I stay and sing,
no story so divine;
never was love, dear King,
never was grief like Thine.
This is my Friend, in whose sweet praise
I all my days could gladly spend.
Samuel Crossman, 1664

2.1
Chosen people in the desert,
by life tempted, tested, tried:
will they triumph in the struggle,
trust in God and stay alive?
They must wait for heav’nly manna
all false gods must be denied.
This the only route to blessing –
trust this God and they’ll survive!

2.2
Son of God, baptised in Jordan,
now is tempted, tested, tried;
starts his lonely, desert struggle,
trusts in God so he’ll survive:
now rejects all selfish short cuts;
now stands back from greed and pride;
now, for us, resists the tempter,
God alone keeps him alive!

2.3
Son of Man, betrayed and sentenced,
once more taunted, tested, tried.
On a cross, for us, he suffers;
for our rescue now he dies;
faithful ’til his final heartbeat,
facing death, eyes open wide,
gives his all that we might ever
trust in God and stay alive.

2.4
We, like Jesus, called and chosen,
daily tempted, tested, tried,
challenged by relentless struggle,
must trust God so we’ll survive.
We, too, know corrupting pressures,
face seductive compromise;
by Christ’s death and through his Spirit,
we’ll trust God and stay alive!
John Campbell. From Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13

3.1
I want Jesus to walk with me;
all along my pilgrim journey,
oh, I want Jesus to walk with me.

3.2
In my trials, Lord, walk with me;
when my heart is almost breaking,
oh, I want Jesus to walk with me.

3.3
When I’m troubled, Lord, walk with me;
when my head is bowed in sorrow,
oh, I want Jesus to walk with me.
African-American spiritual

Blessing

One:
Most merciful God,
who delivered and saved the world
by the death and resurrection of your Son,
grant that by faith in him
we may triumph in the power of his victory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
All:
May God our Redeemer
show us compassion and love. Amen.

Your absolute confidence for the matters discussed in these prayer times is sought.


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