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Ash Wednesday


Here are worship resources suitable for use on Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Lent season.


2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:2
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
Isaiah 58:1-12
Psalm 51


Ash Wednesday Prayer

Jesus come and save us,

We are but dust,
We are like ashes,
but you can touch our unclean souls.

Jesus come and forgive us,

Our hearts are heavy,
Our burdens are great,
Cleanse us with the water of life.

Jesus come and heal us,

Restore our sight,
Teach us truth,
Speak to us words that bring us wholeness.

Jesus touch us with your heart of love,

Cleanse us with the water of life,
Restore our sight that we may see,
Teach us truth that we may lead Godly lives.

~ written by Christine Sine, and posted on the Godspace website.

Prayer of Contrition for Ash Wednesday

Save us, O God,
From the blindness,
which is not even aware that it is sinning;
From the pride,
which cannot admit that it is wrong;
From the self-will,
which can see nothing but its own way;
From the self-righteousness,
which can see no flaw within itself;
From the callousness,
which has sinned so often that it has ceased to care;
From the defiance,
which is not even sorry for its sins;
From the evasion,
which always puts the blame on someone or something else;
From the heart so hardened,
that it cannot repent.

Give us at all times,
Eyes which are open to our faults;
A conscience which is sensitive and quick to warn;
A heart that cannot sin in peace,
but is moved to regret and remorse.

So grant that being truly penitent we may be truly forgiven,
so that we may find that your love is great enough
to cover all of his sin; through Jesus Christ our Lord.


~ written by William Barclay in Prayers for the Christian Year (1965).

Prayer of Confession for Ash Wednesday

God of Compassion,
We turn toward you now. We rend our hearts.
Forgive our pride and forgive our insecurities.
Forgive our self-absorption and forgive our self-destruction.
Forgive our doubts and forgive our confidence.
Forgive our longing for attention and forgive our desire to hide.
Forgive each step we take away from you.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God. And renew a right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence. Do not take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of my salvation, and grant a willing spirit to sustain me.”

~ posted by Joanna Harader on Spacious Faith.

A Time of Turning Round

Truly dust we are, and to dust we shall return;
and truly yours we are, and to you we shall return.
Help this to be a time of turning round and beginning again.

Through the forty days of Lent, help us to follow you
and to find you: in the discipline of praying
and in the drudgery of caring –
in whatever we deny ourselves,
and whatever we set ourselves to learn or do.

Help us to discover you
in our loneliness and in community,
in our emptiness and our fulfilment,
in our sadness and our laughter.

Help us to find you when we ourselves are lost.

Help us to follow you on the journey to Jerusalem
to the waving palms of the people’s hope,
to their rejection, to the cross and empty tomb.
Help us to perceive new growth amid the ashes of the old.
Help us, carrying your cross, to be signs of your Kingdom.


~ written by Jan Sutch Pickard. Posted on the website of Patmos Abbey—The Order of Saint Columba.

Spoken Resources

Imposition of the Ashes

Our ancestors in the faith
used ashes as a sign of our repentance,
a symbol of the uncertainty and fragility
of human life.
Like them,
we have tasted the ashes of hopelessness;
we have walked through the ashes
of our loss and pain;
we have stood knee-deep
in the ashes of our brokenness.

God of our lives,
out of the dust of creation
you have formed us and given us life.
May these ashes not only be a sign
of our repentance and death,
but reminders that by your gift of grace
in Jesus Christ, our Redeemer,
we are granted life forever with you.


(A period of silence will follow. Those who wish to do so, may come forward to have the sign of the cross placed on their foreheads or hands. The ashes are from palm branches used at Palm Sunday services in the past, mixed with oil).

~ written by Thom Shuman, and posted on Lectionary Liturgies.

The Wisdom of Ash

There is a wisdom in ash,
that we need so much,
but seldom hear.

It's the wisdom of grief,
that reminds us of our mortality,
and that Life is more than this dust can contain.

It's the wisdom of confession,
that brings our darkness out of hiding,
and opens the windows to Light.

It's the wisdom of repentance,
that stops us in our tracks,
and charts the way to Love.

There's a wisdom in ash,
and we welcome it, Jesus,
thankful for the renewing gifts it brings.


~ Copyright © John van de Laar.  Posted on the Sacredise website.

Of Dust and Glory

that you are made of dust
and you will return to dust.
Remember too
that we are made in the image of God -
male and female,
old and young,
white and all persons of color
and geniuses
and people with attention deficit disorder.

It’s a strange and confusing combination,
this dustiness
and this freedom to love
and to be selfish
and to be afraid
and to know hope
and joy
and wonder.

I don’t need to know all the answers,
but I’d appreciate help remembering
that the Cross and the Resurrection
add a new dimension
and a new promise.
I remember this:
When we “Do this” in remembrance of Him
the dustiness
and God’s image
and my history
walk together,
led by His hand into life.
My life.

It’s a strange business,
this combining of

~ Copyright © 2010 William Maxwell. Posted on In the Courtyard.


Traditional Hymn: Have Thine Own Way, Lord

Worship Together #127

Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after thy will,
while I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Search me and try me, Savior today!
Wash me just now, Lord, wash me just now,
as in thy presence humbly I bow.

Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Hold o'er my being absolute sway.
Fill with thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

~ Adelaide A. Pollard

Contemporary Hymn: If My People’s Hearts Are Humbled

Worship Together #123

If My people's hearts are humbled
If they pray and seek My face
If they turn away from evil
I will not withhold My grace
I will hear their prayers from heaven
I will pardon every sin
If My people's hearts are humbled
I will surely heal their land

Then My eyes will see their sorrow
Then My ears will hear their plea
If My people's hearts are humbled
I will set their nation free
If My people's hearts are humbled
If they pray and seek My face
If they turn away from evil
I will not withhold My grace.

~ Claire Cloninger, based on 2 Chronicles 7:14. Words copyright © 1986 WORD MUSIC. CCLI Song # 96123. If you use this song in worship, be sure to report it on your CCLI license.

Tune suggestions:
NETTLETON (“Come thou fount of ev’ry blessing”)
HARRIS (“All that thrills my soul is Jesus”)

Contemporary Song: In View of Your Mercy

It's in view of Your mercy we come
It's in view of Your mercy we come
It's in view of Your mercy we come
And worship You our God

Our lives we bring as living sacrifice
Our hearts responding to Your love

We come and worship You almighty God
Our hearts responding to Your love
We lift Your name above all other names
For there is no one like You God

It's in view of Your kindness we come
It's in view of Your kindness we come
It's in view of Your kindness we come
And worship You our God

~ Ben Cantelon, Claire Hamilton. Copyright © 2010 Thankyou Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing) CCLI Song # 6057073. If you use this song in worship, be sure to report it on your CCLI license.

Contemporary Song: I Lay It Down

Ev'rything I am
Ev'rything I long to be
I lay it down at Your feet

I lay it down
I lay it down
I lay it down at Your feet

Oh pearl of greatest price
No act of sacrifice
Can match the gift of life
I find within Your gaze

Oh what a sweet exchange
I die to rise again
Lifted up from the grave
Into Your hands of grace

~ Brenton Brown, Matt Maher. Copyright © 2008 Thankyou Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing) spiritandsong.com (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing) CCLI # 5137554.

Listen to it here: http://www.worshiptogether.com/songs/songdetail.aspx?iid=971638




This worship resource was created/compiled by Christine Longhurst. You are welcome to use it free of charge, and where appropriate, please note the source. If you are printing any of the resources for distribution, please print the source as well. The content of the worship resource does not necessarily represent the views of the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, which oversees the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies. For more worship resources by Christine Longhurst, see http://www.re-worship.blogspot.ca or http://www.faithmatters.ca.

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