Hourly Prayers for Ash Wednesday

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Keeping Time: Praying Lent Throughout the School Day includes 8 prayers for each day of Lent, meant to be used throughout a school day. Here are the 8 prayers for Ash Wednesday.
Opening Prayer
We begin this class as we begin all things:
    In the name of the Father
    and of the Son
    and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Scripture Reading
    Working together, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says:
          "In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you."
    Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
    2 Corinthians 6:1-2

First Hour
God of all times and places, our Lent begins. Whether or not it feels like Lent to us, these forty days serve a purpose: by walking through these days with you, we prepare our hearts for the Lenten days that will come to each of us in some season of our lives. "Now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation."

Second Hour
God of all times and places, ashes mark our foreheads; in a smudged sign of the cross, we are public Christians. We hope these forty days will help us to be ready for the times when we will struggle in our prayer. "Now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation."

Third Hour
God of all times and places, the rhythm of Lent assumes that we are fasting from something that matters. Today we decide what we can eliminate from every day that will move us a step closer to being more like you. "Now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation."

Fourth Hour
God of all times and places, help us to keep our promise to pray, to honor the fast we have chosen, to share what we have with those who need it, to forgive and ask forgiveness, and to consider the part that suffering plays in our lives. "Now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation."

Fifth Hour

God of all times and places, when you see us, you see the deepest parts of us--the parts you made to be good and holy. Help us to see those deepest parts. "Now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation."

Sixth Hour

God of all times and places, it is time to notice that you are here in this moment. Bless us as we try to discover you and be patient as we struggle to find you. "Now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation."

Seventh Hour

God of all times and places, all around the world, people are making Lenten promises. We will not say our promises out loud. We pray that our Lenten lives will tell the story of what we promise you today. "Now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation."

Eighth Hour

God of all times and places, as the school day comes to a close, we thank you for this season. Thank you for the chance to admit to each other that sometimes life is hard . . . and to know that life was hard for you too. "Now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation."

Closing Blessing

We sign ourselves with the sign of our faith as we pray:
    May God, Creator, bless us
    May God, Redeemer, heal us
    May the Holy Spirit enlighten us
    and give us all we need.

Acknowledgments

(These prayers are taken from Keeping Time: Praying Lent Throughout the School Day by Sandra Iwanski [Winona, MN: Saint Mary's Press, 2009]. Copyright © 2009 by Saint Mary's Press. Permission is granted for this prayer to be used for classroom or campus ministry purposes. This prayer may not be republished in any form without written permission from Saint Mary's Press.)

Published January 20, 2009.