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Prayers For Lent (Weeks 1 to 3)

This is your invitation from Orleans United Church to experience the Christian season of Lent by setting aside a few minutes each day to read a verse of scripture and prayer response.  Then sitting quietly, allow the Spirit’s wisdom to speak to you and, if you choose, write a brief prayer reflection yourself.

Here are the readings and prayers for the first 3 weeks of Lent beginning on Ash Wednesday, February 14:

  • Week 1 (A Season of Turning) begins with Ash Wednesday and focuses attention on each Gospel description of Jesus turning toward Jerusalem.
  • Week 2 (A Season of Teaching) draws wisdom from Mark’s Gospel and spotlights Jesus’ gracious way of training his disciples for the journey.
  • Week 3 (A Season of Parables) sheds light on Jesus’ sacred stories and images in Luke’s Gospel as guideposts on our Lenten pilgrimage.

The Lenten season is framed as a spiritual journey that prepares us to celebrate Easter and new life.  Every week, these short readings from different Gospel traditions shape our faith response. 

In each of the four Gospels there comes a point in the story of Jesus’ ministry when he makes the clear decision to begin the journey toward Jerusalem where he will eventually be crucified and resurrected.  We follow Jesus’ fateful steps as our guide through this season.

During this season of preparation for Easter, the Spirit invites you to be more open to the sacred wisdom of our Christian tradition.  One way to do this is to take a little time for listening and responding to God’s invitation. 

A curiosity in the Christian observance of Lent is the understanding that, because every Sunday is always celebrated as “the day of resurrection,” our forty days of Lenten prayer and self-reflection do not include Sundays.  As a way to honor this tradition, for each of the six Sundays during the Lenten season, our reading and prayer will focus on the same resurrection promise of Jesus from the Easter story. 

With grace, mercy and peace on your journey.

Glen Stoudt, OUC Spiritual Director


Week 1 (A Season of Turning) begins with Ash Wednesday and focuses attention on each Gospel description of Jesus turning toward Jerusalem.

Ash Wednesday, February 14 – Lent Day 1 (Luke 9:51)
As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.
As I begin this Lenten journey, guide me toward a future
that you, Inspiring God, imagine for me, and give me the courage to respond.

Thursday, February 15 – Lent Day 2 (John 7:1,10)
[Jesus] did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. However, after his brothers had left for the festival [of Tabernacles], he went also, not publicly, but in secret.
Loving Spirit, who knows my secret fears, open your heart to the depths of my feelings
and make yourself known so I might grasp the bravery necessary to take the next step.

Friday, February 16 – Lent Day 3 (Mark 10:1)
[Jesus] left that place and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan. And crowds again gathered around him; and, as was his custom, he again taught them.
The custom of making our way toward Easter’s promise takes time and commitment;
make your wisdom clear and accessible to me, O Sustainer, so I can live faithfully as I go.

Saturday, February 17 – Lent Day 4 (Matthew 19:13-15)
Then little children were being brought to [Jesus] in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them; but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” And he laid his hands on them and went on his way.
With gratitude for Jesus’ kindness even in the midst of his difficult journey toward Jerusalem,
Lord, I ask for the grace to see and welcome others with the same gentleness.

Sunday, February 18 – First Sunday in Lent - Remembering the Resurrection (John 20:19, 21-22)
When it was evening on that day [of resurrection] ... Jesus came and stood among them and said… “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
O Risen Christ, help me feel your Spirit’s breath today, so I may join you in proclaiming
Easter’s peace with everyone in every circumstance throughout my Lenten journey.


Week 2 (A Season of Teaching) draws wisdom from Mark’s Gospel and spotlights Jesus’ gracious way of training his disciples for the journey.
If you are able, it may be helpful to prepare by reading all of chapter 10 in Mark’s Gospel

Monday, February 19 – Lent Day 5 (Mark 10:17-18)
a man ran up and knelt before [Jesus], and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 
Teacher Lord, I imagine your goodness continually flowing into my everyday living;
today I promise anew to live these Lenten days by sharing your goodness with others
.

Tuesday, February 20 – Lent Day 6 (Mark 10:19-21)
[Jesus continued,] “You know the commandments. ...” [The man] said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all [the commandments] since my youth.” 
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
Spirit of Undeserved Grace, I genuinely believe in your saving love,
but feel distressed when I contemplate what response may be expected of me.

Wednesday, February 21 – Lent Day 7 (Mark 10:26-27)
[The disciples] were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”
God of Possibilities, help my spirit overcome the doubts that depress me
and rely fully on your ‘amazing grace’ to fill my heart.

Thursday, February 22 – Lent Day 8 (Mark 10:32)
They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid.
Guiding Spirit, following Jesus on this Lenten journey reveals moments of both amazement and fear ... amazement at Jesus’ commitment and fear that I am unable to live in his example. 

Friday, February 23 – Lent Day 9 (Mark 10:43-44)
“... whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.”
O Gracious Word, bringing life to everyday service and sacrifice,
inspire my example as I discover authentic ways to care for others during this season.

Saturday, February 24 – Lent Day 10 (Mark 10:35-37)
James and John ... came to [Jesus] and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” He said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”
Open-hearted Teacher, patiently listen to my prayers for personal wellbeing and reveal to my often impatient heart the difference between what I honestly need and what I selfishly want.

Sunday, February 25 – Second Sunday in Lent - Remembering the Resurrection) (John 20:19, 21-22)
When it was evening on that day [of resurrection] ... Jesus came and stood among them and said… “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
O Risen Christ, help me feel your Spirit’s breath today, so I may join you in proclaiming
Easter’s peace with everyone in every circumstance throughout my Lenten journey.


Week 3 (A Season of Parables) sheds light on Jesus’ sacred stories and images in Luke’s Gospel as guideposts on our Lenten pilgrimage.
If you are able, it may be helpful to review Luke 13:22 – 19:28

Monday, February 26 – Lent Day 11 (Luke 13:22)
Jesus went through one town and village after another, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem.
Faithful Author of My Spirit-story, as I make my way through this Lenten journey,
continue to reveal to me the truths that will guide and inspire me along the path.

Tuesday, February 27 – Lent Day 12 (Luke 14:27-28)
[Jesus said,] “Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? 
It’s not always easy to discern what ‘carrying the cross’ might mean in my life; help me, Understanding God, to ‘estimate the cost’ of living more faithfully with each passing day.

Wednesday, February 28 – Lent Day 13 (Luke 15:4-5)
[Jesus said,] “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices.” 
Good Shepherd, on those days when I feel lost in the wilderness; the hope which comforts me is that you will never desert me and will pursue me until I feel your loving embrace once again.

Thursday, February 29 – Lent Day 14 (Luke 17:5-6)
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”
How much faith do I need, Lord?  Is a mustard seed’s worth enough?  Sometimes it feels like it’s not; then I hear your whisper and realize that you have graced me with all I need.

Friday, March 1 – Lent Day 15 (Luke 17:20-21)
Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is within you.”
Despite how perplexing it can seem to trust that your Realm of Love lives fully within me, I open my heart to your boundless grace and whisper with as much courage as I can, “may it be so.”

Saturday, March 2 – Lent Day 16 (Luke 18:10-13)
[Jesus told this parable:] “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee ... was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people ...’ the tax collector would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other.”
My Lenten journey is filled with temptation to give in to arrogant self-obsession;
forgive me, Merciful God.

Sunday, March 3 – Third Sunday in Lent - Remembering the Resurrection (John 20:19, 21-22)
When it was evening on that day [of resurrection] ... Jesus came and stood among them and said… “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
O Risen Christ, help me feel your Spirit’s breath today, so I may join you in proclaiming
Easter’s peace with everyone in every circumstance throughout my Lenten journey.