Ash Wednesday…and go.

Every year at the beginning of Lent I experience the same kind of emotions as I dive into a deeper time of devotion.  I always try to increase my prayer time, and with that comes two contrasting feelings. On the one hand I feel like there is so MUCH to pray about that I don’t even know where to begin.  Should I start with all my personal needs and work outward?  Should I start in the middle east for the persecuted Church and work back toward home?  Should I focus on neighbors, on enemies, on family, on self?  Should I go through the Ten Commandments, the Creed, or the Lord’s Prayer?  Should I pray the Psalms?  Should I use some printed resources like Gerhard’s “Meditations on Divine Mercy?”

I feel like there is so much to pray about that I don’t know where to begin.  Yet, on the other hand, I often get into my prayer time and have nothing to say!  My mind goes blank, or my prayers seem like such a feeble attempt to express a conversation with God.  People are being beheaded in Libya because they worship Jesus, and I’m going to pray that God can get me a good deal on a washing machine?  My prayers seem weak, and I can get frustrated trying to think up ways to fill extra time with prayer.

One of the most helpful prayer tools for me during the season of Lent has been the Litany.  This prayer, printed on page 288 of the Lutheran Service Book, is a prayer that helps me cover all the things I want to cover, and then some!  When I’m in a crunch for time I just read through it prayerfully.  When I want to spend more time I will pray on petition (or small section) and then add to it in my own conversation with God.  (In my next post for Thursday Feb 19, I’ll give you an example of how I do this)  For now, I commend to you the Litany.  Use it to strengthen your prayer time this Lent.  You can use this everyday and never wear it out.  Let me know how it goes!

 

The Litany (LSB p. 288)

P: O Lord,

C: Have mercy.

P: O Christ,

C: Have mercy.

P: O Lord,

C: Have mercy.

P: O Christ,

C: Hear us.

P: God the Father, in heaven,

C: have mercy.

P: God the Son, Redeemer of the world,

C: Have mercy.

P: God the Holy Spirit.

C: Have mercy.

P: Be gracious to us.

C: Spare us, good Lord.

P: Be gracious to us.

C: Help us, good Lord.

P: From all sin, from all error, from all evil; from the crafts and assaults of the devil; from sudden and evil death; from pestilence and famine; from war and bloodshed; from sedition and from rebellion; from lightning and tempest; from all calamity by fire and water; and from everlasting death;

C: Good Lord, deliver us.

P: By the mystery of Your holy incarnation; by Your holy nativity; by Your baptism, fasting, and temptation; by Your agony and bloody sweat; by Your cross and Passion; by Your precious death and burial; by Your glorious resurrection and ascension; and by the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter;

C: Help us, good Lord.

P: In all time of our tribulation, in all time of our prosperity, in the hour of death, and in the day of judgment,

C: Help us, good Lord.

P: We poor sinners implore You

C: To hear us, O Lord.

P: To rule and govern Your holy Christian Church, to preserve all pastors and ministers of Your Church in the true knowledge and understanding of Your wholesome Word and to sustain them in holy living, to put an end to all schisms and causes of offense, to bring into the way of truth all who have erred and are deceived, to bless the Church’s life-giving message that Jesus is Lord, to bring comfort to the sorrowing and hope to those living in fear, to beat down Satan under our feet, to send faithful laborers into Your harvest, and to accompany Your Word with Your grace and Spirit,

C: We implore You to hear us, good Lord.

P: To raise those that fall and to strengthen those that stand, and to comfort and help the weakhearted and the distressed,

C: We implore You to hear us, good Lord.

P: To give to all peoples concord and peace, to preserve our land from discord and strife, to give our country Your protection in every time of need, to direct and defend our president and all in authority, to bless and protect our magistrates and all our people, to keep in safety the members of our armed forces and to give wisdom to those in command,

C: We implore You to hear us, good Lord.

P: To forgive our enemies, persecutors, and slanderers and to turn their hearts; to give and preserve to our use the kindly fruits of the earth; and graciously to hear our prayers;

C: We implore You to hear us, good Lord.

P: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,

C: We implore You to hear us.

P: Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,

C: Have mercy.

P: Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,

C: Have mercy.

P: Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,

C: Grant us Your peace.

P: O Christ,

C: Hear us.

P: O Lord,

C: Have mercy.

P: O Christ,

C: Have mercy.

P: O Lord,

C: Have mercy. Amen

 

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