A Prayer for Ash Wednesday

Southern Baptists don’t typically observe Ash Wednesday, but as it is a time of recognizing and repenting of sin I thought I’d pass along this prayer from the Lutheran Book of Prayer. We certainly live in a time when our country needs to turn back to Christ as Redeemer and Master. And I’m reminded of Nehemiah, who before asking for forgiveness for the sins of his people, first mourned and begged GOd’s forgiveness for his own sin. It was only when he’d been made right with God for his own misgivings that he could ask for mercy for his countrymen.

Gracious Savior, prostrate I fall at Your feet this day as Your church once more enters the Lenten season to meditate upon Your passion, by which we have been eternally redeemed.

In spirit I appear before You in sackcloth and ashes in true repentance; let me receive Your full pardon. Do not let the pleasures of life, the worries of the day, and the activities of my daily routine crowd You out of my heart and out of my thoughts. Draw me to Your wounded side, and cleanse me with Your most precious blood. Bring healing to my soul and peace to my mind. By Your grace, let me crucify my sinful affections, lusts, and desires. Make me more than conqueror over every temptation.

I confess to You all of my sins. Let none of them cling to me. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Teach me to love You more and more. Give me grace to confess You as my Lord and Savior, who has redeemed me on Calvary, lifting me out of the darkness of sin to be Your own. Gracious Savior, let Your constraining love keep me and all God’s children steadfast until the end. Amen.

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