On March 1, billions of Catholics around the world will celebrate Ash Wednesday. It is a general thought that Catholicism is the only religion that celebrates Ash Wednesday and Lent, but many other Christian religions celebrate it as well, including Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans and Anglicans. Ash Wednesday occurs 46 days before Easter. It’s the official beginning of Lent, which represents the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the dessert, where he endured temptation by Satan. This is a period of prayer and fasting. Of the 46 days until Easter, six are Sundays. Sundays are not included in the fasting period and are instead "feast" days during Lent. To mark the beginning of this period, here are 5 prayers.

Prayer for Aid in Fasting  

Hanging as a vine upon the Wood,

O Christ our Saviour,

Thou hast made the ends of the earth

to drink from the wine of incorruption.

Therefore do I cry aloud:

I am darkened always by the hateful drunkenness of sin;

Give me to drink from the sweet wine of true compunction,

and grant me now the strength, O Savior,

to fast from sensual pleasures,

for Thou art good and lovest mankind.

Prayer for Ash Wednesday

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust

All that is not of God must die

All that is crushed will be restored

All that is lost will be made new

God may we repent of ways that do not serve you

And admit to the tensions that tell us where we need to change

Christ is coming walking towards the cross

God may we see him clearly

Pouring out love

Pouring out mercy

Pouring out peace

May we kneel before him in humble adoration

May we take up our cross and follow

And walk with Christ into the ways of life

Prayer to Jesus

You chose a people for your own,

to lavish love upon,

raise up prophets, priests and kings,

to be the nation through which

the Messiah would be revealed to the world,

and through whom your kingdom would come.

You chose this people gathered here

to be your children, loved and blessed,

forgiven through the one who knew no sin,

the King of Glory whose crown was made of thorns,

and whose name we raise in worship.

Grant us

Lord, grant us simplicity of faith

and a generosity of service t

hat gives without counting cost.

A life overflowing with Grace

poured out from the One who gave everything,

that we might show the power of love to a broken world,

and share the truth from a living Word.

Lord, grant us simplicity of faith,

and a yearning to share it.

Jesus, Lamb of God

Jesus, Lamb of God,

when you walked this earth

you did not consider heavenly equality,

though that was yours to choose,

but took the role of servant,

and in humility and obedience

allowed the rough nails of our sin

to be hammered into your flesh

for the sake of our salvation.

And so it is 

that we acknowledge you 

as Lord of all,

to the glory of God the Father, 

Son and Spirit, Three.