Proclamation and Prayer for the Beginning of Lent
The United Methodist Book of Worship
Dear brothers and sisters:
The early believers observed with great devotion the days of our Master’s passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church that before the Resurrection celebration (Easter) there should be a forty-day season of spiritual preparation. During this season converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when persons who had committed serious sins and had separated themselves from the community of faith were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to participation in the life of the Church. In this way the whole congregation was reminded of the mercy and forgiveness proclaimed in the gospel of Jesus Chr-st and the need we all have to renew our faith.
I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Assembly of Jesus, to observe a holy Lent: by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on Yahweh’s Holy Word. To make a right beginning of repentance, let us now bow our hearts before our Creator and Redeemer (UMBOW):
O Yahweh, your glory is always to have mercy. Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Chr-st your Son, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one god, for ever and ever. Amen. (BCP)