Gabriel's Horn, Pastor George Weaver, February, 2016

posted Feb 1, 2016, 7:35 AM by Lois Kerchner   [ updated Feb 1, 2016, 7:35 AM ]

Ash Wednesday Prayer Vigil


 Once again in 2016 we will be having a 12 hour prayer vigil here at Leola UM Church as we prepare to observe Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Lenten Season. This time of prayer and devotion will take place in half hour blocks, and individuals will have the opportunity to sign up in advance to come to our church for prayer. You are free, of course, to pray on your own at any time or any place throughout this day or any day. However, everyone is encouraged on this day in particular to participate in this combined vigil somewhere between 6:30 AM and 6:30 PM here at the LUMC sanctuary prior to the 7PM worship service on Ash Wednesday evening.


Hopefully, you will choose to sacrifice enough time and effort to be present to pray just half an hour this year on Ash Wednesday, February 10. Everyone is invited to join this united effort in lifting our voices in prayer as together we embrace the throne of God's Grace.


Some prayer suggestions or guidelines will be provided in the event anyone may be wondering: “How in the world am I going to spend a whole 30 minutes alone at church by myself?” Very likely for much of the time more than one person will be present and furthermore it appeared that those who came last year felt it was a very worthwhile experience. Presumably, that will be true again for many of us this year.


Scattered throughout The United Methodist Hymnal there are a number of prayers from various sources. You can find these listed in italics within the index of “First Lines and Common Titles” in the rear of the red hymnal. You might want to take a look at that sometime as you ready yourself for worship or as you take part in this year's prayer vigil on Ash Wednesday. Just as an example, you will find this prayer for “Ash Wednesday” by Laurence H. Stookey on page #353 which reads as follows:


O God, maker of everything and judge of all that you have made, from the dust of the earth you have formed us and from the dust of death you would raise us up. By the redemptive power of the cross, create in us clean hearts and put within us a new spirit that we may repent of our sins and lead lives worthy of your calling; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Another example is this short prayer dating back to the 13th century entitled “Three Things I Pray” and listed as #493, again in the red hymnal. It reads as follows:


Thanks be to thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits which thou hast given us; for all the pains and insults which thou has borne for us. O most merciful Redeemer, friend, and brother, may we know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, and follow thee more nearly, for thine own sake. Amen.


Your presence for prayer on Ash Wednesday will be a blessing for your church and world and an inspiration individually. Please consider putting it on your calendar.


George Weaver, Pastor of Maturing Ministries