Ash Wednesday Service – Order of Worship

Ash Wednesday Service
February 21, 2007
Preston Wesleyan Church

This was the service we had planned before the service, but God had other ideas. This service is based on a service found in Robert Webber’s Encyclopedia of Christian Worship. We modified it for our use and tradition.


Summary of the Law

Hear the words of our Lord Jesus Christ: “You shall love the Lord you God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Songs of Praise and Worship
“Here I Am to Worship”
“How Deep the Father’s Love For Us”



Let us pray: Almighty and Everliving God, who, through your Son Jesus Christ, provided a way of redemption for all who repent and turn from sin: Create in us a clean heart and renew a steadfast and willing spirit, that we, acknowledging our sinfulness, may live an upright and holy life by the power of Your Holy Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, world without end. Amen.


FIRST READING: Joel 2:1-2; 12-17
SECOND READING: 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:10

Message — Be Reconciled to God


Invitation to Observance

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ: Since the beginning of the church, Christians have always observed the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection with great devotion. It became one of the great traditions of the church to prepare for these events through serious examination of our spiritual lives through prayer, repentance, and fasting. Converts to the faith were prepared for baptism during Lent. Those who were separated from the church through serious sin were reconciled and restored to fellowship. The body of Christ was challenged to seek pardon and absolution for those area where sin had found a place, to find reconciliation with God and with each other and to renew their repentance and faith.
I invited you, therefore, in the name of the Lord and his church, to observe a holy Lent, by self-examination, penitence, prayer, fasting, and sacrificial giving; to further your discipline of reading and meditation on the Word of God, and to make a right beginning to walk in newness of life. Therefore, I invited you to kneel before the Lord, our Creator and Redeemer.

Rite of Confession – 1 John 1:9

9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Almighty God, you created us out of the dust of the earth. Grant that these ashes may be to us a sign of mortality and penitence that we may remember that it is only by your gracious gift that we are given everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Psalm of Repentance – Responsive

Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins.

Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.
For I recognize my shameful deeds— they haunt me day and night.

Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just.

For I was born a sinner— yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
But you desire honesty from the heart, so you can teach me to be wise in my inmost being.

Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me—now let me rejoice.
Don’t keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.

Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a right spirit within me.
Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me again the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.

Then I will teach your ways to sinners, and they will return to you.
Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves; then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness.
Unseal my lips, O Lord, that I may praise you.

You would not be pleased with sacrifices, or I would bring them.
If I brought you a burnt offering, you would not accept it.

The sacrifice you want is a broken spirit. A broken and repentant heart, O God, you will not despise.


“In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.”

Rejoicing in the fellowship of all the saints, let us commend ourselves, one another, and our whole life to Christ our Lord.

Prayers of the People

Songs of Worship
“Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)”
“The Wonderful Cross”


The Apostle’s Creed

I believe in God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ, His only son, our Lord;
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
Born of the Virgin Mary
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead and buried;
He descended into hades;
The third day He rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
And sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
The holy Church universal,
The communion of saints,
The forgiveness of sins,
The resurrection of the body,
And the life everlasting.

Holy Communion

You who are walking in fellowship with God, and are in love and harmony with your neighbors; and you who do truly and earnestly repent of your sin and intend to lead a new life, following the commandments of God, and walking from this time in His holy ways, draw near with faith, and take this holy sacrament to your comfort; and meekly make your humble confession to Almighty God.

Prayer of Consecration
O God of grace and mercy, we thank You that You ever loved us and provided for our redemption. We thank You for Your Son who died to save us, and for Your Spirit who invites us to draw near. Guide us now as we commemorate the suffering of our Lord. Help us to remember the cost of our salvation. Help us to commune with You and with each other. And so consecrate the bread and wine which are here prepared, that as we partake of them we may receive the spiritual benefits of Christ’s broken body and shed blood. In His name we pray. Amen.

Distribution of the Bread
The body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for you, preserve your soul and body unto everlasting life. Take and eat this remembering that Christ died for you, and feed on Him in your heart, by faith, with thanksgiving.

Distribution of the Juice
The blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for you, preserve your soul and body unto everlasting life. Drink this remembering that Christ’s blood was shed for you, and be thankful.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom,
And the power, and the glory, for ever.


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