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Lenten Prayer Service

Keeping our eyes on Jesus

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By Gwen Costello

Note to catechist: Use this prayer service anytime during the six weeks of Lent. You might want to use the paper cross described below as a focal point for all your Lenten prayers.

To prepare: In or near your prayer space hang a large cross made out of brown paper bags or construction paper (large enough to hold the slips of paper for all in your class). Beneath the cross write: “We want to follow Jesus.” Have small slips of paper and pencils for each participant as well as glue sticks. Also place there a Bible (open to Luke 23: 44-47), and a candle.

LEADER: Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ. We greet you with love, and we ask that you help us listen carefully to your words.

ALL: Amen.

LEADER: We are now in the season of Lent. This is a six-week period when the whole church focuses on the key events in the life of Jesus. During these weeks we are invited to think about things that Jesus said and did, and to reflect on their meaning.

We move together during Lent toward Good Friday, the day on which Jesus died on the cross. Then we move to Easter Sunday and beyond, where we experience Jesus as our risen savior.

READER ONE: During Lent, with our eyes on Jesus,
we try to spend more time at prayer,
more time talking to God and listening to God.

READER TWO: During Lent, with our eyes on Jesus,
we try to be more aware of the needs of others,
and to share our time and our money
with the poor, the hungry, and the homeless.

READER THREE: During Lent, with our eyes on Jesus,
we try to grow stronger as persons
by learning to say no to our sins,
and our failings,
and by sometimes even saying no
to the things we enjoy.

LEADER: With our eyes on Jesus, we journey through Lent trying to understand and accept what God has in store for us. Jesus did this, and he is our example. Even as he died, Jesus gave himself over to whatever God wanted of him. Let us listen now to a description of his death on the cross:

READER FOUR: A reading from the Gospel of Luke:
It was about noontime, but darkness
(like that from an eclipse of the sun)
had settled over the whole land.
This lasted until mid-afternoon.
Jesus, having been
on the cross three hours,
uttered a loud cry and said:
Father, into your hands
I give over my spirit.
After he said this, he died.
Upon seeing what had happened,
a soldier gave glory to God and cried out:
Surely this was an innocent man.
The Word of the Lord.

ALL: Thanks be to God.

LEADER: Let us now reflect for a few moments about what we have just heard. Close your eyes and speak to Jesus in your own words about how you will use this special time called Lent.

(Allow two to three minutes of silence for this.)

I will now distribute pieces of paper on which you can write a word or two to describe how you will try to become a better person this Lent. We will attach these to our paper cross and display it.

(Allow time for writing and then have participants come forward one at a time to attach their paper to the cross. Decide together where you will hang it.)

Source: Praying with Children – 28 Prayer Services for Various Occasions by Gwen Costello (Twenty-Third Publications)

You can also download a PDF of this prayer service by clicking here.

Gwen Costello

Gwen Costello is author of A Prayerbook for Catechists and Blessed Are You! A Prayerbook for Catholics, both available from Twenty-Third Publications.

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