Observe Lent in your classroom with this prayer service.
Preparation: Drape a purple cloth and a strip of rough burlap across the prayer table or altar. Add a crucifix. Light a battery candle on each side of the crucifix. Choose four readers. Select three students to hold up three posters (or a long banner) with the key words: PRAY, FAST, ALMSGIVING.
Suggested opening song: “Ashes,” “Whatsoever You Do,” or another song following the theme
All: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Leader: The season of Lent stretches before us with unlimited possibilities to grow closer to our Father and experience his love and mercy. There is no sin too grave to be beyond the unlimited forgiveness of God. We must bring forth our faults with sincere sorrow, and we can have confidence he will respond to us as a caring, loving shepherd and welcome us back.
Reader #1: When we pray and talk with God, we build a relationship founded on love and trust. A reading from the book of Matthew. Read Mt. 6:5-15 aloud.
All: We are God’s people, the flock of the Good Shepherd.
Reader #2: To fast is to temper our bodily pleasures and desires with sacrifice. We reduce what we allow ourselves and share the excess denied ourselves with others. A reading from the book of Matthew. Read Mt. 6:16-18 aloud.
All: Shepherd me, O God, beyond my wants with a willing spirit of sacrifice.
Reader #3: It is our duty to increase almsgiving in order to provide assistance for those around the globe and in our own neighborhoods. By sharing our time, talents, and treasures, we give thanks to God for the many gifts he has showered upon us that we might take for granted.
All: The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.
Leader: After prayer, fasting, and alms-giving, what if our human nature becomes weak and we limit our attempts at sacrifice so that we are still comfortable, and our offerings are not truly a sacrifice?
Reader #4: May our resolve be alive in our faith and remain firm and secure. A reading from the book of Matthew. Read Mt. 6:25-34 aloud.
All: The Spirit of God is upon me. I will work to bring the good news through word, action, and prayer.
Leader: In closing, let us pray the Confiteor from the Penitential Act of the Mass:
All: I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.
Leader: May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.
All: Amen. Suggested closing song: “Turn to Me” or “Hosea”