Prayer Service: Beginning Lent with Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving

This prayer service will help focus students on prayer, fasting, and almsgiving during Lent.

By Jean Grant

Download a printable version of this prayer service.

LEADER: The Blessed Mother began her journey with Jesus when she said “yes” to the Archangel Gabriel’s question at the Annunciation. She agreed to be the Mother of God, protecting Jesus and following God’s wishes. Mary is an example of true holiness and love for the Messiah. As Simeon foretold at the Presentation in the Temple, Mary’s heart would be pierced seven times. She saw Jesus beaten, scourged, and nailed to the cross. She was with him until he ascended into heaven, and was always faithful to his teachings. Mary is an example of obedience, love, and dedication.

READER 1: Lent begins with John the Baptist’s warning that all should “prepare the way of the Lord” and to “Stay awake! Be ready! You do not know the hour when the Lord will come.” Joseph, Mary, Archangel Gabriel, King Herod, and the Apostles all played a part in God’s plan.

ALL: John the Baptist said, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

READER 2: Prayer brings us closer to God. We can express our needs, worries, joys, and sorrows to God, and his grace will wash over us. We should not worry about our worthiness, for God’s love never ends. He sees our struggles, knows what is in our hearts, and encourages us to draw closer to him during this special time of Lent.

ALL: “Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?”

LEADER: Fasting, reconciliation, repentance, trust, and faith are all key elements as Christians. When we think of Peter walking to Jesus on the water, yet sinking when he took his situation in his own hands, we realize the impact of faith. Lose sight of Jesus, and we are the lost sheep. When Jesus came back to “Doubting Thomas” to prove he had risen from the dead, he said, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

ALL: Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity and in whose spirit there is no deceit. Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord, and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.”

READER 1: What can I give? I am only a student, and have limited income. Almsgiving is not about giving a million dollars like a celebrity. It’s not about creating a show as you give or shining a light upon your head to gather attention for yourself. Almsgiving is when you give when a sacrifice is involved. It is when you get your own Rice Bowl for Lent and save the small amount left from your allowance or lunch money to give at the end of Lent for the poor around the world. They are our neighbors just as much as the people living in our own community.

ALL: Jesus saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, “Truly I tell you this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”

LEADER: Let us now all pray together the Our Father, the prayer that Jesus himself taught us. Then, as we leave, remember to take time to pray quietly each day and remember Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross when he saved us.

ALL: Amen.

Jean Grant is a retired teacher from St. Charles, Missouri.