Saturday 12 March


Hold a stone in your hand. Some parts are rough and other parts smooth. Think of the rough parts as those parts of your life which have not yet submitted to God’s grace and healing: hard words, resentments, grudges, refusal to forgive etc. and ask God each day of Lent to help smooth over your rough places. Then feel the smooth surfaces of the stone and give thanks to God for those aspects of your life in which you know God’s blessing and presence.

Friday 11 March

If you would enter into the wilderness,
do not begin without a blessing.
Do not leave
without hearing who you are:
Beloved, named by the One
who has traveled this path before you.
Do not go
without letting it echo in your ears,
and, if you find it is hard
to let it into your heart,
do not despair.
That is what this [Lenten] journey is for.

Jan Richardson

Thursday 10 March

‘Waiting, that’s all I have done since my diagnosis. Waiting for doctors’ appointments; waiting for new drugs and treatments; waiting to feel better. And now, here I am still waiting.

I used to wait (or was it hope) for a cure but those days are past. I now know that I am not in charge any longer and that my deadlines and plans are out the window.

But still I wait … for the next painkiller, for a nurse to answer my buzzer, for the fresh flowers they bring to my bedside each day, for my family and friends to visit. And in the waiting I think I am beginning to let go and trust that someone else is in charge, that all is well with the world and that it will keep on turning without me at the helm. Now why did I wait so long to learn that?’

Wednesday 9 March

If you have come to this Lenten desert
desolate,
if you have come here,
deflated,
then thank your lucky stars
the desert is where
you have landed –
here where it is hard to hide,
here where it is unwise
to rely on your own devices ..
I tell you,
this is where
you will receive
your life again.
I tell you,
this is where
the breath begins.

Jan Richardson, Circle of Grace

Tuesday 8 March

In the desert the most urgent thing is — to wait. The desert does not take kindly to those who tackle it at breakneck speed, subjecting it to their plans and deadlines. It soon takes its revenge and makes them pay dearly for their presumption. Instead, the desert welcomes those who shed their sandals of speed and walk slowly in their bare feet, letting them be caressed and burnt by the sand. If you have no ambition to conquer the desert, if you do not think you are in charge, if you can calmly wait for things to be done, then the desert will not consider you an intruder and will reveal its secrets to you.

Alessandro Pronzato, Meditations on the Sand

Monday 7 March

Lord Jesus Christ,
you refused to turn stones into bread.
Save us from using our power,
however little,
to satisfy the demands of selfishness
in the face of the needs of others.

Lord Jesus Christ,
you refused to leap from the temple top.
Save us from displaying our skills,
however modest,
to win instant popularity
in the face of nobler calls on our abilities.

Lord Jesus Christ,
You refused to bend the knee to a false god.
Save us from offering our devotion,
however weak,
to cheap or easy religion
in the face of the harder path
on which you bid us to follow you. Amen.

Iona Community

Sunday 6 March
The First Sunday of Lent

‘And in the desert he was tempted’
Matthew 4.1–11

God of the desert,
as we follow Jesus into the unknown,
may we recognise the tempter when he comes;
let it be your bread we eat,
your world we serve
and you alone we worship.

A New Zealand Prayer Book

Saturday 5 March

Consider how you might keep Lent.
No matter what you do or fail to do
God will not love you any more
or any less.
You are already God’s beloved.
What does being loved by God call out
of you today?
Or pray for someone who has
wronged you?
Perhaps you could fast from
an old grudge?
Or make a donation to a foodbank?
Prayer, fasting and almsgiving
are worthless
unless offered from a free heart.

Friday 4 March

Let us be marked
not for false humility
or for thinking
we are less
than we are
but for claiming
what God can do
within the dust,
within the dirt,
within the stuff
of which the world
is made,
and the stars that blaze
in our bones,
and the galaxies that spiral
inside the smudge
we bear.

Jan Richardson

Thursday 3 March

Will you meet us
in the ashes,
will you meet us
in the ache
and show your face
within our sorrow
and offer us
your word of grace …
that you are what
survives the burning,
that you arise
to make us new.
And in our aching,
you are breathing;
and in our weeping,
you are here.

Jan Richardson

Wednesday 2 March
Ash Wednesday

Remember that you are dust
and to dust you shall return.

Collect for Lent

Almighty and everlasting God,
you despise nothing you have made
and forgive the sins of all who are penitent.
Create and make in us new and contrite hearts,
that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our brokenness,
may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

O God, you have made us for yourself,
and against your longing there is no defence.
Mark us with your love, and release in us a passion for your justice in our disfigured world;
that we may turn from our guilt and face you, our heart’s desire. Amen.

Janet Morley


This sequence of daily readings or prayers for the first ten days of Lent was compiled by Rev Dr Michael Paterson using materials written by him and drawn from a variety of sources. You can download a printable version of the week’s sequence at this link.

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