A Musical Prayer for an Ash Wednesday Evening

February 13, 2013

*Music links updated 2014*

It’s been a busy and hectic day.  Not how I’d planned to spend Ash Wednesday.  I want to quiet my heart and seek the Lord in prayer and His Word, inviting Him to examine my heart, but it’s hard to push aside all the whirling thoughts.

I decided some music might be helpful. In thinking about what to listen to, I remembered a CCM “oldie” by John Michael and Terry Talbot from their 1980 album, The Painter.

Create in me a clean heart, O Godclean heart

Let me be like You in all Your ways

Give me Your strength, teach me Your  song

Shelter me in the shadow of Your wings.

For we are Your righteousness,

if we’ve died to ourselves,

and live through Your death.

Then we shall be born again to be blessed in Your love.

Simple, beautiful harmonies, and very helpful to draw me into the Lord’s presence with a quiet heart.

You can also listen to this song at You Tube, here.  (Available to buy at iTunes)

art credit:  http://godcreatedlaughter.blogspot.com

“The Lenten Call” – a poem by Teresa Roberts Johnson

February 13, 2013

This lovely poem for the beginning of Lent was posted today at Angliverse

The Lenten Call

And now resounding through the turbid earth
The solemn call to keep a holy Lent
Would lift our eyes from things of little worth
And bid us find in Jesus true content.

As Spirit hovered over formless void
Dispelling chaos by the Word decreed,
He clears the wilderness that sin destroyed;
He fills our emptiness with all we ever need.

Beauty for ashes and love to conquer fear,
The disciplines of Lent teach us to comprehend
That all else fades when Jesus is what we hold dear.
We throw off worldly weights in order to ascend.

Copyright © 2013 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)

See also Teresa’s poem “For Ash Wednesday


Eternal Power, of Earth and Air!

February 13, 2013

By Anne Bronte–

Eternal Power, of earth and air!
Unseen, yet seen in all around,
Remote, but dwelling everywhere,
Though silent, heard in every sound.

If e’er Thine ear in mercy bent,
When wretched mortals cried to Thee,
And if, indeed, Thy Son was sent,
To save lost sinners such as me:

Then hear me now, while, kneeling here,
I lift to thee my heart and eye,
And all my soul ascends in prayer,
Oh, give me, give me faith! I cry.

Without some glimmering in my heart,
I could not raise this fervent prayer;
But, oh! a stronger light impart,
And in Thy mercy fix it there.

While Faith is with me, I am blest;
It turns my darkest night to day;
But while I clasp it to my breast,
I often feel it slide away.

Then, cold and dark, my spirit sinks,
To see my light of life depart;
And every fiend of Hell, methinks,
Enjoys the anguish of my heart.

What shall I do, if all my love,
My hopes, my toil, are cast away,
And if there be no God above,
To hear and bless me when I pray?

If this be vain delusion all,
If death be an eternal sleep,
And none can hear my secret call,
Or see the silent tears I weep!

Oh, help me, God! For Thou alone
Canst my distracted soul relieve;
Forsake it not: it is Thine own,
Though weak, yet longing to believe.

Oh, drive these cruel doubts away;
And make me know, that Thou art God!
A faith, that shines by night and day,
Will lighten every earthly load.

If I believe that Jesus died,
And, waking, rose to reign above;
Then surely Sorrow, Sin, and Pride,
Must yield to Peace, and Hope, and Love.

And all the blessèd words He said
Will strength and holy joy impart:
A shield of safety o’er my head,
A spring of comfort in my heart.

Reference: http://nethymnal.org/htm/e/t/eternpow.htm

Vicars’ daughters

February 13, 2013

What do Jane, Anne, Charlotte, Emily, Elizabeth, Noel, and Charlotte have in common? They are all daughters of English vicars and and they all capture the struggle of the human heart.

Jane Austen (1775-1817) – born at the parsonage of Steventon, in Hampshire, a village of which her father, the Rev. George Austen, was rector. Best known for her novels Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and Persuasion and for her wit and social observations.

Anne Bronte (1820-1849) – The Bronte sisters were born to the Rev. Patrick Bronte at Thornton, near Bradford, but moved to the nearby township of Haworth when Charlotte, the eldest, was five. The children’s formative years and their mature writing careers were developed in Haworth, amid the dramatic landscape of the surrounding moors. Anne is the author of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Agnes Grey.

Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855)–author of the novels Jane Eyre, Shirley, and Villette, she is known for her overwhelming passion.

Emily Bronte (1818-1848)–author of the grimly haunting novel Wuthering Heights and of the poetry “Old Stoic” and “Last Lines.”

Elizabeth Carter (1717-1806) – daughter the Rev. Nicolas Carter of Kent, perpetual curate of Deal Chapel. A poet, scholar, and translator, one of her most significant achievements is that, along with her fellow “Bluestockings”, she made female intellectual endeavour respectable.

Noel Streatfeild (1895-1986)–born in Amberley, Sussex, she wrote 58 books for children. The most famous are the Shoes books: Ballet Shoes, Theater Shoes, Dancing Shoes, etc.

Charlotte Mary Yonge (1823-1901) – descended from English vicars in both her mother’s and father’s families, she was a best-selling author of her time, producing over 200 works, of which the novel The Heir of Redclyffe is most famous. She lived in Hampshire in Otterbourne. She has left on record a vivid account of the state of things that prevailed when Rev. John Keble was made vicar of the two parishes of Hursley and Otterbourne. She became one of the most faithful historians of the Tractarian controversy. She started an essay society for a group of young girls who were in need of more mental stimulation than the life of a Victorian daughter at home afforded them. They called her Mother Goose and they became the Goslings.

Our Father in heaven,
We thank You for the legacy left to us by these vicars’ daughters, and we humbly ask that You raise up a new generation of vicars’ daughter authors, students of the human heart, whose character and discernment have been shaped by godly wisdom and whose language is informed by Holy Scripture and liturgy. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done in the sector of British literature as it is in heaven. Amen.

Kendall Harmon’s excellent Ash Wednesday posts

February 13, 2013

I have little time for blogging today.  An unexpected work demand plus a car accident (no one hurt thankfully…) have stolen away my entire morning…  so instead of posting some entries of my own for Ash Wednesday, let me just point you to some excellent materials that Kendall Harmon has posted at TitusOneNine.

A Prayer for Ash Wednesday

Food for Thought from Saint Augustine for Ash Wednesday

C.S. Lewis for Ash Wednesday

Notable and Quotable: Dietrich Bonhoeffer for Ash Wednesday

Three Meditations for Ash Wednesday from Bishop Mark Lawrence (from 2012)

Ash Wednesday Services Being Broadcast Online Today


Here is the link for all of Kendall’s Lent posts.


Ash Wednesday: A favorite prayer from St. Augustine

February 13, 2013

I’ve posted this prayer in the past, but I find that once again it expresses what I need to tell the Lord about my heart as we begin Lent.  My soul needs housecleaning.  My heart needs enlarging that I may receive and share the Lord’s love and grace more fully:

O Lord,
The house of my soul is narrow;
enlarge it that you may enter in.
It is ruinous, O repair it!
It displeases Your sight.
I confess it, I know.
But who shall cleanse it,
to whom shall I cry but to you?
Cleanse me from my secret faults, O Lord,
and spare Your servant from strange sins.

–St. Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-430)
Source: Churchyear.net

For the traditional Ash Wednesday Prayers from the 1928 BCP, see here.

Here’s the link For all Lent-themed prayers posted here at Lent & Beyond over the years.

For Daily Lenten Prayers and Readings, this is a very good site.

Hebrews 12:1-2

February 13, 2013

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (Hebrews 12:1)
      Thank you for that great cloud of witnesses who speak to us today, Jesus. Help us daily lay aside every burden of sin and accept the cleansing fire of your Holy Spirit. Help us run with endurance the race you have set before us.

      Holy Spirit, please help us daily encourage our brothers and sisters who are also running the race. We pray for them and for us to have enduring strength from you to finish the race.

looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)
      Father, please help us daily look to Jesus to bring us to mature faith and trust in you. Thank you for all that you were willing to ask him to endure for our sakes. Help us in our day to embrace his cross and despise the shame so that we may join him and you at your throne. Thank you.

A word received: Keep looking to me for daily strength.

Ash Wednesday; 95 & 32, 143; *; 102, 130; Jonah 3:1-4:11; Heb. 12:1-14; Luke 18:9-14
HC: 103 or 103:8-14; Joel 2:1-2,12-17 or Isaiah 58:1-12; 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6,16-21
Thursday: 37:1-18; *; 37:19-42; Deut. 7:6-11; Titus 1:1-16; John 1:29-34

      Notes from the Front Line

***** Gentlemen, have you been cave dwelling lately?
Ladies are you fed up with your spouse hiding in his cave?
John 11:43 writes, “When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
I would humbly suggest, (insert you name here ) come out, of your cave!
Gentlemen, we are not cave dwellers any more!
PS. Actually, I am writing this as a, “Note to self!” (my wife had Ma Bell install a phone in my cave!) Have a great day. No… have a great life.
~ Fr. Nigel Mumford+

Albany Intercessor

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