Ash Wednesday Prayers

What is Ash Wednesday?

Ash Wednesday is the first day of the Christian season of Lent, which focuses on penance and fasting. It's an official fast day of the Catholic Church, and usually falls during February or early March. These Ash Wednesday prayers relate to these themes. More Info: Ash Wednesday

Penitential Prayer of Saint Augustine

ashes in a bowl

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.

Saint Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-430)

Opening Catholic Collect for Ash Wednesday

Father in Heaven,

Protect us in our struggle against evil.

As we begin the discipline of Lent, make this season holy by our self-denial.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit one God, for ever and ever.

International Committee on English in the Liturgy (ICEL)

Penitential Prayer of Saint Ambrose of Milan

O Lord, who hast mercy upon all, take away from me my sins, and mercifully kindle in me the fire of thy Holy Spirit.

Take away from me the heart of stone, and give me a heart of flesh,

A heart to love and adore Thee,

A heart to delight in Thee, 

To follow and enjoy Thee, for Christ's sake,


St. Ambrose of Milan (AD 339-397)

A Prayer of Contrition

Merciful Father,

I am guilty of sin.

I confess my sins before you and I am sorry for them.

Your promises are just; therefore I trust that You will forgive my sins and cleanse me from every stain of sin.

Jesus Himself is the propitiation for my sins and the sin of the whole world. I put my hope in His atonement.

May my sins be forgiven through His name and in His blood may my soul be made clean.

New Saint Joseph People's Prayer Book

Prayer of Saint Ephraim the Syrian

O Lord and Master of my life, give me not the spirit of laziness, despair, lust of power, and idle talk. (prostration)

But give rather the spirit of sobriety, humility, patience and love to Thy servant. (prostration)

Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou unto ages of ages.

Amen. (prostration)

Saint Ephraim the Syrian (AD 305-373)

Prayer for Aid in Fasting

Hanging as a vine upon the Wood, O Christ our Saviour,

Thou hast made the ends of the earth to drink from the wine of incorruption.

Therefore do I cry aloud: I am darkened always by the hateful drunkenness of sin;

Give me to drink from the sweet wine of true compunction, and grant me now the strength, O Saviour, to fast from sensual pleasures,

For Thou art good and lovest mankind.

Saint Joseph Studite, Lenten Triodion

Eastern Sinner's Prayer

O my all-merciful God and Lord, Jesus Christ, full of pity:

Through Your great love You came down and became incarnate in order to save everyone.

O Savior, I ask You to save me by Your grace!

If You save anyone because of their works, that would not be grace but only reward of duty, but You are compassionate and full of mercy!

You said, O my Christ, "Whoever believes in Me shall live and never die." If then, faith in You saves the lost, then save me, O my God and Creator, for I believe.

Let faith and not my unworthy works be counted to me, O my God, for You will find no works which could account me righteous.

O Lord, from now on let me love You as intensely as I have loved sin, and work for You as hard as I once worked for the evil one.

I promise that I will work to do Your will, my Lord and God, Jesus Christ, all the days of my life and forever more.

Prayer of Saint John Chrysostom

Anglican Ash Wednesday Collect

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate 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 wretchedness, 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.


Book of Common Prayer, 1979

The Jesus Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,

Have mercy on me, a sinner.

Links and Information

Lent Prayers


The Litany of the Precious Blood of Jesus

The Great Litany (Anglican Use)

Seven Penitential Psalms (in English)

Seven Penitential Psalms (in Latin)

Lenten Canticles


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Updated 02-21-2019