Lent: The Litany

BY Doug Jones

February 14, 2013




Lent is an Anglo-Saxon word that, when best defined, means spring. Each spring (or late winter) comes another season of the Christian year, the time of Lent. Lent is the most solemn of the Christian seasons. It is a time for serious reflection, repentance, and renewal. We need seasons like Lent to call us to slow our pace of life and take time out for reflection, meditation, quiet, and repentance.

I don’t often plan well. This Lenten season, I have decided to observe an old practice of praying the Litany at least once a week. The late Robert Webber suggested Saturdays in his book The Prymer, and that is what I plan to do.

The Litany is a l-o-n-g prayer. It is really a prayer service. I use a version (without the invoking of the saints) from An English Prayer Book. In this version of the Litany it is a seven-fold prayer that progresses thus:

  1. Inviting God to hear us
  2. Personal repentance
  3. Personal petitions
  4. Intercessions on behalf of others
  5. The Lord’s Prayer
  6. Corporate repentance
  7. Benediction

It is a wonderful prayer. It helps us repent; change our way of thinking; see with new eyes; find our proper position and place in God’s kingdom again.

This Lenten practice, setting aside and taking time to reflect and repent, is something I realize I don’t naturally move toward. I am more likely to keep going and put mistakes, misplaced words, and sins under foot. Lent calls us to stop and reflect on who we are becoming and how we are living. This is good. Maybe you would take up praying the Litany each Saturday of Lent.

A copy of the Anglican Litany:  http://www.churchyear.net/anglitany.html

The version I am praying is found in this book: An English Prayer Book

A blend of the 12 stations of the cross and the prayer path for teens.

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