Little Liturgy for Lent (1 of 7): “Choose Quiet”

Attention Seekers is a project that is about practicing presence in the world – of being alert and attentive to the mystery of existence all around us.

The Season of Lent offers a unique opportunity in the church calendar to practice this sort of intentional attentiveness. And so, instead of posting a series of Lenten reflections as we did last year, we are offering these “Little Liturgies” to aid our fellow attention seekers out there!

The prayers and reflections that follow are pilfered from a variety of sources online and in print (sources acknowledged below).

We follow a version of this liturgy in community each week at Newtownbreda (St. John’s) Presbyterian Church. Join us any Wednesday from 1.00 – 1.20 pm, if you are free.


“An empty room is silent. A room where people are not speaking or moving is quiet. Silence is a given, quite a gift. Silence is the absence of sound and quiet the stilling of sound. Silence can’t be anything but silent. Quiet chooses to be silent. It holds its breath to listen. It waits and is still.”  

Frederick Buechner


(Based on Isaiah 43:19-21 from The Worship Sourcebook)

Let us worship God, who has done great things.
We rejoice in our God, who made a way through the desert of this world. 
Let us worship God,
who has caused streams of mercy
to flow in the wasteland. 
We are the people God has formed through Christ;
we worship him, and we rejoice! 

Let us worship God in spirit and in truth. 
We praise God for the grace that has saved us.
Alleluia! We rejoice!  


(Adapted from The Road to Daybreak by Henri Nouwen) 

Lord Jesus Christ, 
As this Lenten season begins, 
it is time for us to be with you in a special way,
a time to pray, a time to fast,  
and thus to follow you on your way to Jerusalem,
to Golgotha, and to the final victory over death. 

Lord, we remain so divided. We truly want to follow you, 
but we also want to follow our own desires
and lend an ear to the voices that speak about prestige,
success, human respect, pleasure, power, and influence. 
Help us to become deaf to these voices and more attentive to your voice,
which calls us to choose the narrow road to life. 
We know that Lent is going to be a hard time for us. 
The choice for your way has to be made every moment of our lives. 

We have to choose thoughts that are your thoughts,
words that are your words, and actions that are your actions. 
There are no times or places without choices. 
And I know how deeply I resist choosing you.  
Please, Lord, be with us at every moment and in every place.

Give us the strength and the courage to live this season faithfully,
so that, when Easter comes,
we will be able to taste with joy the new life which you have prepared for us.


12 The day was drawing to a close, and the twelve came to him and said, ‘Send the crowd away, so that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside, to lodge and get provisions; for we are here in a deserted place.’ 13 But he said to them, ‘You give them something to eat.’ They said, ‘We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.’ 14 For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, ‘Make them sit down in groups of about fifty each.’ 15 They did so and made them all sit down. 16 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17 And all ate and were filled. What was left over was gathered up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.

REFLECTION: “Turning to God” by Brother Alois of the Taizé Community

(Adapted from The Little Book of Lent compiled by Arthur Howells)

Lent first directs our thoughts to the image of the desert, the one in which Jesus spent forty days of solitude, or the one that God’s people crossed by walking for forty years. Yet when these weeks before Easter return, it is important to remember that it is not a time for austerity, or a period to cultivate guilt, but rather a season to sing the joy of forgiveness. Lent is better seen as forty days to prepare to rediscover little springtimes in our lives. 

At the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew, when John the Baptist proclaims 

‘Repent!’ he means: ‘Turn to God!’ Yes, during Lent, we wish to look towards God in order to receive forgiveness. Christ has conquered evil and his constant forgiveness allows us to renew an inner life. We are invited to a conversation: not to turn towards ourselves in introspection or individual perfectionism, but to seek communion with God and also communion with others. 

Lent is a season that invites us to share. It leads us to sense that there is no spiritual growth without consenting to give something up, and to do so for love. Once when he was in the wilderness, Jesus, moved by compassion for those who followed him, multiplied five loaves and two fishes to feed everyone. What kind of sharing can we accomplish in our turn? 

During this time of Lent let us dare to review our lifestyle, not to make those who do less feel guilty, but for the sake of solidarity with the deprived. The gospel encourages us to share freely while setting everything in the simple beauty of creation. 


A circle prayer. imagine throwing a pebble into the centre of a pond, and the circles of ripples that move out from the centre.

Our Heavenly Father, 

We pray first for those closest to us, our immediate family and closest friends - for their health, needs, joys and fears. 

Silent prayer. 

God of creation, God of Salvation,
Hear the prayers of our hearts. 

As the ripples reach out we pray for those who those living in our local community. For our brothers in sisters from other churches, for local schools and businesses, for families living in our neighbourhood, we pray a blessing this Lenten season. 

Silent prayer. 

God of creation, God of Salvation,
Hear the prayers of our hearts. 

As the ripples move toward the land we pray for our nation. In particular, we remember the newly Executive at Stormont and for all who take on the burden of leadership. 

Silent prayer. 

God of creation, God of Salvation, Hear the prayers of our hearts. 

Finally, as the ripples reach their furthest point we pray for this world and its people. In particular, we continue to pray into the conflict in Gaza, for an immediate end to violence and the establishment of a just peace. 

Silent prayer. 

God of creation, God of Salvation 
Who speaks to us through thunder and whisper
Who loves us as if there were but one of us to love
Hear the prayers of our hearts. Amen. 


(adapted from St. Ambrose)

This Lent - 
let your door stand open to receive Christ,
unlock your soul to him offer him a welcome in your mind
and then you will see the riches of simplicity,
the treasures of peace, and the joy of grace. 


One Comment

  1. Paul I absolutely love this, thank you