Lent day 1

Ash Wednesday

Theme: When you pray


Matthew 6:1-21

When you do good deeds, don’t try to show off. If you do, you won’t get a reward from your Father in heaven.
When you give to the poor, don’t blow a loud horn. That’s what show-offs do in the meeting places and on the street corners, because they are always looking for praise. I can assure you that they already have their reward.
When you give to the poor, don’t let anyone know about it. Then your gift will be given in secret. Your Father knows what is done in secret, and he will reward you.
When you pray, don’t be like those show-offs who love to stand up and pray in the meeting places and on the street corners. They do this just to look good. I can assure you that they already have their reward.
When you pray, go into a room alone and close the door. Pray to your Father in private. He knows what is done in private, and he will reward you.
When you pray, don’t talk on and on as people do who don’t know God. They think God likes to hear long prayers. Don’t be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask.
You should pray like this:
Our Father in heaven,
help us to honor
your name.
Come and set up
your kingdom,
so that everyone on earth
will obey you,
as you are obeyed
in heaven.
Give us our food for today.
Forgive us for doing wrong,
as we forgive others.
Keep us from being tempted
and protect us from evil.
If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
When you go without eating, don’t try to look gloomy as those show-offs do when they go without eating. I can assure you that they already have their reward. Instead, comb your hair and wash your face. Then others won’t know that you are going without eating. But your Father sees what is done in private, and he will reward you.
Don’t store up treasures on earth! Moths and rust can destroy them, and thieves can break in and steal them. Instead, store up your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and thieves cannot break in and steal them. Your heart will always be where your treasure is.


“The kind of religion [Jesus] promoted wasn’t performative, as so much of religious life can be. We give because it is necessary. Prayer prioritizes God’s will, not our words. Fasting produces spiritual, not physical evidence. What we value is different. … Again and again, God invites us into fuller ways of being. There is no better time to accept that invitation than now, when so much is different. Maybe no ashes mark our foreheads today, but they can still mark our hearts.”
— Rev. T. Denise Anderson
Commentary on Matthew 6:1-21 for @sanctifiedart

Reflection prompts

  • What are your spiritual practices?
  • What spiritual practices need new life?


Teaching God, you remind us to avoid going through the motions on autopilot so that we can engage our faith with our whole hearts. You’re worth our whole hearts. So today I pray: Be there in my fasting. Be there in my praying. Be there in my walking and waking. Make this journey real. Make it rich. Make it yours. Amen. — Prayer by Rev. Sarah Are | A Sanctified Art LLC |

Ash Free Wednesday


We have a short YouTube online service available now. It goes live, Wednesday 8am. You may view it anytime after 8am. As part of the service, there is a opportunity to reflect. We would encourage your to:
  1. Use this reflection sheet here
  2. -or- Write your reflection in a journal
You will need a candle to light during the service as a way of marking this holy moment.

Lent Study Groups

Visio Divina

During Lent there will be an opportunity to delve into the scriptures deeper through a process called Visio Divina. Study groups are online Wednesday 12:30pm. Studies begin Wednesday 24th February.

Visio Divina, latin for “divine seeing,” is a method of meditation, reflection, and prayer through a process of intentional seeing. Visio Divina extends the 6th century Benedictine practice of Lectio Divina by the use of visual imagery. Traditionally, Visio Divina was accompanied by Benedictine iconography and illuminations, however, different faith traditions have adapted the process over time, utilizing both secular and nonsecular images.

    Sunday Online YouTube Worship

    Sunday 10am, here: or click the button below


    St Mary by the Sea

    PO Box 89-082, Torbay, Auckland, 0742
    168 Deep Creek Rd, Torbay, Auckland, 0630
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