“Watch and Pray challenges us to seek God in both familiar and unfamiliar places: in darkness and in quiet; in movement and migration; in the healing and transforming work of the Spirit; in the weeping of Holy Week and in the joy of Easter morning.”Archbishops Justin Welby and Stephen Cottrell
This Lent we are encouraged to wait expectantly for God to meet us and sustain us through the storms and trials we all face.
The Church of England’s Lent theme for 2024 is Watch and Pray: Wisdom and hope for Lent and life.
On the night he was betrayed, Jesus kneels in darkness in the Garden of Gethsemane. Though he pleads with his disciples, “Stay here with me … Watch and pray,” they all fall asleep, leaving him alone in his hour of deepest suffering.
This Lent all of us are encouraged to draw on the wisdom of Black Spirituality, particularly the practice of “tarrying” (waiting) as a community to draw closer to Jesus and to each other. Combining exuberant singing, fervent prayer and quiet lament, such services typically take place at night and last somewhat longer than the “one hour” Jesus asked of those first followers.
This year’s resources have been inspired and informed by the 2024 Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent book, Tarry Awhile: Wisdom from Black Spirituality for people of faith by Selina Stone (SPCK). The daily reflections booklet for adults (CHP) exploring the same themes has been written by Carlton Turner, and there is also a daily challenge booklet for children and families (CHP).
Watch and Pray invites us to seek God in both familiar and unfamiliar places this Lent: in darkness and in quiet; in movement and migration; in the healing and transforming work of the Spirit; in the weeping of Holy Week and in the joy of Easter morning.
Resources for churches
- Design assets and guidelines: The Watch and Pray logo maintains a design approach reminiscent of last year’s Dust and Glory. Logo packs for print and digital are available to download now. The branding guidelines are designed to assist churches and organisations in making the most of the spectacular Watch and Pray branding.
- The Resources for Lent 2024 webinar explores the Watch and Pray theme with ideas on how to use the resources available to support you and your church as you get ready for Lent. Watch now on-demand.
- Reflections: Daily reflections booklets for adults and children are available to pre-order from Church House Publishing individually and in packs of 10 copies or 50 copies. Curious? Get a sneak peek of the content available for adults and children.
- Get downloadable resources including web banners, social media covers and templates, poster and poster templates, and PowerPoint templates from A Church Near You (login required).
- Support for Lent groups: Free resources including weekly videos featuring Selina Stone exploring the weekly themes of 'Tarry Awhile' (SPCK) are available from the Big Church Read.
Resources for schools
The Archbishops' Young Leader Award has six weeks of collective worship resources for schools including liturgical suggestions, Bible passage activity, video exploration, practical and prayerful actions, and additional ideas for connecting home, church and school.
Find out more and sign up for these free resources, available from 8 February.
Resources for individuals
- Reflections via email: Sign up and get free daily Lent reflection emails (except Sundays) delivered straight to your inbox from Ash Wednesday to Easter Day. Our daily emails will offer Bible readings, short reflections and a practical challenge, as well as prayers linked to weekly themes.
- Reflection booklets: Daily reflections will also be available as booklets for both adults and children and are available to pre-order from Church House Publishing.
- Our award-winning Church of England campaign app for both iOS and Android – including daily audio – is now available to download. Anyone who has the Church of England’s #FollowTheStar app already installed will automatically get the Lent update.
- Smart speakers: Audio versions of the Lent reflections will also be available for free on Alexa-enabled smart devices from Ash Wednesday (14 February).
- Worship with us: Can't make it to church this Lent? Watch our weekly online worship services from across the Church of England and worship with us this Lenten season.
- Learn more about the significance of Lent and Easter to Christians, and find out the answers to common questions you may have.