Holy Week Prayers and Songs


by Lucinda Secrest McDowell

As Holy Week begins, my thoughts turn to this significant part of the Christian year and I want to observe it with both reverence and celebration. Easter is the most important Christian festival, and the one celebrated with the greatest joy. Without Easter there would be no Christianity. Without Jesus’ suffering, his execution and subsequent resurrection there would be no Christianity, for however terrible the suffering was, it was part of God’s plan for the salvation of humankind. The week before Easter, known as Holy Week, is very special in the Christian tradition. The Sunday before Easter is Palm Sunday and the last three days before Easter are Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday respectively commemorate Jesus’ entry in Jerusalem, the Last Supper and the Crucifixion. Easter Sunday (and every Sunday) commemorates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ!  I hope you will join me in these special prayers and songs, as well as your own times of silence, worship and contemplation of God’s great gift of Grace and Mercy through Jesus Christ.

Palm Sunday

“What a strange paradox; the King is coming, the people rejoice, singing ‘Hosanna in the highest!’ yet fail to understand that the King they welcome is the Servant King, the King who washes his disciples’ feet, the King who came not with an army but a weapon so powerful that not even death could resist, the sacrificial love of God laid out upon a Cross. Lord God, as we sing our ‘Hosannas’ today may we remember also that which you were riding toward the suffering and rejection, pain and humiliation, the cruel Cross. And let us look forward to the joy of Easter Day when you rose from death to reign forever. Help us, as we daily lay our lives before you, to live the resurrection life that acknowledges Jesus as Lord and King over our lives. Amen.”

Good Friday

“Lord, we come to the cross, in Your mercy, hear us. Almighty Father, look with mercy on this Your family for which our Lord Jesus Christ was content to be betrayed and given up into the hands of sinners and to suffer death upon the cross; who is alive and glorified with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.”

Good Friday Vigil

“O Jesus, Who by reason of Thy burning love for us hast willed to be crucified and to shed Thy Most precious blood for the redemption and salvation of our souls, look down upon us here gathered together in remembrance of Thy most sorrowful Passion and Death, fully trusting in Thy mercy; cleanse us from sin by Thy grace, sanctify our toil, give unto us and unto all those who are dear to us our daily bread, sweeten our sufferings, bless our families, and to the nations so sorely afflicted, grant Thy peace, which is the only true peace, so that by obeying Thy commandments we may come at last to the glory of heaven. Amen.”

Easter Sunday

Christ is Risen: The world below lies desolate
Christ is Risen: The spirits of evil are fallen

Christ is Risen: The angels of God are rejoicing
Christ is Risen: The tombs of the dead are empty
Christ is Risen indeed from the dead,
the first of the sleepers,
Glory and power are his forever and ever!

St. Hippolytus (AD 190-236)

Easter Resurrection Day – Was It A Morning Like This? (Sandi Patty)

“It is only right, with all the powers of our heart and mind, to praise You Father and Your Only-begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ:
Dear Father, by Your wondrous condescension of loving-kindness toward us,Your servants, You gave up Your Son.
Dear Jesus You paid the debt of Adam for us to the Eternal Father by Your blood poured forth in lovingkindness.
You cleared away the darkness of sin by Your magnificent and radiant Resurrection.
You broke the bonds of death and rose from the grave as a Conqueror.
You reconciled heaven and earth. Our life had no hope of eternal happiness before You redeemed us.
Your Resurrection has washed away our sins, restored our innocence and brought us joy.
How inestimable is the tenderness of Your love!”

Saint Gregory the Great’s Easter Prayer

“God our Father, by raising Christ your Son you conquered the power of death and opened for us the way to eternal life. Let our celebration today raise us up and renew our lives by the Spirit that is within us. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

under the mercy, Cindy


copyright 2012 Lucinda Secrest McDowell

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