This week begins with Palm Sunday and ends with us remembering Jesus’ death, and celebrating his resurrection. Death has a sting but the grave has no victory (1 Cor 15:54-56). Below are a set of prayer prompts (both passages and suggestions) to take with you through Passion Week.
Sunday, 5 April 2020 – Palm Sunday
Scripture: Psalm 118:26 – Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the house of the Lord. Matthew 21:8 – A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road and cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
Prayer Prompt: Give thanks that Jesus, God the Son, came to us in the name of the Lord. While we cannot gather today in a ‘large crowd’, let us give thanks for the salvation given to us by the Son of God.
Monday, 6 April 2020 – Holy Monday
Scripture: John 12:1-3– Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 2 There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. 3 Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
Prayer Prompt: Martha served; Mary worshipped. Both ladies were doing what God had called them to do on that Monday. Prayer for those who are serving sacrificially to help those suffering from COVID-19 and are helping their communities in tangible ways. Pray for our church elders as they seek to help us meaningfully worship this coming Easter Sunday.
Tuesday, 7 April 2020 – Holy Tuesday
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 — Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, 29 so that no one might boast in the presence of God.
Prayer Prompt: Pray for community leaders, our mayors, our representatives and senators, our governors, and our president to humble themselves in the presence of the Lord. A foolish thing – a virus that can be wiped out by soap and water – has brought the world to its knees. May the Lord be glorified by how the Christians respond to the needs created by this epidemic. Pray for repentance beginning with yourself and your prayer buddy.
Wednesday, 8 April 2020 – Holy Wednesday
Scripture: Isaiah 50:4 – The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.
Prayer Prompt: Prayer for Forest Baptist Church’s Sunday School and Wednesday night teachers to be well prepared to offer a virtual lesson this coming Sunday. Pray for yourself and your prayer buddy to be ready to comfort those you have socially distant contact with – that you may ‘know how to sustain the weary with a word’.
Thursday, 9 April 2020 – Maundy Thursday
Scripture: John 13:33-35 – Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34 I give you a new commandment, that you love another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
Prayer Prompt: These were Jesus’ final instructions before the group went to the garden to prayer. Love one another, just like Jesus – sacrificially, selflessly, and sincerely. Ask the Lord to give you this mindset for your church family as well as your community.
Friday, 10 April 2020 – Good Friday
Scripture: Isaiah 53:3, 6 – He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. . . . All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Prayer Prompt: Remember the Lord’s death today. Forest would have had a Good Friday service this night had the shadow of death not invaded our land. But remember it is a shadow. The Lord is our Shepherd and though we have been straying sheep, he walks us through the valley of the shadow of death. We shall fear no evil because his rod and staff give us strength.
Saturday, 11 April 2020 – Holy Saturday
Scripture: John 19:38-42 – After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. 39 Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. 40 They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. 41 Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden, there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. 42 And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
Prayer Prompt: Death stings. It hurts. During this pandemic, many families are experiencing their loved ones leaving them and are unable to be a comfort to them. Saying goodbye through Facetime is bittersweet. Pray for these families, the ministers, and chaplains who will be helping them walk through the process of burying their loved one in the midst of this pandemic. Pray for the funeral home staff who must help the families grieve.
Sunday, 12 April 2020 – Easter Sunday
Scripture: Matthew 28:5-6 – But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for he is risen, as he said. Come see the place where he lay.’
Prayer Prompt: Christ is risen; he is risen indeed. Thank God that because Jesus has risen from the dead, we who trust in him can be sure that we too will walk through the valley of the shadow of death and come through on the other side. Death is not the final destiny; eternal life swallows it up. Be thankful that we have ‘the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen’ (Hebrews 11:1).
(These Holy Week Prayer Prompts were written by Laverne Smith of our One Heart Women’s Ministry.)