Color and warmth finally emerge from the starkness of winter, and we are grateful. Sometimes the soul, though, isn’t on schedule with the seasons. This lovely spring day has a full portion of hurts, disappointments, and weakness as unyielding as January’s soil. Fluffy bunnies, flowers, fancy dresses, and pastel candy appeal to our senses but our souls need Easter in its full and rich meaning.
Holy Week invites us to follow You through the depths as well as the heights. Draw us to Your steps, we pray, and let us not shrink back. Lead us to linger at the Cross. It is the only place where suffering has meaning and hope.
Give us grace to embrace fellowship with Jesus, even in His rejection, His sorrow, and His death. Draw us into Your experience because You entered firstly into ours. The bridge is constructed with Your flesh and blood. You give us peace, even when our hearts are torn between grief and joy, because You mysteriously make them one.
Man of Sorrows, You invite us to intimacy, to come honestly from our hurting places. And so, our Easter prayers are most true when we come with our thorns, our loneliness in Gethsemane, our let-this-cup-pass.
When we are willing to go there, You walk us through the mysteries of Your wisdom and time, to the other side – to the joy, the peace, the Your-will-be-done. As we approach Holy Week, set our hearts on a pilgrimage of prayer where we follow our Savior through the one story that gives life through death.
Lord, let us remember how You set Your face toward Jerusalem. Your friends misunderstood Your mission, but it was radical, selfless, intentional love that compelled You to Good Friday. May we journey with you, accepting the Calvary road not as a path to power or prosperity but to the most soul-satisfying companionship we will ever know.
Lead us to a table where we handle the bread and wine. Remind us that one day we too will eat our last meal and sip our final drink. As we touch the physical, temporary elements of the Supper, remind us that You were broken and poured out so that we may drink freely of eternal life.
Draw us to the table with people who look different than we do, for You paid a precious price for unity with You and with one another.
When power seduces, pull our knees low before a basin of pure water. May the humble kindness of our Savior wash over our hearts down to our towel-draped hands.
When we are hard-pressed by our trials, help us to fix our eyes on Jesus who endured the weight of sin and suffering. At Gethsemane, where the olive is pressed until it releases its precious oil, our sinless Savior willingly poured out heart and will to the point of blood. When we are soul-weary, enfold us in such compassion and unstoppable love.
Teach us that You send grace to drink whatever cup is ours. May our lives be fountains of obedience.
The voice of culture is dissonant with the call of the Crucified. If others reject us, You understand and welcome us as Your own. When we are tempted to reject You, tune our spiritual ears to the rooster’s crow. Rouse our sluggish souls from the lullabies of convenience or people-pleasing or conformity.
When hurt lures us toward bitterness, may we have a heart like yours for the Roman soldiers and the thief on the cross.
Because we are so sinful, we treasure a Savior who was tempted in every way yet lived without sin. And because You, not knowing sin, became sin for us, we are free and forgiven. When shame hurls accusations, let us take the Cross as our shield – before us, behind us, above us, within us, beneath us.
In seeming hopelessness, help us remember that You have the final word. Despite the Romans’ defensive efforts, neither seal nor stone could confine Jesus to the grave. We need You to break loose those areas where we have been discouraged and defeated. Remind us that sealed-shut dreams can be trusted to the One who overcame death.
He is Risen! is an anthem that quakes rocks and our unbelief. Lord, as we give You our hearts, fill every empty place with the certainty of the empty tomb. Your Resurrection robs any circumstance of its hopelessness. And if we find ourselves again on the Emmaus road, with souls disappointed and confused, open our eyes and make Yourself known to us. For You are beyond all our hopes, and Your love is stronger than anything, even death.