A Prayer for Tuesday of Holy Week 2011

Denial of St. Peter, Gerrit van Honthorst

Lord Jesus, compassionate Savior, plead for me in the hour of trial. You know my weaknesses and shortcomings; I cannot hide my sins from You. Pray for me, gracious Redeemer, lest I deny You. O Lord, You know that I have promised to be faithful to You, and nevertheless I have again and again sinned and offended You with my many transgressions and broken pledges. I am ashamed of myself. Yet I come to You for there is no other Savior from sin. I have denied You, if not by word, then by my actions and conduct. O Lord, look upon me in mercy, and forgive me all my sins. I have not always confessed You to the world nor spoken of the hope within me. Gracious Savior, in Your great love forgive me. Do not let me go on in my sin. Look into my heart, and make me ashamed of myself and truly penitent.

O Lord, You know that I love You. I am yours. Help me to be more faithful, more devout, and more zealous. In this Holy Week lead me to a deeper appreciation of the great sacrifice that was necessary for my redemption. And, Lord, in Your mercy look upon all Your erring, sinning, straying children and bring them back and restore them to grace. Draw us all to You with Your constraining love, and keep us steadfast, unfaltering, and true. Hear my petitions and prayers. Amen.

The church from you, our Savior,
received the gift divine,
and still that light is lifted
o’er all the earth to shine.
It is the sacred vessel
where gems of truth are stored;
it is the heaven-drawn picture
of Christ, the living Word.
–O Word of God Incarnate, William W. How (1823-1897)

A Prayer for Monday of Holy Week 2011

Arrest in the Garden

Precious Savior, Lamb of God for sinners slain, graciously forgive me all my sins, and embrace me with Your tender love. I have failed to fear, love and trust in You above all things. This I confess, O Lord, the allurements of the present world, the glamour of success, the favor of friends, has enticed me away from You. These things would take possession of my heart. O Lord, let me not sell my soul for the passing treasures of this present world. If I have kissed You with the kiss of betrayal, kiss me, Lord, with the kiss of forgiveness, and embrace me again as Your own. Have mercy upon me!

Protect me from the cunning of Satan, the allurements of the world, and the wickedness of my own heart. You are my surest Friend; hold me that I do not stumble and fall. Guard my heart that the love of gold, the smiles of popularity, the eagerness to succeed, may not rob me of my salvation, which You so dearly bought with Your own blood. Above all, gracious Savior, let me not despair of Your mercy, but believe at all times that Your love is as boundless as the heavens and deeper than the sea. O Friend of sinners let me not fall away from You. Keep me standing in Your grace until I shall stand in Your presence forevermore, to love You with a perfect love throughout all eternity. Amen.

Hail to the Lord’s Anointed,
great David’s greater Son!
Hail in the time appointed,
his reign on earth begun!
He comes to break oppression,
to set the captive free;
to take away transgression,
and rule in equity
–Hail to the Lord’s Anointed, James Montgomery, (1771-1854)

Prayer for Palm Sunday 2011

Entry into Jerusalem, 12th century mosaic

Lord Jesus, King of kings, today again I praise You with my hosannas and welcome You as the King of my heart. Enter in and take full possession of me, body heart, mind and soul. As thousands and ten thousands today vow faithfulness to You until death, acknowledging that they have no other Savior, grant that I, too, join this great host of faithful people to realize both the enormity and bitterness of my sin as well as the course of plenteous redemption to which You committed Yourself.

I confess, gracious Savior that I have not been as true to You as You have been to me. Other interests have placed themselves above You in my thoughts. Have mercy upon me and forgive me my transgressions. Sprinkle me with Your blood and wash me clean from the stain of my sin. Strengthen my heart with the assurance of my adoption and transform me according to Your image by the daily renewing of my baptism. Preserve me in the faith until the end of days that I may behold You in glory forevermore. Hear my cry, King of my heart and Savior of my soul. Amen.

Hosanna, loud hosanna,
the little children sang,
through pillared court and temple
the lovely anthem rang.
To Jesus, who had blessed them
close folded to his breast,
the children sang their praises,
the simplest and the best.
–Hosanna, Loud Hosanna, Jeanette Threlfall (1821-1880).

Holy Week 2010

Pasche card for Holy Week

The week before Easter is called Holy Week and culminates the preparation time of Lent. During these days, we focus on the events of Jesus’ life from His entrance into Jerusalem until His glorious resurrection from the dead. Palm Sunday, the first day of Holy Week, commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:9). Because the complete account of the Lord’s Passion from Matthew, Mark, or Luke is often read, this Sunday is also called the Sunday of the Passion.

This week begins on Palm Sunday and ends on Holy Saturday.

On Maundy Thursday, the Church gives thanks to Jesus for the institution of the Lord’s Supper. The Maundy Thursday service closes with the stripping of the altar while Psalm 22-a prophecy of the crucifixion-is read or sung. This reminds us of how our Lord stripped to the waist to wash His disciples’ feet-and how He was stripped and beaten before His crucifixion.

Good Friday is the most solemn of all days in the Christian Church, yet a note of joy remains, as the title of the day indicates. On Good Friday, as we remember that on account of our sin the Lord was crucified and died, we give joyful thanks to God that all sin and God’s wrath over sin falls on Jesus and not on us, and that by His grace we receive the benefit of this most sacrificial act.

A Prayer for Holy Saturday

Heavenly Father, I am silenced at the grave of Your Son. In justice You called for Him, who knew no sin, to be made sin for us. Yet You permitted Your Son to die in innocence. In love He came to us but He was rejected by hate. He taught us obedience but men rebelled against Him.

I confess that a great mystery confronts me at this tomb of sin and death. He was buried behind the great seal of my sin and my death. By faith I know also that He who died is the One who unlocked the great secret of Your love. His tomb is my tomb. He carried with Him to the grave my sin and my death that He might break their hold on me.

Trusting in the Lord’s promise that He would rise again on the third day, I come not to mourn Him but to confess the sin that He would leave buried. Have mercy on me O God! Have mercy on me. Amen.

For me, kind Jesus, was thy incarnation,
thy mortal sorrow, and thy life’s oblation;
thy death of anguish and thy bitter passion,
for my salvation.
–Ah, Holy Jesus, Johann Heermann (1585-1647)

A Prayer for Wednesday of Holy Week

Lord Jesus, gracious Savior, I come to You in this sacred week to ponder upon Your great and wondrous love; love that led You to the Cross that my sin might be blotted out and that I might be reconciled to my heavenly Father. O Christ, give me strength and grace to crucify my sinful desires and dedicate myself anew to You, who has loved me with an everlasting love and brought to me eternal salvation. I confess to You my sins. They are many, and You know them all. For each and every one of them You suffered the agony of the Cross and shed Your precious blood that I may be cleansed and made acceptable in Your sight. Let me not go through this day unmindful of Your great love. Let none of the sins of yesterday cling to me. Humbly I come, seeking Your mercy. Daily let me fulfill the tasks and duties to which You have called me with joy, confessing You as my Lord and Savior, and being of service to my neighbor

Grant that Your suffering and death, proclaimed for the salvation of mankind, may by the power of the Holy Spirit awaken in many a deeper love to You. O Lord, have mercy upon me and all sinful mankind, and create in me and all that seek You a clean heart, holy desires, and an undying love. Hear my prayer, gracious Redeemer. Amen.

O love, how deep, how broad, how high,
it fills the heart with ecstasy,
that God, the Son of God, should take
our mortal form for mortals’ sake!

For us baptized, for us he bore
his holy fast and hungered sore,
for us temptation sharp he knew;
for us the tempter overthrew.

For us he prayed; for us he taught;
for us his daily works he wrought;
by words and signs and actions thus
still seeking not himself, but us.

For us to evil power betrayed,
scourged, mocked, in purple robe arrayed,
he bore the shameful cross and death,
for us gave up his dying breath.

For us he rose from death again;
for us he went on high to reign;
for us he sent his Spirit here,
to guide, to strengthen, and to cheer.
–O Love, How Deep, 15th cent. Latin hymn