A Prayer for Saturday of Holy Week

     The next day, on the Sabbath, the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.” Matt. 27:62-64 (NLT)

Dear Lord Jesus, how could your family and followers have slept the night of Good Friday? I can only imagine the depth of sadness that seized their hearts. And yet, others were euphoric and relieved, that you, “the deceiver,” could no longer threaten the status quo of the religious community.

As the sun rose on Saturday, no one understood that the most undeserved death imaginable would yield the greatest return calculable. As you were nailed to the cross, the written code—God’s law, with all its regulations and requirements, lost all its condemning power over us. With your last breath, you disarmed the powers of darkness, triumphing over all authorities marshaled against the God’s kingdom (Col. 2:14-15).

No one realized that your mortal punishment would bring our eternal peace; that your fatal wounding would secure our everlasting healing; that your being crushed under God’s judgment would lead to our being cherished by the thrice-holy God (Isa. 53). Though they had the Scriptures, they had no clue.

And yet …

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A Prayer for Tuesday of Holy Week

     As he [Jesus] approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.” Luke 19:41-42 (NIV)

Dear Lord Jesus, long before the Day you will wipe away our tears, you wept many of your own, and we praise, bless, and adore you for doing so. The tears you shed coming into a broken and rebellious Jerusalem, underscore the mercy and magnificence of these words from the Apostle Paul:

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:6-8).

Jesus, I humbly and gladly acknowledge Paul was writing about me, in that Scripture. I am one of the powerless, ungodly sinners for whom you gave your life—demonstrating God’s lavish love for the non-deserving. I wasn’t an impassioned seeker or a misguided God-fearer; I was an indifferent rebel when I received the gift of reconciliation (Rom. 5:10). The only reason I have peace with God is because God made peace with me through you.

I would still be looking for peace elsewhere, if you hadn’t opened my eyes to see my need and your grace. I have no claim to salvation—no boast or hope, no assurance …

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A Prayer for Monday of Holy Week

     ”Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! Father, bring glory to your name.” Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.” When the crowd heard the voice, some thought it was thunder, while others declared an angel had spoken to him. Then Jesus told them, ”The voice was for your benefit, not mine. The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out. And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” John 12:27-32 (NLT)

Dear Lord Jesus, as the events of “Easter Week” began to unfold, the exuberant “Hosannas” gave way to the great disturbance in your soul—no hesitation, but profound consternation. No surprises awaited you, just an overwhelming assignment, which you helped plan before the world began (Eph. 1:3-14). Within days, you would take the judgment we deserve to give us the grace we can never earn. At the end of the week, your “bruised heel” (Gen. 3:15) would crush the head of the “ruler of this world” and cast him down in defeat—once and for all (Jn. 12:30).

At the end of the week, you would gladly pay the price for the salvation of God’s immense covenant family—children of grace redeemed from every nation, tribe, people, and language; daughters and sons of mercy, as numerous as the stars …

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A Prayer for Wednesday of Holy Week

     While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, “What do you think about the Christ?” Matt. 22:41-42

     Dear Lord Jesus, on this Wednesday of Holy Week, we praise and bless you for the privilege of knowing you, loving you and serving you. And the question you directed to Pharisees, just before your death and resurrection, you still put before us: “What do you think about the Christ?” There’s no more important question for us to wrestle with, in any season of life.

     Jesus, continue to free us from all wrong notions we have about you—those generated in our fallen hearts; the ones that come to us from Satan—the father of lies; others which reveal the wrong and incomplete teaching we’ve received through the years.

     But what do I think about you today, Lord Jesus? What do I believe in my heart? You are everlasting God, and I am a mere man. I would despair if you were anything less, and I am weary of trying to be more. You are the Creator, Sustainer, and Restorer of all things. You don’t just care about my soul; you care about everything you have made.

     You are the Second Adam—our substitute in life and in death. You lived a life of perfect obedience for us, and you exhausted God’s judgment that stood against us. By you, we’ve been completely forgiven, and in you, we’ve been declared perfectly righteousness. You are our impassioned Bridegroom, and we are your beloved …

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A Prayer for Tuesday of Holy Week

     As he [Jesus] approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.” Luke 19:41-42

    Dear Jesus, everything about Holy Week reveals the depth of your compassion for sinful, broken people, like me. The tears you wept coming into Jerusalem, and even the passion you showed driving the moneychangers from the temple—every encounter, parable, and action gives staggering clarity to Paul’s words,

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:6-8).

Paul was writing about me. I’m one of the powerless, ungodly sinners for whom you died—demonstrating God’s incomparable, irrepressible love for the ill deserving. I wasn’t an impassioned seeker; I was God’s enemy when I received the gift of reconciliation (Rom. 5:10). I have peace with God only because God made his peace with me, through you.

I would still be blind to what alone brings us peace, if you hadn’t opened my eyes to see my need and your provision. The gospel would still remain hidden from my eyes unless you had given me sight to behold you as the Lamb of God, who took away my sin. …

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A Prayer for Monday of “Passion Week”

     ”Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” John 12:27-32

    Dear Lord Jesus, I’m greatly moved as I consider on how profoundly troubled you were as the events of “Passion Week” began to unfold. There was no doubt in your mind why you came into Jerusalem riding the foal of a donkey—great conflict, but zero doubt.

There wouldn’t be any surprises, for you knew what was coming—a plan secured before the world began (Eph. 1:3-14). In a matter of days, you’d take the wrath of Judgment Day for all who will trust in you. At the end of the week, your “bruised heel” (Gen. 3:15) would secure the ultimate crushing and “casting out” of the “ruler of this world”—Satan himself (Jn. 12:30).

     At the end of the week, you’d pay the supreme price for the redemption of God’s covenant people—a beloved family from every nation, tribe, people, and …

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A Prayer for Palm Sunday

     Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double. Zech. 9:9-12

    Dear Lord Jesus, we’ll exhaust the wonder of this passage as soon as we drink Niagara Falls dry; as soon as we memorize the names of every star you’ve launched into the heavens; as soon as we finish climbing all the Alps in Switzerland, Italy, Germany, and France. You are the King of Zechariah’s vision, and on this Palm Sunday, we worship, honor, and bless you.

No other king could show up to conquer warhorses and warriors, humbly riding on the foal of a donkey. No other king could break the battle bow and the backbone of all warfare, by the brokenness of the cross. No other king could supplant the politics of evil and tyranny of power, with an …

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A Prayer for Saturday of Holy Week

     The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” Matt. 27:62-64

Dear Lord Jesus, as Good Friday gave way to silent Saturday, the range of emotions following your crucifixion was as broad as the Grand Canyon. I can only imagine the degree of shock and the depth of sadness which filled the hearts of your disciples, your family, and your friends. And yet there were also those who were filled with glee and relief that you, “the deceiver,” could no longer threaten their existence.

As the sun rose on Saturday, no one could have possibly understood that the most undeserved death imaginable would yield the greatest return calculable. As you were nailed to the cross, the written code—God’s law, with all its regulations and requirements—was taken away from us, losing every bit of its condemning power over us. As you drew your last breath, you were actually disarming the powers of darkness and triumphing over all authorities marshaled against the reign of God (Col. 2:14-15).

No one yet grasped that your mortal punishment would bring …

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A Prayer for Monday of Holy Week

     ”Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” John 12:27-32

Dear Lord Jesus, it’s Monday of Holy Week, and I’m deeply moved as I reflect on how profoundly troubled you were as the events of that week began to unfold. There was no doubt in your mind why you came into Jerusalem riding the foal of a donkey. There was great conflict, but no doubt. There would be no surprises—you knew what was coming, and you willingly submitted.

In a matter of days, you’d sustain the holy wrath of Judgment Day for all who will trust in you. At the end of the week, your “bruised heel” (Gen. 3:15) would secure the ultimate crushing and “casting out” of the “ruler of this world” (John 12:30)—Satan himself.

At the end of the week, you’d pay the supreme price that alone guarantees the redemption and “drawing” of men …

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A Prayer of Great Hope, on Palm Sunday

     Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double. Zech. 9:9-12

Dear Lord Jesus, I’ll exhaust the wonder of this passage as soon as I drink Niagara Falls dry; as soon as I memorize the names of every star you’ve launched into the heavens; as soon as I finish climbing all the Alps in Switzerland, Italy, Germany, and France. So great is your glory, matchless your mercies and lavish your love!

On this Palm Sunday morning, I’m overwhelmed with everything this Scripture says about you—your humility, sovereignty, your generosity. What other king could conquer warhorses and warriors by riding the foal of a donkey? What other king could break the battle bow and the backbone of all warfare by the brokenness of the cross? What other king could ever …

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