*Please see this previous post for an introduction to this prayer series.
Suggested Spiritual Practice: Traced Hand Prayer
(For a description of this practice with a different scripture, and with a picture, see this previous post.)
This practice is a prayerful reflection on Psalm 22:1-21. You will need a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. You may also want markers and/or colored pencils.
· Trace your hand on the piece of paper.
· Read through Psalm 22:1-21. If there are phrases of anguish in the psalm that resonate with you, write them inside the hand outline.
· Offer to God your feelings of hopelessness, grief, anxiety, fear. You may want to write about specific concerns inside the hand, or re-write phrases from the psalm, or color in the hand as you pray.
· Next, after a few deep breaths, turn your attention to the space surrounding the hand outline and to the ways God surrounds and supports you in your struggles.
· Read Psalm 22:9-11. Choose words from this section of the psalm to write around the outside of the hand. You might want to write the same words over and over or write about how those words help you know God’s peace in the midst of difficult times.
· When you have finished writing, place your hand over the hand outline on the paper and pray for God’s peace and comfort to be with you.
· “Hosannah” by Franz Liszt
· “Hosannah” from Jesus Christ Superstar
Call to Worship:
The journey to the cross calls me to praise and prayer, to song and silence.
The example of Jesus calls me to hearing and healing, to service and solidarity.
The story of Jesus calls me to advocacy and action, to protest and provision.
Holy God, may I heed your call to witness, to love, and to do justice.
May I worship you today with joy. Amen.
- Monday: Psalm 22:1-21
- Tuesday: Luke 19:28-40
- Wednesday: Habakkuk 3:2-15
- Thursday: Hebrews 2:1-9
- Friday: John 12:12-16
- Saturday: Psalm 24
Time for silent, written, and/or spoken reflections
- Monday: “Encouragement from a Pastor who Nearly Died by Suicide” by Steve Austin
- Tuesday: “The Savior we Want” by Joanna
- Thursday: “Descent” by Luci Shaw (second poem on page)
- Friday: “Pilate Tweets Holy Week” by Joanna (If you’re in a particularly contemplative mood, you might want to skip this one. It’s rather snarky and political.)
- Saturday: “Faith by the Skin of Your Teeth” by Vance Morgan
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession
God of the foolish cross, tottering down the streets of Jerusalem on a donkey,
You are not the savior we expect.
Your power doesn’t look like the power we want our God to demonstrate.
Your wisdom makes no sense to us.
We are happy to join the crowd, waving branches,
But not so sure we want to follow you
into the temple courts
into the upper room
into the Garden of Gethsemane
to the foot of the cross.
Forgive our false assumptions.
Clarify our clouded vision.
Let us relax into the foolishness of your love, your grace.
Save us, we beseech you!
You are welcome to offer your own prayers of thanksgiving and intercession.
What people don’t realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross. It is much harder to believe than not to believe. If you feel you can’t believe, you must at least do this: keep an open mind. Keep it open toward faith, keep wanting it, keep asking for it, and leave the rest to God.
― Flannery O’Connor, The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor
Whatever wilderness the Spirit has brought you to:
may you walk in boldness, as a beloved child of God
may walk in peace, under the shelter of the Most High
may you walk in faith, knowing Christ walks with you. Amen.