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Prayer for Good Friday

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Copyright by Bob Rogers.

Precious Jesus, I meditate on the day of Your death.

Your hands were bound behind Your back

Your mouth was silent before Pilate

Your ears heard the words “Crucify!”

Your head was crowned with thorns

Your back was bloodied with the whip

Your back bore the cross to Calvary

Your hands and feet were nailed to the cross

Your tongue spoke words of forgiveness

Your side was pierced

Your heart was broken

Your work was finished.

Darkness covered the land and blood covered my sin,

the day the Lamb of God was sacrificed.

I cannot take away Your pain

I cannot pay You for my gain

I cannot be sacrificed in Your place

I can only receive Your gift of grace.

Prayer of Worship to the Crucified and Risen Christ

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O crucified Son of Man, I worship You. You were arrested that I might be set free. You were falsely accused that I might be acquitted. You paid the price on the cross that I might be redeemed. When Easter morning dawned, and You walked out of that grave, I was given life!

Therefore, even as You walked out of the darkness, Jesus, may I walk in the light.  You took the nails in Your hands and feet, may I use my hands and feet to bless others in Your name.  You were silent before Your accusers; may I confess my sin as I proclaim Your name, the name of the Risen Son of God, Jesus Christ my Lord!

Prayer in dark times

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Copyright by Bob Rogers.

Lord, these are dark times. At times, it is so bad that I feel like darkness is my only friend.1 Lord, why have you allowed Your light to be covered? How can I see You when I can’t even see myself in the darkness? Lord, light my lamp; God, dispel my darkness.2 Until dawn comes, remind me as I weep through the night, that joy is coming in the morning.3

Biblical references: 1 Psalm 88:18; 2 Psalm 18:28; 3 Psalm 30:5

How to get ready for Easter

Whether or not your church observes the tradition of Lent, it is an important reminder of how any Christian can get ready for Easter...
Jerusalem Lutheran Church, Ebenezer Community, Effingham County, Georgia

Copyright by Bob Rogers.

When I served as a Baptist pastor in Rincon, Georgia, I had the unique experience of putting on a white wig and an old robe borrowed from a Methodist, to give a dramatic presentation of the founding pastor of the oldest Lutheran Church in North America. The historic pastor’s name was Johann Boltzius, and his church was Jerusalem Lutheran Church, founded in 1734 in the Ebenezer Community in Effingham County, Georgia, some 30 miles north of Savannah.

School children came from all over Georgia to the retreat center at Ebenezer to learn Georgia history. They visited Savannah, and they also came to the old Jerusalem Lutheran Church, whose sanctuary was built in 1769, to hear me tell the story, in costume, of Boltzius who served a congregation that fled to the New World from Salzburg, Austria, in search of religious freedom.

After the presentation, students were given an opportunity to ask “Pastor Boltzius” questions. One day in March, a student asked me why it was so dark in the church. With a gleam in my eye, I explained that it was Lent, a season in which members of that church remembered Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins. Members of the church fasted, prayed, and thought of other ways to make sacrifices in memory of Jesus, and during this time, they kept the window shutters closed. In fact, on Good Friday, they came into the church and sang songs about Jesus’ death, and then blew out all of the candles and went home in total darkness. The students reflected on that quietly, and I paused. Then I waved my hand at the shutters and shouted, “But on Easter Sunday morning, they threw open the shutters, let the light in, and celebrated, because Jesus is alive!”

Whether or not your church observes the tradition of Lent, it is an important reminder of how any Christian can get ready for Easter, by first reflecting on the suffering of Christ. I encourage you to read the story of the crucifixion from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Spend time alone, silent, reflecting on it. Fast and pray. Think about your own sin, your own struggles, your own sorrows, and how the suffering of Christ forgives, redeems and renews you. Meditate on the dark, and the light will brighten you more when it comes. Like that church in Georgia that threw open their shutters, if we will remember how dark it was when Christ died, we will appreciate all the more how glorious it was that He arose!