Meditations for the Days of Holy Week

These short meditations may be used as personal devotions, school devotions, or devotions at the beginnings of church meetings.

Monday of Holy Week

Verses and Prayer

All of us like sheep have gone astray. Each of us has turned to his own way,
but the LORD has laid on him the guilt of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)

Almighty God, grant that in our failures and weaknesses we may be restored through the passion and intercession of your only-begotten Son; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Amen.

Reading: Matthew 22:41-46

On Monday of Holy Week, Jesus taught in the Temple courts and was challenged by his enemies.

While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question: “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The Son of David.” He said to them, “Then how can David in the Spirit call him Lord, saying, The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet’?” “So if David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” No one was able to answer him a word, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions. (EHV)

Prayer

O God, Son of God, you took on yourself our nature and suffered death on the cross for us. By your Passion you have set us free from eternal death. Preserve us in your grace; through your mercy, O our God, you are blessed, and live and govern all things, now and forever.
Amen.

Blessing

The LORD is good to all. His compassion extends over all he has made. (Psalm 145:9)
Amen.

Tuesday of Holy Week

Verses and Prayer

He was pierced because of our rebellious deeds. He was crushed because of our guilt.
The punishment to bring us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

Almighty and everlasting God, grant us grace as we meditate on the passion of our Lord that we may there find the forgiveness of our sins; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 
Amen.

Reading: Matthew 24:36-51

On Tuesday of Holy Week, Jesus taught in the Temple courts and instructed his disciples about faithfulness.

“No one knows when that day and hour will be, not the angels of heaven, not even the Son, but only the Father. Just as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be when the Son of Man returns. In fact, in the days before the flood people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the very day that Noah entered the ark. And they did not realize what was coming until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be when the Son of Man returns. “At that time two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left. So be alert, because you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: If the master of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. You also need to be ready for this reason: The Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect him. “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master finds doing this when he returns. Amen I tell you: He will put him in charge of all that he has. But if that servant is wicked and says in his heart, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that servant will return on a day when he does not expect it and at an hour he does not know. The master will cut him in two and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (EHV)

Prayer

O God, Son of God, you took on yourself our nature and suffered death on the cross for us. By your Passion you have set us free from eternal death. Preserve us in your grace; through your mercy, O our God, you are blessed, and live and govern all things, now and forever.
Amen.

Blessing

May your mercy, O Lord, be on us, even as we wait confidently for you. (Psalm 33:22)
Amen.

Wednesday of Holy Week

Verses and Prayer

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth.
Like a lamb he was led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent in the presence of her shearers, so he did not open his mouth.  (Isaiah 53:7)

Almighty God, grant that we who are continually afflicted because of our evil deeds may be freed by the passion of your only-begotten Son; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Amen.

Reading: Matthew 26:1-16

On Wednesday of Holy Week, Jesus may have rested. Matthew gives us a flashback to Jesus being anointed at Bethany and Judas beginning his plot.

When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, “You know that after two days it will be the Passover, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas. They plotted together how to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. But they said, “Not during the Festival, or else there might be a riot among the people.” When Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, a woman approached him holding an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume. She poured it on his head as he was reclining at the table. But when his disciples saw this, they were upset and said, “Why this waste? This perfume could have been sold for a lot of money and given to the poor.” Jesus was aware of this and said to them, “Why are you causing trouble for this woman? She has done a beautiful thing for me. You are always going to have the poor with you, but you are not always going to have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Amen I tell you: Wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told in memory of her.” Then one of the Twelve, the one named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver. From that time on Judas was looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus. (EHV)

Prayer

O God, Son of God, you took on yourself our nature and suffered death on the cross for us. By your Passion you have set us free from eternal death. Preserve us in your grace; through your mercy, O our God, you are blessed, and live and govern all things, now and forever.
Amen.

Blessing

Blessed be God, who has not turned aside our prayer or turned aside his mercy from us! (Psalm 66:20)
Amen.

_____________

All Scripture is taken or modified from The Holy Bible: Evangelical Heritage Version.

The opening prayers are the Historic Collects for the days of Holy Week, freely modified from The Lutheran Hymnal.

The closing prayer is a Mozarabic Collect for Holy Week.

A Short Devotional Liturgy for Ash Wednesday

This short devotional liturgy can be used in the home, or for the beginning of a school day or a church meeting. It can also be used at any time during the Lenten season.

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy blot out our transgressions.  (Psalm 51:1)

O God,
you do not desire the death of sinners,
but you want them to turn to you and live.
Look with pity on the weakness of our mortal nature.
We confess that we are but ashes,
and for our wickedness we deserve to return to the dust.
Forgive all our sins,
and give us the blessings that come with true repentance;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Isaiah 59 or another portion of Scripture is read.

Isaiah 59:12-20

For our transgressions are multiplied before you, and our sins testify against us; for our transgressions are with us, and we know our iniquities: 13 transgressing, and denying the Lordand turning back from following our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart lying words. 14 Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter. 15 Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. The Lord saw it, and it displeased him  that there was no justice. 16 He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him. 17 He put on  righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak. 18 According to their deeds, so will he repay, wrath to his adversaries, repayment to his enemies; to the coastlands he will render repayment. 19 So they shall fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream,  which the wind of the Lord drives. 20 “And a Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,” declares the Lord(ESV)

 

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Let us pray.
Lord God, heavenly Father,
as the result of his rebellion,
you told father Adam,
“You are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
We have followed Adam in his rebellion,
and have earned the same reward.
Lift us up from this dust of death
by the rising of your Son Jesus Christ.
Restore us to life with you
by forgiveness through his blood.
Empower us to walk with him in newness of life,
and in the obedience that leads to righteousness.
Finally, on the Last Day,
raise us from the dust of death
to live in the joy of your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand;
through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one true God, now and forever.
Amen.

During these days of Lent, may the Lord focus our hearts on our Lord Jesus Christ as we look to him for cleansing from all our sin and follow him in his obedience.

The blessing of almighty God, the Father, the + Son and the Holy Spirit be with us all.
Amen.

__________

This devotional liturgy and original prayers are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International LicensePlease contact for permission for any commercial use.

This devotion can be downloaded as a pdf here.

All scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.

The opening prayer is freely modified from Mozarabic Collects, and can also be read here.

The closing prayer is newly composed by Paul C. Stratman © 2017, and can also be read here.

The short exhortation was written for this devotional liturgy.

Epiphany: Chalking the Door

CMB

On or before the Epiphany, January 6, family and friends gather at the main entrances to homes or apartments and ask God’s blessing on their dwellings and on all who live or visit there. 

Peace be to this house and to all who enter here.

A reading from Proverbs.

By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. (Proverbs 24:3-4)

Let us pray.
Gracious God, as a shining star once guided the magi to the birthplace of the infant Jesus, so enable those who dwell here to be your light in the world; through Jesus Christ we pray.
Amen. 

Using chalk, inscribe the horizontal frame above the door with the inscription shown below. The letters C M B come from the traditional (9th century) names for the “three kings”–Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. Some also suggest “Christus Mansionem Benedicat,” which means “May Christ bless this dwelling.” The numbers stand for the year 2018. 

Each person receives a turn to make one or more of the marks:

20 + C + M + B + 18

A reading from Isaiah.

And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust  forever. My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places. (Isaiah 32:17-18).

People may join hands or extend their hands outward and upward (orans) for the prayers.

Let us pray.
Sovereign Lord, we pray that you will bless this home and all who live here with your gracious presence, that your love may be our inspiration, your wisdom our guide, your truth our light, and your peace our benediction; through Jesus Christ we pray.
Amen.

Lord, remember your children and teach us to pray:

Our Father… 

People may make the sign of the cross in remembrance of their baptism.

The Lord + will keep our going out and our coming in from this time forth and forevermore. (Psalm 121:8)
Amen.

Source: Modified from http://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/christianity/2000/12/chalking-the-door.aspx#Qh3a4iy2HKPKIKkE.99

Scripture from the English Standard Version.

A different rite for chalking the door can be seen here: https://onepeterfive.com/the-chalking-of-the-doors-an-epiphany-tradition-explained/

A Home Liturgy for Thanksgiving Day

The following may be used at home as an extended table prayer / devotion before the Thanksgiving meal.

The eyes of all look eagerly to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.

God opens his hand,
and he satisfies the desire of every living thing. (Psalm 145:15-16)

A reading from Deuteronomy 8:10–18

10Then you will eat, and you will be filled, and you will praise the Lord your God for the good land that he has given you. 11Be very careful so that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and ordinances and his statutes that I am commanding you today. 12When you eat and are satisfied, and you build nice houses and move into them, 13and your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold increase, and everything that you have prospers, 14watch out so that your heart does not become arrogant and forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, where you were slaves. 15Do not forget the Lord, who led you in the great and terrifying wilderness, where there were venomous snakes and scorpions, where the thirsty ground had no water, but the Lord made water come out of a flint rock for you. 16Do not forget the Lord, who in the wilderness fed you manna, which your fathers had not known before, to humble you and to test you so that it would be good for you later on. 17You might say in your heart, “My ability and the power of my hand have earned this wealth for me.” 18But then you are to remember that the Lord your God is the one who gives you the ability to produce wealth, to confirm his covenant that he promised to your fathers with an oath, as he does to this day.

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Let us pray.

Lord God, heavenly Father,
from you we receive many abundant blessings without ceasing,
and day by day you graciously protect us from all evil.
We pray,
through your Spirit give us grace
to receive your gifts with thankful hearts,
and to confess the true faith,
so that we may praise and thank you
for your wonderful gifts and graces everywhere;
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Bless the LORD, O  my soul.
All that is within me, bless his holy name.

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and do not 
forget all his benefits—

who pardons all your guilt,
who heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit
who crowns you with mercy and compassion,

who satisfies your life with goodness,
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle. (Psalm 103:1-5)

To the Father who made us,
to the + Son who redeemed us,
to the Spirit who gathers and guides us,
to the King eternal, to the immortal, invisible, only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17).

__________

Prayer “Lord God, heavenly Father, from you we receive…” is from Die pommersche Kirchen-Ordnung und Agenda, p. 295#1, Also in the Saxon Agenda. Translation is from Prayers from the Evangelical-Lutheran Heritage, #180.  All Scripture is taken from The Holy Bible: Evangelical Heritage Version, © 2017. www.wartburgproject.com

© 2017 Paul C. Stratman and A Collection of Prayers.

A Home Liturgy for All Saints Day

In the history of the Christian Church, All Saints Day, November 1, is a time for visiting graves and remembering the faithful departed. The following may be used at home or when visiting the grave of a family member or friend.

We know that the one who raised the Lord + Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and bring us into his presence. (2 Corinthians 4:14)
Amen.

The following Scriptures or other passages may be read:

Now we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal home in heaven, which is not made by human hands. (2 Corinthians 5:1)

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor rulers, neither things present nor things to come, nor powerful forces, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Let us pray.
Lord Jesus Christ,
you told Mary and Martha
that you are the Resurrection and the Life.
You promised your disciples
that you would prepare a place for them.
You promised the repentant thief
that he would be with you in Paradise.
And through the disciple John,
you revealed to us
that you will wipe away every tear from our eyes
in the Day when there is no death or sorrow or crying or pain.
Fill our hearts
with these firm and certain promises.
Comfort us with the assurance
that those who have died in faith
now see you face to face.
Strengthen us
with these words of your gospel;
you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
surrounded by a great multitude that no one can count,
one God, now and forever.
Amen.

How blessed are those who live in your house.
They are always praising you.

How blessed is everyone whose strength is found in you.
The highways to Jerusalem are in their hearts.

As they pass through the Valley of Weeping,
it becomes full of springs. 

They go from strengh to strength.
Each one will appear before God in Zion.

O LORD, God of Armies, hear my prayer.
Give ear, O God of Jacob.

One day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather wait at the doorway of the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

The LORD is a sun and shield.
God gives grace and glory.

The LORD does not withhold any good thing from those who walk with integrity.
O LORD of Armies, how blessed is everyone who trusts in you. (from Psalm 84)

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever. (Revelation 5:13)

How blessed are those who live in your house.
They are always praising you.

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ + Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)
Amen.

__________

This short rite is based in part on the outline of a short rite in Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers © 2007 by the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The prayer “Lord Jesus Christ, you told Mary and Martha…” and the responsory from Psalm 84 are newly composed. “Valley of Weeping” is in the footnote. Biblical text reads “Valley of Baca.” All Scripture is taken from The Holy Bible: Evangelical Heritage Version, © 2017.  www.wartburgproject.com

© 2017 Paul C. Stratman and A Collection of Prayers.

The Itinerarium

The Itinerarium is a short service similiar to the Suffrages, which included special prayers for travel.

Into the way of peace.

THE BENEDICTUS (Luke 1:68-79)

Blessed is the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has visited us and prepared redemption for his people.
He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David,
just as he said long ago through the mouth of his holy prophets.
He raised up salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us,
in order to show mercy to our fathers by remembering his holy covenant,
the oath which he swore to Abraham our father,
to grant deliverance to us from the hand of our enemies,
that we are able to serve him without fear,
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High,
because you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give his people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins,
because of God’s tender mercies,
by which the Rising Sun from on high will visit us,
to shine on those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

May the almighty and merciful Lord lead us into the way of peace, and may his holy angels be with us on our way that that we may come to our home again in peace, health, and gladness.

LORD, HAVE MERCY

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

LORD’S PRAYER

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

PRECES (Responsive Verses)

O God, save your servants who trust in you. (Psalm 86:2)
O Lord, send us help from the holy place. Support us from Zion. (Psalm 20:2)

You have been a refuge for us, a tower of strength in the face of the enemy.  (Psalm 61:3)
Do not let the enemy overcome us. Do not let our foes rejoice when we fall. (from Psalm 13:4)

Blessed be the Lord.
Day by day he bears our burdens. He is the God who saves us. (Psalm 68:19)

Make known to us your ways, O Lord.
Teach us your paths. (Psalm 25:4)

If only our ways were unwavering in keeping your statutes! (Psalm 119:5)
The uneven shall be made level, and the rough places a plain. (Isaiah 40:4)

He will give a command to his angels concerning you,
to guard you in all your ways.
(Psalm 91:11)

Lord, hear my prayer,
and let my cry for help come to you. (Psalm 102:1)

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

Let us pray.

(One or more of the following prayers may be read.)

O God, you made the children of Israel walk with dry feet through the midst of the sea, and by the guiding of a star you showed the wise men from the east the way that led to you. Grant us a safe and quiet journey. Let your holy angel accompany us during our pilgrimage, that in the end we may attain the haven of eternal salvation.

O God, you called your servant Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees, and you kept him from evil on all the paths of his pilgrimage. O Lord, keep us. Be our help when we go forward, our comfort by the way, our shadow from the heat, our covering from the rain and the cold, our chariot when we are weary, our refuge in trouble, our staff on uncertain paths, our safety in disaster. Lead us that we may happily reach our destination and return home safely.

O Lord, direct our journeys in the safe path that leads to salvation in you, that with the many changes of this life’s pilgrimage your protection may always shield us.

O almighty God, guide your family on the path of salvation, and by listening to the preaching of the blessed forerunner John the Baptist, we may behold the Lamb whom John pointed to, Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Amen.

Let us go forth in peace.
In the name of the Lord. Amen.

Source: Freely modified from http://preces-latinae.org/thesaurus/Varia/Itinerarium.html. See the article on the Itinerarium in the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia.

The same rite is also found in the Breviary Offices of Sarum.

Scripture is from the Evangelical Heritage Version (www.wartburgproject.org).

The couplet, “Blessed be the Lord. Day by day …” in the original is “V. Blessed be the Lord daily. R. The God of our salvation maketh our way prosperous.”

The end of the prayer “O God, you called your servant Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees…” “our safety in disaster” in the original reads “our refuge in shipwreck.”

See also…
General Suffrages
Morning Suffrages
Evening Suffrages

The Blessing of a Nativity Scene

This rite is available as a pdf file here: the-blessing-of-a-nativity-scene

All gather around the nativity scene.

Our help is in the name of the LORD,
The Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 124:8)

The Holy Gospel according to St. Luke, the second chapter.

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3And everyone went to register, each to his own town. 4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the town of Nazareth, into Judea, to the town of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was from the house and family line of David. 5He went to be registered with Mary, his wife, who was pledged to him in marriage and was expecting a child.

6And so it was that while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son, wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

8There were in the same country shepherds staying out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified! 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. For behold, I bring you good news of great joy, which will be for all people: 11Today in the town of David, a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord. 12And this will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13Suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude from the heavenly army, praising God and saying, 14“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward mankind.” (EHV)

The Gospel of the Lord.
Praise be to you, O Christ.

Let us pray.
God of glory, when the set time had fully come, you sent your only Son to be born of the virgin Mary, and made the good news of great joy about his birth known to shepherds, who then spread abroad the news about the holy Child.

Bless us as we remember his birth. Speak to our hearts with the news of his birth, and continue to renew our faith with the peace of his gospel. Move us to respond and to share this good news with those around us with the message of your love reflected in our lives, and also in word, art and song; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Amen.

A Christmas carol reflecting on the birth of Christ may be sung.

This rite is based loosely on The Blessing of a Manger or Nativity Scene from Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers © 2008, USCCB.

The prayers are newly composed, © 2016 Paul C. Stratman, https://acollectionofprayers.wordpress.com/

All Scripture is from The Holy Bible: Evangelical Heritage Version. www.wartburgproject.com