(written for some folks at Georgetown College)
Dear friends in Christ,
As the Church around the world looks to Jesus and the love of God demonstrated by his Cross and suffering, I wanted to share with you a few user-friendly resources for prayer this week that may assist you as you seek to draw closer to our Lord.
Bible Readings: check out this set of Scripture readings for each day of Holy Week, courtesy of the Crossway, publishers of the ESV Bible. These readings from the Prophets, Psalter, Gospels and Epistles, are all arranged to follow Christ's journey to Jerusalem.
Collects are written prayers that teach us to reflect with the Lord on what he was doing that week, thereby forming us to be a people who suffer with him and move forward with him on mission. These prayers are based upon Scripture, and can be found on pages 219-222 of the Book of Common Prayer. I have reproduced them below.
Stations of the Cross: this is a traditional pattern of meditating upon the suffering of our Crucified God. Note this link to a Scripture-oriented version of the meditation, with Bible readings and references, courtesy of the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (if you're curious about what the medieval, biblically "looser devotion" is like, watch Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ).
The Great Litany. Lent is a time of special special focused repentance in the Christian life. It is observed with specific and careful naming and renouncing of our sins before God. This long prayer of confession may be a help to you, also from the Book of Common Prayer, that all-purpose resource book of the English Reformation.
Forgiving others. This is a collect I wrote to help me walk thorough forgiving others - that requirement of God we are reminded of every time we pray the Lord's Prayer:
Almighty God, in obedience to your command to forgive, I commend to you N. I forgive his sins against me, especially ______________. I acknowledge that you are the only one righteous, and that like N., I stand as a sinner in need of your grace. I know also that I have from time to time committed similar sins, and even worse. Please forgive N., and forgive me. Please bless and heal N., and help him to grow in relationship with you, that both he and I would come to delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your name. Amen.
May God lift us up as we humble ourselves to worship him during Holy Week.