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21 Holy Week Prayers

How can we, in the midst of all we’re going through, make “Holy Week” a little more holy?
Woman with her arms up in the woods saying her holy week prayers
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Even if we know all the days of Holy Week and how to celebrate them, we can sometimes feel at a loss for how to meaningfully mark such important days in the Christian year. How can we make Holy Week a little more holy? One of the best ways to do that is with Holy Week prayers.

READ MORE: A Devotion for Holy Week

How to Pray During Holy Week

Woman at home saying her Holy Week prayers

For followers of Jesus, Lent offers opportunities to pause and pray, as we approach the yearly remembrance of our Lord’s Passion—His suffering, death, burial, and Resurrection.

But even during this season of reflection and gratitude, it’s so easy to rush through days filled with work, errands, grocery shopping, school events, and more. We’d like to be more mindful and present as we approach Holy Week, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday, but how?

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could somehow “pray our way to Calvary” in the final weeks before the most momentous days in our Christian calendar? We can. In fact, our Bibles already have a built-in tool that can help. It’s called “the Psalms of Ascent,” or “Pilgrim Songs.”

You may have noticed in some Bibles that Psalms 120-134 each bears a heading identifying it as “A Psalm of Ascent.” Those 15 psalms are a sort of “hymnal” within a hymnal. Jewish pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem for one of the annual festivals sang these songs, in order, on their uphill journey, as they ascended. They may also have been sung by priests and worshipers ascending the steps to the Temple.

So, one way to make this year’s “journey to Calvary” more meaningful is to start the third Friday before Easter by praying (or, if you prefer, singing or chanting) Psalm 120—a prayer for God’s presence during a time of distress—at some point during the day. Then, simply pray or sing the next psalm each day, culminating in Psalm 134 on Maundy Thursday. It’s a short psalm of praise to God in His sanctuary on the day that marks the Last Supper before the betrayal, arrest, and trial of Jesus.

By following the ancient songbook, you can pray your way to Holy Week. You will arrive at Good Friday having prayed your way—day by day, step by step, psalm by psalm—to the cross of Jesus, where His loving sacrifice made forgiveness and redemption possible for all who look to Him in sincere faith.

21 Holy Week Prayers

However else you might observe Holy Week, prayers are always a good idea for such momentous moments. In many churches, there will be liturgical drama from the washing of feet to the stripping of an altar. How to pray during a week of both triumph and betrayal? Here are 21 suggested prayers for Holy Week to take you from Holy Monday to Resurrection Sunday and beyond.

Woman's hands holding up palm fronds as she says Holy Week prayers

Holy Week Prayers for Palm Sunday (Day 1)

1. Let me sing “Hosannas” with the crowd and wave my palms high, as I remember, Lord, just what kind of kingdom Your Son has promised to reign over. Amen. —Rick Hamlin

2. Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9) Heavenly Father, today on Palm Sunday, as Holy Week begins, please guide me on my faith journey to deeply reflect on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. My heart is open, and I am ready to share His message of love, mercy and forgiveness with anyone in need and offer them hope and comfort. —Sabra Ciancanelli

READ MORE: Palm Sunday in the Bible: 15 Palm Sunday Scriptures

man siting at his desk doing his holy week prayers

Holy Week Prayers for Holy Monday (Day 2)

3. Dear Lord, on this Holy Monday, I am thankful for the gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ, who came into the world to save us from our sins. As we begin Holy Week, I ask for Your guidance and strength to walk with Jesus. Help me to learn from His example of selflessness and love. Please comfort all who are suffering today. May they feel Your presence and experience Your healing. May they find hope in Your love. —Sabra Ciancanelli

4. Where am I going, Lord? Where am I headed? I have seen the Lord curse a fig tree and watch it wither and die. Let not my Spirit wilt in the same way. Amen. —Rick Hamlin

5. Lord Jesus, You entered the Jerusalem Temple to cleanse it of corruption and abuse. As this Holy Week commences, search and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me and lead me in the way of everlasting life. Amen. —Bob Hostetler (based on Psalm 139:23-24 WEB)

READ MORE: A Devotional for Monday of Holy Week

Couple with clasped hands saying their holy week prayers over the Bible

Holy Week Prayers for Holy Tuesday (Day 3)

6. Lord Jesus, it was on a Tuesday that you spoke out against abuse of power, collaboration with oppressors, misuse of authority. So today we pray, comforter of the abused, strengthen those burdened by corrupted rule or injustice; rescue the overwhelmed; be present to those who call on your name, to those we name on our lips, and in the silence of our hearts, those whose concerns are known only to you; Amen. —Bob Hostetler

7. May I be a true follower of Jesus. The temple has been cleansed of all its wrongdoing. I come to you, God, to cleanse my soul. Amen. —Rick Hamlin

Man outside with his arms up saying his holy week prayers

Holy Week Prayers for Holy Wednesday (Day 4)

8. Lord Jesus, it was on this day that Judas Iscariot conspired to betray you. Remembering that, I pray the prayer of Augustine: “Lord Jesus, don’t let me lie when I say that I love you…and protect me today, for I could betray you.” Amen. —Bob Hostetler

9. Who would ever betray, You, Lord? Not I, not I. Let me pour the ointment of my love on all You call me to do and all those I am called to love. Amen. —Rick Hamlin

10. Gracious Lord Jesus, this day is traditionally called “Spy Wednesday,” because we remember how Judas Iscariot conspired with the religious authorities to betray and deliver You into their hands. Yet also on that day You were lovingly anointed with precious oil as an act of sincere worship. What highs and lows You endured for the sake of the purpose that was set before You: to suffer and die for our sake. Walk with me through the highs and lows of my life, reminding me that whatever troubles come my way, You are worthy of my trust and adoration. Amen. —Bob Hostetler

Woman saying her holy week prayers with her eyes closed in a garden

Holy Week Prayers for Maundy Thursday (Day 5)

11. Lord, on this Maundy Thursday (so named for the “mandate” You gave to your followers to love and serve each other), as I remember your last supper in the upper room, I pray, as Simon Peter did: Please wash, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head (John 13:9). —Bob Hostetler

12. Before I eat the supper of Your body and Your blood, I am prepared to wash the feet of all Your followers, and willingly let You wash my feet. Amen. —Rick Hamlin

13. Lord Jesus, I pray today with Peter, who recoiled when you stooped to wash his feet: “Lord, wash, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.” And my heart. And my mind. And my life. Amen. —Bob Hostetler (based on John 13:9)

READ MORE: The Heart of Maundy Thursday

Two hands holding a wooden cross for Holy Week prayers

Holy Week Prayer for Good Friday (Day 6)

14. No Cherub’s heart or hand for us might ache,
No Seraph’s heart of fire had half sufficed:
Thine own were pierced and broken for our sake,
O Jesus Christ.

Therefore we love Thee with our faint good-will,
We crave to love Thee not as heretofore,
To love Thee much, to love Thee more, and still
More and yet more.

—Christina Rossetti

15. “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” I was there. I’m still there. The sorrow is so great it causes me to tremble. Is there any greater sorrow? Amen. —Rick Hamlin

16. Am I a stone, and not a sheep,

That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy cross,

To number drop by drop Thy blood’s slow loss,

And yet not weep?

Not so those women loved

Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;

Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;

Not so the thief was moved;

Not so the Sun and Moon

Which hid their faces in a starless sky,

A horror of great darkness at broad noon–

I, only I.

Yet give not o’er,

But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;

Greater than Moses, turn and look once more

And smite a rock.

—Christina Rossetti

READ MORE: Why Good Friday Is So Important

Woman looking up at the sky and praying her Holy Week prayers

Holy Week Prayers for Silent Saturday (Day 7)

17. Lord Jesus, Jesus, I await you. Be risen anew in my heart as the light of Easter dawns tomorrow. Amen. —Bob Hostetler

18. It is finished. All is silent. Jesus promised more…but I can’t even recollect those words. Stay close to me, Lord, as I suffer this loss. Amen. —Rick Hamlin

19. Lord Jesus, this day is called “Silent Saturday” in the memory of the Church, for on that day after Your crucifixion, Your body lay in the tomb while those who had loved and followed You spent the day filled with crushing grief, confusion, and doubt. So, Lord, remind me today that, however sad, confused, and doubtful I may feel, in my flesh, You are always at work, and Your plans for me are good. Amen. —Bob Hostetler

Family saying their holy week prayers together at the dinner table

Holy Week Prayers for Easter Sunday (Day 8)

20. The tomb is empty, and at first, I didn’t even recognize my Lord. At last, I understand. Death is no more. I sing Hallelujah. The Lord is risen indeed. —Rick Hamlin

READ MORE: The Easter Story in 14 Bible Passages

21. It is only right, with all the powers of our heart and mind, to praise You, Father, and Your Only-begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ: Dear Father, by Your wondrous condescension of loving-kindness toward us, Your servants, You gave up Your Son. Dear Jesus, You paid the debt of Adam for us to the Eternal Father by Your Blood poured forth in loving-kindness. You cleared away the darkness of sin by Your magnificent and radiant Resurrection. You broke the bonds of death and rose from the grave as a Conqueror. You reconciled heaven and earth. Our life had no hope of eternal happiness before You redeemed us. Your Resurrection has washed away our sins, restored our innocence and brought us joy. How inestimable is the tenderness of Your love! —Saint Gregory

You may choose to pray these to begin each day in this Holy Week. Or you may pray each prayer several times a day. How ever you utilize these Holy Week prayers, I hope they will enrich your walk with God and make this week truly holy.


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