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How to Pray Your Way to Holy Week - Guideposts
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How to Pray Your Way to Holy Week

These psalms can lead us deliberately and prayerfully through our busy lives to Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter.

Three crosses at sunset. Pray your way to Holy Week.
Credit: Getty Images
Prayer is a powerful force for good. At Guideposts, we believe in the strength of prayer to bring comfort, hope, and healing. Your generous donation today will help us continue to share the power of prayer with those in need. Together, through prayer and support, we can make a difference.

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

But as one advertising campaign says, “Life comes at you fast.” Even during this season, 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? How can to pray your way to Holy Week?

“The Psalms of Ascent” or “Pilgrim Songs”

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.

Step by Step, Psalm by Psalm

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.

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