It is great that you are looking up Good Friday Prayers!
We are in the season of Lent, preparing to celebrate Easter. And perhaps thinking about having a long weekend because we have Good Friday off from work.
Good Friday is much more than an extra day off work or even a pre-cursor to Easter. We limit the significance of the day if we reduce it like this.
Instead, we should utilize Good Friday prayers and reflection to prepare our hearts for the wonder that is Easter. Before we get to praying though perhaps we should look at exactly what it is and why we can call it a blessed Good Friday.
Good Friday Origins
The act of recognizing Good Friday has origins dating back to the 4th century. It is an early practice in which Christians would fast and place limitations (thus where we get Lent) on foods they ate or drank, or activities they participated in.
The origins of the name itself have been debated with some believing the word “good” should actually have been translated as “God”. Most linguistic and theological subject matter experts refute this. Some people don’t believe the day should be labeled “good” at all. For example, Germans call this day Karfreitag, or “Sorrowful Friday.” Sorrowful certainly seems to be a better choice as it is the day Jesus died.
However, as many Good Friday sermons remind us, this day is beyond “good”, it is truly a blessed Good Friday. A holy Friday. And the word “holy” is a much more agreed-upon origin for Good Friday’s existence.
The word “good” is thought to have derived from the word “holy”.
When you consider that other countries reference this day as “Passion Friday” or “Sacred Friday” it makes perfect sense. In fact, the Wednesday before Easter, which we know as Holy Wednesday, used to be termed “Good Wednesday”. This would seem to support the words “good” and “holy” as somewhat interchangeable in a spiritual context.
Good Friday’s significance
The day Jesus died undoubtedly did not seem “good” to the disciples. Or to His mother, Mary. Or to Mary Magdalene from whom He drove out demons.
Their friend, mentor, son, and redeemer was hanging on a cruel Roman cross. Thorns adorned His head, nails driven through both hands and feet. They had watched as the soldiers beat Him, spit in His face and mocked Him.
For Christians, this day marks not an ending but a merciful beginning. Jesus became the sacrificial lamb, the bearer of all of the sins of the world. Past, present, future. All were dealt with on the cross.
As Psalms 85:10 so beautifully states “righteousness and peace have kissed”. Because of Jesus, we are declared free. Spotless and blameless before an Almighty God. This is the significance of Good Friday.
Yes, Jesus died.
And although they didn’t know it yet, the disciples, Mary, and Mary Magdalene would soon witness the miracle. Jesus didn’t just die, He rose! The story of Jesus our Savior was unfolding.
Good Friday Prayer Points and Reflections
Good Friday celebrations remind us of what is coming. Easter Sunday and an empty tomb. His wounds are our awakening. Peter said it best in 1 Peter 2:24 – “by His wounds we are healed”.
I for one, am so thankful for the Good Friday message. Powerless and drowning in our sins, unable to change our circumstances, Jesus made a way for us. He is still making a way for any who will accept His sacrifice.
I think the women of Easter understood Good Friday in ways the disciples couldn’t. These women reflected and prayed throughout the ordeal. They didn’t leave Jesus’ side. And they were first at the tomb to witness the glory of its’ emptiness.
With this in mind, I believe Good Friday prayers and reflections will absolutely prepare us to receive what God seeks to teach us in this season. To hear the Good Friday sermons with new ears. To sing Good Friday hymns with a fervor that we may not have felt in some time.
Praying and reflecting on the last year, or maybe just the last month in your life can yield so many God moments. Whether you participate in Lent, or Good Friday fasting is up to you. These activities can further prepare us as we remove things from our focus that are not serving us well.
So how can you pray fitting Good Friday prayers? Here are some things to consider as you enter this holy season:
- First, where do you feel distracted or unfocused from the things of God? What is keeping you from going deeper in your Jesus journey?
- Second, are you being intentional with prayer time? Or are you offering those prayers up last minute as your head hits the pillow? Absolutely no judgment here! We all have been lackadaisical with our prayer life from time to time. The busy of life gets in the way and we find ourselves only praying when we have a critical need. This is why this year, Good Friday prayers can be your gateway to improving your prayer life for the rest of the year.
- Finally, do you want more of Him? More Jesus, less junk. More God, more goodness. Not religion. Relationship.
Now that we have done some reflection, we are ready to offer up some powerful Good Friday prayers.
5 Powerful Good Friday Prayers
By no means do you need to pray these verbatim. These are simply jumping-off points for you. Suggestions of how you can harness prayer to work in your life. Use them as a guide and tailor them to fit your circumstances and need.
- Prayer of reflection: Jesus, I come to you asking that this Good Friday opening prayer be a door that you will move through to bring me closer to you. What I have received let me pass it on to those who need it. If there be any unconfessed sin, please bring it forth, so I can be made right with you. You know the struggles I have endured. While they cannot compare to your sacrifice that Good Friday so long ago, I know you care for me. I know you desire for me to live free from the burden of sin. Release my guilt and shame. I know I am more than a conqueror because you live! I remember all the times you have brought me through pain and trials. When I couldn’t see a way out, you made one Jesus. I praise you for all you have done and will do. I thank you so much. I love you Jesus. In your name, Amen.
- Prayer for others: Jesus I am asking that this Good Friday be when (insert name or names) comes to faith in you. I don’t want them to die without you in their life. Without having confessed and professed your name. I have such a burden for their condition and I long to see their eyes opened to your truth. Open their hearts to the words of the Good Friday message. Let the walls fall so they can finally understand their need for you. You say your word doesn’t return void. So, work in them Jesus to work a life change. Please let them be protected until that day comes. Don’t let them leave this world without you Jesus. In your name, Amen.
- Prayer for this nation: If ever we needed a touch from heaven Jesus it is now. Our nation is in an awful, chaotic state. Division, economic strife, mental illness, murders. You know the depravity of man. And you alone are the answer for healing this nation. Every first responder, every politician, and every American needs to be renewed by you and in you. We need a revival. A realization that you are the way, the truth and the life. That we humans cannot do this on our own. We need divine intervention to get us back on track. This nation is so far from you Lord. Please reach into the hearts of these people and turn them back to you. Or perhaps they have never known you. Plant the seeds and help us reap a kingdom harvest. In your name, Jesus. Amen.
- Prayer for our churches: Jesus, with so much wrong in this world, it is sad to see that same division and chaos in our places of worship. To see leaders who are not preaching Biblical truth. To see Christians acting no different than the secular world. We all get it wrong at times Jesus, but your church needs to do better. We are supposed to be the city on a hill. Shining a light to point man to you. Unfortunately, so many have had bad church experiences that they have walked away from you entirely. Renew the minds and hearts of your people Jesus. Let us be lovers of truth and your helpers as we are called to be. This world won’t change unless your church changes too. In Jesus name, Amen.
- Prayer for protection: Jesus, I bring my family before you and ask for your protection over them. Heal what is broken, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Protect them from future illness or accidents. Protect their minds from being worn down by the world. Watch over them in every place they set foot. Protect them even as they sleep. Protect our home from calamity. Keep us safe in every way Jesus. We know you never leave nor forsake us. I am not asking for more things, because they are not what is important to me. It is the people I love that are most precious. I want to have many years yet to love them, have adventures with them and make memories. To see ones come to know you that haven’t made that decision yet. You are our strong tower. You have always protected your children. I am asking you to continue to do so. In your name, Jesus. Amen.
Good Friday 2023 is April 7th. May we approach this time in reverence and thankfulness for His sacrifice. In remembrance that the darkness experienced that day turned to light. The perfect light of the world.
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