Join us for a virtual Good Friday prayer service

The Practice of Keeping Vigil

Ruth Haley Barton

“Who can stay awake in this night of God? Who will not be as if paralyzed by it? Christ’s struggle was with God. This was his real agony. He overcame it through his self-surrender. That was his victory, and our hope.”  –Jurgen Moltmann

It is a custom of the Christian church to keep vigil with Christ at different times and in different ways throughout the three holiest days of the Church year–Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.  During these days, we surrender ourselves completely to being with Christ in the depths of his passion on our behalf.

One of the places from which we draw this custom is Jesus’ request to the disciples to be near him and keep watch while he prayed and agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane. We also know that there were those few–including Mary Magdalene, Jesus’ mother Mary, and John–who stayed near the cross and kept watch as Jesus suffered and died.  Despite the horror of what was taking place, they kept company with him until the very end.

Join us as we keep vigil with Christ on Good Friday (April 10, 2020)As much as possible, plan to pray between 12:00 -3:00 in your time zone. 


Almighty God, whose most dear Son
went not up to joy but first he suffered pain,
and entered not into glory before he was crucified:
Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross,
may find it none other than the way of life and peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Book of Common Prayer

Stations of the Cross Prayer Service


  • Plan for the service to take about an hour and fifteen minutes, including a 15 minute meditation on the practice of praying the stations of the cross, along with a few simple instructions. 
  • Review the comments below to gain a sense of who you are praying with;  add your own name if you wish, letting us know where you will be praying. It is a strength and an encouragement to know we are praying with so many from around the world.
  • Consider creating a simple “altar” with a cross, a candle you can light before beginning the service,  and any other symbol you that might be meaningful to you and your family.
  • If you would like to participate in the prayers and responses, receive a downloadable Order of Service (text only) when you purchase a copy from our online store.
  • In order to avoid awkwardness, make a decision ahead of time with your group about whether or not you will join in the singing of the hymns. Lyrics are included and we have intentionally chosen versions that are simple and easy to follow.
  • The service will conclude in an open-ended way with the extinguishing of the candle. Decide ahead of time who will do this and how your group will conclude. For example, you could agree that all will leave silently in order to spend time alone in quiet and even journaling about Jesus has said to them at each station. Or it could be that there was one station individuals want to return to and linger with for a while.

Enhance your experience and pray along with us… 

Here’s how to participate:

  1. Leave a comment below indicating the state or country from which you will be praying with us. It is a strength for all of us to know we are praying with others around the world.
  2. Use the share buttons on this page to encourage others to join us in keeping vigil on Good Friday (April 10, 2020).
  3. To receive a downloadable order of service (text only) so you can participate in the prayers and responses, purchase a copy from our online store.
  4. NO LONGER AVAILABLE: For a donation of $25 or more, we will mail two high quality booklets with the text plus compelling art for each station.

Sorry, donations made after March 3, 2020  will only receive the PDF of the prayers. We will ship printed booklets on April 1. Shipping is only available in United States (48 contiguous states).

Email for more information on bundles of 50. We have a limited quantity, but would love to equip you for a meaningful Good Friday.

For your encouragement

“Approaching each station was our act of faith. It wasn’t perfect or polished but we were present. We came to the cross with our doubts, our uncertainties, our pain and our awkardness…but thankfully we also came with our hope. Hope that comes from believing that even though it’s Friday, Sunday IS coming.” – Charity McClure (see comment below for full story)


Transforming Center

We desire to see churches and Christian organizations become communities of authentic spiritual transformation – and that begins with transforming leaders. We seek to strengthen the souls of pastors and leaders, equipping them to guide their churches and organizations to become spiritually transforming communities that discern and do the will of God in their settings. Read more about the Transforming Center.
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I prayed at 2pm on the West Coast — Novato, California. During this very sad time when many are dying in isolation without a loved one there to hold their hand, I sensed a holy urgency to figuratively hold Jesus’ hand, as He held mine, throughout His journey and His closing breaths. What a moving and transforming privilege!!!

What a lovely image of you holding Jesus’ hand and him holding yours…thank you for sharing it.

I was unable to pray at noon. But God woke me at 3:30 am and I spent this blessed time. I prayed from West Chicago IL


Praying in Las Vegas

Praying from Kansas City!

Praying from Saint Charles, Illinois!

Ruth, I listened to this service at noon MDT. It touched me so deeply, and tears (good tears AND sad) were flowing. I am not sure if you’ll remember but, though the dates are different every year, Holy Week is especially poignant since 2017 when my husband Jim died very early on Easter morning around 3 am. Good Friday was his last meal, and I still look back, remembering how he relished every bite. Only hours later stage four congestive heart failure took over. He had just been baptized the day after Christmas about 4 months previous. So this whole time is very emotional to me. I had posted back then a couple times in your online devotional and you were so kind to personally call and leave a message, which i listened to many times till i had to get a new phone and the message was no longer there. You also sent a book that I have read often. I’m so grateful for you, the Transforming Center, and being a part of TC4.

Of course I remember! Seems like the tears today were a gift creating a very tender time between you and God. I am grateful the TC could be a part of your story today. God be with you strongly!

joining from Palatine, IL. Thank you so much for making this available to us today, so appreciate it during this quarantined time to pray the stations in this way.

We will be participating from Santa Cruz, CA

What a gift this service was to me & all you entered into this meditative experience this afternoon. Thank you! May I ask – who are the musicians who sang When I Survey the Wondrous Cross? And who sang What Wondrous Love Is This at the end? Thank you. Mary

So glad the service was a blessing. All info about the music is in the show notes for this podcast episode. Just click on the episode above!

Praising God that it was a blessing to you. The show notes provide credit for the music and can be found here:

I prayed from Pepperell, MA. My first time keeping vigil with Jesus through the Stations of the Cross, and what a good year to start. And now I wait for Easter, grateful that I know there is something to wait for!

Praying from Pasadena, California.

Praying from The Villages, FL

Praying from Maryland

Montgomery, AL

Praying in Midland, Texas

Baltimore, MD

I apologize for the question, but how do I join the service?

Click on the podcast link above and it will start.

Praying from Reston, VA

Nancy, Elizabethtown, Pa

Bob and Val will join from Erie, CO

Port Washington, WI

From Cedarburg, WI

Praying during this holy day…

Chicago, IL (Schaumburg)

joining and praying from Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Joining my brothers and sisters in Christ around the world, from Midland, TX. Thank you again for all you do Ruth!

Praying from Birmingham, AL

Thank you from Knotts Island, NC

Las Vegas, Nevada

Dawn, La Crosse, WI

Joining from Marietta, Georgia

Joining from Kansas

Cut Bank, MT

Towson, Maryland

Just Finished Listening to An Invitation To Walk With Christ! Amazingly, the 12th Station in the Vigil and the Scripture Reading from Luke 23:44-49 began as the clock in our home in Hatfield, PA struck 12:00 Noon EDT. Will continue to pray with you and so many for physical, spiritual, and emotional healing of our country and those across the World!

Joining you in Philadelphia

Praying from Austin TX

Joining from Birmingham, Michigan.

Joining from Michigan

Joining from North Carolina

Joining you from upstate NY.

Greenville SC

Joining from Madison, WI

Praying from Rockford IL

Praying from Homewood, IL.

Joining from Grand Marais,Mn

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario Canada

Creating an alter on Orcas Island, WA

Praying in Nova Scotia, Canada

Just finished. Thank you for providing this meaningful event. Our hearts are tuned to listen to Him.

Pasadena, California

Midland Texas

Boulder, Colorado

Bethlehem, PA

Spring Lake, MI

Joining from Midland, TX

Joining you from Fayetteville, NC

Havertown, Pa

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