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 FridayAs 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.

Amen.

Book of Common Prayer


Stations of the Cross Prayer Service

SOME IDEAS TO HELP YOU PREPARE: 

  • 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 make a donation of any amount.*
  • 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 awhile.
*Due to the fact that our online store is currently closed, we are offering these resources for a donation to cover our costs.

Enhance your experience and pray along with us… 

Make a gift of any size

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.
  3. To receive a downloadable order of service (text only) so you can participate in the prayers and responses, make a donation of any amount.*
  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.
*Due to the fact that our online store is currently closed, we are offering these resources for a donation to cover our costs.

Sorry, donations made after March 31st 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 resources@transformingcenter.org 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.

148 Comments

  1. Craig Allan on April 7, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    I will join you from Te Anau, New Zealand

  2. Gerard Booy on April 7, 2020 at 11:58 am

    I’ll be praying with you from Delta, British Columbia

  3. Jessie Ray on April 7, 2020 at 8:20 am

    Will also be praying from Vero Beach, FL. Thank you, Charity, for sharing your story.

  4. Heidi Truty on April 7, 2020 at 7:20 am

    Joining you from Monument, CO

  5. Roni Rega on April 7, 2020 at 4:19 am

    Elgin, Illinois

  6. Tammy Tang on April 6, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    Joining in with a small group virtually from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

  7. Wendy de Beer on April 6, 2020 at 5:58 pm

    I will be praying in Saint Cezaire sur siagne 06530
    Alpes Maritime , France

  8. Bonnie Smith on April 6, 2020 at 3:59 pm

    Thank you so much for this opportunity! God bless you all.

  9. Patti on April 6, 2020 at 2:57 pm

    Joining in from Harrow, UK

  10. Jan and Allyn Parmenter on April 6, 2020 at 2:49 pm

    Looking forward to joining in from Beaufort, South Carolina

  11. Tami Groth on April 6, 2020 at 2:36 pm

    Praying from the Siouxland area of western Iowa (I serve churches I multiple small towns). We purchased and used this service last year and plan to use it again even in these remote circumstances. I am thankful to see that we will be joining many others along the journey as we pray.

  12. Tom Boyle on April 6, 2020 at 12:48 pm

    Mount Laurel, NJ

  13. Annjanette on April 5, 2020 at 4:23 pm

    Wichita,KS

  14. Barbara on April 5, 2020 at 6:14 am

    New Brunswick, Canada

  15. Anne Touryan on April 4, 2020 at 7:59 pm

    I will be praying from Indian Hills, CO

  16. Louise Knight on April 4, 2020 at 4:13 pm

    Praying from Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa

    • Dana on April 6, 2020 at 7:59 am

      Jackson, Missouri

  17. Louise Knight on April 4, 2020 at 4:11 pm

    Praying from Jeffreys Bay, South Africa.

  18. Beth Pearo on April 4, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    I will be praying from Canada

  19. Grace Pierce on April 4, 2020 at 11:20 am

    Will be praying from Orlando, FL.

  20. Ruth Barton on April 4, 2020 at 9:47 am

    All–It is so exciting to watch your names and locations come up–some of you I know and recognize–others who are new friends and companions on the way. Steve and I finished recording this podcast experience yesterday and were very moved even in the recording of it. In addition to the Scriptures, prayers and silences, we also included music that is haunting and beautiful. I am so blessed to look ahead to Good Friday knowing that so many of us will be praying together. Phyllis Tickle writes about praying in different time zones as creating cascades of unending prayer as one time zone prays, the next time zone picks it up and then the next and the next and the next. On Good Friday our commitment to pray this way together will create cascades of prayer and I can’t wait!

  21. Suzanne Reece on April 4, 2020 at 8:50 am

    I will be joining in — watching and waiting from Birmingham, AL.

  22. Teresa on April 4, 2020 at 8:10 am

    Praying from North Carolina

  23. Cindy Bunch on April 3, 2020 at 7:48 pm

    Planning to join from Glen Ellyn IL

  24. Debbie Extein on April 3, 2020 at 4:51 pm

    I will join in praying from Simpsonville, SC

  25. Nozi on April 3, 2020 at 2:10 pm

    I will be praying from Zimbabwe

  26. Laura on April 3, 2020 at 9:25 am

    Praying with you from Minneapolis,MN.

  27. Monika Kozakowski on April 2, 2020 at 10:41 pm

    I will be praying from Steilacoom, WA

  28. Gennette Diggs on April 2, 2020 at 3:43 pm

    I will be praying in Ellicott City, MD.

  29. Jennifer on April 2, 2020 at 11:38 am

    I will be praying from The Villages, Florida

  30. Mary Jean Walton on April 2, 2020 at 10:22 am

    I will be praying from Scotts Valley, CA

  31. Aurora on April 2, 2020 at 10:01 am

    I will be praying and praising in Lees Summit MO

  32. Kathleen & Rob Acker on April 1, 2020 at 11:28 pm

    We will be praying from Rancho Cucamonga, CA.

  33. Terri Hanson on April 1, 2020 at 9:15 pm

    I will be praying from Belding, Michigan

  34. Julie on April 1, 2020 at 9:13 pm

    I will be praying from Barrington, IL

  35. Susan Badgett on April 1, 2020 at 7:29 pm

    I’ll be praying from Los Angeles, CA

  36. Tonya Wenger on April 1, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    Joining from Hutchinson KS!

  37. Beth Roberts on April 1, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    I will be praying from Rock Hill, SC

  38. Julie Hodges on April 1, 2020 at 3:40 pm

    Inviting my congregation from Indio, CA (Coachella Valley, CA)

  39. Deborah Borst on April 1, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    Thank you for this beautiful opportunity to gather as Christ’s body. I will be praying in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

  40. M A Turner on April 1, 2020 at 12:55 pm

    I will be praying with you from Cleveland, Ohio.
    M A Turner

  41. Janice T on April 1, 2020 at 9:57 am

    I will be praying from Westerville, Ohio

  42. Dalene on April 1, 2020 at 9:23 am

    I’ll be joining in Winfield, IL

  43. Bev Roozeboom on April 1, 2020 at 9:15 am

    I will be praying from Pella, IA.

  44. Nate on April 1, 2020 at 9:09 am

    My wife and I will be praying from Ogden, UT

  45. Brian Campbell on April 1, 2020 at 6:55 am

    Blessings to all! Praying from Crawfordsville, Indiana

  46. Errol Carrrim on April 1, 2020 at 3:21 am

    I will be praying for Johannesburg South Africa.

    • Wanda on April 1, 2020 at 5:30 am

      Will be praying alongside you in Baltimore Maryland

  47. Martha Mixon on April 1, 2020 at 3:21 am

    From Nairobi, Kenya.

  48. Pat on April 1, 2020 at 3:02 am

    Praying from Malaysia

  49. Jodi Detrick on April 1, 2020 at 12:34 am

    I’ll be joining with you from Seattle, WA.

  50. Jill Shaw on April 1, 2020 at 12:11 am

    Will join you from Auckland, New Zealand.
    Listened to your special episode of the podcast from my car while waiting to be tested today.
    Must ask the right questions if we want the right answers. John 9

  51. Laura Acuna on March 31, 2020 at 11:42 pm

    I will be praying in Damascus, Maryland

  52. Janet on March 31, 2020 at 11:16 pm

    Joining you from Thailand

  53. Bernardine Daniels on March 31, 2020 at 10:44 pm

    I will be praying from Dearborn Heights, Michigan

  54. MARIANNE ABEL-LIPSCHUTZ on March 31, 2020 at 10:11 pm

    Joining in prayer from Cedar Falls, Iowa.

    • Joan on March 31, 2020 at 11:16 pm

      Praying from Bethlehem, PA… The Christmas City

  55. Sandy Kao on March 31, 2020 at 9:38 pm

    Praying from Taiwan

    • Tami on March 31, 2020 at 10:09 pm

      Praying from Burlington NC

  56. Cynthia Fore on March 31, 2020 at 9:29 pm

    Praying from Travelers Rest, SC

  57. Margot Vegt on March 31, 2020 at 9:27 pm

    Joining in prayer from Langley, British Columbia, Canada

  58. Kristen Rietkerk on March 31, 2020 at 8:25 pm

    I will be praying from southern california

    • Pam Smythe on March 31, 2020 at 8:33 pm

      East Tennessee!

    • Patrick Rolleston on March 31, 2020 at 9:05 pm

      I will be praying from East Tennessee

  59. Andy Bilhorn on March 31, 2020 at 8:23 pm

    Praying from Ukrainian Village in Chicago

  60. Gaylene Read on March 31, 2020 at 8:16 pm

    Praying from Tasmania, Australia

  61. Janet Wineman on March 31, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    Louisville, Colorado

  62. Mereditj on March 31, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    I will be praying from La Grange, IL

  63. Ann on March 31, 2020 at 7:54 pm

    I’ll be joining from Fort Wayne, IN

    • Charisse Jensen on March 31, 2020 at 8:04 pm

      Joining from Illinois

  64. Doug Lee on March 31, 2020 at 7:53 pm

    Praying from Fontana, California

  65. MARTHA HAWTHORNE on March 31, 2020 at 7:45 pm

    Praying in Columbus, Ohio.

  66. Joshua on March 31, 2020 at 5:51 pm

    Palisade NE

  67. Roger Nix on March 31, 2020 at 2:05 pm

    I will be praying from Tulsa, Oklahoma

  68. Pat T. on March 31, 2020 at 12:28 pm

    I will be praying in Eugene, Oregon

  69. Mary Morgan on March 31, 2020 at 11:34 am

    I will be praying from Sioux Fall, SD.

  70. Emily on March 30, 2020 at 7:31 pm

    I will be praying from Philadelphia, PA

  71. Katie Duggleby on March 30, 2020 at 4:22 pm

    I will be praying from San Diego, CA

    • Scott and Penney Forbes and fanily on March 31, 2020 at 3:33 am

      Our family will be joining from the Elmira/Corning, NY area just south of Ithaca.

    • Andy Bilhorn on March 31, 2020 at 8:24 pm

      Hi Katie! 😉

  72. Nate Kellogg on March 30, 2020 at 10:56 am

    I will be praying with others from Seattle ,WA

  73. Vicki Clarke on March 29, 2020 at 11:28 pm

    I will be praying from Adelaide South Australia

    Happy to make a donation for a digital version of the book – is there one available?

    • Jeffery James on March 30, 2020 at 1:40 pm

      Because of copyright issues we can’t release the booklet, but we are making the prayer service available for a gift of any size utilizing the link above.

  74. Julia on March 29, 2020 at 5:56 pm

    thank you, joining you from Woodstock IL

  75. Cathy on March 29, 2020 at 5:55 pm

    Joining fro Melbourne, Australia

  76. Vincent Rife on March 28, 2020 at 3:11 pm

    Thank you guys! We will be praying/participating from the Jersey Shore

  77. Greg Brown on March 28, 2020 at 11:29 am

    From Pine Mountain Georgia and LaGrange Georgia

  78. Libby on March 28, 2020 at 7:44 am

    praying from Atlanta, GA

  79. Julie Bonhomme on March 28, 2020 at 7:19 am

    We will be praying from Gatineau, Canada.
    Thank you Ruth for all you and your team are doing. Your words have brought me such healing, a breath of fresh air.
    Forever grateful.
    I’ve always wanted to visit for a service, so looking forward.
    Blessings.

    • Janine Leone on March 28, 2020 at 8:29 am

      Praying from Atlanta

    • Ruth Barton on April 1, 2020 at 10:27 am

      Don’t you just love how God makes a way? 🙂

  80. Jenny on March 28, 2020 at 6:32 am

    I’ll be praying from Sydney Australia

  81. Jenny on March 28, 2020 at 5:30 am

    I’ll be praying from Brisbane in Queensland, Australia

  82. Tina Khoo on March 27, 2020 at 7:52 pm

    Will be praying from Singapore

  83. Cathy on March 27, 2020 at 4:31 pm

    I will be praying from Burlington NC. Thanks!

  84. Heather on March 27, 2020 at 3:19 pm

    Joining in prayer from Phoenix, Arizona USA

  85. Pat Grace on March 27, 2020 at 2:30 pm

    Grateful for this community especially at the ‘Death and Resurrection’ Season. Praying from St. Louis, MO

  86. Leesa Jensen on March 27, 2020 at 2:21 pm

    We will be praying from Memphis, TN

  87. Jean Giachardi on March 27, 2020 at 2:04 pm

    I will join you from Canterbury England

  88. Bill & Marla on March 27, 2020 at 1:31 pm

    Thank you! We’ll be joining you from California.

  89. Kaar on March 27, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    Joining you from Toronto, Canada.

  90. Dee Matheson on March 27, 2020 at 1:06 pm

    Thank you and joining from Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

  91. Lesley Walpus on March 27, 2020 at 12:41 pm

    What a wonderful opportunity! I will be participating from Rancho Cucamonga, CA

    • Barbara on March 31, 2020 at 8:25 pm

      Thank you. I will be joining you from Christchurch, New Zealand

  92. sharon rogers on March 27, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    Praying from Elgin, Illinois

    • Debbie Sanders on April 1, 2020 at 12:26 pm

      Fun to see you joining this.

  93. terry Van Dusseldorp on March 27, 2020 at 11:15 am

    Praying from Pella, Iowa

  94. Karen Greene on March 27, 2020 at 11:02 am

    I’ll be joining in from central California.

  95. Trisha Wall on March 27, 2020 at 10:46 am

    I’ll be praying from Midland, Texas.

  96. Matthew Berry on March 27, 2020 at 10:22 am

    We will be praying from Big Lake, Minnesota

  97. Lisa on March 27, 2020 at 10:09 am

    I will be praying from Oshawa, Ontario, Canada

  98. Debbie Sanders on March 27, 2020 at 9:45 am

    We will be participating from southern Virginia.

  99. Leo Ayala on March 27, 2020 at 9:41 am

    Praying from San Juan Puerto Rico

  100. Tongua Williams on March 27, 2020 at 9:38 am

    Thank you so much for holding this space for/with us. Will be praying from Little Rock, Arkansas.

  101. Julie on March 27, 2020 at 9:29 am

    Praying from Central Illinois

  102. Charity McClure on March 27, 2020 at 9:25 am

    We will be praying from Glen Ellyn, IL. I wanted to share what this service meant to us during another very difficult season.

    The first time we prayed with this prayer service, our Lenten season had been quite different. We were living away from family, we had a 6 month old baby and we were somewhat isolated as my husband was recovering from a detached retina. As we got closer to Good Friday and Easter we felt too fragile and too tired to join our church services but we also felt too vulnerable and too desperate to ignore the invitations to be with God during those days. It was then that we received the Stations of the Cross booklet as a way of entering into Holy Week (and our own grief) in the intimacy of our home.

    In preparation for our private service, we put the baby down for a nap, placed a cross from our wedding in the living room and lit a candle. We opened the Stations of the Cross Prayer booklet having planned to take turns reading the scriptures and reflections. Almost immediately the liturgy led to the singing of a hymn that we had heard but did not know well. Our timid voices struggled to begin but as we moved further into our service, the meditations brought tears to our eyes and silence to the room as certain phrases hung in the air between us. We let our iPod sing a couple of the songs we couldn’t let that take us out of the moment. Like those before us, our longing for Jesus led us to “keep vigil” all the way until the end.

    That year, 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.

    • Ruth Barton on March 28, 2020 at 9:20 am

      I remember this painful season in your lives so well and am grateful you are willing to share a glimpse into the intimacy of that moment. I love the idea of approaching each station as an act of faith. I hope all of us can do exactly that this year. I am also moved by your example and witness that our attempts at opening to God don’t have to be perfect or polished to be impactful. All it takes is being present–awkward or not–and God will meet us. Makes me wonder if one of the things being challenged in this cultural moment is that so many of us–without realizing it–have become overly-dependent on polished, perfectly planned church services to help us meet God but right now that option is just not available for us. This offers a unique invitation, doesn’t it? This year, it looks like on Good Friday and Easter we will be forced to rely on more private intimate encounters with God in our own homes with our own families rather than relying on choreographed services and planned pageantry. For the most part, these attempts will be perfectly imperfect–which is where God loves to show up. Thanks, Charity, for this glimpse into your own perfectly imperfect intimate encounter with the cross, and with the Christ of the cross.

      • Cherilynn Toll on March 29, 2020 at 9:22 am

        I will be praying from Vancouver Island, British Columbia. I wish you could mail to Canada 🇨🇦
        God bless you and your team.



    • Dalene on April 1, 2020 at 9:20 am

      Thanks for sharing that, Charity. Beautiful!

  103. Janice on March 27, 2020 at 9:19 am

    I will be praying from the foothills of Western North Carolina.

  104. Jeffery James on March 27, 2020 at 9:19 am

    Will be praying from Naperville, IL

  105. Evan on March 27, 2020 at 9:18 am

    Praying from Kansas City, Missouri

  106. Pam on March 27, 2020 at 9:12 am

    Praying from Cookstown, Ontario

  107. Tonya on March 27, 2020 at 9:08 am

    Praying in Indiana

  108. Holly Brown on March 27, 2020 at 9:06 am

    I will be praying in Texas.

  109. Diana Jaasma on March 27, 2020 at 9:06 am

    I will be with you from blacksburg Va

  110. Karen Wycoff Watson on March 27, 2020 at 9:04 am

    Praying from Carlsbad, California

    • Mark and Ruth Habour on March 31, 2020 at 8:41 pm

      Us, too! Mark and Ruth, here all the way from Taiwan! We were supposed to be traveling East to serve our supporting churches–as we serve in Taiwan as missionaries. But here we are in beautiful Carlsbad, by the beach. Our hearts hurt for everyone at this time. Thank you for this opportunity to keep watch with the Lord and remember His suffering and passion for us. It is at times like these that we remember that He carried our sin and suffering to the cross. We are not alone, but Christ is very present with us. God bless each one.

  111. Stephanie Beasley on March 27, 2020 at 8:59 am

    I will be praying in Kill Devil Hills, NC on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

  112. Erica Loren on March 27, 2020 at 8:55 am

    Lifting you up from Florida

  113. Lisa Skopil on March 27, 2020 at 8:53 am

    I will be praying in Eugene, Oregon.

  114. Nancy on March 27, 2020 at 8:49 am

    I will be praying from Littleton, CO.

  115. Kit Elmer on March 27, 2020 at 8:46 am

    I will be praying in Maryland. Grateful for this opportunity.

  116. Karen Mills on March 27, 2020 at 8:33 am

    We will join you in prayer from Palm Coast, FL

  117. Janice on March 27, 2020 at 8:31 am

    I’ll be praying from Dallas, TX

  118. Debbie on March 27, 2020 at 8:30 am

    I will be praying from Pennsylvania.

  119. Ruth Kelder on March 27, 2020 at 8:28 am

    I will participate from Joliet, IL. Thank you!

  120. Brad Brestel on March 27, 2020 at 8:26 am

    I’ll be praying in Lincoln Nebraska

  121. Kathy Smith on March 27, 2020 at 8:20 am

    I will be praying in Keizer, Oregon

  122. Beth Goss on March 27, 2020 at 8:14 am

    I will be praying with all from Herndon Virginia

  123. Deirdre LaNoue on March 27, 2020 at 8:11 am

    I will be participating from Dallas, TX

  124. Linda Aikens on March 27, 2020 at 8:11 am

    I will be listening from Mukilteo, WA. Thank you for sharing this experience.

  125. Idella Kercher on March 27, 2020 at 8:08 am

    I will be listening from Denver, Colorado

    • Andrea Argue on March 27, 2020 at 8:22 am

      Thank you ….I will be praying from Stittsville, Ontario, Canada

  126. Stephanie Allen on March 27, 2020 at 8:06 am

    We will be participating from Vermont

    • Susan Wilson on March 27, 2020 at 12:48 pm

      We will join you from Vero Beach, Florida.

      • Dee Matheson on March 27, 2020 at 1:10 pm

        Thank you and praying from Calgary, Alberta, Canada.



    • Mary Newberg on March 29, 2020 at 7:06 am

      I will be praying in Oak Park, IL

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