Amidst the busyness of life and the familiarity for many of us of the Gospel stories about Jesus’ death and resurrection we may find ourselves losing the reverence, awe, surrender, and joyful celebration that these two events hold that are so foundational to our faith.
Jesus made prayer a priority in His life, aligning His heart and His will with His Father’s often and is an excellent example for us to follow. He spent a whole evening in anguished, yet surrendered prayer before His crucifixion. Let’s follow His lead and spend some time in prayer and in His Word, preparing our hearts for what God wants to teach us regarding the events of Holy Week that demonstrate His great love for us.
Pray that you would also be determined to obediently complete the tasks God has given you, as Jesus did. “As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” Luke 9:51
Pray that you would have compassion on others, as Jesus did upon all those He came to serve and to die for. “He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:36
Pray that you would seek to find and to bring true, godly peace into situations, like Jesus the great peacemaker sought to do. “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring peace.” Luke 19:41-42
Praise Jesus for who He is and for what He came to do for us. Also pray that you wouldn't just praise Him with your lips, but that you would follow Him faithfully. "The great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the King of Israel!” John 12:13
Pray that you would serve others well, as Jesus did in His final moments with His beloved disciples. “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the Passover meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” John 13:3-5
Pray that you would pray as Jesus did–not your will be done, but God’s. Acknowledge that it is a struggle to surrender your will sometimes, and thank God that He is with you and strengthens you to do His will. “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. Being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Luke 22:42-44
Pray that you would not miss what Jesus came to do, as Judas did, but that you would experience all that Jesus’ death and resurrection offers us. “Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself....When the disciples were together.. Jesus came and stood among them and said "Peace be with you!" He showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said "Peace be with you!"...and he breathed on them and said "Receive the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 27:5 and John 20:19-21
Thank Jesus’ sacrifice for His sacrifice for our sin. “For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.” 1 Peter 3:18
Thank Jesus for His obedience to God’s will and His plan. "And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!" Philippians 2:8
Identify and confess your sins. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
Ask for forgiveness and repent of your sins. “Therefore repent and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped out, that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” Acts 3:19-20a
Thank God that His plan, prophesied for hundreds of years, had been completely fulfilled in Jesus’ death on the cross. “Knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I’m thirsty.”...When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” John 19:28-30
Thank God that Jesus’ death on the cross accomplished so many things for us now and for eternity. "For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:40
Thank God that Jesus’ death gives you a new heart and makes you a new creation. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26
Thank God that Jesus rose from the dead, and that He is with us! “The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: “he has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.” Matthew 27:5-7
Thank God that the same resurrection power and the same spirit that rose Jesus from the dead is living in you. “The Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” Romans 8:11
Thank Jesus that His death gave us direct access to God in prayer, and that He is still praying for us today. “Christ Jesus who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” Romans 8:34
Pray that we would learn what it means to become more like Jesus by knowing Christ and the resurrection power that lives in us. “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 4:10-11
Praise God that Jesus has victory over death and the hard things of this world. “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces.” Isaiah 25:8
Pray that you would boldly, powerfully, and lovingly share the Good News of the resurrection with others. "And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.” Acts 4:33
There are so many incredible verses to choose from, it’s hard to pick just 20. What are some of your favorite verses about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection that you like to pray?