Happy Easter! I love the Easter celebrations, in normal years I love the whole range of services from Palm Sunday, to Good Friday, to Easter Sunday itself. I love the Sunrise Services, Easter breakfast, Easter celebrations, Easter Lunch and Easter Egg Hunts! Easter may be looking a different for all of us this year, but it is still a season that we should be celebrating (check out my ideas for celebrating Easter whilst self-isolating here).
Another thing we should also be doing this Easter, is praying. The Easter story really highlights so many things about the character of God, and about Jesus’ life here on Earth. So, let’s journey through the Easter story together and use the events of this season to lead our prayers.
I have included some video clips of my own re-tellings of the events of the Easter story to help guide us through these prayers!
Find a dead, brown leaf or plant. Reflect upon how it looks – uncared for, neglected, forgotten. Think about any ways that you have neglected your relationship with God: when you have put other things as priorities over him, when you have not shown his love to others.
Bring these things to God in prayer and ask for his forgiveness. Pray and ask God to help you to change: to prioritise your relationship with God, and to help this flourish.
Find a live, green, growing plant. Focus upon how this plant looks different to the dead one. When we repent, and ask God for forgiveness, he forgives us and our relationship with his is restored. This allows us to grow in our faith and our relationship with God because we are connected to him – like a leaf needs to remain connected to the rest of the plant in order to continue growing.
Thank God for his forgiveness, and ask that he helps you to grow in your faith in order to flourish just like the green, living plant you are looking at.
The Last Supper
Although I didn’t include this in my video as it isn’t included in Mark’s gospel, something else that happened during the Last Supper was Jesus serving his disciples by washing their feet. He took the position of a lowly servant and humbled himself by doing this dirty task for them. Why not wash the feet of someone you live with? How does this feel? How does this make them feel?
Ask God to give you opportunities to serve other people, and the courage and patience needed to humble yourself and become a servant to those around you.
Garden of Gethsemane
Whilst in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus cried out to God to ‘take this cup from me’ – Jesus wanted God to take away what he knew was to come – his crucifixion. But he ended his prayer by saying ‘but not my will, but yours be done’. He knew that ultimately, God knows best and that it was God’s will that he should be following, even when that is incredibly difficult.
Find a cup, and cut a piece of paper into small strips. On the strips of paper, write down the situations that you would like God to take away from you right now. It could be an illness that you, or someone you know, is facing; it could be a conflict you have with someone else; it could be a challenge you are facing at work or school. Write these down and place them into the cup.
Pray over this cup and ask that God takes these situations away from you. End your prayers by reflecting upon the idea of ‘but not my will, but yours be done’ – pray for God’s will to be done in all of the situations you are praying about. Ask God for strength in facing those situations, however they may turn out.
The trial that Jesus faced was very unfair. Pilate believed that Jesus was innocent, but the crowd called for Barabbas to be freed and Jesus to be crucified. Many people around the world face injustice, and unfairness.
Think about all the situations that you know of where people may be facing injustice and unfairness just like Jesus did. Ask God to be in these situations and to bring justice for all those who have been affected by injustice.
Find two pieces of wood – these could be off-cuts of wood; twigs you can find outside (on your daily exercise) or if you’re really stuck you could use lolly sticks, or pens or anything thin and straight. Take the two items and create a cross using some string to hold them together. I recommend using square lashing for this to hold the cross super tight.
Thank God for the sacrifice that Jesus made upon the cross for us. Place this cross somewhere prominent inside your house, and each time you see it remember and thank God for what he has done for us.
On the Saturday after Jesus had been crucified, the disciples and all those who loved Jesus were mourning his death – unaware of what was to come the following day. We have the benefit of knowing the whole picture, we know that Jesus rises again.
Find a puzzle – whether it’s a super simple one, or a billion-piece puzzle! To start with, try making the puzzle without looking at the picture on the box. Reflect upon why this is challenging. After a while, try to finish the puzzle whilst looking at the final image. Why does this make it easier? Spend some time listening to God, ask him to reveal anything to you that would help you to see the bigger picture and help you to move forward.
Video coming soon – subscribe to my YouTube channel!
He is risen!
Today is a day of celebration, of joy, of new life and of hope (I have a whole blog post about why Easter gives us hope here). So, let’s create some celebration bunting! Grab some ribbon or string, and cut out some triangles. On the triangles, write or draw the things that you are grateful for, or that you want to celebrate right now! Turn this into bunting, and use it to decorate your house to remind you of all the things you have to celebrate.
How else could we pray through the Easter story?