If you’re like most Christian families, you’re busy finding the other sock or discovering what stickiness you just stepped in on the kitchen floor. But maybe, in the chaos of track practice and making sure there’s toilet paper, you want to make sure you keep the most important thing the main thing.
What if you took five minutes each day for prayers for Easter and Holy Week, to remind your (slightly messy) family what this season’s been all about for centuries?
Allow me to simplify just one of your many tasks this week. Maybe around the dinner table, in the morning just before everyone scatters for the day, or at bedtime, invite a different family member to pray these simple daily prayers for Easter and Holy Week. Each Scripture and prayer follow Jesus’ steps in a week that changed the world.
(Tip: Try reading these Scriptures in a kid-friendly version, like the NIrV or The Message.)
Daily Prayers for Holy Week and Easter
Read: Matthew 21:1-11
Jesus, we’re thankful for Palm Sunday, one of Your few days on earth when the world glimpsed Your true identity as King. Celebrations with donkeys and palm trees don’t begin to give You what You deserve.
But most of those who celebrated You on Sunday deserted you by Friday, the day of Your death. You weren’t the King who would do what they wanted. It can be hard to follow You when You don’t immediately relieve our pain, defeat our enemies, or give us what we want most.
Cause us to be loyal to You, choosing You as King every day, from the inside out. Even when we don’t understand.
Read: Matthew 21:12-16, James 1:19-20
On the Monday before You died, we saw Your passion for justice. You experienced holy anger against those in the temple cheating the poor and selling overpriced animals for them to be able to worship God.
Your anger was so different from the Pharisees’ anger that day, who didn’t want to give up their power to You. Both of you had something precious you were defending. But only One was defending God’s heart.
Please change us inside. Make any anger in us holy.
In our prayers for Holy Week, we also pray this Franciscan prayer:
May God bless us with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
So that we may live from deep within our hearts.
May God bless us with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of God’s creations
So that we may work for justice, freedom, and peace.
May God bless us with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,
So that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and
To turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless us with just enough foolishness
To believe that we can make a difference in the world,
So that we can do what others claim cannot be done:
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and all our neighbors who are poor. Amen.
Read: Mark 9:30-32
Lord, You knew loving and obeying Your Father and loving us would lead You right into Your death. But You didn’t back down, hide, or love less.
Thank You for keeping Your eyes on bigger rewards, like bringing us back to You, overthrowing death’s power on this planet, and the eternal honor You deserve from God (Philippians 2:5-10; Hebrews 2:9-10, 12:3). Thank You for trusting God and moving out in courage more than the fear You faced (Luke 22:41-44).
In the ways we love others, help us to be brave and self-sacrificing. Don’t let us lose sight of the long-term rewards for obeying and loving You. We know You never turn away from us (Matthew 28:20, Hebrews 13:5-6). Thank You that we never have to do the hard things (or the easy things!) alone.
Read: Mark 14:1-11
Father, thank You for anointing Jesus’ body even before He died, and for the way Jesus defended this beautiful, over-the-top act of worship, pointing Him out as our priest and King. Thank You that in giving us Jesus, You don’t hold anything back from us, either (Romans 8:32).
We want to love You with what looks like excess to the rest of the world. Inspire us in every resource You’ve given us to give what is precious and what costs us much, for You.
“Lord, it is fitting to rejoice in your beauty and to gaze upon your handiwork. While others may call this a waste of time, we recognize that unless we sit in adoration of you, we will forget whom we serve and for what purpose. Remind us why worship is always our first response to you. Amen.”
Read: Luke 22:14-23, Mark 9:35
Holy God, today we remember all the ways, at Your last meal before Your death, You chose to be broken and weak among the people You created.
You gave us an example of taking a slave’s job, washing feet. And in serving the first Communion meal, “The bread is a broken body, and the wine is poured like shed blood. Both grain and grapes have to be crushed and broken to become something new together.”
Please teach us to live like this. Show us how to serve others more than honor, comfort, or being important. Deep inside of us, show us Your humble ways so we can choose Your reward instead.
Read: Isaiah 53:1-12 (The Message paraphrase recommended)
Jesus, You were the one who freed us, but You were arrested.
You brought us justice, but You were put through an unjust, abusive trial.
You are all-powerful, but You chose to be overpowered.
You were sad and afraid, so we could have comfort and joy forever.
You were thirsty, so we could have Living Water.
You died in sudden darkness, so we could live in constant light.
You were rejected, so we could be accepted by God.
You were shamed and despised, so we could be honored and loved.
You were wounded and pierced, so we could be healed and whole.
You took God’s anger, so we could have peace forever.
You were defeated, so we could win over death and sin.
God turned away from You, so He could always be with us.
You died, so we could live.
Thank you, Jesus.
Read: Psalm 33:20-22, Lamentations 3:25
Lord, there are a lot of tears on the way to the resurrection You’ve planned.
We remember the disciples hiding on this day, afraid not only of their own lives and the Pharisees but also that they’d trusted You and lost everything. They had no idea You would rise again (Mark 9:31-32). They thought You were just … dead.
They didn’t know they were waiting. They just had to trust You with all their questions.
In all the ways we feel disappointed, the times You don’t act as we expect, and the times we mistakenly think You aren’t good after all, help us instead trust You and how much You love us.
We choose to believe You can and will do more than we ask, think, or imagine (Ephesians 3:20-21, 1 John 4:16). Thank You for being bigger and better than we ever thought—even when we are afraid and sad.
Read: John 20:11-18, Job 19:25-27
Thank You that You really are alive and that, someday, we’ll see You with our own eyes. Help us understand how astounding this day is and all that means.
We love that Your resurrection isn’t just an ancient miracle. You defeated death, our greatest enemy, and You continue to give us victory over every other enemy and threat, including things we’re afraid of or feeling defeated by right now. Your Holy Spirit helps us defeat the ways of sin and death every day of our lives.
Give us Your power to conquer, as You did.
“Lord Jesus Christ, you have triumphed over the powers of death and prepared for us a place in the New Jerusalem. Grant that we, who have this day given thanks for your resurrection, may praise you in that city of which you are the light and where you live and reign forever and ever. Amen.”
 Claiborne, Shane; Enuma Okoro; and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove. Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (p. 116). Grand Rapids: Zondervan (2010). Kindle Edition.
 Ibid, p. 224.
 Ibid., p. 169.
 Ibid, p. 30.
Copyright © 2023 Janel Breitenstein. All rights reserved.
Janel Breitenstein is an author, freelance writer, speaker, and frequent contributor for FamilyLife, including the Art of Parenting®, and regular articles and downloads. After five and a half years in East Africa, her family of six returned to Colorado, where they continue to work on behalf of the poor with Engineering Ministries International. Her book, Permanent Markers: Spiritual Life Skills to Write on Your Kids’ Hearts (Harvest House), empowers parents to creatively engage kids in vibrant spirituality. You can find her—“The Awkward Mom”—having uncomfortable, important conversations at JanelBreitenstein.com, and on Instagram @janelbreit.