Passiontide, Holy Week, and Easter 2021

Resources for prayer at home during Passiontide, Holy Week and Easter in 2021. 

A downloadable resource guide, with more detailed words and acts of prayer, is available to download in addition to the content on this page:

An altar with candles at The Community of the Resurrection (Mirfield).

Passiontide (from Sunday 21 March until Easter)

  • The Stations of the Cross have formed part of Christian devotion at Passiontide for many centuries because they enable us to engage actively with the path of suffering walked by Jesus. They can be used as a focus for personal prayer or as part of a service, whether online or in person. A sequence of scriptural Stations of the Cross including short readings and prayers is on the Church of England website and available in Common Worship: Times and Seasons. Traditional images associated with the stations can be used, or new representations could be made creatively in the household or church.
  • A series of meditations on the fifteen Stations have been written by Paula Gooder (focusing on the scriptural narratives), Archbishop Stephen Cottrell (considering the story from the perspective of personal discipleship), and Bishop Philip North (exploring the story’s challenge to mission and witness). They are published in the book Walking the Way of the Cross (Church House Publishing, 2019). These meditations can be used as a personal devotional, in prayer together, or in public worship. The book contains the complete Way of the Cross from Times and Seasons. 
  • A form of bedtime prayer for the household is included in the resource guide.

Holy Week (from 28 March until Easter)

  • From Palm Sunday until Easter, you could use the twice-daily services of Prayer During the Day and Night Prayer which is available in the Church of England’s Time to Pray app. The app is completely free, and includes text and audio for you to pray together with thousands of other people who are doing the same. The audio is also available as a podcast.
  • Alternatively, the following prayer could be prayed by the household just before bed, after a time of free prayer if desired.

Almighty God, 
as we stand at the foot of the cross of your Son, 
help us to see and know your love for us, 
so that in humility, love and joy 
we may place at his feet 
all that we have and all that we are; 
through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Palm Sunday (28 March)

  • Some churches may choose to distribute palm crosses. You can also make your own cross from paper (or a palm leaf, if one is available). 
  • Some households might like to collect or cut some foliage instead of using a palm cross. 
  • Tape or blu-tack a cross to an outside window, and pray the following prayer:

True and humble king, 
hailed by the crowd as Messiah: 
grant us the faith to know you and love you, 
that we may be found beside you 
on the way of the cross, 
which is the path of glory.

  • Households could go for a prayer walk together around the neighbourhood, perhaps offering an ‘arrow prayer’ on each street corner: ‘Come to this street, Lord, and lead us to the Father.’ 

Good Friday (2 April)

  • Households and churches could pray together the Prayers at the Foot of the Cross (which can be found in the resource guide). As a visual focus during these prayers, households could use a cross or crucifix which they have in the home, use a palm cross, make a cross as a craft activity, or draw or paint a cross. Creating a cross could be a household activity. 
  • Households could do a dramatic reading of the Passion narrative from one of the Gospels. An example of how this might be done is available

Holy Saturday (3 April)

  • Households could make an Easter garden (perhaps in a front garden or window box for others to see). When it is finished, pray the following:

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation,
the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
To you be glory now and for ever.
In your great mercy you have given us a new birth
into a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
May we who have prepared this garden 
in celebration of his victory
be strengthened in faith,
know the power of his presence,
and rejoice in the hope of eternal glory.

  • Alternatively, a simple cross (perhaps one made on Palm Sunday) could be decorated with flowers and foliage. 

Saturday evening

  • A Procession of Light could be used in the household (see the resource guide for the form).

Easter Day (4 April)

  • Get up as the sun is rising, light a candle, and pray together:

Christ yesterday and today,
the beginning and the end,
Alpha and Omega,
all time belongs to him,
and all ages;
to him be glory and power,
through every age and for ever.

  • Go for a prayer walk saying the text of the Easter Anthems:

Christ our passover has been sacrificed for us:
so let us celebrate the feast,

not with the old leaven of corruption and wickedness:
but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Christ once raised from the dead dies no more:
death has no more dominion over him.

In dying he died to sin once for all:
in living he lives to God.

See yourselves therefore as dead to sin:
and alive to God in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Christ has been raised from the dead:
the first fruits of those who sleep.

For as by man came death:
by man has come also the resurrection of the dead;

for as in Adam all die:
even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever.