Praying the Stations of the Cross, Part Two

Enjoy the continuation of this prayer guide from www.soulshepherding.com
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2nd Station: Jesus accepts his cross while his disciples flee

Praise the Lord – I praise you Lord Jesus Christ.  By your cross you gave us your life and showed us how to live.

Read the Scripture:  Matthew 26:56; John 19:1, 14-17; Hebrews 12:2

Contemplate in Silence

Consider Your Need for Christ – The cross is a horrific instrument of torture and death.  It’s no wonder that Jesus’ disciples ran away from it.  We may do the same and yet it is the source of heavenly joy.

“For the joy set before him Jesus endured the cross (Heb 12:2) What joy? The joy of obeying the Father and saving us from sin.  For this joy Jesus set out resolutely for Jerusalem to go to the cross and to die in our place.

Jesus’ joy in going to the cross wasn’t just a future joy to be attained after he finished his awful ordeal—it was also a present joy.  Even as Jesus suffered so painfully he embraced the Father and participated in the glory and abundance of the kingdom of God.  This is why even as he was in horrific pain God’s mercy flowed from his lips to friends, strangers, and enemies alike.

Jesus asks us, along with his disciples to take up our cross – to deny the things that this world offers us – and follow him.  To do this we must begin to experience the joy that Jesus knew as he accepted his cross.  If we don’t taste that glorious joy that is better than anything else in this world – if we aren’t blessed with an energized by Jesus’ sacrifice for us, the Father’s love to us, and the kingdom of God with us as we approach our own cross – then we’ll flee our cross for worldly comforts as the disciples did initially.

Of course, Jesus’ disciples got a second chance to take up their cross and follow him for the joy set before them and they did so faithfully.  Probably we all have been unfaithful to Christ in some way.  Thank God for second chances!

Pray – Lord Jesus Christ, the cross didn’t overtake you – you seized it!  You chose the cross, first as a way of life and then as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people.  You were able to embrace the cross because you embraced the Father.

O King Jesus, forgive me for the ways that I, like your disciples, have shrunk back from your cross.  It is only there that I receive your forgiveness and healing.  I want to take up my cross and follow you joyfully, with love for you and others.  Help me Lord to let go of the things in this visible world and to see with eyes of faith so that I can embrace you with me and learn from you that the love of the Father and the joy of the kingdom of the heavens will sustain me in the worst of circumstances.

Reflect – How have you avoided taking up your cross (denying yourself) to follow Jesus? Can you see that this has held you back from experiencing greater joy in your love for God and others?

Take up your cross to follow Jesus – Identify a cross that God is asking you to carry (something for you to deny yourself, like a pleasure, ambition, position of respect, or right to justice) and look to Jesus to help you see the joy set before you on that path.

Abide in Christ – Imagine how you need to deny yourself out of love for the Lord and then gently breathe in and out these words of Scripture:  “To live is Christ…to die is gain.”  (Philippians 1:21)

3rd Station:  Jesus Falls Under the Weight of the Cross – Fall into Abba’s Arms with Jesus

Praise the Lord – I praise you Lord Jesus Christ.  By your cross you gave us your life and showed us how to live.

Read Scripture:  Matthew 26:36, 39-44; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:44

Contemplate in Silence

Consider Your need for Christ – The weight of the cross of Christ was staggering – only the Lord Jesus could carry it for us.  No one else could endure all that abuse and, worst of all, take onto himself humanity’s sins.  What an enormous burden he carried to reconcile us to the Father.

Tradition has passed onto us the idea that as Jesus carried his cross he fell under its weight (implied in Mark 15:21, 22).  Think of this possibility as him falling in prayer to Abba for our sake like he did in the Garden of Gethsemane.

As you see Jesus in the garden sweating drops of blood and pleading with Abba three times don’t think he’s trying to get out of going to the cross.  No.  He’s trying to make it to the cross!  Time and again he told his disciples that he was going to the cross to suffer and die for them and all people.  Just five days before he went to the cross he said:  “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father save me from this hour?’ No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.  Father, glorify your name!” (John 12:27-28)

Our opportunity is to follow in Jesus’ steps.  This begins with responding to his invitation to his sleepy disciples: “watch and pray with me.  Your heart wants to do what is good, but in your natural abilities you are weak so you must fall to your knees in prayer.  Join me and fall into Abba’s arms now so that you don’t fall into sin later.”  Matthew 26:51, paraphrase.

Pray – Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Holy One of God and yet even you fell down under the weight of your cross.  You were jeered, mocked, spat upon, and whipped, but you rose again to carry your cross for us to Calvary.

Often, we fall down, especially in times of trial and temptation.  Thank you Jesus that you are always there to lift us up and lead us forward.  Please strengthen us to keep following you.  Remind us that we are not alone, that you help us to carry our burdens and you lead us into Abba’s arms of love.

Reflect – What personal struggle or sin tends to trip you up?  Will you watch and pray with Jesus to learn to overcome this temptation?

Take up your cross to follow Jesus – Make time to watch and pray with Jesus that you’d learn from him to overcome the trial you’re facing.

Abide in Christ – Take a moment to watch and pray with Jesus now by imagining yourself facing your trial as you slowly repeat the breath prayer: “Abba…I fall into your arms” (Mark 14:36; Romans 8:15)

4th Station:  Jesus Meets His Mother – Let the Cross of Christ Pierce your Soul

Praise the Lord –I praise you Lord Jesus Christ.  By your cross you gave us your life and showed us how to live.

Read Scripture:  Luke 2:34-35, 51)

Contemplate in Silence

Consider your Need for Christ – We’ve made the cross of Christ a decoration, but Mary,t he mother of Jesus, knew the cross was the instrument of torture and death for Jesus.  It was also a sword that pierced her soul – we need to let it pierce our souls too.

We can imagine that as Jesus carried his cross Mary may have gotten close enough for hem to make eye contact and share a tender moment.  We know that later Mary stood faithfully beside her Lord as he was crucified (John 19:25-27).  She saw him bruised and bloodied.  She heard him cry as he was suffocating to death.  She felt his pain and cried.  Her heart bled with her dear son and Savior.

As Mary suffered with Jesus probably she remembered the words that Simeon prophesied to her when Jesus was just a baby:  “A sword will pierce your own soul”  What a bitter wound it was for her – and yet what a sweet wound of love it would become when resurrection life filled her soul!

We need to approach Christ and his cross like Mary, letting our souls be pierced with the realization:  “It was my sins that put Jesus on the cross.  It was for me that he suffered.  It was for that his holy and beautiful man from heaven was crucified.  What a treasure Jesus Christ is to me!  I must give all that I have and all that I am to love and serve him.”

Pray – Lord Jesus Christ, Mary’s grief came out of her love for you, not only as her son, but also as the Son of God.  You are worthy of all our adoration and affection.  You gave your heart and your life for us – you deserve our hearts and our lives.

O precious Jesus, I open my heart and soul to you now.  More than anything I want to draw closer to you as Mary did, to treasure you and be devoted to you always.  But often my heart is not soft to you, my affections wander, and I neglect to love you and my neighbor—forgive me Lord!  It’s time that your holy sword pierce my soul as it did Mary’s so that I too can be wounded with an unfailing and insatiable love for you and a readiness to love others as you love me.

Reflect – Are you pausing quietly to open your heart and soul to Jesus carrying the cross for you?  Do you feel some of his pain?  Are you letting it become a wound of love in which you keep longing to be closer to Jesus and to become more like him?

Take up your Cross to follow Jesus – Resolve with God’s help to let the cross be a sword that cuts out of your life anything that competes with Jesus being your heart’s treasure.

Abide in Christ – Anticipate setting a personal boundary on something that distracts you from the Spirit of Christ in your midst and then breathe in and out:  “O Jesus….I open my heart to you now.” (Revelation 3:20)

 

2 Comments

  • Adena, will you complete the prayer blogs on stations of the cross before Easter? I am leaving on a trip April 8 and wondered if I will have time to find a place that physically has the stations of the cross to go and pray using all 14 station prompts you wrote before then. Also I wonder if you know of any places in the Sacramento region that have physical 14 stations of the cross. I live in Placerville. I saw one in some stained glass windows in a church in SF and a second in Auburn at a Sisters of Mercy Retreat Center. I am wondering if there is a protestant church that uses these? Thanks for your help.
    Linda Owens

    • Yes, we will complete the Stations of the Cross before Easter. If you’d like the full listing of the prayer guide it is available at http://www.soulshepherding.org – a wonderful resource! The only place I know of where there are Stations of the Cross in the Sacramento area is at Christ the King Passionist Center on Van Maren in Citrus Heights. They have beautiful grounds to walk as well – very peaceful. Hope that helps!

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