PRAYERS FOR PALM SUNDAY
Almighty God, on this day your Son Jesus Christ entered the holy city of Jerusalem and was proclaimed King by those who spread their garments and palm branches along his way. Let those branches be for us signs of his victory, and grant that we who bear them in his name may ever hail him as our Lord, and follow him in the way that leads to eternal life. In his name we pray. Amen. UM Book of Worship
Almighty God, you sent your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, to suffer death on the cross. Grant that we may share in his obedience to your will through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and ever. Amen. UM Hymnal
Lord Jesus, we are a fickle people, quick to turn away. We are quick to flock to you when all is well, but we are prone to scatter when there is opposition or criticism. Too often we have kept silent before you, afraid to proclaim your praise. It is easy to join the crowd as you ride triumphantly into Jerusalem--
singing our joys and expectations, dancing our hopes and dreams. It is far more difficult to stand by you as the crowd cries for your crucifixion. Forgive our weakness when we turn away. Strengthen us for the journey ahead as we relive your suffering and death, that we might stay beside you to the end. Give us the courage to shout our hosannas, not only today, but each and every day. Amen.
O Lord God, whose Son followed your will, both as Servant and Savior, and now rules in the hearts of those who accept him as King: Open our hearts to his rule, that we may rejoice in the blessings of his kingdom and share with those who honor him with their lives. In his name, we pray. Amen.
Patient God, we confess that we love a parade. We are very happy to see banners waving and hear people shouting their praises. Our hearts thrill to the spectacle. But we fail to see the sadness on the face of the Savior; our shouts block out his sorrow. He comes to us as King, and we expect that royal treatment will follow. We do not and cannot believe that in a few days we will be among those who will turn our backs and run from his presence. How fickle we are, O Lord. Yet you continually forgive us and call us to turn our lives around--to see the needs of others, to reach out in trust and faith, to be willing to witness to your good news of saving love. Heal our hearts and give us courage for the days ahead; for we ask this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Are you ever amazed, O Lord, at our responses to the Savior? We get all excited about the parade into Jerusalem. We gather palm fronds and distribute them among those present so that they can wave them in triumph, replicating the parade and the crowd. Children sing the praises of Jesus. Adults remove their cloaks and place them on the road in front of the donkey so that he may not make a misstep. We could stay at this scene forever and enjoy the moment. But we are being called forward, through the gates of the Holy City to the Temple and from the Temple to the Cross. Be with us and give us courage to face what lies ahead. Strengthen our faith that we will remain steadfast at the time of reckoning; for we ask this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
O God, we stand at the gate, hesitant and uncertain; we are reluctant to answer your invitation; we are slow to embark on the journey toward your reign. Forgive us, we pray. Grant us the help we need to be your people--the courage to join you in the procession; the selflessness to lay our cloaks before you; the freedom to lift our palms to your glory; and the knowledge that by your grace we are forgiven. Amen.
Lord of abundant pardon and mercy, be with us this day as we parade through the Jerusalem gates, wanting the reign of God to be established immediately in the hearts of all people. Make us aware that fear and anger are powerful motivators for evil. Open our hearts to the words of Jesus, that we might find courage and healing for all our burdens. In his name, we pray. Amen.
Lord, we confess that we would rather have a nice parade, with banners waving and people cheering than to face the suspicious eyes of the fearful people. We want them to believe in Jesus right away and to walk away from the path to the cross. But it could not be so. Jesus walked straight into the path of destructive fear and faced it with his life. From his table of compassion and from the cross he offered healing words of love and hope. As we continue our Lenten journey, forgive us, we pray, for our eagerness to leave the scenes of hurt, anger, and hostility and to march into the bright sunlight that will be Easter. Give our souls healing so that Easter may truly shine through us. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.
Praise be to you, O God, who boldly asks us to march into the Jerusalems that confront us each day. We would like to think that we will be loved and cherished wherever we go; our witness of faith will be gladly received. But it will not necessarily be so. For there are those who fear faith; who question the reality of your love and healing power. With each step we take, guide our lives in your paths of peace and hope. Give us courage and strength to witness to your love. Help us feel the powerful presence of Jesus Christ in our lives, calling us to come with him to truth and salvation. We offer this prayer in the name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.