Good Friday/Empty Saturday Prayer

Tonight is when you
We’re so human
You experienced
You hit rock bottom
You died
And knew what it was to be
Abandoned, forgotten
& unloved.

Because all of these feelings
All of these experiences
Each of these realities
Are part of being human.

Jesus, you truly
Yourself for us
In a Friday that
Wasn’t good!


And Jesus
Even without you there—
You invite us
To sit in that emptiness
All of Empty Saturday.

(How do you even do that?)

Thank you
For the emptying
And the emptiness

Thank you for being that human.


Feel free to use/share/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

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Good Friday Tenebrae based on John

(take a nail, and gather in silence, feel free to hold the nail throughout confession; we will be nailing our sins to the cross)

Call to Worship  

L  The Lord be with you.

P  And also with you

1. PRAYER                                          MATTHEW 26:36

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.

Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

2. HE NAIL OF STUMBLING                              John 18:5-7

So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, ‘Here is the man!’ When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ Pilate said to them, ‘Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.’ The Jews answered him, ‘We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.’

(Silent Meditation & Extinguishing of Candles)

Were you there when they crucified the Lord (x2)

oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble,

Were you there when they crucified the Lord?

3.THE NAIL OF BETRAYAL                               John 18:2-3

Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him.

4. THE NAIL OF DENIAL  John 18: 12, 17-18,25-27

 Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in. The woman said to Peter, ‘You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?’ He said, ‘I am not.’  Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, ‘You are not also one of his disciples, are you?’ He denied it and said, ‘I am not.’ One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, ‘Did I not see you in the garden with him?’ Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.

5. THE NAIL OF CRUELTY                                 John 19: 16-17, 

Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha.

(Silent Meditation & Extinguishing of Candles)

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree (x2)

oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble,

Were you there when they nailed him the the tree?


We know what it is like to cry out, as the psalmist did 

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

   Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer;

   and by night, but find no rest.

Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried, and were saved.

Lift up your hearts

We lift them up to the Lord


Lift up your hearts

We lift our hearts to the Lord                                     

     You are invited to have your sins nailed to the cross

(In our congregation all nails are handed to the pastor and in silence they are nailed to the cross)

(Silent Meditation & Extinguishing of Candles)

Were you there when they laid him in the Tomb (x2)

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble

Were you there when they laid him in the Tomb?


Let us give thanks to the Lord our God

It is right to give our thanks and praise…(God we thank you that even tonight you can send your Holy Spirit on these elements, that we can remember that on the night that Jesus was betrayed, just before he has crucified. He took bread, he gave thanks and he broke it and he shared it among all who were there saying this is my body broken for me do this in remembrance of me. When they were finished fellowshipping with one another in the same way he took the cup and as he poured he said, this is the cup of the New Covenant spilled for you. Whenever you eat this bread and you drink this cup you proclaim my death until I come again. Come let us proclaim the death of Jesus Christ, together we pray. Amen)

9.  DARK John 18:28-30

After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

(Silent Meditation & Extinguishing of Candles)

(Easter Sunday the Cross Returns Nail Free)

A Blessing for (Surviving) Today

Lent isn’t always about giving something up…sometimes it’s about walking through the desert, and surviving without giving into hate, or the voices in your head that tell you that you aren’t worth living.

Here’s a blessing for you.

Because you are still here,

And it’s been a year, of ::gestures inarticulately:: everything.

And we need all the blessings we can get.

So here’s a bless this mess.

A blessing on your head,

one that grants you good dreams,

and moments of respite,

and times to let go,

and moments to connect with your beloveds,

and reminders that your worth is not defined by your productivity

and that its ok not to be ok

and that this is not the new normal, nor should it be.

So all the blessings–

for being here,

and doing the things

and being you.

Keep at it! Take breaks,

Drink water, take care of yourself,

and be blessed,

For you are a beloved child of God.

No matter what.

God bless you, Child of God.

Today, Tomorrow, and Always.


Feel free to use/adapt/share with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

April 3rd Jesus Condemned: Lament for sin

Jesus Condemned: Lament for sin

John 19:1-16a

Psalm 146

Call to Worship

Our hope is the Lord our God

God made heaven and the earth, the sea and all that is in them

God keeps faith forever

Come let us praise the Lord!

Call to Confession: Come all you who are heavy burdened, and Jesus will give you rest. Come let us confess ourselves.

Confession: God we confess that we are frightened by the angry mobs of people, by death cults, by those who threaten violence when they lose their privilege. We confess it is frightening because we are afraid that we will will be caught up either in the mob, or be caught up and trampled by it. Avoiding it did not stop the violence, as your disciples can testify. Forgive us, God, for we do not know what we are doing, still. Teach us stop the crime of “crucify” and transform them into the grace and freedom that Pilate tries to enact. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen. 

Assurance of Pardon: God loves us, today, tomorrow and forever, nothing can separate us from that love. Thus we can tell one another the truth in that love: In Jesus Christ we are Forgiven. Amen. 

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: God teach us true freedom, not that of mobs, but the freedom that grace provides. Let us walk away in grace we pray. Amen. 

Children: Talk about 2nd Thoughts, why Pilate was having them, why it’s hard to have 2nd thoughts in a crowd/group/mob. Talk about why parents always say “if everyone jumped off a cliff would you” (I would say this very much as an inside joke that the kids all know). Talk about bravery, and the power of grace, and how true freedom means being able to have a difference of opinion and how Jesus wants us to be able to be free to love and protect one another first and foremost. 

Hymns: Were You There, He Never Said a Mumblin’ Word, When I survey the Wondrous Cross, Amazing Grace, Jesu Lover of My Soul

Please support my writing: Katy’s Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing at Pittsburgh Seminary. 

For Word versions of the Liturgy email me at Katyandtheword at gmail

From Lament to Hope Full Resources

March 13 Jesus Washes Feet: Hope of Serving

Jesus Washes Feet: Hope of Serving

John 13:1-17

Psalm 51:7-12

Call to Worship

God we gather to serve

For you first served us, the one who taught the first will be last

Jesus we long to be near you

Come let us worship the alpha and omega

Call to Confession: God calls all those who are in relationship with God to come into God’s presence for confession, come let us confess ourselves to God and each other

Prayer of Confession: God, I confess that I am like Peter crying out create in me a clean heart God, clean my feet and my hands and my whole body! Because some days I understand all too well all of my imperfections, and they seem to scream at me, from my body and my personality and my accomplishments. Remind me God, that you sent Jesus to show us how to love and serve one another, no more, no less, and that your grace is infinite. Remind us, we pray in your most Holy name. Amen. 

Assurance of Pardon: God always restore us to the joy of salvation, hear the good news of the gospel: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: God we come to you fully confessing ourselves and ready to be washed clean. Let us go forth rejoicing and ready to serve our God. Amen

Children: Discuss Baptism and how Confession is a renewal of Baptism

Hymns: Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, Create in Me a Clean Heart, Jesu Jesu Fill Us with Your Love, I’m Gonna Live So God Can Use Me

Please support my writing: Katy’s Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing at Pittsburgh Seminary.

For Word versions of the Liturgy email me at Katyandtheword at gmail

From Lament to Hope Full Resources

March 6th Jesus Raises Lazarus. Jesus Wept, The Lament

March 6

Jesus Raises Lazarus, Jesus Wept: the Lament

John 11:1-44

Psalm 104:27-30

Call to Worship

Jesus we are wracked by tears

Sit with us in our weeping

Renew us, we pray

God, help us to gather in your name.

Call to Confession: God calls us to confession, so that we can claim our full selves with God, come let us confess ourselves to God. 

Prayer of Confession: God, we confess that we are not a culture that grieves well. We would rather ignore our sadness, or feel angry. Sadness feel so lonely. We do not want to admit the loneliness of grief. Remind us that we are not alone in our lamenting, we pray. And sit with us, Jesus. We pray this in the name of the Christ who weeps. Amen. 

Assurance of Pardon: Christ loves us, Christ sits with us, Christ redeems us, Sit in confidence of the truth: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. 

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: Holy Spirit, come and dwell with use, for we admit that sometimes we are overwhelmed with emotions, and at those times we do not know what to do, or we take on too much, or we are unable to move. Remind us to breathe, and that you know us and love us, and that its ok to feel whatever we are feeling. Breathe us through whatever we are feeling we pray. Amen. 

With Children: “You are My I Love You” “Be is for Breathe,” Do a breath prayer as a an exercise for when you feel overwhelmed or scared or need a break. 

Hymns: Breathe on me Breath of God, I love the Lord Who Heard My Cry, There is a Balm in Gilead, O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go, O Jesus I Have Promised, Precious Lord, Take My Hand

Please support my writing: Katy’s Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing at Pittsburgh Seminary.

For Word versions of the Liturgy email me at Katyandtheword at gmail

From Lament to Hope Full Resources

Lent: Narrative Lectionary, From Lament to Hope

If you like my work, please contribute to my Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing at Pittsburgh Seminary. I’m 75% the way there this year!

For Word Versions of resources please Email Katyandtheword at

From Lament to Hope 

Ash Weds: Full Service

March 2

The Good Shepherd: Ashes A Prayer

500,000 People: Ashes

John 10:1-18

Psalm 23

March 6

Jesus Raises Lazarus: Jesus Wept, Lament

John 11:1-44

Psalm 104:27-30

March 13

Jesus Washes Feet

John 13:1-17

Psalm 51:7-12

March 20

Peter’s Denial: Lament and Denial

John 18:12-27

Psalm 17:1-7

March 27

Jesus and Pilate 

John 18:28-40

Psalm 145:10-13

April 3

Jesus Condemned

John 19:1-16a

Psalm 146

April 10

The Crucified Messiah: Sermon Ideas, Pile of Good Things

John 12:12-27

Psalm 24

April 14

Maundy Thursday

Jesus Last Words: An in Person, Virtual or Stations Worship Service

John 19:23-30

Psalm 26:3

Betrayed: A Prayer for the Brokenhearted

April 15

Good Friday Worship: Burying Jesus, An In Person or Virtual Worship Service Based on the texts

Good Friday: Good Friday Worship Juxtaposing Communion & Lord’s Prayer

Good Friday: John Tenebrae

Jesus the Passover Lamb

John 19:31-42

Psalm 31:9-18

April 17th 

Resurrection: Hope Seeing Resurrected Jesus

John 20:18

Psalm 118:21-29

April 24 


Sermon Ideas:

But Thomas

Brave Thomas

John 20:19-31

Psalm 145:13-21

If you like my work, please contribute to my Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing at Pittsburgh Seminary. I’m 75% the way there this year!

Palm Sunday: Waiting for the Stones

Jesus, I don’t know how much shouting of Hosanna will happen on Sunday.

I’m uncertain who will be there and how we will parade,

And Lord, you know, there will not be any singing. We miss it, God, but are trying to do right.

And though we may be sighing “Hosanna: Lord Save Us” we also know that we have to take some responsibility and help to save ourselves.

And, most days I doubt we actually want peace on earth, we are so bad at enacting and supporting true peace.

And Jesus is not going to come in guns blazing; Thank God!

What does the Lord require for Jesus to come? What humble entry can we cede to the Son of God?

What videos or drivethrus or palm crafts might come?

God, I confess this might be the week that there will be few shouts. We will be sticking well to your humility and simplicity this year.

So I will be listening to the stones.

For the truth cannot be stopped.

“Blessed is the one One who comes in the name of the Lord, Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven.”




Feel free to share/use/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

More Holy Week Prayers:

Life in Slow Motion: Lenten Prayer

God, I feel like everything is in slow motion. I can see what is coming, all of it, but it’s hard to react in a timely manner.

The bicycle of life is barely moving, and when we hit a bump. It hits hard.

When I drop the paper or burn my hand or yell at my child, it seems insurmountable.

Because, I’m going to be honest God, I didn’t have all that much momentum to begin with–I am so reliant on the treat of the day: the good meal, the sunlight, the 20 minutes to do nothing.

And, executive function is hard to get functional. And the tea caffeine can only do so much.

And God, I’m not ready for Lent, because I’ve been trudging through Lent all year. Living with death, remembering my mortality, feeling alone. God I’m don’t wanna.

I don’t want to do Lent.

But here we are, ready for the desert, for the trudge, for the bumps. Here we are ready to celebrate life and death, once again, with you.

With you.

God, this is a prayer from the longest and slowest Lent ever. Help me not to freeze or burn out. Help me to stay compassionate and caring. Send your Holy Spirit, because we here on Earth need it.

And I know we cannot just skip to Easter God.

So, I’m praying you send us what we need, even as we find ourselves in slow motion.


More Pandemic Prayers