Good Friday Prayer Stations 1
Our prayer stations were set up around the church and were used in an All Age Service on Good Friday. Each prayer station contained a scene, a story card, a craft or play activity and a prayer activity.
Station 1: The Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem
When Jesus came into the great city of Jerusalem that Sunday, the crowd was excited and restless. Many had heard of Jesus' teaching and miracles. They longed for a leader who would help them drive the Romans from their land.
As Jesus rode through the city gates on a young donkey the people cheered and praised God. They waved palm branches, which were the sign of kings. They shouted "Hosannah! Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!"
As they began to throw their cloaks and palm leaves onto the ground to pave the way for Jesus, their hearts were full of expectation.
John 12: 12 - 19
Scene:The figure of Jesus on a donkey riding along a road leading to Jerusalem. Palm crosses placed along the road. Above a sign: "What kind of a king is Jesus?" and contrasting crowns - a king's crown and the crown of thorns.
Play activity:Re-enacting the Palm Sunday story with a box of mini palms, cloaks and donkeys. Road pieces to construct a "road" for the donkey.
Prayer activity:Writing or drawing words or symbols of praise and placing them along the road.
Station 2: Jesus at the Temple
The next day Jesus went to the temple to pray.
He began driving out those who were buying and selling, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those who were selling doves.
Jesus said: "Is it not written 'My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations' but you have made it a den of robbers."
Mark 11: 15 - 18
Scene:Prayer holder with a collection of doves on it; dollshouse tables tipped over; scattered feathers and coins.
Play activity:Making a dove from a template, sticking on multi-coloured feathers.
Prayer activity:Lighting a candle on a prayer stand to remember that God's house is a holy place. (Battery candles provided for the smallest children.)
Station 3: Jesus is anointed at Bethany
Two days before the Feast of the Unleavened Bread, Jesus went to visit Simon the Leper who lived in Bethany. While he was there, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
Some people started to criticise the woman and say it was waste, because the perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor.
Jesus said, "Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing for me. You will always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial."
Mark 14: 3 - 9
Scene:A jar of scented water, placed on a cloth. A bowl of rose petals or potpourri and a jar.
Play activity:"What is your favourite smell?" A collection of small boxes containing cotton wool with a variety of scents - lavendar, rosemary, myrrh, frankincense - for people to smell.
Prayer activity:What do I have to offer Christ the King? People were asked to think about their own gifts and place a rose petal in the jar as a symbol of their offering.
Station 4: Jesus washes the disciples' feet
Jesus lived in a hot dry land. Most people travelled from place to place on foot. It was the custom to welcome visitors by washing their dusty feet in clean, cold water. Normally a household servant did this.
When Jesus invited his disiples for supper in the upper room, they were surprised by what happened. Jesus took off his outer clothing and wrapped a towel round his waist.
After that he poured water into a basin, and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with a towel. When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his outer clothes and returned to his place.
"Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. "I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet; you should also wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you."
John 13: 1-17
Scene:Bowls of water, soap, towels, baby doll. Scented water in a mini font.
Play activity:Washing hands, feet or the washing the baby doll.
Prayer activity:Making the sign of the cross on own hand using the scented water in the mini font.
Station 5: The Last Supper
On the night before he died, Jesus had supper with his friends.
After they had everything they wanted to eat, Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it.
Then he broke it and said, "Take eat, this is my body which is given for you, do this to remember me."
He also took a cup of wine, gave thanks to God for it, and said, "Drink this all of you. This is my blood which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."
Matthew 26: 17 - 30
Scene:Last supper scene with cloth on a low table, pitta bread, grapes, jug of blackcurrant juice, chalice and candles. On the side play bread, grapes, and chalices.
Play activity:Playing with play bread, grapes and chalices.
Prayer activity:Taking and eating a piece of bread and a grape; saying a prayer of thanks.
Station 6: The Garden of Gethsemane
Jesus knew that soon the soldiers would come to arrest him and he would be sentenced to death.
He went to a garden called Gethsemane, with his friends and asked them to keep watch while he prayed to God to help him. But his friends were tired and they fell asleep.
In the darkness of the night Jesus felt very alone.
Even so, he trusted himself to God's care.
Luke 22: 39 -46
Scene:Silk flowers and bushes in pots. figure of Jesus praying (adapted from our Posada Joseph figure)
Play activity:Making a flower
Prayer activity:Hanging a ready made flower on the prayer tree
Station 7: Peter denies Christ
Peter followed behind at a distance when the soldiers came to take Jesus away.
He waited in the courtyard outside the high priest's house. He sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire.
Someone said, "You were also with Jesus of Nazareth," but Peter denied it. Two more times that night Peter said he didn't know Jesus.
Then the cock crowed, and Peter remembered that Jesus had said, "Before the cock crows you will disown me three times." Peter went outside and wept bitterly.
Matthew 26: 69 - 75
Scene:Pretend fire, using stones, sticks, coloured ribbons and material. Toy cockerel.
Play activity:Wooden puzzles of cockerels and chickens, soft toys.
Prayer activity:Picture of a cockerel to colour or decorate with tissue paper.
Station 8: The Passion
The soldiers took Jesus first to the high priest's house, where he was found guilty.
The chief priest sent him to Pilate, who agreed to have him crucified.
Finally, they led Jesus away into the palace. They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him.
And they began to call out to him, "Hail King of the Jews!"
They whipped him and pretended to bow down to him to mock him.
Mark 14: 53 - 64 and 15: 1 - 20
Scene:Crown of thorns, purple robe, whip.
Play activity:Using symbols of Christ to stick on to a crown.
Prayer activity:Making a knotted string whip and saying a prayer with each knot.
Station 9: The Crucifixion
Soldiers led Jesus outside the walls of Jerusalem to Golgotha, which means the place of the skull.
A crown of thorns had been placed on his head. They nailed him to the cross and fastened a notice on it that read: "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews".
While they waited for Jesus to die, the soldiers cast dice to see which one of them would have Jesus' robe for themselves. When Jesus became thirsty the soldiers offered him a sponge soaked in vinegar.
At three o'clock that day Jesus died.
John 19: 17 - 37
Scene:Cross in centre of church. Vinegar in bowl, with breadsticks, sponge and spear.
Play activity:Making a little cross out of lollipop sticks and wool; Lenten cross puzzle from Godly Play.
Prayer activity:Dipping breadsticks in the vinegar to taste.
Station 10: The Burial
After Jesus had died, his body was wrapped in a linen cloth and taken to a tomb built into rock in a beautiful garden.
When they had laid him to rest they rolled a stone over the entrance of the tomb.
Mark 15: 42 - 47
Scene:Tomb created from black cloths and hessian. Linen cloths were placed inside the tomb.
A large stone made from papier mache and chicken wire.
Play activity:Drawing a sign or a symbol for Christ on a linen strip.
Prayer activity:Placing a stone on the cairn beside the tomb.
How were the stations used?
Our Good Friday All Age Service began by carrying the cross in procession from an ecumenical service at our local Methodist church. Once in the church the cross was placed in a central position in the nave. We had a short service which included a brief talk in which the congregation were invited to take on the role of the crowd on Good Friday, shouting "Free Barabbas" and "Crucify him!"
After the service the congregation was free to visit the prayer stations and spend as much time doing this as they wished. The prayer stations were also left out for the quiet hour which followed.
The screen showed the stations of the cross for those who were less mobile or just wanted to be still. Readings and pictures were scattered around the pews for quiet contemplation.
After the service refreshments and Easter crafts were offered in the church hall.
Acknowledgements:Our story cards were based on the Gospel narratives or were adapted from The Complete Guide to Godly Play Volume 4 by Jerome Berryman and Experience Easter (Gloucester Diocese)