Getting Ready for Easter: Madison Park Christian Church, Quincy, IL

Good Friday Prayer Walk

By Chuck Sackett, preaching minister, Madison Park Christian Church, Quincy, Illinois

A few years ago we decided to do something completely different for Good Friday. Instead of a traditional service, we did a prayer walk. It started in the lobby, moved down the hall to the next large space, into the fellowship hall, through the worship space (we have removable seating), and ended in a large classroom. Each room was a new prayer station.

03_JJ_Easter_Sackett_JNIt started with a place for prayer and symbolic washing, then an opportunity to take the Lord’s Supper. The fellowship hall was turned into a garden, with places to sit and contemplate and pray. The worship center was arranged around the centrality of a cross, with stations around the side for modeling clay, stones, and water treatments. The final stop was a room with a casket. In each location were instructions and suggestions—written, not oral.

We had hosts at the doors of the building, at each site, and at the end. It was to be a solemn (though not somber) experience. It took about 40 to 60 minutes to go through. We had about 400 go through the prayer walk; several people were in each location at the same time. Some people who went through early in the day called friends and came with them to experience the prayer walk together later in the day.

Another year we did a fairly typical series of services: Maundy Thursday, a cross-focused Good Friday service, and resurrection services on Sunday. Our unique feature was a suggestion that people consciously attempt to see the world through the disciples’ eyes on Saturday. Since those original Christ followers spent that day in mourning and in ignorance of the resurrection, we tried to duplicate that.

We created a guide for our people to use on Saturday, with instructions to be as silent as possible and to seek to avoid thinking about the resurrection. We sent texts to remind them of the sacrifice and grief.

There’s no way to know how many participated, but it was a meaningful experience for those who did, and Sunday became much more of a celebration.

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