Updated: Mar 31
Last year our church tried something different for Good Friday. Typically, we hold a worship gathering with music and a message. Instead, we set up a prayer room throughout the building. These stations provided space for people to reflect on the sayings of Jesus from the cross.
I heard story after story of people who were deeply impacted by their time in the prayer. A prayer room is an excellent way for people to experience the gospel and encounter Christ in a fresh way.
This year I created a prayer room focusing on the seven “I AM” statements of Christ from the Gospel of John. I’m posting the instructions for each station below for anyone unable to join in person (5-8 PM on April 7, 2023, at Hill City Church).
Feel free to use these stations in your context. The setup for each station is simple enough that you should be able to set up the prayer room at home using everyday household items. You don’t even have to wait for Good Friday. You could focus on one statement each day of the week.
I’m so excited to pray with our church this Good Friday, and I hope these guided prayer exercises are a blessing for you!
I AM the Bread of Life.
Set Up: Communion elements.
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” - John 6:35
When Jesus called himself the bread of life, he was making the claim that only he can truly satisfy the human soul. Anything else will leave us hungry and thirsty.
What have you been feeding your soul with lately?
Entertainment? Possessions? Substances? Relationships? Success? Sin?
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. - 1 Corinthians 11:27-28
Before you take the Lord’s Supper, take time to confess sin and get your heart right before God.
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” - Matthew 26:26-29
The Lord’s Supper is a time to remember Christ’s body that was broken and his blood that was shed on the cross for our sins. As you take the elements, receive God’s grace. Know that because of what Jesus has accomplished for us, we will one day share a meal with him at the marriage feast of the Lamb.
And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” - Revelation 19:9
I AM the Light of the World.
Set Up: Candle/lamp and a dark room.
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” - John 8:12
Light is a rich metaphor used throughout Scripture to represent truth, righteousness, life, and glory. Jesus is all of these things and more.
The opposite of light is darkness. Even if we’re saved, the reality is that we all probably have areas in our lives where we still practice darkness. We need bring our hidden actions, words, and thoughts before Christ and allow him to expose any sin that remains.
“And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” - John 3:19-21
The difference between those who walk in the light and those who love the darkness is the willingness to let Christ into every area of life.
The Examen is an ancient prayer technique popularized by Ignatius of Loyola. Pray through these four steps from 24-7 Prayer as you keep a soft focus on the lights in the room.
1. Replay. Think over your day like a movie replaying in your head. Notice what you are noticing. What made you happy? What made you anxious? What made you angry?
2. Rejoice. Thank God for those things which are obvious. But also thank Him for non-obvious things which we sometimes forget - random acts of kindness, being healthy, a positive song or meal. Relish and savor these moments in gratitude to God.
3. Repent. Say sorry to God for moments that come to into your mind as you review the day e.g., getting involved in gossip, reacting with a tone that was aggressive, lacking compassion in a situation, ignoring a need, not responding to a nudge. Receive His forgiveness afresh.
4. Reboot. Make a decision in your heart to live for Jesus tomorrow and ask for grace to see His presence more clearly. Trust God’s grace
If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. - 1 John 1:7-9
I AM the Door.
Set Up: Sticky notes & a door.
So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” - John 10:7-10
Jesus confidently declares that he is the only one who can grant access to God’s Kingdom. When you find Jesus, you have found eternal life. Rejoice in the abundant life given to you by God’s grace.
Sadly, there are many people in this world who are lost.
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” - Matthew 7:13-14
Think of your friends, family members, coworkers, and neighbors who are on the road that leads to destruction. Allow the Holy Spirit fill your heart with compassion for the lost.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. - Matthew 9:36
Pray for each person that comes to mind by name.
Write these names down on a sticky note and place it on the door. Let this be a representation of your hearts desire that these people find Jesus—the entrance to eternal life.
I AM the Good Shepherd.
Set Up: Phone/computer playing “The House of God, Forever” by Jon Foreman.
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. - John 10:11-15
Jesus is the leader that our hearts long for. He is not like the thieves, robbers, strangers, hired hands, and wolves that we often encounter in this world. He is true, gentle, personal, selfless, and righteous.
Jesus is good in the fullest sense of the word. In the ultimate act of love, he laid down his life for us on the cross.
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. - John 15:13
In what ways have you strayed from Christ’s leadership in your life?
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. - 1 Peter 2:24-25
Listen to the song, “The House of God, Forever” written by Jon Foreman and meditate on Psalm 23. Allow yourself to become more aware of God’s presence.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. - Psalm 23
What is the good shepherd saying to you?
I AM the Resurrection & the Life.
Set Up: Bible opened to the Psalms.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” - John 11:25-26
Mary & Martha are grieving the loss of their brother Lazarus. When Jesus finally arrives to their village, they both express the same disappointment.
“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
Expressing grief to God is a necessary form of prayer called Lament. Yet, many of us neglect allowing God into our deep pain.
"Pain needs to be expressed, for pain that is not expressed can never be transformed, and pain that is not transformed will be transmitted." - 24-7 Prayer
Where in your life is it difficult to see God at work? What loss or disappointment are you experiencing?
Flip through the book of Psalms until you find a passage that resonates with your pain. It shouldn’t take too long to find one. Psalms of lament are the most common kind of prayer recorded in the book of Psalms.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest. - Psalm 22:1-2
Take comfort knowing that Jesus knows what you are going through. He experienced the depths of human suffering on the cross when he died for the sins of the world.
Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” - Matthew 27:45-46
Remember that in Christ, death is not the end. After Good Friday comes Easter Sunday. There is no situation too hopeless for our God.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning. - Psalm 30:5
I AM the Way, the Truth, & the Life.
Set Up: Art supplies for creating something.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” - John 14:6-7
The first chapter of the Bible paints a picture of Creation.
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. - Genesis 1:31
Imagine what this world would be like without the influence of sin, death, and the devil. How is your soul crying out for healing and renewal?
The last chapter of Revelation promises New Creation.
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. - Revelation 22:1-5
What are you most excited about the renewed earth?
Use the art supplies to create (draw, write, etc) something that reflects the hope of heaven. When you are finished, post your creation on the wall.
The gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ died, rose again, and ascended into heaven. But the story doesn’t end there. One day Jesus will return and make all things new.
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” - John 14:1-3
Thank Jesus for paving the way back to God. Allow your heart to be filled with a living hope.
I AM the True Vine.
Set Up: House plant or window overlooking greenery.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” - John 15:1-5
Jesus often used metaphors from nature to describe our spiritual growth. Imagine your life as a disciple of Christ as a plant. How healthy is that plant? What does it look like? What is the fruit (or lack of fruit)?
“As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” - Matthew 13:23
The difference between good and bad soil is how receptive we are to God’s Word. The difference between a healthy and a withering branch is how connected we are to Jesus.
What does God want to cut out of your life?
What does God want to grow in you?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. - Galatians 5:22-24
Slow down your breathing as you pray through this short prayer. Repeat each line as many times as you need. Allow the Holy Spirit to grow fruit in you.
Inhale receiving God’s love.
Exhale letting go of hate.
Inhale receiving God’s joy.
Exhale letting go of sorrow.
Inhale receiving God’s peace.
Exhale letting go of worry.
Inhale receiving God’s kindness.
Exhale letting go of anger.
Inhale receiving God’s goodness.
Exhale letting go of sin.
Inhale receiving God’s faithfulness.
Exhale letting go of cynicism.
Inhale receiving God’s gentleness.
Exhale letting go of harshness.
Inhale receiving God’s self-control.
Exhale letting go of lust.
Which one of these guided prayer exercises was the most impactful for you? I’d love to know in the comments below!
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