A Guide for Your Personal Worship Entering Holy Week

The following is a sample day’s readings from O Sacred Head, Now Wounded: A Liturgy for Daily Worship from Pascha to Pentecost, a 48-day devotional liturgy to help readers effectively prepare their hearts from Pascha (Easter) to Pentecost.

A Liturgy for Remembering Christ’s Life, Death, and Resurrection

Since the beginning of time, it has been God’s plan to fill heaven and earth with the praise of his name. By grace, we have been swept up into this plan through faith in his Son, Jesus Christ. A liturgy of daily worship aims to help us worship God by meditating on the great work of his salvation as revealed in the person of his Son.

On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
      and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. (Ps. 145:5)

O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

Jonathan Gibson

For individuals and families, this 48-day liturgical devotional guides readers through Pascha (Easter), Holy Week, and Pentecost—helping them retain their focus on the saving work of Christ throughout his temptations, life, trial, passion, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and Pentecost.


Reflect on these words about the passion of the Lord Jesus:

He stretched out his hands on the cross, that he might embrace the ends of the world; for this Golgotha is the very center of the earth.
Cyril of Jerusalem

Call to Worship

Hear God call you to worship through his word:

You ascended on high,
      leading a host of captives in your train
and receiving gifts among men,
      even among the rebellious, that the Lord God may
            dwell there.

Blessed be the Lord,
      who daily bears us up;
      God is our salvation. Selah
Psalm 68:18–19


Say or sing this praise to God:

Praise the Savior now and ever;
praise him, all beneath the skies;
prostrate lying, suff’ring, dying
on the cross, a sacrifice.
Victory gaining, life obtaining,
now in glory he doth rise.

Man’s work faileth, Christ’s availeth;
he is all our righteousness;
he, our Savior, has forever
set us free from dire distress.
Thro’ his merit we inherit
light and peace and happiness.

Sin’s bonds severed, we’re delivered;
Christ has bruised the serpent’s head;
death no longer is the stronger;
hell itself is captive led.
Christ has risen from death’s prison;
o’er the tomb he light has shed.

For his favor, praise forever
unto God the Father sing;
praise the Savior, praise him ever,
Son of God, our Lord and King.
Praise the Spirit; thro’ Christ’s merit
he doth us salvation bring.
Venantius Honorius Fortunatus

Reading of the Law

Hear God’s law as his will for your life:

Our Lord Jesus said,

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
      for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
      for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
      for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
      for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
      for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
      for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
      for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
      for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:3–10

Confession of Sin

Confess your sins to God:

O Lord, you have mercy upon all—take away from me my sins, and mercifully kindle in me the fire of your Holy Spirit. Take away from me the heart of stone, and give me a heart of flesh, a heart to love and adore you, a heart to delight in you, to follow and to enjoy you, for Christ’s sake. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

Receive these words of comfort from God:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

Nicene Creed

Confess what you believe about the Christian faith:

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty,
      Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God;
      begotten of the Father before all worlds;
      God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God;
      begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father;
      by whom all things were made.

Who, for us men and for our salvation,
      came down from heaven
      and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary,
      and was made man;
      and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate;
      he suffered and was buried;
      and the third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures;
      and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father;
      and he shall come again, with glory, to judge the living and the dead;
      whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life;
      who proceeds from the Father and the Son;
      who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified;
      who spoke by the prophets.

And I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church.
      I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins;
      and I look for the resurrection of the dead,
      and the life of the world to come. Amen.


Say or sing this praise to God:

Glory be to the Father,
      and to the Son,
      and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
      is now and ever shall be,
      world without end. Amen.
Gloria Patri


Receive this instruction from the Heidelberg Catechism:

Q. 29. Why is the Son of God called “Jesus,” meaning “savior”?

A. Because he saves us from our sins; and because salvation is not to be sought or found in anyone else.

Prayer for Illumination

As you read his word, ask God to enlighten your mind and heart:

Lord, you know what distracted hearts we have, O give us self-recollection; you know what hard, dead hearts we have, O touch and awaken us! You know how we yet resist your Word and our lower nature is reluctant to bow to your scepter; therefore, O Lord, show forth your power; send your Spirit on high to work among us, to make our hearts submissive, and ourselves capable of living in true union with you, our salvation, and of yielding totally to your grace. Amen.
Gerhard Tersteegen

Scripture Reading

Read this portion of God’s word: Psalm 24

The King of Glory

1 The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof,
      the world and those who dwell therein,
2 for he has founded it upon the seas
      and established it upon the rivers.

3 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?
      And who shall stand in his holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
      who does not lift up his soul to what is false
      and does not swear deceitfully.
5 He will receive blessing from the LORD
      and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,
      who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah (ESV)

7 Lift up your heads, O gates!
      And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
      that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is this King of glory?
      The LORD, strong and mighty,
      the LORD, mighty in battle!
9 Lift up your heads, O gates!
      And lift them up, O ancient doors,
      that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is this King of glory?
      The LORD of hosts,
      he is the King of glory! Selah

Prayer of Reflection

Say or sing this prayer to God:

Savior, when in dust to Thee
Low we bow the adoring knee;
When, repentant, to the skies
Scarce we lift our weeping eyes,
O by all Thy pains and woe
Suffered once for man below,
Bending from Thy throne on high,
Hear our penitential cry! Amen.
Robert Grant

Prayer of Intercession

As you make your requests to God, pray this prayer:

Lord, without you I can do nothing; with you I can do all. Help me by your grace, that I fall not; help me by your strength, to resist mightily the very first beginnings of evil, before it takes hold of me; help me to cast myself at once at your sacred feet, and lie still there, until storm be overpast; and, if I lose sight of you, bring me back quickly to you, and grant me to love you better. Amen.
E. B. Pusey

Lord’s Prayer

In closing, pray the words that Jesus taught us to pray:

Our Father in heaven,
      hallowed be your name;
      your kingdom come;
      your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
      Give us this day our daily bread.
      And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
      And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
      For yours is the kingdom, and the power,
      and the glory, forever. Amen.


Receive by faith this blessing from God:

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
2 Corinthians 13:14


In closing, say or sing this praise to God:

His Name for ever shall endure,
      last like the sun it shall;
Men shall be blessed in Him, and blessed
      all nations shall Him call.

Now blessèd be the Lord, our God,
      the God of Israel,
For He alone does wondrous works,
      in glory that excel.

And blessèd be His glorious Name
      to all eternity;
The whole earth let His glory fill.
      Amen, so let it be.
Based on Psalm 72:17–19

This article is adapted from O Sacred Head, Now Wounded: A Liturgy for Daily Worship from Pascha to Pentecost by Jonathan Gibson.

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