Praying at home

A service at home for Palm Sunday.


Have you still got your Palm Cross from last year? If so, do get it out and perhaps hold it as you pray today.

 Lets begin with hymn 63: All glory laud and honour.

 You could read it, or sing it, or if you prefer here is a link to a u-tube site so that others can sing it for you!


Our reading today comes from St Matthew’s gospel, chapter 21 verses 1 – 11:

 When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, “The Lord needs them.” And he will send them immediately.This took place to fulfil what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,

‘Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’
The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!’
When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, ‘Who is this?’ The crowds were saying, ‘This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.’


A prayer for today:

Holy God, as we enter this most solemn week in the Christian year, in these extraordinary times, help us to lament with the psalmist. As we are restricted in what we can do and must worship in households rather than in church buildings, help us to remember that the church is not closed – for church is people not buildings. We pray for all with whom we normally worship Sunday by Sunday and we bring them before you now, in Jesus’ name. Amen


How does Palm Sunday with its crowds relate to the comparative loneliness of our streets currently?


 The story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem features a community on the move and a city in turmoil. As we look around us, we see not just a city but a whole world in turmoil (and a community stuck at home!).

 After their long journey from Galilee, Jesus and his disciples finally reach Jerusalem. They must have been fearful. For, however enthusiastic the reception was as they approached the city gates, this was the place where both secular (Roman) and religious (Jewish) authorities had their headquarters.

 In our time and place, most commercial flights cancelled, many people are still seeking to make difficult journeys home from far flung places; and others have cancelled holidays or long weekend breaks. Indeed, travelling of any kind is now denied for most of us (except for local exercise and ‘essential’ journeys).  Also denied to us are the enthusiastic welcomes from families and friends we expected to see over Easter.

 In these circumstances, it is hard to imagine the enthusiastic welcome which Jesus received. But did the claps and cheers for NHS workers on the evening of 22 March and beyond perhaps reflect something similar? Do the many skilled people returning to jobs in the NHS give us another image of similar enthusiasm? And there are all those who are keeping essential services running at this time: those working with the older and vulnerable in their own homes those who work in food shops, those who deliver the mail, those who keep the electricity flowing, those who collect our rubbish, who drive the trains and buses so that essential workers can get to work.

 Not long after Jesus and his friends entered the city, came the fateful week – leading to that last meal together on Thursday, Jesus’ arrest, his trial and the horribly brutal punishment of crucifixion. The disciples were fearful. Most of whom were nowhere to be seen as the final events unfolded. Yet among that fear, someone lent them a room for the Last Supper. And it was during that week (according to Matthew 22.34-40) that Jesus gave the teaching on the greatest commandments, which together with the ‘new commandment’ (John 13.34), has so influenced the development of our faith. And, just before he begins the story of the Passion, Matthew reports Jesus as telling the story of the sheep and the goats (25.31-46),  including the words: ‘as you did to one of the least of these…you did it to me’ – another image and message which many of us hold dear, and which seems so resonant as we are each challenged in the present circumstances to love our neighbours in new ways by staying apart from them.

 Whether you are using this reflection alone or with your household, consider how you might mark this most solemn week in the church’s calendar in these most extraordinary times.

 [© ROOTS for Churches Ltd ( 2002-2020. Reproduced with permission].


Let us pray:

 Holy God, we pray for those in authority as they grapple with the unexpected.

Guide those who are giving the world’s leaders knowledge and expertise in these times. Give wisdom and courage to all in leadership, and when this is all over may humankind emerge strengthened.
God in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

 Holy God, as we hear and see the news and exchange thoughts on social media, help us to remember all those less fortunate than ourselves, among them: those who are lonely, who are angry, who are distressed, who are at their wits end, who are struggling to get home, who cannot get the help they need

God in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

 Holy God, we remember all those who are working to keep things going: those working in the NHS and those around it helping to keep things working, the carers visiting people in their own homes caring for the elderly and vulnerable, those keeping our streets clean and collecting our rubbish, those harvesting, delivering and selling the food in our shops, those keeping us secure and our utilities functioning, and clergy of all religions seeking to minister in difficult times…

God in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

 Holy God, we remember those who have died, whether from Covid-19 or from other causes remembering especially Edna Dempsey and Cliff Parratt. We pray for their families and friends as they arrange funerals so different from what they expected. We pray that they and we may come at the last to find peace in your presence.

God in your mercy, Hear our prayer.


We sing, read or listen to our hymn:

Ride on Ride on in majesty (number 61) or using this link:


We conclude with saying the Grace as we think of those around us, those dear to us and all whom we normally worship with on a Sunday morning.

 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all evermore. Amen



Please do not forget:

  1. We shall have a special service on Friday for Good Friday based upon the Stations of the Cross.
  2. Bishop Graham is putting a daily meditation on the Cathedral’s website each day this week; you can find the website here:  Or on the diocesan website:



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