Good Friday Prayer

Good Friday Prayer can refer to any of the prayers prayed by Christians on Good Friday, the Friday before Easter, or to all such prayers collectively.

Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine-rite Catholic prayer on Good Friday

Eastern Orthodox Christians and many Byzantine-rite Catholics, who use the same liturgy, spend this day fasting from all food, to the extent that their health permits. Neither the Divine Liturgy nor the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts may be celebrated, thereby fasting from the Eucharist as well (with the exception of communion for the dying). Instead, they come together three times during the day for communal worship:

  • Royal Hours in the forenoon, includes many Psalms, hymns, Old Testament and New Testament readings
  • Vespers of Great and Holy Friday in the afternoon, commemorating the Descent from the Cross
  • Matins of Great and Holy Saturday in the evening, reenacting the Burial of Jesus, with prayers praising him for his death and immanent Resurrection.

The prayers include commemoration of the events of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial. During this time, the hymns do not forget the coming Resurrection. Holding both events in tension, the following troparia (hymns) are sung during the afternoon prayers while the epitaphios (shroud) is being carried to the tomb:

The noble Joseph, when he had taken down Thy most pure Body from the tree, wrapped it in fine linen, and anointed it with spices, and placed it in a new tomb.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.
The angel came to the myrrh-bearing women at the tomb and said:
Myrrh is fitting for the dead, but Christ has shown Himself a stranger to corruption.

Roman Catholic prayers

In the Roman Rite the first part of the Celebration of the Passion of the Lord consists of the reading or chanting of Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9, and the Passion account from the Gospel of John, which is often divided between more than one singer or reader. This part concludes with a series of prayers: for the Church, the Pope, the clergy and laity of the Church, those preparing for baptism, the unity of Christians, the Jewish people, those who do not believe in Christ, those who do not believe in God, those in public office, those in special need.

Some writers use the term “Good Friday Prayer” to refer to one particular prayer among these, namely the Good Friday Prayer for the Jews.

The Good Friday Prayer refers to the section of the Good Friday Service called “Intercessory Prayers” where the prayer is introduced, people pray for a minute followed by the prayer by the priest.

For the Church:

Let us pray, dear friends, 
For the holy Church of God throughout the world, 
That God the almighty Father 
Guide it and gather it together 
So that we may worship him 
In peace and tranquility.

Almighty and eternal God, 
You have shown your glory to all nations 
In Christ, Your Son. 
Guide the work of your Church. 
Help it to persevere in faith, 
Proclaim Your name, 
And bring Your salvation to people everywhere. 
We ask this through Christ our Lord. 

For the Pope:

Let us pray 
For our Holy Father, Pope ____________ 
That God who chose him to be bishop 
May give him health and strength 
To guide and govern God’s holy people.

Almighty and eternal God, 
You guide all things by your word, 
You govern all Christian people. 
In your love protect the Pope you have chosen for us. 
Under his leadership deepen our faith 
And make us better Christians. 
We ask this through Christ our Lord. 

For the Clergy and Laity of the Church:

Let us pray for N. our bishop, 
For all bishops, priests, and deacons; 
For all who have a special ministry in the Church 
And for all God’s people.

Almighty and eternal God, 
Your Spirit guides the Church 
And makes it holy. 
Listen to our prayers 
And help each one of us 
In his own vocation 
To do you work more faithfully. 
We ask this through Christ our Lord. 

For Those Preparing for Baptism:

Let us pray for those among us preparing for baptism, 
That God in his mercy 
Make them responsive to his love, 
Forgive their sins through the waters of new birth, 
And give them life in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Almighty and eternal God, 
You continually bless your Church with new members. 
Increase the faith and understanding 
Of those among us preparing for baptism. 
Give them a new birth in these living waters 
And make them members of you chosen family. 
We ask this through Christ our Lord. 

For Unity of Christians:

Let us pray 
For all our brothers and sisters 
Who share our faith in Jesus Christ, 
That God may gather and keep together in one church 
All those who seek the truth with sincerity.

Almighty and eternal God, 
You keep together those you have united. 
Look kindly on all who follow Jesus your Son. 
We are all consecrated to you by our common baptism. 
Make us one in the fullness of faith, 
And keep us one in the fellowship of love. 
We ask this through Christ our Lord. 

For the Jewish People:

Let us pray 
For the Jewish people, 
The first to hear the word of God, 
That they may continue to grow in the love of his name 
And in faithfulness to his covenant.

Almighty and eternal God, 
Long ago you gave your promise to Abraham and his posterity. 
Listen to your Church as we pray 
That the people you first made your own 
May arrive at the fullness of redemption. 
We ask this through Christ our Lord. 

For Those Who Do Not Believe in Christ:

Let us pray 
For those who do not believe in Christ, 
That the light of the Holy Spirit 
May show them the way to salvation.

Almighty and eternal God, 
Enable those who do not acknowledge Christ 
To find the truth 
As they walk before you in sincerity of heart. 
Help us to grow in love for one another, 
To grasp more fully the mystery of your godhead, 
And to become more perfect witnesses of your love 
In the sight of men. 
We ask this through Christ our Lord. 

For Those Who Do Not Believe in God:

Let us pray 
For those who do not believe in God, 
that they may find Him 
By sincerely following all that is right.

Almighty and eternal God, 
You created mankind 
So that all might long to find you 
And have peace when you are found, 
Grant that, in spite of the hurtful things 
That stand in their way, 
They may all recognize in the lives of Christians 
The tokens of your love and mercy, 
And gladly acknowledge you 
As the one true God and Father of us all. 
We ask this through Christ our Lord. 

For All in Public Office:

Let us pray 
For those who serve us in public office, 
That God may guide their minds and hearts, 
So that all men may live in true peace and freedom. 

Almighty and eternal God, 
You know the longings of men’s hearts 
And you protect their rights. 
In your goodness 
Watch over those in authority, 
So that people everywhere may enjoy 
Religious freedom, security, and peace. 
We ask those through Christ our Lord. 

For Those in Special Need:

Let us pray, dear friends, 
That God the almighty Father 
May heal the sick, 
Comfort the dying, 
Give safety to travelers, 
Free those unjustly deprived of liberty, 
And rid the world of falsehood, 
Hunger and disease.

Almighty, ever-living God, 
You give strength to the weary 
And new courage to those who have lost heart. 
Hear the prayers of all who call on you in trouble 
That they may have the joy of receiving your help in their need. 
We ask this through Christ our Lord. 

Anglican prayers

One of the Solemn Collects says

Merciful God, creator of all the peoples of the earth and lover of souls: Have compassion on all who do not know you as you are revealed in your Son Jesus Christ; let your Gospel be preached with grace and power to those who have not heard it; turn the hearts of those who resist it; and bring home to your fold those who have gone astray; that there may be one flock under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord.[1][2]

Lutheran prayers

Since 2013, the Good Friday bidding prayer in the Evangelical Worship book used by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America reads as follows:

Almighty and everlasting God, You willed that Your Son should bear for us the pains of the cross, that You might remove from us the power of the adversary: Help us to remember and give thanks for our Lord’s Passion that we may obtain remission of sin and redemption from everlasting death; through the same, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.[3]

Good Friday Prayer for the Jews

There have been debates about antisemitism in the Good Friday Prayer since the 1950s.


  1.  Hatchett, Marion J. (1995-08-01). Commentary on the American Prayer Book. HarperCollins. ISBN978-0-06-063554-1.
  2.  “Good Friday”. Retrieved 2009-06-15.

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