“They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the king of Israel!" John 12:13
Palm Sunday is significant because it marks the beginning of Holy Week, that very important day when Jesus began His journey toward the cross.
Yet often, maybe in the midst of busy lives, or in the flurry of activity around the upcoming Easter holiday, the significance of this special day might get missed. Let's pause to reflect on the importance of Palm Sunday and offer up a Palm Sunday prayer of praise.
God’s Word reminds us how there's such great meaning in every part of Christ’s story, all directing us towards our need for a Savior...
In each of the gospels, we find the story of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The people cut palm branches and waved them in the air, then laid them out on the ground before Him as He rode into the city. The palm branch is known to represent goodness and victory, symbolic of the final victory He would soon fulfill over sin and death.
But no one knew the full story then. They had no idea what would soon transpire…
They just knew, at that moment, on that day, they longed to give worship and praise to Jesus.
“A massive crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of Him and those that followed were shouting: “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!” When Jesus had entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” Matthew 21:8-10
The whole city was “stirred,” they were “shaken.” I can almost imagine the energy of the moment, voices cheering and shouting, people trying to see through the crowds, just who it was that was coming through that day.
As they called out, "Hosanna!" they were hailing Christ as King. That word means "to save now," and though in their own minds they eagerly waited for an earthly king, God had a different plan in store. He was providing a way to set us free…eternally.
This is the greatness of why we celebrate this week. Because of Christ's ultimate sacrifice and victory, we too are more than conquerors and set free through Him.
A Palm Sunday Prayer
Dear God, Thank you for sending your Son and paving the way for our lives to be set free through Jesus' death on the cross. Thank you for what this day stands for - the beginning of Holy Week, the start of the journey towards the power of the cross, the victory of the Resurrection, and the rich truth that Jesus truly is our King of Kings.
"Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord..."
We give you praise and honor for your ways are righteous and true. We give you worship for you are holy and just. We will declare that your love stands firm forever. For your lovingkindness endures forever.
Thank you that your ways are far greater than our ways, your thoughts far deeper than our thoughts. Thank you that you had a plan to redeem. Thank you that you make all things new. Thank you that your face is towards the righteous, and you hear our prayers, and know our hearts. Help us to stay strong and true to you. Help us not to follow after the voice of the crowds, but to press in close to you, to hear your whispers, and seek after you alone.
We praise you, we bless you Lord! Thank you that you reign supreme and we are more than conquerors through the gift of Christ!
In the Mighty Name of Jesus, Amen.
Get your FREE 8-Day Prayer and Scripture Guide - Praying Through the Holy Week HERE. Print your own copy for a beautiful daily devotional leading up to Easter.
Palm Sunday Readings
Matthew 21:1-11 - Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King
"As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ” The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Zechariah 9:9 - The Coming of Zion's King
"Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey."
Psalm 118: 1-2, 23-29
"Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let Israel now say, "His mercy endures forever."
"This is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Save us, we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray, give us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD. The LORD is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar! You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!"
Additional Palm Sunday Prayers:
A Prayer for Palm Sunday
Father, Palm Sunday is approaching, and this past year has brought tumultuous times and flashes of fear that none of us have experienced in our lifetimes. The very real fallen state of our world and the frailty of life have been put front and center in our lives in a visceral way. We look to you, Father, to guide us out of our fear and remind us of our Savior. We do not need to be afraid. You have given us the wisdom we need to live each day of our lives to the full purpose You have designed for us to live.
Rejoice in the Hope Jesus Made Possible
Father, Palm Sunday is a reminder of the unexpected, yet fully anticipated, King of Kings. Jesus did not look like the Messiah Your people hoped for. The way He entered the Holy City of Jerusalem on that day, riding a young donkey as a significant sign of peace and fulfillment of prophecy, did not align with their expectations of a military conqueror. Much of our daily lives don’t align with our expectations, Father. So much of our lives don’t make sense. This Palm Sunday, let us embrace the unexpected entrance of our Savior, Jesus. He is Peace. Let us apply this incredible truth to our lives. Peace mattered to Jesus. He came to bring us Peace. He is peace. Father, how quickly we forget the Peace we possess in Christ! Remind us, minute by minute, as we navigate difficult days and trying times. Father, we need Peace to live life to the full, as Jesus died for us to live.
(excerpts from Meg Bucher, Triumphant Prayers for Palm Sunday)
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/jakub-dziubak
Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a lot of pets). Join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead's Facebook page, for daily encouragement in living strong, free, hope-filled lives.