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Take up your Cross


Here are some worship resources inspired by Jesus’ exhortation to “deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me.”


Matthew 16:24-28
Mark 8:34-38
Luke 9:23-27


Pastoral Prayer

Oh, God of love, power and faithfulness,
We journey with your son,
ever closer to Jerusalem,
to his cross his true destiny.

We hear his words
“Take up your cross and follow me,”
but we aren’t sure if it’s the crosses of this life,
or the actual cross of death.

We hear his words,
“deny your self,”
and wonder which self it is;
the self we put on for others,
or the self centered self
that wants it all for ourselves?

Whichever it is,
it seems like Jesus
sure is asking a lot of us
and we aren’t sure we can do this.

God, we will need your holy spirit
to be able to do this.
God, we will need your grace and mercy
to be able to do this.

We remember that you empowered your disciples,
the early Christians,
and others who decided to follow you,
we believe that you will do likewise for us.


~ written by Rev. Abi, and posted on Rev. Abi’s Long and Winding Road blog.

Prayer of Confession and Commitment

It is too easy, God
for faith to become an escape
a way to avoid the pain of being human and alive;
or a path to success
a way to persuade the universe to give us the things we want;
or a system of control
a way to bend others to our will

But the faith you offer is different, Jesus,
more dangerous and compelling;

It's the faith that carries the cross,
that embraces death
and lays itself down for the sake of others;

It's the only faith that can lead us to resurrection
to life renewed and overflowing.

We praise you for this faith, God,
and open our hearts to receive it.

~ Copyright © John van de Laar, from Sacredise.

Prayer of Confession

Merciful God,
we confess that our sin turns us from you
again and again.
We are a sinful generation
longing for your mercy.
We want not only to save our lives,
but to gain the whole world as well.
We are too often ashamed to show our faith
to the world around us.
Have mercy on us.


~ adapted from The Abingdon Worship Annual 2006, and posted on the Worship Elements page of the Ministry Matters website.

Prayer of Petition

Almighty God,
by your Holy Spirit you have made us one with your saints in heaven and on earth:
Help us to see your presence burning in the hearts of others;
grant that we may be united in a fellowship of love and prayer;
give us the courage to pick up our cross and respond to the needs of the world,
give us the stamina to follow you, to be your hands and heart in the world;
enable us to witness to your grace and mercy.
We pray all this through the love your son, Jesus Christ.


~ written by Terri, and posted on RevGalBlogPals.

Prayer of Commitment

Today, Lord, I once again take up my cross and follow you.

Forgive me for choosing daily to be COMPLACENT. Happiness has been my god and I have believed I’m entitled to it. Forgive me for all the excuses I have for not responding to you immediately, with urgency, and sacrificially. Forgive me for complaining about being bored as I sit and do nothing.

Forgive me for the times I have tried to make carrying my cross more COMFORTABLE. I have been too concerned with finding things to make it easier; gadgets and toys to make my cross lighter, smaller, and cushioned. Forgive me for making excuses and not going with you because I was worried about my health, safety, reputation, loneliness, financial security, and ability to handle extreme weather and getting dirty. Forgive me for focusing on my comfort rather than my character.

Forgive me for the times I have not followed you because it wasn’t CONVENIENT. I didn’t want to go out of my way to see the needs around me because then I would feel guilty for not doing something about them. Forgive me for not loving my neighbors–I don’t even know their names. Forgive me for being so busy with my priorities that I forget to meet with you and then squeezing a few verses in at the end of my day so I can check devo’s off my to-do list. Forgive me for trying to pacify my conscience by giving just enough to feel good about myself but not enough to inconvenience my lifestyle.

Today, Lord, I once again take up my cross and follow you. Shake me of my complacency; I want to live daily with an urgency to radically be the change you call me to be. Strip me of my comforts; may my love for you be a driving force to live with joyful surrender. Scratch out my schedule; I don’t want my circumstances or timeline to influence my dedication and obedience to take up my cross and follow you. Here I am; Send Me.

May your word pour out of me like water to the thirsty, and may my life be full of the fruit of the Spirit. All I am and have I give back to you with open hands knowing that all my needs you will meet as I go with you. Today I take up my cross and FOLLOW YOU.

In Jesus Name, Amen.

~ excerpted from a prayer by Hila, and posted on the Love God, Love Neighbour website.

Spoken Resources

Call to Worship

Those who want to save their lives
have good health insurance,
pay their bills on time,
exercise and eat right.
Those who want to save their lives
will lose them.

Those who lose their lives
in pursuit of God
who abandon the world's values,
who live generously and faithfully,
who listen to a voice beyond.
Those who lose their lives
in pursuit of God
will find life.

May we learn the value of loss.
May we know the value of life.


~ Copyright Katherine Hawker, 2002. Posted on Liturgy Outside.


May Christ who calls you to take up your cross,
give you strength to bear your own and one another's burdens.
May Christ give you grace to grow in holiness,
to deny yourself, and to take up your cross and follow him.
And may the blessing of God our Creator,
Redeemer and Giver of life be with you always.


~ posted on the Anglican Prayerbook website.


Traditional Hymn: Take up your Cross

Worship Together #525

Take up your cross, the Savior said,
If you would my disciple be;
Take up your cross with willing heart,
And humbly follow after me.

Take up your cross—let not its weight
Fill your weak spirit with alarm;
His strength shall bear your spirit up,
And brace your heart and nerve your arm.

Take up your cross, heed not the shame,
And let your foolish heart be still;
The Lord for you accepted death
Upon a cross, on Calvary’s hill.

Take up your cross, then, in his strength,
And calmly ev’ry danger brave;
He guides you to abundant life
And leads to victory o’er the grave.

Take up your cross and follow Christ,
Nor think till death to lay it down;
For only they who bear the cross
May hope to wear the glorious crown.

Text: Charles William Everest
Tune: LM Breslau

~ Charles William Everest, altered.

Tune suggestions:
MARYTON (“O Master, let me walk with Thee”)
Listen here: http://www.hymnary.org/tune/maryton_smith

GERMANY (aka FULDA) (“Where cross the crowded ways of life”)
Listen here: http://www.hymnary.org/tune/germany_beethoven_gardiner

Contemporary Hymn: If This is Not Our World

If this is not our world
with all its hollow powers,
to make a god of gold
it no concern of ours.
The latest gains
fill all the news;
we need not choose
to wear such chains.

If goods are not our goal
and all our wealth will rust,
I dare not lose my soul
by scrabbling for the dusts.
Not heaven nor earth
are up for sale;
coins are no scale
of human worth.

If we are not our own
bur purchased at a price,
to follow Christ alone
is no great sacrifice.
In him, if we
hold nothing back,
we have no lack;
he sets us free.

If Christ is all our praise,
our heritage, our health,
we need not waste our days
in struggling after wealth.
And those who give
their all, and more,
will not be poor
but start to live.

~ Christopher Idle. Words copyright © 1998 Hope Publishing Company. If you use this song in worship, be sure to report it on your CCLI license.

Tune suggestions:
DARWALL (“Rejoice, the Lord is King”)
Listen here: http://www.hymnary.org/tune/darwall_darwall

Contemporary Song: As Jesus Walked

We have heard the call to go
Into the world with seed to sow
With living words within our hearts
We will walk as Jesus walked
Live a life of sacrifice
And die to our human desires
To see the poor and not pass by
Is to walk as Jesus walked
Help us walk as Jesus walked

But if not now then when will we
Take up our cross and follow
And if not us then who will go
And walk as Jesus walked

Be good news in all we do
Bind up the broken hearted
Heal the sick and raise the dead
Is to walk as Jesus walked
Help us walk as Jesus walked

With passion for the lost
Compassion for the poor
To every corner of this world
We'll walk as You have walked
A Father to the fatherless
You're Father to them all

~ Martyn Layzell, Copyright © 2006 Thankyou Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing). CCLI Song #4848064. If you use this song in worship, be sure to report it on your CCLI license.

You can hear the song on YouTube at:

Contemporary Song: Jesus, You Have Called Us

Jesus, you have called us:
Come, follow me,
take up your cross,
deny yourself
and live.

Jesus, I am willing
though I am weak;
I'll trust you
and I'll go where you lead.

I will follow,
I will follow,
I will follow
where you lead.

Jesus, you have shown us
how we should live:
in sacrifice,
and love.

Jesus, I am willing
though I am weak;
I'll follow you
with your Spirit in me.

~ Joel Payne. Copyright © RESOUNDworship.org. CCLI Song #6139173. If you use this song in worship, be sure to report it on your CCLI license.

Listen to it and download music here:



This worship resource was created/compiled by Christine Longhurst. You are welcome to use it free of charge, and where appropriate, please note the source. If you are printing any of the resources for distribution, please print the source as well. The content of the worship resource does not necessarily represent the views of the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, which oversees the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies. For more worship resources by Christine Longhurst, see http://www.re-worship.blogspot.ca or http://www.faithmatters.ca.

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