How to Pray: Stations of the Cross

The Stations of the Cross is commonly prayed during the Lenten season, especially on Fridays, but is a powerful way to grow closer to Jesus at any time of the year. Otherwise known as the Way of the Cross, this ancient prayer consists of fourteen different moments that follow Jesus on the day he died.

The Way of the Cross is…a school for the examination of conscience, for conversion, for inner transformation and compassion — not as sentimentality, as a mere feeling, but as a disturbing experience that knocks on the door of my heart, that obliges me to know myself and to become a better person.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Following Jesus as he makes his way to his death is disturbing; this is not a comfortable prayer. But by remembering the Stations of the Cross, by walking with Jesus, by taking up our own crosses as Jesus calls us to do, we are pulled out of our selfishness. We become more willing to be patient, to love, to sacrifice – we become more like the people God created us to be. 

How to pray the Stations of the Cross:

The most common way of praying the Stations of the Cross is in a church, using the images of each station that are hung around the sanctuary. But you can also pray the stations at home! You might look up images of each of the stations, sit before a crucifix, or simply close your eyes and imagine yourself in each moment.  

Begin with the Sign of the Cross and walking to/looking at/preparing for the first station. 

Name the station and kneel/genuflect, take a moment to quiet yourself. 

Pray: We adore you oh Christ and we praise you, for by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. 

Meditate: Spend some time contemplating this station. You may kneel, look at an image of the station, close your eyes and imagine being there. You might read the passage from Scripture that this station comes from or use Hallow’s Stations of the Cross to guide you. A popular series of meditations is by St. Alphonsus de Liguori who wrote the above prayer. 

Pray: Close your time before each station with a prayer, speaking honestly with God.

Repeat this pattern for all 14 stations – see below for the full list.

List of the Stations

There are two sets of Stations of the Cross. 

Original Stations:

  1. Jesus is condemned to death.
  2. Jesus is given His cross.
  3. Jesus falls down for the first time. 
  4. Jesus meets His mother Mary.
  5. Simon of Cyrene helps carry the cross.
  6. Veronica wipes Jesus’ face.
  7. Jesus falls down for the second time.
  8. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem.
  9. Jesus falls down for the third time.
  10. Jesus is stripped of His clothing.
  11. Jesus is nailed to the cross.
  12. Jesus dies on the cross. ((Optional but appropriate to remain kneeling for this station)
  13. Jesus’ body is removed from the cross.
  14. Jesus’ body is placed in the tomb.

Scriptural Stations:

These are based on those celebrated by St. John Paul II on Good Friday 1991. 

  1. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane
  2. Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested
  3. Jesus is condemned by the Sanhedrin
  4. Jesus is denied by Peter
  5. Jesus is judged by Pontius Pilate
  6. Jesus is scourged at the pillar and crowned with thorns
  7. Jesus bears the cross
  8. Jesus is helped by Simon the Cyrenian to carry the cross
  9. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
  10. Jesus is crucified
  11. Jesus promises his Kingdom to the repentant thief
  12. Jesus speaks to his mother and the Beloved Disciple
  13. Jesus dies on the cross (Optional but appropriate to remain kneeling for this station)
  14. Jesus is placed in the tomb

Join us in praying the Stations of the Cross Challenge in Hallow, in which we take 14 days to walk through each station at a time.