How to Pray the Stations of the Cross

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The Stations of the Cross are a series of prayers that encourage believers to think about the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for them by dying on the cross. The prayers are part of the Catholic tradition, and are usually recited on Friday nights during the season of Lent, though they can be said any time a believer wants to, according to the Catholic Online website. There are 14 stations, and they are often represented through images or statues, which give followers a tangible stopping point to recite each prayer.

Say the opening prayer or listen to the priest say it out loud. Bow your head, close your eyes and really concentrate on the words, which are offered as a confession of sins and a request that Jesus forgive those sins.

Visit the first station, Jesus is condemned to death. Before the prayer, the minister will say certain words, which are often, "We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you," after which you will say a phrase, which is usually, "Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps" or "Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world." Recite or read the prayer for the first station. Listen to or read the Bible readings, as well, which aren't required, but are often included in each station visit.

Recite the closing words after the prayer and Bible readings. The leader will say, "Jesus Christ crucified," after which you will say, "Have mercy on us." The leader will then say, "May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace," after which you will say, "Amen."

Say the "Our Father," "Hail Mary" and "Glory Be" prayers before going to the second station. Many churches include verses from "Stabat Mater" between each station, as well.

Visit the second and subsequent stations, in number order. These follow the events that led up to Jesus' crucifixion, and include, in order, Jesus carrying his cross, Jesus falling for the first time, Jesus meeting his mother, Simon helping Jesus carry his cross, Veronica wiping Jesus' face, Jesus falling for the second time, the women of Jerusalem crying over Jesus, Jesus falling for the third time, Jesus being stripped of his clothes, Jesus being nailed to the cross, Jesus dying on the cross, Jesus being taken from the cross and Jesus being placed in the tomb. Respond to the priest's words at each station with the appropriate responses before bowing your head and praying the prayer that goes with each station.

Recite the closing words after finishing the prayer and Bible readings at each station.

Repeat the "Our Father," "Hail Mary" and "Glory Be" prayers between each station.

Listen to or recite the closing prayer with the priest after you have visited all 14 stations.

Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.