Times of turmoil can leave us shaken. We are reminded that we are not the ones in control. It teaches us that no day is guaranteed. But we can feel comforted knowing that Jesus is still on the throne. During this unprecedented time of canceled plans and, if we’re being honest with ourselves, panic around the world, spending time in prayer is very necessary.
Prayer is just one way we can express trust in God. He also promises that He hears our prayers. Psalm 116:1–2 says, “I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because He inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call on Him as long as I live.” We can have confidence that God hears our prayers and that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.
The practice of prayer has many different facets. You can pray off the cuff, you can pray Bible verses, you can pray prayers of the church, or you can pray from prayers already written down. And you should try doing all of these! But here are some written prayers to practice during times of turmoil.
Prayer against Satan
This is a prayer that I have found helpful as my anxiety and worry have ramped up. I know that Satan intends to use such things to separate us from Christ. From the Lutheran Prayer Companion, here is a prayer against Satan:
I give thanks to You, my dear Lord Jesus Christ, that You, as the stronger One, have attacked and overcome the strong, armored man, taken away his weapons and armor in which he trusted, spoiled his kingdom, cast out the prince of the world, and made a show of all my enemies, triumphing over them through Yourself. And I beseech You, O most beloved Lord Jesus Christ, mightily to curb and restrain the condemned, shameful filth, that he may not cast me down in presumption and doubt, nor wound me with his murderous arrows of predestination apart from God’s revealed Word and make me fearful and desperate because of the weakness of my faith or some other reason. O dearest Savior, grant me power and strength hereby to overcome and beat back these and all his fiery arrows, and finally to obtain the crown of life and the imperishable wreath of glory in life everlasting. Amen.
Prayer during Hard Times
We certainly are in hard times. It is easy to feel like the burden of the entire world is on our shoulders. But it is not. Here is a prayer from the Lutheran Book of Prayer for hard times:
Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Merciful Father, You know how difficult these days are for me. In Your holy Word You have promised to hear those who cry unto You in the day of trouble. Listen to my cries for mercy and send me help from the sanctuary of Your grace. Preserve me from bitterness of spirit, and rescue me from every temptation to despair. Calm my frustrations with the knowledge that my life is secure in your redeeming love, for I am baptized into the death and resurrection of Your Son. Draw me out of self-centered worry, which stifles faith, and cause me to take comfort in the great and precious promises that You have made to me and all believers in the Gospel. Sustain and strengthen me under every cross and affliction, that Your grace might be made perfect in my weakness. Give me confidence to pray without losing heart and to trust in Your mighty deliverance according to Your good and gracious will. Father, into Your hands I commend myself. Hear me, for the sake of Your Son, who alone is my Brother and Savior. Amen.
Prayer for the Church to Grow
One positive effect of crisis and turbulent times is that people are asking big questions. They are wondering where to find hope when the world feels united by bleakness, which provides opportunity to share the Gospel. Practice praying for the growth of the Church with this prayer from the Lutheran Book of Prayer:
Our Father in heaven, who gave Your only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus, into death for the sins of the whole world, look with compassion on the many millions of sinners who yet sit in darkness and the shadow of eternal death. Send messengers to proclaim Your Word in the benighted corners of this earth where it has not been heard. Strengthen Your Church where she is weak or persecuted. Send teachers to reform her where she is in error. Raise up pastors in every nation under heaven. Bless those in every land who baptize and teach in Your name. Defend them from all evil, give them a rich measure of Your peace and joy, and enable them to speak Your Word with boldness. Open doors for the Gospel, and empower by Your Holy Spirit those who hear it to believe it and be saved. Let the hordes of Satan not prevail against Your Church or snatch the seed of Your Word from people’s hearts. Call out of darkness into Your marvelous light a kingdom of priests and a holy nation from every nation, tribe, people, and language, that many may share in the eternal banquet You have prepared for those who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For His sake we are bold to come before Your throne of grace, trusting in Your mercy. Amen.
Prayer to Overcome
We do not fight for victory, we fight from victory—Christ has already had the final word over our enemy. But we still find our selves distressed and in need of firm faith. Here is a prayer from the Lutheran Prayer Companion that we may overcome in times of distress:
O Father and God of all comfort, grant us by Your Holy Word and Spirit a firm, cheerful, and grateful faith, that we may blessedly overcome this and every distress and finally taste and see that it is true when Christ, Your beloved Son, Himself says, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Amen.
Prayer for God to Provide
We know that God is our provider. But during this time of turmoil, whether we have all that we need can be a source of stress. Pray for provision with this prayer from Reading the Psalms with Luther:
Father in heaven, who provides for all Your creatures, supply us with all that we need for the support of this body and life, even as your Son taught us to pray: “Give us this day our daily bread.” Fill us with joyous confidence toward You, that worrying cares be banished from our hearts, and we may never doubt that You will so bless our labors as to provide us with food and clothing, and teach us to be therewith content. Amen.
Heaven is the home we haven’t yet seen. But in the meantime, we reach it in our prayers.