Video Reflection 4: On Prayer during this time of Social Distancing

Psalm 5: 1-3, 11-12
Give ear to my words, O LORD; give heed to my sighing.
2 Listen to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you I pray.
3 O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch.

11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, so that those who love your name may exult in you.
12 For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover them with favor as with a shield.

Matthew 6: 6-13
6 But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 7 “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 “Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.

Romans 8: 26-27
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Reflection
Today I want to give you some resources for prayer. There is not an incorrect way to pray, God knows the needs of our hearts before we voice them, but sometimes it helps to have some resources to give words to our prayers. Sometimes there are portions of scriptures like the Psalms, or the Lord’s Prayer that can help us. But here are some other prayers for this time:
The first one come from our hymnal, Evangelical Lutheran Worship on p. 76

O God, where hearts are fearful and constricted, grant courage and hope. Where anxiety is infectious and widening, grant peace and reassurance. Where impossibilities close every door and window, grant imagination and resistance. Where distrust twists our thinking, grant healing and illumination. Where spirits are daunted and weakened, grant soaring wings and strengthened dreams. All these things we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

These next prayers come from a little resource that many pastors have that is a supplement to the hymnal called Pastoral Care which has resources and prayers for various situations. While I normally will pray without referencing this, sometimes it is helpful to have prayers for various situations. Here are a few:
Prayer to be recited with a child who is anxious:

Gentle Jesus, stay beside me through this day (night). Take away my pain. Keep me safe. Help me when I’m afraid. Make my body strong again and my heart glad. Thank you for your love that surrounds me.

Another couple prayers which are written for morning but can be adapted for any time of day:

O God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where to go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

We give you thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have protected us through the night from all harm and danger. We ask that you would also protect us today from sin and all evil, so that our life and actions may please you. Into your hands we commend ourselves: our bodies, our souls, and all that is ours. Let your holy angels be with us, so that the wicked for may have no power over us.

Praying for those who are caregivers in this time:

Holy and compassionate God, you send to us in our need those who care for us and look out for our lives. Bless them in their love for us. Bless the hands of those who work for our health. Bless the minds of those who search for our healing. Bless the feet of those who come to us in our need. Bless the eyes of those who look after us. Bless the hearts of all who serve; fill them with compassion and patience; and work through all of them for the betterment and well-being of all your children, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Merciful God, your healing power is everywhere about us. Strengthen those who work among the sick; give them courage and confidence in all they do. Encourage them when they are overwhelmed with many pressing needs or when their efforts seem futile. Increase their trust in your power to bring life and wholeness even in the midst of death and pain and crying. May they be thankful for every sign of health you give, and humble before the mystery of your healing grace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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