By Janet Thompson, Crosswalk.com
In unsettling times, such as a pandemic, we can find our peace in the presence of the Lord. He is the only one who can effectively prevent the contagious epidemic of fear.
Yet, we live in a fallen world that keeps us fearfully treading from one crisis to the next. It seems like every morning we wake up to a new peril: virus pandemics, new flu strains, Ebola, recessions, earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, floods, fires, or any natural disaster...even the threat of other countries attacking us.
Then there are our own financial, physical, relational, health, and personal crises that often catch us by surprise and strike terror into our hearts. We feel helpless as events spin out of our control.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Tinnakorn Jorruang
Fear Is an Invitation to Trust in the Lord
Fear is a powerful human emotion that can cause us to respond inappropriately or motivate us to take positive action. Or fear has the ability to paralyze us from taking any action.
Fear can even stop us from turning to God, our Rescuer, who knows every personal and world disruption we will face. His timeless Word, the Bible, has all the answers and antidotes to keep us calm, cool, and collected.
He assures us, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
We want to trust God but there are times when peace eludes us. We’re worried and anxious. We don’t want to be brave this time. Then God reminds us, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
Courage is fear that prays and calls on God.
Here are five courageous prayers for a pandemic to help us faithfully transcend from panic to peace:
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages
1. Take Your Worries to the Lord
Lord, I know that Satan created the spirit of fear, anxiety, doubt, and worries to torture and entrap my mind and rob me of my joy, peace, and sleep. When what-ifs wake me in the dark of night, please help me to denounce Satan and remember 1 Peter 5:7 where you say internal peace is as simple as casting all my anxiety on you because you care for me.
I am comforted that you see into the depths of my heart and the intricacies of my mind where unhealthy fears dwell. You already know what’s troubling me, but you want to hear me share my concerns with you to release the stronghold grip they have on my thoughts and emotions.
Father, I trust that you don’t want me to waste a moment of my life fretting. Please calm my racing heart and fill my troubled mind with hope and my spirit with peace. Assure me that no weapon formed against me will prosper and you have a plan and a purpose for me in this time of turmoil.
Show me your ways Lord and grant me the courage to follow where you lead. Amen.
Isaiah 26:3 NLT
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages
2. Believe God Hears Your Prayers
Lord, it saddens me that many people don’t understand the power of prayer and even mock me for taking my worries to you in prayer. So I pray first for those who do not believe in you. Where is their hope?
I’ll admit that sometimes you seem silent when I so desperately want to hear from you. It’s torture waiting on you, and yet I will wait because I know my prayers are not in vain. I don’t know if the latest crisis will affect my family or me, but you are omniscient Lord, so I pray that you will spare us.
But if fallout touches any of my loved ones, please comfort them with your healing balm. Sometimes our own choices can put us at risk. So Lord, I pray that we would all be judicious in our actions and interactions.
I can remain in perfect peace because I put my future in your capable hands. Amen.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Psalm 91:1-2 NLT
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/henrimeilhac
3. Pray with Expectancy and Anticipation
Lord, as I pray with confidence and great expectation, I anticipate your gracious answers to my prayers. When I remember your faithfulness to all generations, excitement and eagerness replace concern and discouragement.
Please help me to remember that doubt and faith can’t coexist in my heart. If I’m doubting or anxious, my shield of faith has slipped. God, I know that you’re looking at the big picture and I can only see a small glimpse distorted by my confusion and perspective. I realize that having faith doesn’t mean there won’t be setbacks or difficult times, but if I’m going to enlist your mighty powers, then I must prayerfully trust that your will is done on earth as it is in heaven. I pray for a miracle of your design.
Your answer isn’t always what I want to hear, or the option I was hoping for, but whatever it is I will give you the glory because regardless of the outcome my eternity is with you. Thank you Lord, for your Son, Jesus Christ, enduring the brutal cross for victory over our sins and sicknesses. I claim that victory in my life and for my loved ones. Amen.
But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/vchal
4. Remain Wise and Discerning
Lord, I want desperately to take your Word to heart, but a tsunami of negativity and fear engulf me. My thoughts wander to worst-case scenarios. I need your insight to diligently untangle truthful facts from embellished hysteria. I ask the Holy Spirit to guide me in filtering out what I should avoid listening to or considering. Infuse me Lord with discernment and wisdom. Give me clarity of mind and heart.
Guard my mouth that I don’t spread gossip or hearsay to alarm others. Help me to exhibit love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Like the apostle Paul, may I learn the secret of being content in all circumstances, knowing that I can do all things through you who gives me strength to fulfill your desires. Praise you Lord, Amen.
Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages
5. Seek Opportunities to Comfort Others
Lord, we won’t live in a perfect world until we join you in heaven. This current situation won’t be the last crisis for the world or for me. I can’t outrun, outpace, outdo, outsmart, or outlive trouble. It has a way of popping up even in the good and prosperous seasons in the culture, my life, and the lives of those around me.
Lord, quiet my raging emotions so that I can be a beacon of healing love and peace to those in my sphere of influence who are overwhelmed by panic and fear. Please help me memorize John 14:1 to share with others who ask me where my peace comes from: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.” These are the words that your Son Jesus spoke to His disciples to comfort them and they also give me comfort when I don’t know how the story ends.
Use me Lord as your disciple to bring healing to a hurting world. I love you Lord, Amen.
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Let’s embrace this reminder as we move through a world of unknowns:
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/MangoStarStudio
Pursue Peace, Not Overwhelm
Sensational media headlines around pandemics keep us stressed, agitated, and fearful because fear-fueled news sells. Press-induced or politically motivated panic will stoke more pandemic fear and consequences than the source of the crisis. Stay current with pertinent news that might affect you personally, but don’t overwhelm yourself reading everything written on the internet.
Taking recommended and reasonable steps to protect yourself and your loved ones will give you a sense of control that helps to manage uncertainties. Prudently, continue your normal activities that typically bring you joy. Healthy coping mechanisms like exercise, rest, eating properly, reading your Bible, staying connected to friends and family, and listening to praise music can help soothe frazzled nerves. If you have medical anxiety, contact your doctor.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Philippians 4:8
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has become a resource for many as we face growing fear and anxiety due to the Coronavirus pandemic. God is ALWAYS our source of protection, strength and peace during unknown times. In addition, the following articles may offer more encouragement for all to remember as we face the trials of COVID-19 together:
- Do Not Fear! 10 Verses about Fear & Anxiety to Remind Us That God is in Control
- Prayers for Peace Amidst Pandemic Fear
- Powerful Prayers for Coronavirus - Those Sick and Those Worried
- What “No Harm Shall Overcome You” in Psalm 91:10 Means for the Coronavirus
- "Be Still and Know That I Am God": Meaning & Promise of Psalm 46:10
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/gnagel
Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 20 books. Her passion is to mentor other women in sharing their life experiences and God’s faithfulness. Janet’s new release is Everyday Brave: Living Courageously As a Woman of Faith available at Amazon, Christianbook.com, Barnes and Noble, and signed at author’s website. She is also the author of Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness; Forsaken God? Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten; Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?; Dear God They Say It’s Cancer; Dear God, He’s Home!; Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter; Face-to-Face Bible study Series; and Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, & Maintain a Mentoring Ministry Resources. Janet is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries. Visit Janet and sign up for her weekly blog and free online newsletter at womantowomanmentoring.com. Join Janet on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram.