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10 prayers for National Day of Prayer

Spirit, Show on Corporate Home, COVID-19

“I pray because I can't help myself. ... I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God. It changes me.” - C. S. Lewis

In times of chronic stress or when faced with potential catastrophe, many people turn to their faith for meaning, comfort and hope. A 2019 research study found that when tragedy strikes, people seek closeness to God and resort to prayer much more often (Jeanet Bentzen, The Economic Journal). A more recent paper gives evidence that religiosity has increased during this current global pandemic as many are prompted toward their community of faith. Yet, with social distancing directives continuing in most communities, people have resorted to spiritual practices such as prayer.

Prayer can empower people to deal with the challenges that COVID-19 poses to our sense of well-being, such as anxiety about our health or the health of family and friends, or the depression that often comes with isolation which can separate one from their primary systems of support.

Prayers for today

Today, millions across the nation will be taking time out of their daily schedules to intercede on behalf of their communities, their nation and their leaders. Each year, people gather across the nation at local community events to pray together on the National Day of Prayer. Due to the coronavirus crisis and resulting economic shutdown, this year’s National Day of Prayer will look very different from years past—but it will not be canceled nor postponed.

Each of us has been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing our “smallness” has likely left us in dire need of prayer. Here’s a list of 10 prayers to pray on this National Day of Prayer.

Find creative ways to incorporate them into your personal devotions, family worship, or work experience for that day.

  1. For the sick and the infected, those who are suffering.
  2. For the vulnerable, the elderly, those with chronic medical conditions, the mentally ill, the homeless.
  3. For the medical professionals who are bravely embracing their call to serve.
  4. For the scientific community, taking the lead in understanding the virus and discovering a cure.
  5. For our families struggling with so much change, seeking to comply with recommended strategies, that they work together during this time.
  6. For workers everywhere facing layoffs and financial hardship.
  7. For the healthcare leaders, that they may have the knowledge and wisdom to meet each challenge.
  8. For our local, state, and federal government leaders to have the strength and resolve to do what is best.
  9. For faith communities, unable to gather due to social distancing.
  10. For students of all ages, whose courses are changing, whose graduations may be uncertain.

May each of us find strength and renewed hope in the practice of prayer. Here is a precious promise to lean into: “I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber.” Psalm 121:1-3

About the author: Pastor Randy Speyer is the director of mission and spiritual care at Adventist Health in Roseville. He has served as a licensed marriage and family therapist and ordained minister for over 30 years, seeking to tell the Jesus story with imagination and wonder. Before coming to Adventist Health, Pastor Speyer served as clinical director for Christian Counseling Service in Redlands, California, primarily providing trauma-informed treatment.