Prayers for Troubled Times*
1God of compassion, teach us to bring to you our troubles in the sure knowledge that Christ knows us completely, sympathises with us wholly, and can meet our needs fully.
2For those within our families and among our friends who are facing difficulties beyond their strength to cope, we beseech thy compassion and practical assistance. Uphold us when our bodies fail, calm our chaotic minds, and blow upon the embers of our failing faith.
3Some of us walk in darkness; cope fitfully with chronic illness, irredeemable loss, insatiable grief, and confusion and heartache within our families; live lives on the teetering-edge of an ability to cope; and are insecure about our capacity to provide for others and ourselves. Loving God, make a difference. Turn situations around. Repair the bruised and broken reed.
4We pray for those who are utterly perplexed by their apportioned providences; those who may find no relief from either counsel, or prayer, or medication presently and must, therefore, wait upon thee so very patiently; those who are frustrated by confinement, at war with their body or mind, sick of themselves, alone and neglected, despairing of life; and those over whom the sombre brooding skies of implacable grief, sadness, and depression have hung motionless for days and weeks-on-end. Break into our lives afresh. Renew the confidence that we will ‘see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living’. And draw from the soil of our suffering the fruit of patient endurance, a sweeter temper, and the graces of kindness and mercy to others.
5For all those who have suffered sickness or injuries, whose energies and faculties are impaired, and for whom illness or unresolved predicaments has taken the edge off life: grant that all may experience that sufficient grace which you have promised to those who cast their cares upon Christ.
6Grant us wisdom to discern our physical, spiritual, and mental needs, and the wherewithal to minister comfort and practical support to others. Your eyes see our predicaments; your ears hear our cries and complaints. Withhold from us no good thing, O Lord. Calm our fears, still our minds, sooth our bodies, and rekindle our spirits.
7In prayer, we press-in upon you, like the halt and the lame in the Gospels; like those who came, full of faith and on behalf of others, believing that just a word from you was sufficient to restore, unbind, and correct. Make thy holy people whole; pour upon us that salve which eases the troubled conscience, alleviates the dull-throb of chronic doubt, and strengthens the weakened limbs of our resolve.
8We bring to you the troubles — large and small — of our broken lives: the unresolved problems, unanswered prayers, coldness of heart, anxieties, chronic pains, limiting illnesses, and irrational forebodings that beset us. You regard the sparrow’s fall; you innumerate the hairs on our head. Nothing passes you by; with you, nothing is either lost or inconsequential.
9We rejoice in the saints who have passed through the veil ahead of us; those who ran the race to the end and received the crown; those who endured and fainted not; those that held fast to the faith. The same grace that was theirs is ours. Give us, therefore, a determination to avail ourselves of it.
10O Lamb of God, Eternal Father, and Paraclete, bestow upon us the love of prayer. And, as we bring before thee our requests, grant that thy Holy Spirit, too, make intercession for us in his own person.
*These prayers have been extracted and adapted from intercessions that I had written for the services of Morning Prayer and Holy Communion at Holy Trinity Church, Aberystwyth, UK (July 24, 2005–January 14, 2018).