A Prayer in Times of Fear

Daffodils in Park Woods
Daffodils in Park Woods

Carmen Schrock-Hurst ’76, prepared the following prayer for a chapel worship service at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, on March 10, 2020. Carmen teaches in the Bible and Religion and Theology department at Eastern Mennonite University.

Leader: Lord we gather today facing uncertainty, anxiety and fear as the world struggles with the unknowns of COVID-19. We confess that we are troubled by rapidly changing events and we worry about how the ripple effect of this crisis may impact our own day-to-day lives and the lives of those we love.

People: Healer of our every ill, Light of each tomorrow, Give us peace beyond our fear, and hope beyond our sorrow.*

Leader: We pray for those who are ill, and for the families and loved ones of those who have died. Bring healing to those who are sick, protection to those who are elderly, and comfort to those who mourn. Bless those who are in quarantine and those who are awaiting test results. Be near to those who are lonely, grant patience to those who wait. We remember in particular the people of China, South Korea, Iran and Italy.

People: Healer of our every ill, Light of each tomorrow, Give us peace beyond our fear, and hope beyond our sorrow.

Leader: We pray for doctors, nurses, lab technicians, paramedics and first responders, pharmacists, those working to develop vaccines and all those in health care who risk their own lives to care for others. Grant protection to them and to their families. May they know an extra measure of your grace.

People: Healer of our every ill, Light of each tomorrow, Give us peace beyond our fear, and hope beyond our sorrow.

Leader: We pray for leaders of our government and for government officials around the world at local, regional and national levels. Give them wisdom to act for the well being of all people. Grant them the courage to make difficult decisions. Empower them to be truthful and to lead with compassion.

People: Healer of our every ill, Light of each tomorrow, Give us peace beyond our fear, and hope beyond our sorrow.

Leader: We pray for our own campus, and for schools and universities around the world. Bless the administrators who are faced with the difficult work of keeping students, faculty and staff safe, while also continuing the sacred task of education. Bless them with the wisdom they need to make the decisions that they must. Grant us all the grace to adapt to our changing world.

People: Healer of our every ill, Light of each tomorrow, Give us peace beyond our fear, and hope beyond our sorrow.

Leader: We pray now for the poor who are suffering the most from this illness and from its economic fallout. We pray for those with no access to health care or health insurance, for those with no paid sick leave, for children who will not eat when schools are closed and for those in industries whose jobs are being most severely threatened.

People: Healer of our every ill, Light of each tomorrow, Give us peace beyond our fear, and hope beyond our sorrow.

Leader: We pray for all those people and places that were already facing intense suffering before the COVID-19 crisis began. We pray for the people of Syria, for those children and families at our borders, for the many around the world who struggle with intense poverty and disease. And we remember the challenges and brokenness of our beloved Mother Earth. May we not forget these people or these realities while we focus on this new challenge.

People: Healer of our every ill, Light of each tomorrow, Give us peace beyond our fear, and hope beyond our sorrow.

Leader: We ask that… we not be overcome by fear. We ask that every time we wash our hands we receive your call to open our hands, and to open our hearts to those in need. Help us to care for one another. And may we remember your promise which the Psalmist proclaims: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble. Therefore we will not fear.” (Psalm 46:1-2)

People: Healer of our every ill, Light of each tomorrow, Give us peace beyond our fear, and hope beyond our sorrow.

*Refrain from #377, Healer of our Every Ill, Hymnal Worship Book, Herald Press, 1992, words by Marty Haugen. Permission granted to use with citations.

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