Prayers in Time of Distress

We live our lives without safety net. No matter how cautious we are, we will all die from living, this is the basic condition of life. When we are in danger facing things beyond our control, prayer is a gift.

Thank you for joining me in a short reflection
We live our lives without safety net – no matter how cautious we are – we will all die from living – this the basic condition of life.
During this time, we take all the necessary precautions to contain the spread of the Corona virus and to protect ourselves and each other – and we should. This is the very reason why all churches have cancelled worship services. This is the reason why parties, celebrations, cultural events and sports are either postponed or cancelled – we want to stop the spread of the virus, we want to save lives.
The disease affects the entire globe, and some countries have alarming high numbers of infected people and significant amount of deaths.

A few days ago I heard an expect in pandemics describing our countries as wide open to the disease, simply because none of us are immune against the virus, as nobody has been infected before.
When we are in danger facing things beyond our control, prayer is a gift. One of the great sources of inspiration for prayer in the Book of Psalms in the Bible. Just listen to David’s song and prayer in Psalm 18…..
He said: I love you, Lord, my strength.
2 The Lord is my solid rock,
my fortress, my rescuer.
My God is my rock—
I take refuge in him!—
he’s my shield,
my salvation’s strength,
my place of safety.
3 Because he is praiseworthy,
I cried out to the Lord,
and I was saved from my enemies.
4 Death’s cords were wrapped around me;
rivers of wickedness terrified me.
5 The cords of the grave surrounded me;
death’s traps held me tight.
6 In my distress I cried out to the Lord;
I called to my God for help.
God heard my voice from his temple;
I called to him for help,
and my call reached his ears.

I like to call the Book of Psalms, faith and life without filter. This collection of songs and prayer reflect every imaginable sentiment, from the highest joy to the deepest despair, from generosity to aggravation, from grace to revenge, from love to hatred and from disbelief to faith.
Faith in Jesus Christ is not reserved for sunny days and mild summer winds – faith is for the rough places in life as well.
In this Psalm 18 David sings with great faith – God you are my protector, my fortress, my rescuer, my shield, you are my place of safety. In my distress and my pain, I cry out to God, and he hears my prayer. At times, this is how we can experience faith, some might wrongly say this is what faith is supposed to sound and look like.
However, the Psalms are faith and life without filter. There are others Psalms, where King David or others are crying out to God in pain and despair, pleading that God would set them free. Why is this happening to me, and by the way, why are the wicked doing so well? Why don’t you hear my cry God, why don’t you see my deep need? At times, it even goes quite a bit further, punish my enemies, and punish the evil doers. – It sound very human doesn’t it?
The almighty God of love is not afraid of our emotions. God can handle our fears, our anger, our disbelief and our aggravation. Get it out; don’t hold back, God is not fragile.
And then in the midst of all of this, no matter how dark and terrible it is, there is a turning point, a glimpse of hope.
When we have let out all our despair and emptied our minds from all our thoughts, that is when, God begins to speak to us that is when our perspective may change, that is when we may discover that glimpse of hope, the faith that will carry us through.
We will get through this pandemic. After this shared experience, we will get back to some kind of normal life.  And we will know, that even if we protect ourselves against a disease, even if there is some immunity against this particular virus. We cannot protect ourselves against hurt and suffering; people will still die from cancer or be killed in traffic accidents.  The only way to protect ourselves from pain in life is to isolate ourselves from all human relationship – and now after these past few weeks, we all know how well that works. Right now, we long for fellowship, we long to touch and to be touched by the people we love. If we want to enjoy warm, close and life giving relationships with other people, we expose ourselves to pain.
At one point Jesus gave this invitation to us……
Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
This is an invitation to those who are weary and tired
An invitation to trust
TO learn from him, who is gentle and humble in heart, and in him, you will find rest for your troubled soul.
And you will discover, that as he leads you and carries your burden with you, that there is way through.
There is no promise, that he will make the pain go away, no promise that he will take away the disease or eliminate the suffering. His promise is an invitation to come to him with all that we carry, all our pain, all our confusion, anxiety and anger. This is prayer to speak you mind and to listen.

He gives us a promise of presence, his presence in our lives. And he promises, rest and strength to carry on.

Let us pray….
God our Father, Creator of the world, almighty and merciful,
In you great love for us You sent your Son Jesus Christ into the world as the healer of our souls and our bodies,
In this difficult hour of confusion and dismay in so many places in the world, hear our prayers, as we seek strength, salvation and relief in you.
Deliver us from illness and fear, heal our sick, comfort their families.
give wisdom to our leaders. Help those who have lost their jobs and those who are in financial problems.
Give strength and courage our health personnel and to those who serve and protect our society.
Give grace and wisdom to those who comfort the weary, the sick and the dying.
Give peace to  those who are dying, and comfort their families in their pain.
Do not leave us in the time of need but deliver us from all evil.
We ask this in the name of the father, and of the son and of the Holy Spirit.