When You Don't Know What to Pray: 10 Prayers for a Variety of Situations
Clouded by doubt, frozen by fear, confused by conflicting desires and frustrated by an inability to know our best course of action, sometimes we need divine assistance.
It's tempting to approach our higher power as a kind of Santa Claus in the sky, wish list in hand, saying, please, please, please, and then throwing a tantrum when our wants aren't met. The notion of giving up our ideas about what is good, that what we want may not be what we need, isn't appealing. We resist surrender. How do we entrust our lives to an unknown spiritual force, especially when there's plenty of evidence that even the most faithful suffer right along with those who never set foot on any kind of spiritual path?
There are no easy answers, and no two people are likely to have the exact same spiritual journey. If we had to have all the answers about who God is before we commenced to pray, we'd be in trouble. The truth is, we don't even have to know for sure if we believe in God, or if we trust this spiritual force to protect us and guide us in the best direction.
We can begin to pray without being sure of any of these things. We can try it, and see what answers unfold. For those who are new to prayer, and even those that aren't, here are ten simple prayers to connect with a higher power. We may need to pray these prayers regularly to begin to see results, but if we are persistent, often a shift will occur. We may find that we have clarity that was never before present, a heightened intuitiveness, a sense of confidence and peace, a change in attitude that seemingly happened all on its own. That doesn't mean that there is not work to be done, especially if clarity brings to mind certain actions we need to take to deal with our problems, but it does mean the answers to what to do may come with less struggle on our part.
The Serenity Prayer - This prayer can be applied to nearly every situation.
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference."
Prayer for Guidance
"Please guide me to the decision/action that will serve my highest good and the highest good of all who are involved and impacted by this situation."
Prayer for Enemies
"Please grant _________ (fill in person's name) peace, love, compassion and comfort and send her/him whatever he/she needs to face life's current difficulties." (It's very difficult to pray for someone who has wronged us or someone we love. But we don't even have to mean the words, we just have to say them. If we say them over and over, eventually we often find that we will start truly desiring these things for our so-called enemies and that lessens their power over us. Besides, if our enemies are filled with love, compassion, peace and comfort, they are far less likely to continue to harm us!)
Prayer for Indecision
"Please increase my desire to take the action that would serve my highest good, and decrease my desire to take any action that would be harmful to me or to others."
Prayer for Times of Discord, Within Self or With Others
"Please show me how to create peace. Please release me from having to be right and open my mind and heart to a new and better way."
Prayer for When Anxious, Hurried, Panicked, Under Pressure
"Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inward peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset. Commend all to God and then lie still and be at rest in his bosom." (This quote by St. Francis de Sales is not technically a prayer, but it works just as well when read several times in moments of feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Never losing one's inward peace is probably unrealistic, except for some very enlightened individuals, but this is a reminder to calm down and slow down and to turn inward to a source of inner strength rather than allowing outside circumstances to control us.)
Prayer for the Unwilling
"Please help me to be willing to do what I know is the right thing."
Or, for the really resistant: "Please help me to be willing to be willing."
Prayer for Loved Ones
"I do not know what _____ (insert person's name) needs at this time, but you do. Please provide _____ with whatever he or she needs and whatever will serve his/her highest good. Send ______ on his or her own healing path. Help me to remember that I cannot know all the various components of this situation, and therefore, I do not know what is best. Help me to be a humble servant, without attempting to take control or exert my will. Show me how to assist my loved one and to act from a place of respect, concern, and, above all, love."
Prayer for Addiction and Self-Defeating Habits
"I cannot overcome these urges. Please relieve me. Help me to see the truth about this behavior and how it is harmful to me. Send me the help I need and help me to accept it. Please help me to love myself and value myself enough to care for myself and treat myself with kindness instead of punishing myself with addictive/harmful behavior."
Prayer for When the Soul's Pain is Too Much
"Help. Please help."