1) “Lord, have mercy.”
The Desert Fathers, monastic Christians in Egypt in the third and fourth centuries, often prayed the prayer many know as the “Kyrie Eleison” (Greek for “Lord, have mercy”). Also called the “Jesus Prayer” when pronounced as “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner,” it is rooted in Psalm 123:3, Luke 18:13, and Luke 18:38.
2) “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”
Based on the words of the boy Samuel (1 Samuel 3:9), I occasionally pray these words to quiet my soul and express my desire to hear from God.
3) “My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.”
I often pray this prayer of affirmation and dependence, from Psalm 121:2, in times of need and desperation. It reminds me that my help does not come from my own strength or the support of others, but from God.
4) “Here I am.”
This is a prayer of presence, and availability, based on the cry of the prophet in Isaiah 6:8.
5) “Show your power.”
I often pray this short prayer (based on Psalm 68:28, among others) to intercede for others, particularly when the need is great and the situation dire.
6) “When I am afraid, I will trust you.”
My children memorized this verse (Psalm 56:3) when they were four and five, I think. It has since helped not only them but also me to remain calm and trustful when tempted by worry and fear.
7) “Not my will, but yours.”
This prayer, of course, echoes Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:42). Like the previous prayer, it helps to pray this “breath prayer” when you are anxious or impatient. It places the praying heart in a position of surrender, where great answers are likely to come.
8) “Bring your kingdom.”
Based on the prayer Jesus taught his earliest followers (Luke 11:2), I often breathe this prayer when I am overwhelmed by the sadness and horrors of the latest news or a devastating diagnosis. In just a few words, it expresses a heartfelt desire for the day when “the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God” (Revelation 12:10) will be fully realized and the Evil One will be defeated.
9) “Say the word.”
When a Roman centurion sent word to Jesus asking him to heal a sick servant, he told Jesus that he didn’t even feel worthy for the Lord to come into his house. He simply requested, “Say the word, and my servant will be healed” (Luke 7:7). Jesus commended the centurion’s faith, for his request showed that he knew Jesus could heal with a word. So I will often pray for someone’s healing–from sickness, addiction, emotional pain, depression, etc.–with this breath prayer.
Can we talk anxiety? You know what I mean: that roiling inner whirlwind, the blinding, gut-wrenching, confusion-making state of being that takes over our hearts and minds from time to time.
When anxiety’s got you in its grip, it’s hard to avoid worrying about tomorrow. It’s difficult to adopt a Jeremiah 29:11 attitude. Sometimes it seems all we can do is shove our fears heavenward and hope God takes them away. I think there’s a better way.
Anxiety works on a very primitive level. It has a physical component which we can counteract by applying a physical remedy. Several years ago I learned that there’s actually a right way to breathe to reduce anxiety and stress. The Harvard Health Blog calls it breath control. The technique has certain similarities with prayerful meditation, and since it’s completely compatible with faith, I personally call it “breathing prayer.”
Sign up for Guideposts Free e-newsletters and Get Inspiration Delivered to Your Inbox
Try this: Close your eyes and inhale slowly, imagining pulling the Spirit in so fully that it fills every pore of your body. Make sure your stomach expands; you want to be pregnant with peace. Exhale slowly through your nose.
You can pray while you do this (though if you’re anxious when you start, you probably won’t think of it until after a few breaths, when your head starts to clear). Simple prayers work best:
Come Holy Spirit…
fill my heart
grant me your peace
I love you
If you practice when you’re not in the throes of wild anxiety, it will be easier to pray this way when you are. But “breathing prayer” is a good addition to any regular prayer time. Anything that clears the head and calms the body frees us up to hear God better. And that’s what prayer is all about.
Oh Lord my God, I praise Your Holy name. I bow down at the essence of the Holy Spirit. Heavenly Father, my family is struggling, fighting and bickering at each other. They are drifting further apart and away from You. Father, draw them near and bring them back to You.
Read: Prayer for Family Members who have turned away
Joshua 24:15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.
Peace in the family
Help them to be at peace with one another. Manifest Your divine love within their hearts. Let Your tranquility be bestowed upon their lives.
In Jesus’ name, I rebuke every thought of hatred, malice and pride towards one another. I rebuke every dispute, situation and argument in our home today, Lord.
Read: Prayer for Peace in the Family
But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children.
Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
Transform distress to joy
Yeshua, reach out and touch. Pass through each and every home today that is struggling. Restore the peace, love and tranquility that they once knew.
Allow the tears of distress that fall to be transformed into tears of joy. And I pray that You will be praised in every household during the raging storms.
Even as they await their victory, to overcome these situations and problems within their home, may your name be lifted high. In Jesus’ mighty and powerful name I pray, Amen and Amen!
Read: Prayer for Renewed Relationships among Family Members
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.