Prayer for stressful times

Stress can hit us at all times, but these days the world seems to be suffering from a great deal of it. I wondered if there was a prayer for such times and thought of a prayer often quoted from an obscure medieval source:

“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

The words were put down by Julian of Norwich who lived in England from around 1342 to 1416 and they came to her in a vision, one of a series of visions she received.

She was 30 years old, deathly ill, the priest had come to give her last rites and set up a cross for her to gaze on in her last hours. All at once she left this realm and ascended to another where God, Jesus and the Virgin Mary spoke to her.

In 2001, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wasn’t a good candidate for chemo. I took tamoxifen instead and gave my trouble to God—just as Dr. Peale suggested in his book, “Thought Conditioners”. Since then I’ve remained cancer free. -Guideposts Magazine reader

prayer for stressful times

Talk about stressful times. Julian of Norwich’s world was a dark, frightening and tumultuous place. Contemporary medieval festivals show us the bright color and festive life of the Middle Ages but it’s worth remember that the days were, for most, horrendous.

In Julian’s time, the bubonic plague decimated Europe, killing off nearly half of the population in a few years, the disease so contagious that families often abandoned their dying loved ones for fear they too would die in a matter of days.

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And yet, in her visions, God was reassuring, showing her a perspective that was much bigger and more hopeful than anyone could see. All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

God was showing her that there is peace to be found in a life dedicated to Him, that loss wasn’t final, that the Lord was still present and loves us like a mother loves her own children. In fact, Julian compares Jesus to a Mother.

I once looked out my apartment window at a driver trying to parallel park on the street below. He drove forward, turned the wheel, reversed…and could never quite fit his car in the allotted space, although there was plenty of room.

It occurred to me that this is what it must be like for the Divine at times. God sees us struggling to make do, to find our way, to turn our wheels just right, moving back and forth and then often giving up in frustration.  If we’d only look to Him.

“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

I find it comforting at all times to pray those words. The days can be stressful, the fears haunting, the direction of our lives uncertain, the future impossible to fathom. But all will be well. God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit are with us.

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Stress can be very difficult to manage. One of the things we can do to manage stress is to say a simple prayer to ask God to help us get through those times when parents, friends, exams, and more are making us stressed out. Try this prayer when you need a little help managing your stress:

Lord, I’m just having some trouble managing this stressful time in my life. The stress is just getting to be too much for me, and I need your strength to get me through. I know you are a pillar for me to lean on in tough times, and I pray that you will continue to provide me with ways to make my life a little less burdensome.

Lord, I pray that you provide me your hand and walk me through the dark times. I ask that you reduce the burdens in my life or show me the path to get things done or rid myself of the things weighing me down. Thank you, Lord, for all you do in my life and how you will provide for me, even in these stressful times.

iwilltrustinyou.org

Like an elastic band, I am
stretched over packages
of burdens and responsibilities.
Any day now, the tensions of daily life
could make me snap.
Untwist the stresses of my day,
unknot the chaos with in me,
untangle the jumbled strings of hurt.
Lord, unfold your ways for me
and make my paths straight. Amen.

When the pressure’s rising, may God give you peace.

  • God promises rest. Jeremiah 31:25
  • Be still and trust in God. Psalm 46
  • Don’t worry. Matthew 6:25–34
  • Nothing can separate you from God’s love. Romans 8:31–39
  • Learn to be content in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4–20

—from devozine (September/October 2007). Copyright © 2007 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

devozine.upperroom.org

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