A Good Friday Prayer for a Pandemic

Jesus never stopped praying. Even as he hung on a cross, desperately trying to breathe, his lungs filling with fluid, he never stopped praying. In his most desperate moment, he offered his suffering humanity, our suffering humanity, as a prayer to God.

But prayer can be hard, especially if we are feeling stressed or overwhelmed. As the heart closes in on itself, the act of praying can feel heroic.

But prayer is essential work: It is the taproot of our subsistence in God. It reminds us that we are known by God, breathed into existence at every moment by the Great I Am, the One infinitely closer to us than we are to ourselves.

Thomas Merton once said, “A little sincerity with God goes a long way.” That’s a good starting point for praying today. Turn to God and be sincere. Say: “My Lord and God, this is what is happening with me right now.” Take a step towards God and let God take ten steps towards you.

If you’re having trouble praying, or don’t know quite where to start, here’s a prayer you might try praying today.

My God, my Lord, you were there when I took my first breath.

Be with us today.

You were there when my eyes first beheld the world, in all its beauty and brutality. You felt the first stirrings of love in heart, the first flashing of thought and memory in my mind.

Be with us today.

You were fully human, incarnate in Christ. You felt love, fear, and hope. You had family, friends, and enemies. You knew economic uncertainty and scarcity. You saw sickness, injustice, and violence.

Be with us today.

You felt isolated and afraid when You were betrayed by your friends. You felt paralyzed by fear in the garden. You did not want to suffer. You felt anxiety to the point of shedding blood. You are with all those who are feeling anxious and overwhelmed today.

Be with us today.

You are with those who are suffering today: those who labor for breath, as you labored to breathe on the cross. Comfort those who are sick and dying today. Especially those who are alone.

Be with us today.

As suffering enfolds us, I cry out with You on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” You hear my prayer. You love me and understand me and forgive me.

Be with us today.

In our messiness, in our helplessness, in our frailty and weakness, You are here, my Lord and God, shedding blood to bind us back together and lead us towards a deeper union with You.

Be with us today.

You have forever conquered sin and the power of death: pandemics included. You see the signs of hope in the world today. You know that Love is stronger than death.

Be with us today.

I see you incarnate in the heroic love of others. You are present in their essential life giving work. They heal and nourish and help, and I am dependent upon them as I am upon You. I pray that you will bless them, comfort them, and keep them safe. I pray we may be inspired to work for justice, dignity, and a living wage for them.

Be with us today.

You are ever-present in every breath I take, from my first to my last. I trust in You, and I ask You to calm my fears, soothe my worries, and help my unbelief. Into Your hands I commend my Spirit.

You are with us today. We are with You.

Amen.

Incarnate Heart, 2020

5 thoughts on “A Good Friday Prayer for a Pandemic

  1. “You are with those who are suffering today: those who labor for breath, as you labored to breathe on the cross. Comfort those who are sick and dying today. Especially those who are alone.” Thank you for your heartfelt prayer.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was so touched by your words and your prayer and particularly moved by “You are with those who are suffering today: those who labor for breath, as you labored to breathe on the cross.” Powerful prayer. A prayer of hope.

    Liked by 1 person

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