Praying through Bad Times

Most of the prayers found in Orthodox prayer books are taken from the service books the Church uses for public worship, so that even when a Christian is praying alone, he is praying with the Church. According to Fr. George Florovsky, “Personal prayer is possible only in the context of the community. Nobody is a Christian by himself, but only as a member of the Body [of Christ]. Even in solitude, ‘in the chamber,’ a Christian prays as a member of the redeemed community, of the Church.” (Bishop Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Church, p. 303)

Below are some personal prayers that are especially good for “praying through” bad times — during illness, crisis, stress, or doubt. You may want to add them to your morning and evening prayers when needed.

A Prayer for the Sick

O Christ, You alone are prompt to defend us; quickly visit Your suffering servant, (name), and through the prayers of the Theotokos, deliver (him, her) from sickness and bitter pain. Heal (him, her) so that (he, she) may sing to You and always praise You — for You alone love mankind.

A Prayer in Times of Despair

O Lord, it is so easy to walk with You when things go well and nothing seems wrong. Yet, now I feel as Peter must have felt as he saw You walk toward him on the open sea. He tried to come to You and then lost hope and began to sink. When I am down, come to me as you came to Peter. Help me, even though my faith seems weak.

Prayers for an Increase of Faith

Help me, O Lord, to hear the words You spoke to Jarius, whose daughter was cured: “Do not be afraid; only have faith.” Help me to hear them, to understand them, to believe them, even though I say with the father of the possessed boy, “I do not have faith! Help me where my faith falls short!”

Help me, O Lord, to believe that Your promise is true, that Your words, unlike so many of mine, are not empty. You have said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. You also said, “Everyone who looks upon the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life.” Help me, O Lord, to believe and to abide in your presence right now, that in the moments ahead I may dwell in your house forever. Amen. X

See Mark 5:36, Mark 9:24, and John 6:40 for the scriptural passages cited in the prayers above.

Taken from the Come To Me prayer book, Johnstown, Pa.: Christ the Saviour Seminary Press, 1986.

© 2000 by Orthodox Family Life and the original author(s).
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