Praying for the Pandemic (Matthew 8)

Fasting Prayer graphic

How are you doing, dear one? Really, how are you?

A friend said our situation reminded her of the polio epidemic. She told stories of the precautions and the fears and those she knew who got sick.

I have nothing to compare this to. Over and over again I find myself saying, “We’ve never been through this before.”

Folks are working so hard. There’s wonderful information on steps to take to keep yourself and others safe. Please be wise and compassionate and wash those hands!

Below are some suggestions for how to pray. That’s how I process stuff that feels big. I write prayers and pass them along hoping they’ll be helpful. ⁠

There’s, of course, no one way to pray or the right way to pray. I’m offering a way to pray using a passage of scripture as a guide. It’s a rich, long-standing practice that’s broadened both the content and language of my prayers. It also keeps me grounded in God’s character and promises.

I find this prayer practice especially helpful in times of great need, as we are in right now. I hope it is helpful for you. 

Matthew 8 found me Thursday morning as I was using the Lenten Bible Reading Plan. In this one chapter, there are five diverse stories of Jesus’ healing power. I chose this passage (or it chose me) to guide the prayer. ⁠

Let’s use this passage to guide our prayers today. Leave a comment below with other scriptures which would be helpful to guide our prayers.

Keep praying dear ones. Prayer is doing something. The prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective. – Lisa <

Jesus, we see you healing the leper (Matthew 8:1-4). Hear our prayer
For the quarantined
The stranded
The vulnerable
Those feeling isolated
And those being treated as diseased outcasts
End the prejudice and mistreatment
Make us one in you
Lord, hear our prayer

Jesus, we hear the Centurion and see you healing the paralyzed servant (Matthew 8:5-13). Hear our prayer
For those feeling paralyzed
by fear
by uncertainty
by the markets

For business owners and all unable to work
For students and educators as schools close
For congregations unable to gather
Lord, hear our prayer

Jesus, hear our prayer
For those, like the Centurion, risking much to help others
Medical professionals and researchers
Health Departments, the CDC, and the WHO
Cleaning crews
First responders
Those who work in assisted living facilities and nursing homes

Like the Centurion, grant us all great faith
And the strength to ask for help
Lord, hear our prayer

Jesus, we see you healing Peter’s mother-in-law, bedridden with a fever (Matthew 8:14-17). Hear our prayer
For equal access to testing and treatment
For virus carriers and authorities to make wise choices
For an end to this pandemic

Heal all who are sick with the virus and those who will become sick
Raise them from their sickbeds to bless their homes and communities
Lord, hear our prayer

Jesus, we see you crossing to the other side to heal the Gadarene Demoniacs (Matthew 8:28-34).
Deliver us from evil, Jesus
End its destructive influence
Turn the hearts of all who use this pandemic for selfish gain

Deliver us from panic, Jesus
Help all who are struggling with their mental health
All who’s souls are screaming
We welcome your presence and peace
Lord, hear our prayer

Jesus, we see you calm the storm (Matthew 8:23-27)
The situation is beyond us, Jesus
It feels out of control and dangerous
We are swamped
We are perishing

Save us, Jesus
The waves of news and need overwhelm us
But not you
You calm the storm
You bring good out of this great need
You hear our prayer
Glory to your Holy Name. Amen.

Be sure to also check out Sarah Bessey’s Breath Prayers for Anxious Times. Grounded in scripture. Centering. Honest. 

Praying for the Pandemic © 2020 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
(by Lisa Degrenia, Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

8 thoughts on “Praying for the Pandemic (Matthew 8)

  1. Dear Lisa,     Thank you for this lectio prayer. On Sunday evenings Christine and  i facilitate a Centering Prayer Group that typically gathers in the Chapel at 1st Congregational UCC here in Sarasota. Recently there have been ten of us who gather. I have been praying about how to be in community in a way that helpfully models our current circumstances, especially as Bishop Carter spoke today of “social distancing.”     This is what I have up with. We will invite those who will to gather at the labyrinth on the campus, bringing lawn chairs to sit around the circumfrence of the circle. We will begin, with your permission, by alternately having someone read the scripture then the prayer for each periscope of the chapter, then, observing silence, each of us will walk the labyrinth one at a time.     I think the fresh air will do us good. Periodically, I send out an eNewsletter to the local community of Contemplative Outreach. With your permission, I would like to include this prayer as part of it as well. I will be sure to include the attribution you request.      I hope you and your family are well. These days we are worshipping with Sam and the folks at FUMC Sarasota.Cheerfully,Stephen Hoffman

    • It’s so good to hear from you, Stephen. I’m honored and delighted to hear of your plans and that this prayer will be a part of it. What time is your gathering at the labyrinth? There may be others who’d like to join you. – Lisa <

  2. Hello Lisa,
    I would like to use these prayers for an online hymn festival that I’m putting together. What should I do to get permission to use this? Thanks!
    Blaine Russell
    Director of Music
    Fletcher United Methodist Church
    Fletcher, NC

  3. Pingback: Inviting You Deeper: Belonging to Jesus | Becky Eldredge

  4. Pingback: Going to My Inner Chapel: The Healing God Proclaims Beyond Our Feet | Becky Eldredge

  5. Pingback: Going to My Inner Chapel: Holy Noticing | Becky Eldredge

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