Recently, a friend reminded me of Rembrandt’s painting of Jesus asleep in the boat with the disciples. In case you’re unfamiliar with the painting, it brilliantly depicts the chaos of the scene. The disciples appear to be hanging on for dear life, trying to hold the sails against the wind and the waves. One of the disciples is leaning over the boat with his head down. My friend commented that she thinks that disciple is vomiting because of the seasickness brought on by the crazy waves. If you’re in a time of chaos, the painting is so very relatable!
Times of chaos are all too common in our lives. They can be brought on by job loss, a scary health diagnosis, friction in a marriage, or the demands of a special needs child. When the storms of chaos begin to blow, we’re left feeling as though we’re drowning. The disciples certainly felt that way and wondered how on earth Jesus could sleep during such a powerful storm (Mark 4:35-41)! In the chaos, they asked the age-old question that is so often asked when the storms of life swamp us: “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” Ah… ever flung that prayer at the Lord when life has been falling apart? I’m pretty sure, at some point or another in each of our lives, we’ve asked the very same question. When cancer ravishes, when kids walk away from the faith, when people disappoint and hurt, when the economy crashes, we wonder, “Does God really care?” Where is peace in those moments?
I’ve come to the conclusion that peace is not a feeling. It’s the assurance that the presence of Christ is with us, and the faith to believe He is in control. The way we access that peace is to follow the path of the Psalmists: We pour out our hearts in prayer and then we praise God that He is in control.
Here are just 3 prayers to help you in times of chaos:
Prayer for times of fear:
Lord Jesus, You see the storm all around me. You know the anxiety I am feeling as I journey through these difficult circumstances. I ask You to calm the pain in my body, soul, and spirit as I cling to You. When I feel discouraged, bring me small bits of encouragement. I praise You that although I feel like I’m drowning, You are with me. Your rod and staff comfort me in this valley of darkness. Thank You that no matter how chaotic things get, You will not let go of me. Your right arm holds me up and I cling to You. I praise You that You are more powerful than the storm I am facing (Psalm 23:4, Psalm 139:7, Psalm 63:8).
Prayer for times of dangerous illness:
Father God, I bow before You. You are the creator of my body and You understand how every cell is interacting with every other cell. Though I feel ill and like my body is failing, I praise You that You can be glorified even in my broken body. Holy Spirit, when I feel too weak to continue, strengthen me, I pray. You promised, Lord, that Your power would be perfected in my weakness. Lord God, glorify Yourself through my suffering. I praise You that though I feel ill, I can trust You. Thank You that for all eternity, I will be whole and completely healed (Genesis, 2:19, 2 Corinthians 12:9).
Prayer for times of increased danger:
Holy One, I lift up my prayer before You. I pray that You will hide me in the shelter of Your wings. I pray that in Your presence I would be able to fully relax. Surround me with angels as I face the danger before me. When I feel anxious, calm me. I praise You that Your Word teaches me that Your faithfulness will be a shield protecting me from the enemy. Thank You that You are with me in this moment and even here, You can bring me joy as I relax in You. I praise You that You promise to be with me in trouble and You will deliver me. I praise You that You are the LORD God Almighty and that nothing and no one can thwart Your plans. I worship You! (Psalm 91:1-2, 10, 15)
If you love the Psalms and want more of these prayers, order your copy of Psalms for the Anxious Heart.