Lisa Appelo

10 Prayers for When Pandemic Panic Is Rising

When the normal rhythms of a nascent spring were interrupted last March by the sudden appearance of Covid-19, we were thrust into a world of unknowns and uncertainty.

We’re now in month six of a season punctuated by more questions than answers. 

Like many of you, I’ve been gauging daily stats and headline news as I weigh choices about school, extracurriculars, online or in-person church and grocery shopping. We’ve muddled through risks and precautions, predictions and press-conferences to try our level best to make decisions that feel responsible. I don’t want to be fearful, but I also don’t want to be careless. 

Most of us don’t even realize the strain of chronic, low-level stress we’ve been carrying.

And some days – some days – the sheer volume of it all gets to us and we can feel pandemic panic rising in our chest.

The surest antidote for rising panic is prayer.

Let these 10 prayers be a resource to pray through the worries, decisions and issues you’re facing in this uncertain season.

10 Prayers for When Pandemic Panic Is Rising

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1. A Prayer for Uncertain Times

Lord, I do not know what to do, but my eyes are on You. You are my rock; keep me anchored in You. No matter how the world shakes, You are the same yesterday, today and forever. Help me walk by faith and not by sight and clearly discern how You are leading me. You are the way, when I can’t see the path ahead. You are my supplier, when I don’t see provision. You are my shield, when the enemy tries to unseat me and You are my help, when I feel utterly helpless. Help me love you above anything this world offers. Only You can do this in me. I ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Scripture references: 2 Chron. 20:12; Psalm 18; Mark 12:30; 2 Cor 5:7; Hebrews 13:8

2. A Prayer for the School Year

Father, I am facing a school year of unknowns. You promise to instruct me and teach me in the way I should go; please counsel me with Your loving eye on me. Give our school administrators wisdom to make decisions and our teachers energy, creativity, safety and perseverance to teach well in a changing environment. We ask for your protection over each child and school worker. Help me be a light of love and patience to my children and others when my flesh wants to criticize and complain. Lord, every day this year has already been written in Your book. Help me walk them out faithfully, looking for Your hand and Your good and glorifying You in all things. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Scripture references: Psalm 16:8; Psalm 139:16; 1 Cor. 10:31

3. A Prayer for Faith over Fear

Lord, when anxiety is rising in me, help me fix my eyes on You. You alone are my hope and deliverer. Give me an undivided heart to fear You alone. My circumstances are not the truth because You reign over all things. You reign over disease and diagnoses, elections and economies, my children and me. My fear is a spiritual battle and so I ask You to demolish every thought and every worry opposed to You. I take them captive to the truth of Your character and promises. You are faithful and You have not taken me this far to drop me now. Be my refuge and strength. In Jesus’ strong name, Amen.
Scripture references: Psalm 47:8; Prov 28:202 Cor 10:5; Hebrews 12:2

4. A Prayer Against Discouragement

I lift my soul to You, O Lord. I am dismayed and feel crushed under the weight of things too big for me. Refresh me and renew me as only You can. Give me Your strength to do what I cannot and give me courage to do hard things today. When I am weak, You are strong and so I trust that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Silence the enemy’s lies and even my own so that I hear only Your truth guiding me. Fill up my soul to overflowing with your unfailing love and deep joy so I can love and serve those around me today. In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen.
Scripture references: Psalm 25:1; Psalm 143:8; Isaiah 40:1; 2 Cor 12:10; Phil 4:13

5. A Prayer for Good Fruit in Suffering

Jesus, this trial is hard and it hurts, but since it has come through your hand, use it for good. Show me the idols I’ve created and trusted, reveal the sin I’ve nurtured and give me strength to turn from them. Forgive me and create in me a clean heart. Give me a heart like Yours that desires what You desire and that loves as You love. May Your pruning produce much good fruit in me and through me for Your glory. You are good and You have good for me, even though life feels hard. I put my whole trust in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Scripture references: Psalm 51:10; Psalm 119:68; Psalm 139:23-24; John 15:2, 5, 8; Romans 8:28

6. A Prayer for Decision Overwhelm

Lord, You promise to give wisdom generously if we ask and so I am asking. In a world of conflicting news reports, give me discernment and insight to make right decisions. I need Your practical guidance to keep my family safe and healthy. You led the Israelites through the wilderness providing every practical need – water from the rock, manna from heaven, shoes that didn’t wear out and protection from disease. And so I ask that You would shepherd me through the wilderness of decision-making. Help me to trust Your way absolutely and to make decisions in perfect peace, not fear. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Scripture references: Prov 2:8; Deut 8:3-4; Nehemiah 9:21; James 1:5

7. A Prayer of Gratitude

God, I give You thanks even in the unexpected and unwanted because You are good, You are just and You are right. Thank You for the hidden gifts of this pandemic: more time with my family, slow evenings at home, the beauty of creation and rediscovering joy in simple things. Thank You for supplying every need and delighting me with more than I could ask or imagine. Thank You for health care workers, for incredible minds working overtime to create a vaccine, for teachers going above and beyond to serve their students and for first responders showing up daily. Open my eyes to see Your goodness all around me because I don’t want to miss it. You are a good, good Father and I love you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Scripture references: Psalm 103:13; Psalm 119:68; Eph 3:20; Phil 4:19

8. A Prayer for The Grieving

Lord, thank you for being a Savior who walks with us in our pain, who is close to the broken-hearted and doesn’t leave us there but saves those crushed in spirit. Today, I lift up ____________ to You and ask that she would feel Your strong presence all around her and sense the comfort only You can bring. Help her to feel Your love sustaining her through deep missing. Draw her to You and to Your Word for daily strength and fresh hope. Guard her heart and mind so that she can get the sleep she needs and give her strength for difficult decisions and estate tasks. Silence the enemy who taunts with lies and regrets and bring her instead many warm memories of her loved one as she processes the pain of loss. Help her to feel Your everlasting arms carrying her through indescribable difficulty. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Scripture references: Deut 33:27; Psalm 4:8; Psalm 34:18; 1 Thess 4:13

9. A Prayer for the Church

Lord, do not let us be silent. You have called us to such a time as this. Apart from You, we can do nothing. I lift up my pastor and church leaders and ask You to guard their hearts, guard their marriages, guard their time and guard their decisions. Bind Your people together as Your body to serve locally, to give generously, to love lavishly. Help us live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together we may with one voice glorify God and share the hope of Jesus. May we fear You only. Give us the strength and power to carry out the tasks You have for us with grace and endurance. For from You and through You and to You are all things. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Scripture references: Esther 4:14; Matt 10:28; John 15:5; Rom 15:5-6; Hebrews 12:1

10. A Prayer for Government Leaders

O Lord God, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open to hear this prayer for the people of this country. We have sinned against You. I and my family have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against You and we have failed to keep Your commandments. Lord, give us mercy in accordance with Your unfailing love. Turn the hearts of our local, state and national leaders to You and give them the wisdom they desperately need to make decisions and govern justly. Turn our hearts to You and let it begin with me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Scripture references: Based on the prayer of Neh 1:5-7; Prov 22:1; 1 Tim 2:1

*Want to flourish even in hard seasons? Get email encouragement and your free guide -- Flourish in Life's Unexpected: Find Your Footing, Tame Your Fear and Bloom in Difficulty.

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Flourish in the Unexpected

Flourish in the Unexptected

In a few weeks’ time, our world has turned upside down.

That’s the thing about crises — they come unannounced and settle right over the plans and dreams we’d scrawled into planners and calendars. 

Stores have sold out of toilet paper and hand sanitizer and our best plans have cancelled like bad Christmas tree lights – conferences, speaking engagements, church services, ballet lessons, senior class trips, weddings, sporting events, and more.

In the days since, we’ve seen this virus escalate globally, then nationally and then like a London fog seeping into our towns and cities.  We’ve isolated to protect the vulnerable and ourselves, working from home and schooling from home and we don’t know how long this will last.

Both the world at large and our personal worlds have turned upside down.

I hear all around the weight we’re carrying in crisis.

  • We’re weary before the day’s even over as we prepare for the worst while hoping for the best.
  • We’re grieving that once-in-a-lifetime events won’t happen or certainly won’t look like we dreamed.
  • We’re adjusting to massive change and upheaval to our day-to-day normality.
  • We’re watching markets tumble, layoffs happen and businesses struggle, wondering what kind of economic repercussions are down the road.
  • We’re overwhelmed with headlines and predictions and anxious for the unknown that lies ahead.

It’s all leaving us confused, fearful and vulnerable.

While I’ve never been through a time like this — none of us has – I’ve been through the kind of crisis that upends every part of life. Several years ago, I became a sudden widow and single mom to 7 and our world as we knew it completely imploded.

I know despair. I’ve grieved once-in-a-lifetime events that will never happen for me or my children. I’ve grappled with massive change to our day-to-day normality and wondered what the future looks like without the single income that supported us. I’ve feared for my children and worried for the unknown the lies ahead. I’ve felt confused, fearful and vulnerable.

And here’s what I know.

We are not victims in this.

No matter how grim the circumstances, God enables us not merely to survive this season – lots of people will do that.

God enables and intends for us to flourish DESPITE this season and IN this season as he leads us through.

I’ve put together a FREE and simple workbook called Flourish: Find Your Footing, Tame Your Fear and Bloom in Unexpected Difficulty. This study is based on Jeremiah 17:7-8, where God reveals four steps to flourish in the unexpected.

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord
  whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
  that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
   its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
   and never fails to bear fruit.

Isn’t that what we want? To be stable when the life rocks, to be deeply nourished when life is barren, to disarm fear when we face the unknown and to bud and blossom even in the hard.

Listen the current crisis may have come unnounced but we can stay steady in the unexpected.

This workbook is a short 5-day study unpacking each verse of Jeremiah 17:7-8 to see how God tells us we can flourish in the unexpected.

Get yours here. 

I pray this blesses you mightily!

This post originally appeared at 

21 Bible Verses to Ring in the New Year

Fresh hope. New beginnings. Big dreams.

A brand spankin’ new year stretches before us and we are teetering on the edge with great anticipation.

This new year may open wide with its great unknowns to us, but not to God. He knows the way we take and he’s already there.

But now knowing what lies ahead isn’t so bad.

I’m convinced if we’ll give God the pen to write the pages of our life it will be a story far beyond anything we could imagine. An unbucket list of details and doors and detours that would make our best plans pale in comparison.

So today as we dream about the year ahead, let’s write our goals and plans in pencil. God has the pen and we can trust that his plans are always best.

The Bible has a lot to say about new beginnings and new plans. Here are 21 Bible verses for the New Year.


21 Bible Verses for the New Year

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

Because of the LORD’s loving devotion we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness! Lamentations 3:22-23

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true. Revelation 21:5

What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do. Isaiah 46:11

We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9

The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And He delights in his way. Psalm 37:23

Who is the man who fears the LORD? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose. Psalm 25:1

Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will do it. Psalm 37:5

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3;5-6

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance. Psalm 65:11

I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. Joel 2:25

But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8

The LORD Himself goes before you; He will be with you. He will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. Proverbs 31:25

Rather, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him. 1 Corinthians 2:9

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:33-34

For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

*This post appeared first at
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