3 Bold Scripture-Based Prayers for When You're Afraid

Jennifer Slattery

Published May 15, 2024
3 Bold Scripture-Based Prayers for When You're Afraid

When big fears come at us, we need God-sized tools to stay standing. When we feel overwhelmed, praying the truths of Scripture, which the Bible equates to a double-edged sword, can be a powerful way to quiet our souls and awaken our faith. In doing so, we remind ourselves of God’s promises and proclaim their truths. We’re also wielding our greatest offensive weapon against the forces of darkness determined to steal, kill, and destroy every good and precious thing our Lord died to give us. 

Here are 3 biblical prayers able to strengthen and quiet our anxious souls:

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woman praying at night, good night prayers, evening

1. When We Don't Know What to Do

“Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’ … Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” 2 Chronicles 20:6-9, 12, (NIV) 

This prayer came from King Jehoshaphat, a man who ruled over Judah during a tumultuous time. Shortly after initiating extensive religious reform throughout the land, he learned that a vast army, comprised of two allied nations, was coming against him. The king responded not by assembling a military force or by fleeing to the hills but instead by humbling himself and turning to God. 

Scripture states, “Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all of Judah” (vs. 3-6). Then, he stood in the temple courtyard, before all the people, and cried out to God, proclaiming His power, authority, and faithfulness (vs. 6-7). He proclaimed God’s promise to care for His people (vs. 8-10), his state of uncertainty and confusion, and his determined dependence upon God (v. 12). 

The problem before him was well beyond anything he could strategize his way out of, but it wasn’t too big for the God of heaven who ruled over all nations, including those coming against Judah. 

Father, You don’t change. You are still the God of heaven who reigns over all nations and who has promised to care for me, Your child. While the situation before me feels overwhelming, I know You are greater than anything I’ll ever face. This doesn’t surprise or confound You. You saw this coming and already made a plan as to how You will work all of this for my good and Your glory. Grant me Your wisdom and flood my soul with peace as I follow however You lead. 

In the Name of Your Son, my Savior, Jesus, I pray, amen. 

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a woman praying, should we fast?

2. When We Feel Under Attack

"And Elisha prayed, 'Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.' Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha." 2 Kings 6:17 (NIV) 

Elisha, a powerful Old Testament prophet, made this request to expand his servant’s perspective when he felt consumed by fear. At the time, Israel and the nation of Aram were at war. Whenever the king of Aram and his officers formulated a military plan, God revealed this to Elisha, who then told Israel’s king so that he could remain on guard. Infuriated, their opponent suspected a spy had infiltrated his troops. Upon confronting his men, however, he learned about Elisha, the prophet who knew and revealed “the very words [he] spoke in [his] bedroom” (2 Kings 6:12, NIV, pronouns changed). 

The king commanded his men to find Elisha. Once they had, “he sent horses and chariots and a strong force” by night to capture the prophet. The next morning, finding himself surrounded, Elisha’s servant became terrified, crying, "What shall we do?" (v. 15, NIV). His master, who saw the situation more clearly, calmly replied, "Don’t be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." He then asked God to open his servant’s eyes, so that he, too, could gain a more accurate perspective of their circumstances. Then, when he looked out once again, he "saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (v. 17). 

The God of heaven’s armies revealed his powerful angelic troops. Then, Elisha asked the Lord to strike their enemies blind. He did, and the two men escaped. 

This account reminds me of Jesus’ words on the night before His crucifixion. When facing armed Roman soldiers who had expected to take Him by force, He calmly told one of His frightened disciples, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53, NIV). 

In the first century, one legion averaged around 5,000 military men. Therefore, Jesus was saying, in essence, “If asked, My Father would send more than 60,000 angelic soldiers to rescue Me.” 

This, and the events surrounding it, illustrate two important truths. First, the God who fights our battles on our behalf is more than able to do so. The moment He deploys His angelic soldiers, victory has already been won. 

Second, Jesus chose not to utilize His Father’s forces—because of us. Although He had an easy out, His love for me and you drove Him to the cross. The Father held back his supernatural warriors while He and all of heaven watched God the Son endure horrific brutality, out of love for us. 

What a beautiful, fear-quieting combination—the Lord’s incomprehensible power encased in His perfect, faithful, sacrificial love. Therefore, we echo the words recorded in Romans 8:31, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”     

God Almighty, You are the commander of heaven’s armies, the One who goes before me, stands with me, and fights for me. When the battle surrounding me feels insurmountable, remind me to look to You. Open my eyes so that I might view myself and my problems through a truthful lens, knowing that I and all that concerns me are held secure in Your strong and righteous hand.

In Jesus Name, we pray, amen.

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Woman kneeling at her bedside, eyes closed, praying; a midnight prayer of intercession.

3. When We Feel Rejected and Alone

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” Psalm 143:8 (NIV)

Although scholars don’t know precisely when David, ancient Israel’s second king, penned Psalm 143, his words indicate it was during a frightening time in which he fled from an enemy. Perhaps this referred to when Saul, the nation’s first king, relentlessly pursued David—with his army at his command. Or, David may have been writing about his son Absolom, who attempted to usurp the throne. 

Regardless of who David referred to as his pursuing enemy (Ps. 143:3), we know he experienced deep distress. He wrote that he felt “crushed to the ground” as if his circumstances were as dark as death (v. 3), his spirit faint, and his heart dismayed (v. 4). 

We all have a God-created need for human connection and a sense of belonging. It makes sense, then, why rejection and loneliness affect us so deeply. Sadly, when others turn from us, we might assume we are unlikeable in some way. Recognizing and receiving God’s love can help remind us of who we are to Christ and in Christ. 

Father, thank You for seeing my pain and for understanding this situation hurts deeply. Remove the self-defeating lies I’m tempted to entertain. Place in their stead the soul-strengthening truth. May I remember Your faithful love upon waking each morning, numerous times throughout the day, and prior to falling asleep each night. 

You know me fully, my flaws and greatest weaknesses included, and in Your Son, You have declared me righteous, chosen, and redeemed. Help me to base my identity not on my successes or failures or relationships but instead on Your incomprehensible love for me.  

In Christ's name, I pray, amen.      

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Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who hosts the Faith Over Fear podcast. She’s addressed women’s groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Building a Family and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com.

As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she’s passionate about helping women experience Christ’s freedom in all areas of their lives. Visit her online to learn more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event  and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE  and make sure to connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.

Originally published Wednesday, 15 May 2024.