When life’s difficulties mount up around us, finding comfort can be a challenge. Grief, worry, loss, and fear can close in and make it seem like things won’t get better.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Prayers for Hope and Miracles
- Prayers for Hope in Despair
- Prayers for Hope and Strength
- Prayers for Hope and Protection
Religious traditions, thankfully, offer a variety of ways to rethink our circumstances even when things seem to be at their darkest.
Here are just a few prayers to seek when your faith in life’s goodness is tested.
Prayers for Hope and Miracles
When it feels like no Earthly measure can make a needed change in our lives, sometimes our desire for a miracle can be what turns us to our spiritual practice.
1. “Prayer For Direction” from Christianity
“Please show me which way to turn. Calm my anxious thoughts, come speak into my mind.”
It sometimes feels like we just want someone to point to the right choice in an impossible decision. Sometimes we must ask for a miraculous sign for direction.
2. “Prayer from Surah Al-Baqarah - 2:255” from Islam
“He knows what happens to them in this world, and what will happen to them in the Hereafter. And they will never compass anything of His Knowledge except that which He wills.”
The reminder that an all-powerful being knows everything that will happen can give us faith that the next step we take is the right one.
3. “The Miracle Prayer” from Catholicism
“Heal me, change me, strengthen me in body, soul, and spirit.”
Having the faith to ask for change and healing can be a miracle in itself. Making a big change in your life creates a moment to look back on and recognize divine intervention and maybe even a miracle.
4. “The Transfiguration” from Christianity
“But Jesus came and touched them, saying, ‘Rise, and have no fear.’” - Matthew 17:1-9
The story of Jesus’s friends seeing him talking with God and learning from what they saw can give others faith in the miraculous ability of a higher power to make changes on Earth.
5. “East End Temple’s Service of Healing” from Judaism
“There is defeat to overcome and acceptance of living to be established and always there must be hope.”
When you’re at your most hopeless, these two things, overcoming defeat and acceptance of living, can be the biggest miracle of all. You wouldn't believe how much life changes when hope returns after a bad season.
Prayers for Hope in Despair
When we’re at the end of our rope, prayer can be one thing to hold onto in the crushing feelings of despair. It’s also often the thing that helps us out of that despair.
6. “Prayer From the Teachings of the Buddha” from Buddhism
“Blossoms come about because of a series of conditions that lead up to their blooming... Blossoms do not appear independently, nor does a leaf fall of itself, out of its season… - The Teachings of the Buddha, 41-42
Buddha’s teaching often focused on things being pre-ordered and happening in the right season. Knowing that despair is only for a season can be a relief.
7. “Prayer for Strength When Grieving” from Christianity
“My heart is broken and my spirit mourns. All I know is that Your grace is sufficient.”
When there is nothing else to say, knowing that your higher power is with you can be enough. These kinds of prayers can be a way to encourage someone who is sick when you don’t know what else to say.
8. “Prayer for Guidance and Direction” from Catholicism
“When I become overwhelmed, please give me the peace that surpasses all understanding.”
Peace rather than answers can be the best thing to pray for at despairing moments. Knowing that feeling overwhelmed will pass in time can be a reminder to persevere through the storms of life.
9. “Prayer for Healing” from Judaism
“God, make me brave for life: oh, braver than this. Let me straighten after pain, as a tree straightens after the rain, shining and lovely again.”
This prayer perfectly illustrates how afraid you might feel in despair and how we want to bounce back from our setbacks.
10. “Prayer for Help From Allah” from Islam
“He is Allah (the) One. The Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, He begets not nor was He begotten, and there is none equal to Him.”
Despair can be brought to an end by the presence and power of an all-powerful deity, reminding us to hope.
Prayers for Hope and Strength
When we’re emerging from a very difficult time, it can feel like we’ve been physically and emotionally weakened. Here are some prayers for reconnecting and building ourselves back up.
11. “David’s Song of Praise” from Judaism
“Adonai hears the prayers of those who fear God. Adonai hears their cry and delivers them.”
This Jewish prayer reminds us that, even when we are feeling at our weakest, God is listening to us and bringing us out of our struggles.
12. “Prayer for Healing and Strength” from Christianity
“Thank you that you are moving in me right now. May I continue to receive from you this hour and every hour.”
When we feel weak, it can be helpful to focus on the moment—what we need in this particular day, hour, or minute. Asking for strength in the present moment can carry us through when the pain is the worst. Prayers for healing like this one can be powerful and encouraging.
13. “Strength for the Weary Prayer” from Catholicism
“Please help me to experience your strength in the midst of my weakness.”
Recognizing that God can be strong when we aren’t is a powerful reminder.
14. “Rabbi Naomi Levy Prayer” from Judaism
“Give me the strength to resurrect my weary spirit. Revive me, God, so I can embrace life once more in joy, in passion, in peace.”
The idea that we can be brought back and made new is very comforting. We can experience positive emotions in life again, no matter our current circumstances.
15. “Prayer For Compassion in Difficult Times” from Christianity
“Let compassion and love for my brothers and sisters flow from me and may we all be uplifted by your glory.”
Sometimes, pouring our thoughts and prayers into those around us can distract from our weakness or pain. It’s hard to take the focus off our hopeless feelings, but praying for that ability can help us make the transition.
Prayers for Hope and Protection
When we know that more difficulty is coming our way, praying for protection from its most dangerous effects can be a source of comfort and can make us feel like we’ve got an actual protective shield around us.
16. “Prayer for Strength to Cope With Illness” from Christianity
“At this time I lean on You. I draw my strength from Your endless love.”
The image of God lending strength to those who love him is one that can generate hope for those who are coping with pain and illness.
17. “Prayer for Protection” from Anglican Church
“Visit, Lord, we pray, this place and drive far from it all the snares of the enemy.”
Whether the enemy is a spiritual force or something like a natural disaster, prayers that ward off the influence and forces of chaos in our lives can help us feel comfort.
18. “Prayer for Protection and Help From Allah” from Islam
“Allah, Revealer of the Book, Swift to account, defeat the groups (of disbelievers). O Allah, defeat them and shake them.”
The metaphor of a deity going into battle for us can make us feel empowered. Even when the enemy is an abstract one like illness, when we pray for health, we can imagine our God going to fight the illness for us.
19. “Universal Prayer” from Hinduism
“Grant us inner spiritual strength, to resist temptations and to control the mind.”
When the protection we need is from our mind, this prayer from Hinduism can help us shore up the defenses against our poor decision-making. Such prayers can be a powerful way to wish the best for someone else as well.
20. “Morning Prayer - Saum” from Sufism
“Give sustenance to our bodies, hearts, and souls. Use us for the purpose that Thy Wisdom chooseth, and guide us on the path of Thine Own Goodness.”
Sometimes, getting the mental and physical nutrition we need is a challenge. This prayer helps us look for the right path as well as the right resources to nourish us toward strength and wholeness.
Praying for Hope Breeds Joy and Perspective
Praying for hope often gives us the words we need to see a positive path forward, even if more difficulty lies between us and the finish line.
Spiritual traditions have lots of history helping people through tough times. The prayers that have given comfort to hundreds of thousands of others can now be a source of comfort to you.
- “The Miracle Prayer.” Catholic Tradition. catholictradition.org/Christ/miracle.htm
- Frishman, Elyse. Services for Shabbat; a Reform Siddur. CCAR Press.
- “Wishes, hopes, and prayers” San Fernando Valley Hongwanji Buddhist Temple. SFVHBT. sfvhbt.org/wishes-hopes-and-prayers/
- “Prayers for Strength and Healing.” Reform Judaism Practice. Reform Judaism. reformjudaism.org/practice/prayers-blessings/prayers-strength-and-healing
- “Prayer for Protection.” Catholic Readings. catholicreadings.org/catholic-prayers/prayer-for-protection-strong-prayer-for-protection/
- “Duas for protection and help from Allah.” Islamic Finder. islamicfinder.org/duas/masnoon/for-protection-and-help-from-allah/
- “Hindu Prayers.” Center for Mission and Identity. Xavier University. xavier.edu/jesuitresource/online-resources/prayer-index/hindu-prayers
- “Prayers.” The Inayati Order. inayatiorder.org/teachings/prayers/