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How to Pray Your Way Out of Pandemic Fears

These three Bible scriptures will help you reclaim hope.

Pray beyond pandemic fears
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It’s as though fear has become a bad habit with me. I can’t seem to shake it. All those habits of hyper-vigilance that we’ve had to practice in the last year—the social distancing, the masks, the times of quarantine—keep taking me back to the fears that were rampant last spring. How do I retrain my brain? That was then…this is now. 

Was there ever a better time or deeper need for prayer? Here are three biblical sources I turn to:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and all your strength and all your mind. Not for nothing did Jesus stress this commandment (along with the next one). It’s crucial and powerful. All about putting first things first. Our priorities.

Oddly enough, I usually just skip over the “mind” part. Now is not the moment for that. There is powerful evidence that as more of us get vaccinated, we can beat this virus. Think how impossible that was to know last year (use your mind on that one). Imagine how inconceivable such hope was. Loving God—banishing fear—requires using my mind. As well as heart and soul and strength.

Love your neighbor as yourself. I like to think of this commandment as prayer in action. We know so much more about the virus and how it’s transmitted than we did a year ago. Back then (remember?) we were spraying all surfaces with alcohol and wiping off the groceries before putting them on our shelves or in the fridge. At least I was.

Now we know that’s it’s largely transmitted through the air. How do I love my neighbor at a time like this? I still wear a mask when I go to the market. There is the possibility, remote, that I might be unknowingly transmitting the virus. Mostly I do it to put my neighbors at ease. They don’t know I’ve been fully vaccinated. But I can do this to make them feel safer.

Perfect love casts out all fear. What is perfect love? God’s love. God loves us. God loves you. Sometimes that can be very hard for me to accept. I don’t measure up to the person I would like to be. Not accepting God’s love is a way to stay in the dumps. Instead of claiming the liberating truth.

Sometimes I say to myself in prayer: Love, love, love. Or with every breath, I feel myself breathing in God’s love—the air that God created. And breathing out those self-doubts.

What is the opposite of love? It’s fear. Therefore, what is the corrective for fear? Love. Take a big dose of it—like vitamins. You don’t have to look very far to find it. On beautiful spring days, like we’ve been having lately, I see it in the bursting buds of flowers and the leafing greens, our Creator’s message.

God’s command to the world is about love. Use that to banish fear. I’m doing my best, in prayer. Let’s do it together.

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