“For What Shall We Pray?” is a weekly post inviting individuals, groups, and congregations to lift up our world in prayer. This resource is prepared by a variety of leaders in the ELCA and includes prayer prompts, upcoming events and observances, and prayer suggestions from existing denominational worship materials. You are encouraged to use these resources as a starting point, and to adapt and add other concerns from your local context. More information about this resource can be found here.


Prayer prompts:

In gratitude for mothers and for all who provide motherly care..
For those who are pregnant or waiting to adopt a child..
For mothers who are grieving; for children who have lost their mothers, and for all for whom this day is difficult…
For unrestricted access to health care for women and children…
For mass shooting victims and their families in Allen, TX and across the country…
For increased openness to political deliberation regarding access to assault weapons…
For a spirit of cooperation among congressional leaders as we approach the debt ceiling…
For countries embroiled in long term unrest and war, especially, Ukraine, Syria, Haiti, Mexico, Palestine, Israel and Sudan….
That peace talks between warring factions in Sudan will bear fruit…
For refugees and immigrants on the US southern border and all agencies, policies, and advocates that care for their well-being…

Events and observances:

Monthly observances in May: Asian Pacific Heritage Month; Jewish American Heritage Month; Mental Health Awareness Month; Older American Month;  Arthritis Awareness Month, Women’s Health Care Month

Matthias, Apostle (May 14)
Mother’s Day (USA, May 14)
Ascension of Our Lord
Erik, King of Sweden, martyr, died 1160 (May 18)
Helena, mother of Constantine, died around 330 (May 21)

Prayers from ELCA resources:

Resources for responding to gun violence and national distress:
Prayer for Lament (ACS p. 61)
Service After a Violent Event (ACS p. 64)
Prayers for Civic Life, Government, and the Nations (ACS p. 48-50)

A prayer for families (ELW p. 83)
Triune God, whose will it is that humans live in community, bless family life everywhere and fill all homes with respect, joy, laughter, and prayer. Strengthen the commitment of [spouses and partners] to one another, that they may mirror your covenant faithfulness; pour out your Spirit on parents, that through them their children may taste your unconditional love; and empower all family members to live in your grace and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A prayer for those facing pregnancy loss (ACS p. 53)
Creating God, you formed us in our mother’s womb and, in Jesus, welcomed children to come to you. Today we grieve the untimely end to a life that would have delighted you and us. Our hearts are torn, and we are burdened by our grief. Be with us as we walk this shadowed valley. Receive our tears. Hold space within us for hope’s return. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

A prayer for the elderly (ACS p. 54)
O Lord God, look with mercy on all whose increasing years bring them isolation, distress, or weakness. Provide for them homes of dignity and peace; give them understanding helpers and the willingness to accept help; and, as their strength diminishes, increase their faith and their assurance of your love. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

ELW = Evangelical Lutheran Worship
ACS = All Creation Sings: Evangelical Lutheran Worship Supplement

Additional topical prayers are found in Evangelical Lutheran Worship (pp. 72–87) and All Creation Sings (pp. 46–55), as well as in other resources provided in print and online at sundaysandseasons.com.

Crafted intercessions for every Sunday and festival are provided in the Sundays and Seasons worship planning guide published in-print and online by Augsburg Fortress. Further assistance for composing prayers of intercession can be found here: Resources for Crafting Prayers of Intercession

Prayer Ventures, a daily prayer resource, is a guide to prayer for the global, social and outreach ministries of the ELCA, as well as for the needs and circumstances of our neighbors, communities and world.

Image from All Creation Sings, © 2020, Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Used with permission.