“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 thanksgiving for all those who have given their lives in service to our country…
For all who are currently serving in the armed forces and for veterans seeking care for mental and physical injuries received during active duty…
For missing and murdered indigenous women and girls…
For nuclear disarmament, and that world leaders would listen to the voices of those who survived the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki…
For the voices of climate scientists (such as the World Meteorological Organization) to be heard and respected…
For the families and friends of those who died in soccer stadium stampede in San Salvador…
For peace in Ukraine, Sudan, Palestine, and Israel…
For congressional leaders to reach agreement on the debt ceiling…
For an expansion of mental health care and improved access…
For healing and hope for those who are suffering from mental illness, especially those with treatment resistant conditions…

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

Nicolaus Copernicus, died 1543; Leonhard Euler, died 1783; scientists (May 24)
John Calvin, renewer of the church, died 1564 (May 27)
Amnesty International Day (May 28)
World Hunger Day (May 29)
Memorial Day (May 31)
Visit of Mary to Elizabeth (May 31)
Justin, martyr at Rome, died around 165 (June 1)
International Children’s Day (June 3)
The Martyrs of Uganda, died 1886 (June 3)
John XXIII, Bishop of Rome, died 1963 (June 3)

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 those in the armed forces faith and science (ELW pg. 77)
Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils that surround them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

A prayer for healing from breaches of trust (ACS pg. 50)
God of endless love, ever caring, ever strong, always present, always just: In Jesus Christ you join to your own suffering the pain of all who have been hurt in body, mind, and spirit by those who betrayed the trust place in them. Hear the cries of our neighbors (especially missing and murdered indigenous women and girls) who have been gravely harmed, and the cries of those who love them. Soothe their restless hearts with hope, steady their shaken spirits with faith. Grant that all who have been harmed may find peace in justice. We ask this through Christ our Lord. 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.