“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:

For justice and peace among nations where war and violence rage, especially Palestine and Israel, Iran, Myanmar, Iraq, Haiti, Russia and Ukraine, Burkina Faso, and South Sudan…
For synods of the ELCA as they gather in their assemblies, that the Spirit would enliven and guide them…
For all countries whose national life is marked by destabilizing events, especially Slovakia and Iran…
For areas of Texas and the Midwest in the midst of severe storms…
For safety for all who serve in our nation’s armed forces, and for families who remember loved ones this Memorial Day…
For all who live with mental illness, that they receive the support they need…
For gardeners, landscapers, farmers and farm laborers, and all who tend our land…

Events and observances:

May Observances: Mental Health Awareness Month, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Helena, mother of Constantine, died c.330, May 21
Nicolaus Copernicus, died 1543; Leonhard Euler, died 1783, scientists, May 24
John Calvin, renewer of the church, died 1564, May 21

Prayers from ELCA resources:

A prayer for a peaceful night (ELW p.86)
Dear Jesus, as a hen covers her chicks with her wings to keep them safe, protect us this night under your golden wings; for your mercy’s sake. Amen.

A prayer for those affected by natural disasters (ACS p.49)
Save us, O God, for the waters are rising, and there is no firm place to stand. Life as we know it has been swept away. Draw near to us in this time of need and be our protection. Support us as we rebuild what has been ruined. Do no let us drown in our sorrow, but raise us to new life in your promise of rebirth, already claimed for us in Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

A prayer for the public church (ACS p.47)
Mighty and merciful God, lover of justice and equity, you call us to support the weak, to help those who suffer, and to honor all people. By the power of your Holy Spirit, make us advocates for your justice and instruments of your peace, so that all may be reconciled in your beloved community; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

A set of worship resources for the crisis in the Holy Land is available on ELCA.org. Several prayers are provided that could be used during the prayers of intercession or at other times, in public worship or for devotional use at home or in other settings. PDF DOC

A set of worship resources for national elections is available on ELCA.org. Scripture readings, prayers, and assembly song suggestions are offered, to be used in settings such as prayer vigils, Morning or Evening Prayer, regular weekly worship or personal devotion in the weeks preceding or following an election. PDF DOC

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.