“Make haste to help us, O God.”
These words from Psalm 38 have been my constant prayer ever since my husband’s medical emergency last fall. I prayed them when he was in the hospital, and I waited alone at home. Make haste to help us, O God. When the cancer was found. Make haste to help us, O God. When he finally came home from the hospital. Make haste to help us, O God. Before, during, and after his radiation treatments. When he started chemotherapy, and as he continues to persevere with treatment after treatment. Make haste to help us, O God. I’ve prayed these same words so often that sometimes I feel as if the words are praying me.
During this time of challenge, prayer has been a significant source of support and comfort for me and for us. Yet in times of personal, national, and global challenge, sometimes prayer itself can be a challenge. The words of prayer don’t always come to us unbidden. We may feel too tired, too confused, too overwhelmed to pray. Sometimes prayer may seem impossible.
So how can we pray during challenging times?
I invite you to explore this question with me in a six-week online course that I’ll be teaching as part of the Fall 2021 Xplore program offered by Canadian Mennonite University. Xplore is an enrichment program for 55-plus that includes courses on Creation, Ecology, and the Bible with Dan Epp-Tiessen, Living with Our Differences with Betty Pries, Violence Within Scripture: Struggling with a Troubling Legacy with Gerald Gerbrandt, and much more. I’m excited to be in such good company!
This fall all courses will be offered online, so it’s a great opportunity to take part in Xplore from your own home. And tuition rates are just $50 per course for the first registrant in a household, with the charge for the second person at 50% off ($25). To check out all of the course offerings and to register, please see Xplore: Keep Thinking.
My course will run on Thursdays, October 7 – November 11, 11:00am-12pm (central time), 9:00am-10:00am (pacific time), and is listed this way:
Prayer During Challenging Times
with April Yamasaki; Resident Author, Valley CrossWay Church, and Author of Sacred Pauses: Spiritual Practices for Personal Renewal
In times of challenge, prayer can be a significant source of support and comfort—yet sometimes prayer itself can be a challenge. How can we pray through challenging times when we feel overwhelmed? And how can we pray about the challenging times we face? This course will discuss different ways of praying during challenging times including personal and corporate prayer, spontaneous and set prayers, silence, lament, praying Scripture, and other prayer practices, with time in each session for a short prayer exercise.
In the meantime, I’d love to send you my free e-book How to Pray When Prayer Seems Impossible, and you might also like to check out my How to Pray blog series:
Writing/Reflection Prompt: What have you learned about praying during challenging times? What questions would you want to explore further?
For more on writing and other acts of faith,