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Praying Through Storms

6 Scriptures to pray when the storms of life roll in

Storms. At first glance, this word looks simple and straightforward; but the Bible, a truly beautiful literary work, is full of rich, metaphorical language. The depth of the symbolic language used makes the Bible, God’s Word, alive and relevant, even millennia later.

Sometimes scripture refers to actual storms, and other times it can refer to the trials and tribulations of life on this side of eternity. Having just experienced a direct hit from Category 4 Hurricane Ian, while simultaneously experiencing some spiritual storms in my personal life, I want to share the scriptures I have been leaning on in this season.

It is my hope that these scriptures will equip you as you pray through the storms in your life.

If It’s Your Will, Lord

The past five years had been quiet on the hurricane front. I’d venture to say the majority of Southwest Florida, like myself, had grown comfortable with the idea of living in paradise without risk.

But as meteorologists plastered the spaghetti models on the screens of each newscast, shared their predictions, and encouraged the importance of hurricane preparedness, we began to sober up. Though it bared a resemblance to a beautiful abstract painting, the array of colorful lines across the state of Florida was nothing to joke about. Danger was imminent. The question was, who would be caught in the crosshairs?

Did I want the storm to bypass us? Absolutely. But did I feel comfortable praying over the course of the hurricane? Not really. I knew that if I prayed to be spared, that meant I was indirectly praying for others to be impacted. So instead of praying direction over the storm, I found peace in praying the Lord’s will.

Below is a scripture to pray when a storm is on the horizon.

Luke 22:42
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

No one wants to be caught in the storms of this life and willingly subjected to pain and suffering. Perhaps this is why at the sign of a storm, we pray for the Lord’s deliverance. We pray for the thorn to be removed. We pray to be spared.

In Luke 22:42, we see that even the Son of God struggled with the suffering set before Him. While His Spirit was ultimately willing to do God’s will, His flesh felt weak as He asked for the possibility to be spared. In His humanity Jesus shows us that we can pour our heart out to God. And in His majesty, He shows us our end goal is to have a heart aligned with the Father’s, despite what that might mean for us.

While we don’t want to experience the storm, we must remind ourselves our purpose on this earth is to be sanctified and more like Jesus Christ. Jesus came as the suffering servant. Are we more righteous than He to think that we don’t deserve to suffer, too?

So if a storm is coming your way right now, go ahead and pray that the Lord might still it. Pray that He might spare you from it. But at the same time, and above all else, pray His will be done. Trust God as the all-powerful, all-knowing, supreme example of holiness. Trust that He can use whatever storm you’re facing to sanctify you and shape you to be more like Him. Trust that He can work all things for good, and that He in fact is.

Protect me, O Lord

It turns out predictions are educated guesses. All the pretty spaghetti plans we had viewed, had been, well, wrong. Two days before Hurricane Ian hit, we learned it was coming right for us. With school still scheduled for the following day we wondered if the news was just hyping up the storm. But when school finally was canceled the day before, we really felt stuck. There simply wasn’t adequate time to plan an evacuation.

So we stayed. Our rental home was not equipped with hurricane shutters so my parents, who just happened to be out of town, offered up their home. Resembling a fortress, their home was bigger, stronger, and fitted with hurricane shutters. Even still, I was nervous.

We awoke the morning of the hurricane to a dark sky and bands of rain literally coming in sideways. We quickly gathered enough things for a few days, and drove a few minutes down the road. As the hurricane inched closer to making landfall the winds and rain intensified. Then at around 1:00PM EST local meteorologists instructed us to take shelter in interior rooms. The lights flickered. We lost power. Ian was coming, full speed ahead.

Below are 2 scriptures to pray when things take a turn, and the storm intensifies.

Psalm 91:4-6
“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.”

I am a visual person. The Lord often speaks to me in images or mind movies. And when I found myself in the middle of the hurricane, or when I find myself in the middle of spiritual storms, I find such comfort in visualizing scripture. What a sweet thought to think that just as a mother bird keeps her young close and protected under her wing, the Lord does the same for us. He extends his arm over us and pulls us in close. He shields us and protects us from harm. He reassures us with His calming presence.

The next time you feel your spirit getting uneasy over the ferocity of the storm coming toward you, close your eyes and still your soul. Slow your breathing to deep inhales and exhales. Envision this scripture of the Lord reaching out and pulling you in close. Visualize Him protecting His dearly beloved, you.

Psalm 91:11
“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;”

Although we might picture angels as cute, chubby babies with wings, when we turn to scripture we learn that they are described as enormous celestial beings of light. When they appeared, humans were terrified.

As the storm pounded us for hours without any sign of relief, my heart feared that our roof might rip off. I feared that the window shutters wouldn’t withstand the windspeeds and that projectiles would be launched through the house. As my mind grew anxious, reminding myself of Psalm 91:11 was paramount. Envisioning it gave me peace.

My mother’s house, where we sheltered, once had a large angel statue at the front door. Laying in the pitch black of the night as my family slept, my mind raced. Sleep was impossible, especially with the constant pelting of rain, the whirring wind, and the occasional thuds or clanging of metal. And then Psalm 91:11 came to mind. I began to pray intentionally about the angels surrounding us. I envisioned giant angels sitting on our roof, holding it down. I envisioned them standing guard at each window, physically holding the shutters in place. And with each visualization, I seemed to burn the image into my mind until His peace allowed me to finally drift off to sleep.

Whether the storm you’re facing is a health crisis, a contentious relationship, a court battle, or an internal struggle with anxiety or depression, may you visualize His angels surrounding you. Imagine them directing the hands of doctors in operating rooms. Imagine them standing before you as a shield as words come at you like daggers. Imagine them standing next to the judge whispering wisdom and truth into his ear. Imagine them lifting you from the pit of despair. Envision and mediate until His perfect peace calms your worried soul.

Get me through this

Each time there was even a milli-second of letdown in the howling wind, my 9-year-old would ask, “Is this the eye?” She knew that the eye meant the storm was halfway over. She was desperate for a pause in the storm and in her panic. More than anything she wanted it to be over and she wanted life to return to normal. Hanging out with her parents and two siblings in a pitch-black closet without airflow, electricity, and internet was not her idea of fun. And to be honest, it wasn’t mine either.

Below is a scripture to pray when you need the encouragement to persevere.

Exodus 14:14
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

The Israelites were terrified. Pharoah and all his chariots were fast-approaching and they had nowhere to run but into the sea, which really didn’t seem to be an option. While Moses' encouragement may feel like a risk to us today, to be still and do nothing, we have the hindsight to see that the Lord fought for the Israelites and made a way. They didn’t have to do anything but wait for the Lord to use Moses to part the sea and reveal their escape route.

In fact, upon closer study one thing I love about this verse is that the Hebrew word used here for “fight” is the word hiyatsev. It’s a word typically used in a military context. Essentially the Lord was calling His soldiers to report for duty, listen for His command, and then act. It’s just pretty remarkable that His order for them was to just be still and wait. The battle was His to fight and He was going to do it in a remarkable way that only He could.

Are you poised to fight? In the storm do you find your hands clenched into fists, blindly swinging left and right cutting through air? Are you growing tired as you’re giving it your all to stay afloat and fight off each advance? I invite you to stop to consider that perhaps the Lord is calling you to be still in this storm. Maybe in your strength you need not do a thing. The Lord is mighty. The Lord is able. How much more He can do when we step aside and let Him fight on our behalf.

Use this storm

When we awoke the next morning to widespread devastation in our neighborhood and in our city, our hearts sank. As we looked to the left and right, gasps and groans escaped our mouths. Decades-old trees downed. Canals overflowing onto major roads making them impassible. Cars eerily left abandoned in the middle of roadways. People’s lives stacked on the roadside in disposable piles. Tears fell from my eyes at the sight of so much loss and the thought of the long process of rebuilding that lay ahead.

But I was reminded God can use anything. Nothing is wasted and nothing is in vain. As the master storyteller, the Lord often takes the biggest plot twists brought on by the enemy and weaves them into stories of beauty and purpose.

Read on for a verse sure to give you comfort that the Lord will use your storm for good.

Romans 8:28
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

I once read somewhere that life can be likened to a tapestry. As we live our lives here on earth, we stand on the backside of the tapestry. All we see are threads of different colors and varying lengths darting across a large rectangle with seemingly no rhyme or reason. From this side the tapestry is messy. We can’t make out any images or patterns. But on the flip side, the Lord stands in Heaven weaving together a beautiful work. From His side and His perspective we can see an intricately woven design with purpose and on purpose.

No matter the storm or the havoc it wreaks, we can take heart knowing that the Lord will use it for our good and for His glory. It might look messy, but He is working behind the scenes to soften hearts, to sanctify souls, and lead people to Him. Although the storms are hard, we are blessed to be a part of such holy, purposeful work.

Restore What Was Lost

I’m writing this article almost 3 weeks removed from Hurricane Ian. Our rental home continues to sit in ruin—decades-old pines and oaks downed in our backyard, soffit gone and tresses exposed, unrepaired roof damage, and without running, drinkable water. While my flesh is frustrated in how we have followed the rules by calling in work orders, yet continue to be overlooked and ignored as contractors simply don’t show up to their appointments, I cling to faith. I know the Lord redeems and restores. I know that He will in this storm too.

When you feel discouraged by the wreckage, remind yourself of this truth.

Amos 9:14-15
“and I will bring my people Israel back from exile. They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them, says the Lord your God.”

A tangible illustration of restoration can be visualized in this section of Amos 9. We see evidence of when our gracious God restores, He restores in abundance and makes things better than they were to begin with. Here we see a rebuilding of Israel. We see a new planting and a harvest. We see the promise of the Israelites needs and security not only being met, but we see abundance and favor being bestowed upon them.

As you sift through the wreckage of the storm—the fractured relationships, the depleted bank account, your poor spirit—envision the rebuilding. Envision the Lord mending hearts. Envision financial opportunities through which He will not only regain finances, but will give you even more than before. Envision your mind, body, and soul receiving a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit each day. Imagine a barren landscape being transformed into a garden one green shoot, one budding flower at a time. Imagine the rainbow after the storm, because it’s coming.

In this life we will have trouble. We can expect stormy seasons until we are ushered into the perfection of eternity. As the rains come and the winds blow, I pray these scriptures will encourage your heart as they whisper of His faithfulness now and forever more.

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1 Comment

Linda Catalino
Linda Catalino
Nov 14, 2022

Wow. I love this Jessika. So much of what you said here struck a chord in my own storm. Despite my age, and that I could certainly be your mother, I am yet a child, in life and in Christ. Like the apostle Paul, I do and say and feel exactly the opposite of what I should and want to do and say and feel every time I am angry or hurt. There is one relationship in my life that makes me realize how and why women return to abusive men, how children follow the abusive patterns they were raised in, and how we all seem to seek exactly what our Abba doesn't want for us. I often pray Scripture.…

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