5 Calming Prayers for Serenity during Stressful Times

Serenity isn’t a word commonly used in our vocabulary today but stressful is. We long for calmness, peace, and tranquility, but we start the day turning on our phones, computers, iPads, TVs, or checking social media, and become anxious, troubled, worried, unsettled . . . stressed.

We’ve come to experience stress as a norm while longing for a refreshing serene escape, maybe walking along the beach with a gentle breeze brushing our face. Others want to pull the covers over their head hoping the craziness will go away.

Several years ago, as I prayed about my annual word for the year, I felt the Lord impressing on me “Calm.” I’m not naturally a calm person so I knew this would be a challenge. It helped to make the word into an acronym: C-all A-lways on the L-ord M-oment by moment.

What Does the Bible Say about Peace and Serenity?

The NIV Bible uses the word peace 249 times! Granted some are references to peace during wartimes, but in Philippians 4:6-7, Paul captures the peace God wants his people to experience: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

We don’t often see the word serenity in the Bible. Galatians 5:22-23 in the Message translation of the fruit of the Spirit does describe peace as serenity.

But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

Psalm 42:1 depicts a serene scene, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.”

God wants us to call on him when we feel our anxiety meter rising and he promises to envelop us in a peace that passes all understanding. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

Here are five prayers to calm your racing heart and still your raging mind when the inevitable stressful times besiege you.

Prayer for Serenity 1: When Things Seem Out of Control

You did everything you could to assure a positive outcome, but it didn’t turn out the way you wanted or expected. We’ve all been there. It tests our faith. Maybe you accept the outcome or maybe you’re frustrated. God wants to help you put the situation into perspective and remember that he is always in control of every situation—even those you so desperately want to control.

Dear Lord, It feels like everything is out of control in my life right now. I know good things are happening too but the stress is overshadowing them. I wanted a better answer, things to change, but my hopes are dashed. Many people try to comfort me by saying that you’re in control, but it doesn’t bring me comfort. It seems condescending.

Lord, I want to understand and discern the plans you have for me. Father, restore my faith as I trust that you’re omniscient and I’m not. Envelope me with your peaceful balm to soothe my questioning mind. Remind me that you hold the whole world in your hands and all things work for good to those who believe in you. I do believe! Amen

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Prayer for Serenity 2: When Anxiety Overtakes Rationality

God didn’t create doubt, anxiety, or worry. Satan did to rob us of our joy, peace, and sleep. God knows common sense can flee when we’re under stress, so he gave us a remedy when we experience mind hijackers: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Charles Spurgeon advised that, “Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.”

Lord, you know how irrational I can become when I’m anxious. I can’t reign in my thoughts. Instead of expecting the best, I worry and wonder. I fret. My stomach churns, my heart races, and I can’t take my mind off the issue. I know you don’t want me living in a constant state of turmoil. It’s not good for my physical or mental health. It makes people around me miserable and keeps me living in a perpetual state of chaos instead of calmness, which I crave.

Father, you tell me in your Word to cast all my anxiety on you and so I’m doing that in this prayer. I lay at your feet the things I’m struggling with and I implore you Lord to free my mind of concerns. Remind me please to take deep breaths and trust that you can make a way even when the path is not visible to me. Father, please lead me to refreshing Scriptures when I feel anxiety approaching. Holy Spirit fill me with the serene peace and joy of the Lord. Amen

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3 NLT

Prayer for Serenity 3: When Fear Overcomes Faith

Faith is the opposite of fear. The antidote to fear is to renew and reaffirm your trust in God when things are going well, when things look bleak, and every time in between. Don’t doubt him. Realize and internalize that God’s got this and he’s way ahead of us. Elisabeth Elliot once said, “Fear arises when we imagine that everything depends on us.”

Scriptures remind us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). In times of trial, we may find ourselves by God’s grace able to overcome our fears quickly, or it could be an extended journey. The triumph will be worth the struggle as it draws us closer to God when we go straight to prayer and reliance on him.

Dear Father, I’ll admit that I’m fearful right now. My world seems unsteady and unpredictable and I’m afraid. I want to trust you in all circumstances. Please help me rely on you and avoid the instigators of fear. When I’m tempted to turn on the news, nudge me to pick up my Bible. When conversation becomes uncomfortable, please give me words to change the subject.

Lord, my hope is in you. Your Word always brings calmness to my soul and your presence in prayer is soothing and restful. I will not be afraid. I love you Lord and know that you first loved me. Greater love could no man have than to lay down his life as you did for me, even when I was so undeserving. Remind me Lord to believe when I forget that you are greater than anyone or any force in this world. I feel my fear subsiding as my love for you grows greater. Praise God from whom all blessings flow, even to me. Amen

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

Prayer for Serenity 4: When What-if’s Overshadow What-Is

In Everyday Brave, I admit that I’m an overthinker and a perfectionist. Overthinkers imagine all the things that could go wrong or could happen. We wake up in the middle of the night ‘what-iffing’ and often create our own stress. We anticipate the worst in the future, robbing ourselves of the joys of the present. Overthinkers create problems in our minds that don’t exist and probably won’t ever occur. Perfectionists second-guess ourselves, never thinking we’re good enough or smart enough. Many don’t even try for fear of failure.

Lord, imagining future problems and never being satisfied with my, or others, performance doesn’t make me happy. I awfulize. I try to cope in my own strength and expectations instead of depending on you. Please teach me how to focus on actual circumstances and let go of those I fabricate. I waste so much of my life in a perpetual state of unrest.

You are my strong fortress, my anchor, my source of joy, serenity, and peaceful thoughts. Keep me grounded on the firm foundation of your Word and your ways. Guide me on paths of righteousness. You are the truth, the way, and the life. Amen

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

Prayer for Serenity 5: When You Want to Give Up or Give In

Stress is debilitating. Even with our best intentions, the weight of whatever is bothering us can defeat our motivation to rectify the situation. We feel helpless and hopeless. It seems easier living with the source of our stress than praying to God for how we should respond. Often, he will direct us to take no action. It’s not our battle this time. Other times, he wants us to be resilient, resourceful, and rectify the situation remembering: “I can do all this through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).

Dear Lord, please refresh me with your living water. Let the Holy Spirit flow over me. Remind me that this world is not my home and to keep my eyes looking heavenly. I can so easily lose sight of you in the midst of my problems and the world’s craziness.

Others are watching how I react to stress and difficulties. They need to see that my dependence is on you. My source of hope is you working in ways I might not see.

I want to be an encourager when asked how I can still have a smile on my face and joy in my voice as I carry on in the midst of stressful times. Please don’t let darkness overtake me Lord as I seek your face in morning’s light and the stillness of night. I will not be discouraged for I know the Lord my God is with me wherever I go. Praise you Father. Amen

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

How to Incorporate Prayers of Serenity into Everyday Life

We all benefit from recognizing our stress triggers and noticing what brings us serenity and calmness. Try to carve out fifteen minutes each day as your personal “Serene Time.” It might require getting up earlier in the morning or turning off all the outside noises and distractions in the evening. Savor and guard your alone time with God!

Pray throughout the day while driving to work, doing the dishes, making dinner, exercising, shopping . . . virtually any activity. Ephesians 6:18 reminds us to “Pray in the Spirit at all times on every occasion.” It might be a long conversation or just a quick, “Help Lord!”

Listen to calming worship music in your home, car, and earbuds. Smile more. Even while wearing masks, our eyes are a window into our thoughts and emotions. Let your eyes and your words express the joy of the Lord in your heart.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” ― Reinhold Niebuhr

The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calmExodus 14:14 NLT

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. Zephaniah 3:17 NLT

Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 20 books. Her passion is to mentor other women in sharing their life experiences and God’s faithfulness. Janet’s new release is Everyday Brave: Living Courageously As a Woman of Faith available at AmazonChristianbook.comBarnes and Noble, and signed at author’s website. She is also the author of Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s FaithfulnessForsaken God? Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has ForgottenDear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?Dear God They Say It’s CancerDear God, He’s Home!Praying for Your Prodigal DaughterFace-to-Face Bible study Series; and Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, & Maintain a Mentoring Ministry Resources. Janet is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries. Visit Janet and sign up for her weekly blog and free online newsletter at womantowomanmentoring.com. Join Janet on FacebookLinkedInPinterestTwitter, and Instagram.