By Cindi McMenamin, Crosswalk.com
You’re nervous or confused about getting the COVID-19 vaccine. I understand.
Medical science tells us we need it, yet we still must stay masked and distanced from others. A part of us fears the side effects of the vaccine, but we also fear the long-term side effects of getting the Coronavirus. Add to that the pressure from people around you, the difference of opinion that abounds, and news of new variants of the virus that are now on the loose, and it can make anyone quite anxious.
Whether you get a yearly flu shot and dread this one because it carries with it a few more side effects, or you never get a shot in the arm because you never get sick (that would be me), the questions and anxieties abound: Do I really need this vaccine? Will it do any good? Am I getting this out of pressure or out of personal conviction? What if the shot makes me feel sick when I was otherwise fine throughout this pandemic? Will it do my body more harm than good if I really don’t need it or if I already had it?
Beyond the questions about how the vaccine might affect us personally is the question of how our actions or inactions might affect others. The belief that you and I could carry something that doesn’t affect us and yet pass it on to others without even knowing it is, for me, quite unsettling, if not convicting. Therefore, I want to have a right heart about it, and I know you do, too.
There is still so much about the vaccine and the virus that so many of us – even the scientists –don’t know. But there is One who knows everything and He offers His wisdom, comfort, and peace.
James 1:5 (NKJV) tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” God’s Word assures us we can receive wisdom for the asking when we take our questions, doubts, and concerns to God.
In addition, Philippians 4:6-7 commands us to “Be anxious for nothing, [including a virus or vaccine] but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
If you need both wisdom and calm about your next steps concerning the vaccine, here are four prayers to usher you into God’s presence where you can experience His perfect peace.
1. A Prayer for Wisdom and Direction
Heavenly Father, nothing takes You by surprise – including the onset of this virus and resulting pandemic. Although this appears big – and affects not just my community and country but is happening all over the globe – help me to realize You are bigger. Help me to lay aside my personal opinions, my resentment of feeling pressured, my political views, and my desire for control, and trust Your sovereignty over all of this and Your wisdom regarding my next step.
Lord, You were not absent as the medical scientists and biological and chemical engineers began working tirelessly on a vaccine to help eradicate this virus. You put Your hand of covering on the volunteers who took part in studies to test the effectiveness of a vaccine being put into their bodies to provide them immunity to this disease. Lord, You are knowledgeable and powerful over all things and You grant wisdom to doctors and medical scientists (even those who don’t know You), in order to accomplish Your purposes.
God, please give me the wisdom to know the right thing to do for the body You have given me. And please give me the wisdom to know the right thing to do as a child of God. Don’t let me refuse this vaccine out of pride, or an insistence to not conform to what others say I should do, yet don’t let me succumb merely out of a sense of pressure or obligation. I truly want Your wisdom, Your direction, and Your peace. Most of all, I want a right heart – one that is surrendered to You and seeks to love and serve You first, others second, and myself last.
Lord, if taking this vaccine gives others less anxiety around me and causes them to have more peace in my presence, then I lay my personal preferences aside and surrender to what will give You the most glory and allow me to be the servant You want me to be. Thank You for Your clarity and Your guidance as You open the door toward my next step. Just as You have covered this entire process with Your hand (allowing us to have a vaccine in our midst), I ask that You cover me with Your wisdom, Your direction, and Your heart in how I proceed with Your ultimate plan. In Jesus’ powerful name, Amen.
2. A Prayer for Protection
Lord God, thank You for knowing the inner workings of my body and how I will react to this virus and vaccine. In Psalm 139, Your Word says, “You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb…, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (verses 13-14). Therefore, You know exactly what will affect me and what will not. “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book [all my days] were written…When as yet there were none of them” (verse 16). That tells me nothing will take me out of this world unless it was Your plan for how I would leave. Because I am Yours, I truly believe that nothing touches my body that hasn’t first passed through Your loving hands. Even in cases when man means something for evil, You can still use it for good. Thank You for that assurance of Your protection that leads to peace.
Because You know the details of my health, I ask for Your calming hand of peace and Your covering and protection as I take into my body what You have allowed medical science to produce for my well-being.
Your Word also says You are “the God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3). You are my Deliverer and “my rock of refuge, A fortress of defense to save me” (Psalm 31:2). And You are my gentle Healer. I surrender to You all that I am and ask that You protect me through the process of doing what I can to eliminate contagion to myself and to others.
Lord Jesus, don’t just protect my body, protect my heart. Analyze my motives. As the Psalmist prayed “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24). Protect me from arrogance that says “I will never get this virus.” Protect me from the pride of “making a point,” and give me a heart that is sensitive to Yours and is more concerned with others than myself. Protect me from fear that says, “You are not big enough to protect me from what I have no control over,” or arrogance that says, “I can protect myself. I don’t need anyone or anything.”
Thank You that “The Lord upholds all who fall, and raises up all who are bowed down” (Psalm 145:14). Thank You for Your protection thus far during this virus and during this vaccination process, as well. Thank You that You are all-knowing, all-loving, and all-protecting. I put myself in Your capable hands and trust You with all the intricate workings and reactions of my body. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
3. A Prayer for Peace
Lord God, Your Word says, “You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways” (Psalm 139:1-3). Because of that You know all my anxieties of the unknown, how my body will react to this vaccine, my fear of side effects, and my fear of still contracting something even if I do what I feel I need to in order to not get this virus or pass it on to others. Please give me comfort, calm my concerns, and help me to be assured that You will honor the intentions of my heart.
4. A Prayer for the Volunteers and Professionals on the Front Lines
Lord, You often bless us when we pray for Your blessings on others. Please bless those who are giving their time and energy to help other people during this pandemic. Every day that workers assemble in a community room, a school gymnasium, a parking lot, or in a medical facility, they are risking contaminants and their own health in order to help others. Thank You for those who want to do all they can to make sure this virus is eradicated. Thank You for the doctors, scientists, and biological and chemical engineers who have worked painstakingly long hours over the past year to find and perfect a vaccination to end this global pandemic and eliminate this disease from our generation.
Heavenly Father, may I show my appreciation and be an encouragement – not a cynic – to others who are doing their best to maintain the bodies You have given them. Above all, help me remember that my body is Your temple, Your dwelling place, Your sanctuary. May all who come in contact with me, throughout this pandemic and vaccination process, sense that I am Yours and I carry with me the presence of a God who provides peace and has overcome this world.
For more on calming your anxious heart, see Cindi’s books, God’s Whispers to a Woman’s Heart, Letting God Meet Your Emotional Needs, and Women on the Edge. If you’re having vaccination anxiety regarding your children, see her book, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Choreograph
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker, Bible teacher, and award-winning writer who helps women and couples strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is also a mother, pastor’s wife, and author of 17 books, including When Women Walk Alone (more than 150,000 copies sold), When God Sees Your Tears, Letting God Meet Your Emotional Needs, and Drama Free: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You. For more on her speaking ministry, coaching services for writers, and books to strengthen your soul, marriage, and parenting, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.