When calamity and death strike, we do not put God on trial to accuse or excuse His unexplainable actions in the world. Instead, we implore His grace in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has taken up our mortal nature, suffered and died to redeem us, and is risen to be the life of all. He is able to sympathize fully with us in our weakness (Heb. 4:15). We repent of our many sins and plead the Lord’s mercy for Christ’s sake, lest we all perish (Luke 13:1–19). We address our fears and laments to our heavenly Father as confident children, knowing He has promised to hear us. He alone can truly save.
When we do not know what to say or how to pray, the church prays the Litany. We pour out repeatedly, for every need and in various forms, this simple prayer: Kyrie Eleison, which means “Lord, have mercy.” To it we join the Lord’s own prayer and our other petitions.
- The Litany can be found on Page 288 in Lutheran Service Book.
- The Propers for a Day of Supplication and Prayer (LSB Altar Book, Page 992) are appropriate for any services that can be held. A Day of National or Local Tragedy (Pages 993–994) may also be used.
- The Propers in Time of Pestilence are offered especially for use in cases of pandemic, quarantine or other widespread illness, especially if it should prove deadly.
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