Prayers for First Responders
When tragedy strikes, we all look for help. Those who are trained to provide that help, whether it is medical, protective, or rescue, are appreciated and honored by the vast majority of those whom they serve. In a day of global terrorism when authorities are under attack as well as those who misunderstand and distrust even first responders, it is important that we pray for our police, fire, and medical response teams.
Here are a few ways to bless and cover our first responders in prayer. Each point includes Scriptures and a prayer. We encourage you to develop your own prayers based on both the verses and the written prayer.
1. Give thanks to the Lord for those who often put their lives on the line for others.
1 Peter 4:11 – “If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”
Colossians 1:3 – “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you.”
Father, we are so blessed to have men and women who work diligently for our safety and well-being, even when their jobs are difficult and often thankless. Help us to continually remember to give thanks to You for their sacrifices and service to our community. May we touch heaven with prayers of gratitude whenever we see or personally encounter first responders. Give them the strength that You provide so that as they serve, You will be honored.
2. Pray for spiritual salvation for first responders, and a faith in Christ to sustain them in the face of danger.
1 Timothy 2:1-4 -- I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
Psalm 27:1 – “The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?”
Lord Jesus, so many first responders have not yet made You their Lord and Savior. Please put Your people in their paths, so that they might learn to honor You and to seek You first. It’s so important to have godly men and women in these positions of influence for the sake of Your kingdom. We pray that You would intervene in the lives of those who once knew You well, but have fallen away from You due to the pressures of their jobs. Reignite their hearts with passion for all that You are, Lord Christ! Stir people all over our nation to pray fervently for each and every one of them--that they be salt and light in dark places and beacons of hope to the hopeless. Help them to minister to their brothers and sisters in a very difficult occupation so that together they might be change agents for the sake of Your name!
3. Pray for their protection and safety since many first responders are in situations in which their lives and bodies are in significant danger.
Isaiah 54:17 – “No weapon forged against you will prevail.”
Psalm 23:4 – “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”
Psalm 91 – “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 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. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eye and see the punishment of the wicked.
“If you say, ‘The LORD is my refuge,’ and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
“‘Because he loves me,’ says the LORD, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.’”
Gracious God, first responders have such dangerous jobs! Help them to dwell in Your shadow and be sheltered by Your protection. May You always be their refuge in difficult situations. May they trust in You completely and continually moment by moment. Show them Your power when they find themselves in unsafe situations or when they face people who threaten or try to harm them. Keep them safe for the glory of Your name!
4. Pray for wisdom and discernment as they face every crisis. Pray for increased skill and effectiveness in their daily tasks of coming to the aid of others.
2 Chronicles 20:12b – “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
Psalm 5:8 – “Lead me, LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies—make your way straight before me.”
Lord, every day first responders have to make difficult and complicated decisions. Help them to choose wisely and well in every situation. Give them clarity and help them to stay calm and collected in the most intense moments they face. Help them to call out to You whenever they don’t know what to do. May they always keep their eyes fixed upon You.
5. Pray for courage and strength as they enter harm’s way.
Joshua 1:9 – “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Zechariah 4:6 – “‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.”
Father, every shift requires first responders to be prepared and ready for whatever comes. Give them the ability to stand strong and to be filled with courage. Help them to be aware that You are continually with them wherever they are and whatever situation they find themselves in.
6. Pray for vigilance as they keep watch. Give them confidence in the abilities you have given them.
Psalm 130:5-6 – “I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the LORD more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.”
Mark 14:38 – “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Father, as our first responders watch over us and respond to our needs and the needs of others in our community, please keep them alert and always ready. Keep them sharp, confident and prepared in every way. May they place their hope in Your word and wait upon You continually.
7. Pray for emotional protection and that the Father would guard their hearts, especially in the face of criticism or anger from others.
Galatians 6:9-10 -- “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
Psalm 82: 3-4 – “Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
Philippians 4:5-7 – “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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.”
Matthew 5:9 – “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
Father, please keep our first responders emotionally strong but spiritually tender when they are confronted by the evil and brokenness around them. Give them Your peace as they deal daily with hurt and enter into the pain and suffering of others, or experience injustice. May they have compassion for those whose lives are broken and demonstrate kindness rather than anger whenever it is possible. Help their hearts to recognize that when others express hate and anger toward them for doing their jobs, that what You think of them is the only opinion that matters.
8. Pray that the words and deeds of every believing first responder will reflect the life of Jesus Christ in every situation.
Psalm 141:3 – “Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.”
Ecclesiastes 5:6 – “Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, ‘My vow was a mistake.’ Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands?”
Psalm 19:14 – “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
Father, give words and actions to Your people who serve their community as first responders. Even in the most intense situations, we ask that they would look to You for how to react and what to say. May they bring honor to You and be godly examples to their unbelieving co-workers and to those with whom they interact on a daily basis. Help them to fight the temptation to be like those who are in the world.
9. Pray for peace for their family members who are aware of the dangers their loved ones face. Ask God to guard their marriage and family relationships.
Ephesians 5:22-33 – “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
Psalm 127:3-4 – “Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.”
Isaiah 26:3 – “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”
Lord God, there is so much stress and fear on the families of first responders. As a result many marriages among first responders are broken and the divorce rate is high. So many children are damaged as a result. Bring Your peace to these families, Lord. Help these men and women to keep their eyes fixed upon You continually so that they might love their spouses as You have instructed, and so that they might train up their children in godly ways. Help them to find quality and quantity time with their families.
10. Pray they will feel supported and loved by their communities.
1 Peter 5:6-7 – “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
Romans 13:7 – “Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”
Lord God Almighty, help us to show our first responders how much they are appreciated. May these brave men and women know their God and their community supports them and cares for and about them! Give us ways to demonstrate our gratitude and thankfulness for their difficult sacrifices each and every day.
Putting Feet to Your Prayers
1. Establish a Shield-A-Badge prayer team for first responders in your church and/or community. www.shield-a-badge.org
2. Check out what the city of Omaha is doing through their First Responders Foundation. Their mission is to enhance public safety and build community appreciation and respect for our first responders. http://firstrespondersomaha.org/foundation/
3. Find practical ways to show your appreciation to first responders and their families. Here is one Pinterest board filled with great ideas. https://www.pinterest.com/erinw27/first-responder-appreciation
4. Thank the first responders you come into contact with. Tell them how much you appreciate what they do every day! Ask how you can pray for them. If they are receptive stop and do it right then!
--Kim and Dave Butts, Harvest Prayer Ministries © 2016.