Salem Lutheran Church


Mayday Prayers

When I was a kid, I could swing all day. It was my favorite thing on a playground, even as a teenager. I loved the wind in my hair, pumping really high and jumping off, or just sitting suspended, chatting with friends. Sometimes when I was feeling daring, I’d kick my legs sideways when I was way up high and yell “MAY DAY!!!” as I lost control, twisting in the swing until I came back to the ground.

As a military kid I recognized that mayday was a distress call, which is part of what made us giggle as we swung around out of control, hoping that we wouldn’t hit each other. But have you ever heard of a mayday prayer? I heard that for the first time today, and thought it was a great concept. Unlike prayers of thanks and comfort before meals or bedtime, a mayday prayer is when you’re reaching out to God in distress. Maybe it starts with “God, please help me!” when you’re in a crisis, or “Please give me patience and strength” when you are at the end of your rope. I tell my kids to talk to Jesus when they wake up with nightmares so they don’t feel alone.

Amy Grant sings a song called “Better Than a Hallelujah” that talks about how God might prefer these mayday prayers to shouts of joy: “…the honest cries of breaking hearts are better than a hallelujah…”. I like to think that God wants us to lean on Him, especially when we don’t know where else to turn. If you feel like all of your prayers are distress calls, think about the protocol in an actual emergency: “Mayday” is to be said three times to be sure it’s heard clearly, and specifics are to be given to provide assistance as soon as possible. That sounds like a good way to pray! Lean on Him — He is with you.

Heather Lewis
Director of Music and Worship

Tags: Weekly Word