Prayer Requests and Learning How to Pray

An Uplifting Prayer for Joy in Every Circumstance

An Uplifting Prayer for Joy in Every Circumstance

While happiness happens only during good circumstances, joy is possible in every circumstance. Joy is based on a relationship with God, which is reliable in every situation. Still, when you’re facing challenges and pain, it can be hard to connect with joy – or even to imagine feeling joyful. Prayer is the way to find joy in difficult circumstances. By intentionally praying for joy, you can change your mindset to focus on God, the source of your hope and help. God will meet you where you are and bring joy to your soul, no matter what. Here’s why it’s important to pray for joy in the midst of pain, and some prayers you can use as a prayer for joy in any circumstances.

Photo Credit: © GettyImages/phive2015 

The Importance of Praying for Joy

It’s important to pray for joy in order to keep a healthy perspective from day to day. Trouble in this fallen world is guaranteed – but so is God’s help to overcome trouble. Jesus promises in John 16:33: “… In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” When you reach out to God in prayer to ask for joy in bad circumstances, you direct your attention away from those circumstances and toward God’s power to help you transcend your circumstances. As a result, you notice more of the wonder of God’s work in your life, and experience feelings of awe. My book Wake Up to Wonder describes well-being research on joy that shows key benefits of intentionally pursuing joy: awe, humor, stress relief, improved decision-making skills, more creativity, better problem-solving abilities, a mood boost, stronger concentration, an increased capacity to learn, and increased life satisfaction overall. You can experience all of those blessings and more by praying for joy.

Of course, when you’re in the middle of a painful situation, you may not have much energy to pray. Thankfully, though, God will respond to any type of prayer – however brief it may be – when you reach out to him for joy. You can even pray simply “Help!” with the intention of asking for joy, and God will answer your prayer. There is no prayer formula you have to follow. As 2 Corinthians 3:17 says, “… where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” God has given you the freedom to pray with confidence in whatever ways work best for you, through simple prayerssilent prayers, or other ways you feel led to express your prayers.

Prayer changes your perspective on even the most difficult circumstances in ways that can lead you to joy. James 1:2-3 makes an astonishing statement: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” You can actually experience “pure joy” during trials because your faith will grow stronger as it’s tested, and God will help you persevere. In order for that to happen, it’s vital that you pray, since the Holy Spirit is the One who helps you develop joy. Joy is one of the “fruit of the Spirit” listed in Galatians 5:22-23. Praying for joy opens up communication with the Holy Spirit, who can send more joy into your soul.

A Prayer for Joy When You’re Grieving

A Prayer for Joy When You’re Grieving

God, since [your loved one’s name] passed away, there’s a painful void in my life where [he or she] is missing. Please comfort me, according to your promise in Matthew 5:4: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Thank you for your compassionate love and your constant presence with me. Help me be more aware of you day by day. Rather than focusing on the past, I will choose to fully live in the present and savor the gift of each new day in my life with gratitude. Show me the blessings I can enjoy, even in the midst of grief. As I notice the wonder of your work in my life, help me keep my focus on you – the source of joy – rather than on my grief. May I look to you for the strength I need each day as we walk through this journey of grief together. Amen.

A Prayer for Joy When You’re Stressed Out

Jesus, I’m overwhelmed by stress right now. Please give me the peace that only you can give – the peace you mention in John 14:27: “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.” Help me perceive your presence with me. I choose to make time for a break from my busy activities right now to center my attention on you. Thank you for the opportunity to connect with you even during stressful times. “Be still, and know that I am God…” you declare in Psalm 46:10. I celebrate the fact that I can do that anytime to experience the joy of your presence, which will relieve my stress and renew my soul. Amen.

Photo Credit: ©Pexels/Nathan Cowley

A Prayer for Joy When You’re Anxious

Holy Spirit, you know what’s causing the anxiety that’s on my mind. Rather than dwelling on what concerns me, I’m turning my worries into prayers. Please renew my mind so that I can focus on the joy you offer me as one of the fruits of the Spirit. Thank you for helping me manage the situations that make me anxious. When an anxious thought comes into my mind, please prompt me to pray about it instead of worrying about it. Give me the wisdom to see my circumstances from your perspective, so they won’t make me anxious but will remind me to ask for your help in each situation. I will follow your command in Philippians 4:6 not to worry about anything, but instead to pray about everything. The more I pray, the more I’ll encounter the wonder of your presence, and that will bring me joy. Psalm 16:10 says that “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence…”. Rather than worrying when I’m anxious, I will seek your presence and look forward to experiencing joy. Amen.

A Prayer for Joy When You’re Depressed

Jesus, during your earthly life, you encountered so much in this fallen world that made you feel depressed. You wept over the city of Jerusalem (Luke 19:41) and after the death of your friend Lazarus (John 11:35). You also often “offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears” (Hebrews 5:7). I know you care about this intense sorrow that I feel. As I cry my own tears, help me sense your presence with me. Thank you for your promise in Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Since you are with me in every circumstance and care for me in my depression, I will look for you and celebrate the joy of finding you. Amen.

woman laying in bed looking angry and upset, never go to bed angry

A Prayer for Joy When You’re Angry

Holy Spirit, anger is raging inside my soul right now, but I want to express it in ways that are constructive rather than destructive. Please give me the self-control I need to avoid harming others through how I express my anger. Show me how to express the anger I’m feeling in healthy ways. Counsel me so I can see how this anger over something that’s wrong in our fallen world can become a catalyst for positive change. Let my anger motivate me to solve the problems I can and trust you to help with the problems I can’t solve. Please guide me with your wisdom, leading me away from hurtful words and actions and toward constructive action. Help me obey the commands in Ephesians 4:26 (“In your anger do not sin”) and Ephesians 4:31 (“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”). I believe that I can experience joy if I rely on you to help me when I’m angry, because you will empower me to notice your presence with me. Your constant, loving presence with me is worth celebrating. Amen.

A Prayer for Joy When You’re Bored

God, thank you for the gift of this day. Help me to discover signs of your work in my life, so I won’t be bored but will awaken to the wonder of your presence with me. Lead me on a new adventure with you. Help me discover what Job 5:9 proclaims – that you perform “wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.” Show me how to stay awake to your wonder when life feels boring and keep me learning fresh insights about you that inspire awe in my soul. I commit to using my time well by seeking you on a regular basis. I believe your promise in Jeremiah 29:13: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Please help me find you, and lead me to experience joy in those times of awe. Amen.


Prayer is the best way to reach out for joy in difficult circumstances. Since prayer connects you with God, and joy comes from knowing God, you’re bound to find the joy you need as you pray. Nehemiah 8:10 promises that “… the joy of the Lord is your strength.” The joy you’ll experience when communicating with God in prayer will strengthen your faith. No matter what happens in your life, you can rely on that strength to help you manage every circumstance well.

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/fizkes 

headshot of author Whitney HoplerWhitney Hopler is the author of the Wake Up to Wonder book and the Wake Up to Wonder blog, which help people thrive through experiencing awe. She leads the communications work at George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being. Whitney has served as a writer, editor, and website developer for leading media organizations, including, The Salvation Army USA’s national publications, and (where she produced a popular channel on angels and miracles). She has also written the young adult novel Dream Factory. Connect with Whitney on Twitter and Facebook.

Related podcast:

The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.

Related video:

Stock Footage & Music Courtesy of Thumbnail by Getty Images

Now available is our new Daily Prayer devotional! An easy way to start your day with prayer: read today’s prayer and sign up to receive it by email.

This article is part of our Prayer resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.

Serenity Prayer
The Lord’s Prayer
Prayer for Peace
Morning Prayers
Good Night Prayers

Prayer for Healing
Prayer for Protection
Prayer for God’s Help
Prayer for Anxiety
Prayer for Strength

prayer submit button