Prayers to Calm the Storm

by Shannon Leibold

I awaken in the middle of the night to a room continually flickering. Lightening flashes incessantly across the night sky revealing ominous clouds and swirling formations.

I lay still, holding my breath, until moments later my husband begins to stir, awakened by the same angry flashes. The thunder is a continual roll in the distance. He gets out of bed and stands at the window and I make my way to his side.

“I’ve never seen so much lightening before,” he whispers.

I nod agreement, mesmerized by the flashes, one right after the other.

The gusts of wind escalate causing the windows to rattle and the leaves to swirl in circles on the trees. There is no rain – yet. We are on the edge of the storm and we can see its eerie form approaching every time the sky lights up.

I feel the fear begin to rise with the wind.

We are at the hands of a merciful God.

We switch on the TV to the weather channel and there across the bottom scrolls the words in bright red alert describing what’s happening right outside our window.

High winds.

Pounding rain.

Damaging hail.

Tornadoes sighted.

Take cover.

Then they name our town.

We’ve watched storms before in the middle of the night, safe on this side of the glass. But never have we seen our town in print included on the alert.

We hear the rain starting to fall now, increasing in intensity with each passing second.

“Do you think we should…?” I whisper.

He’s already moving in that direction.

He disappears into our son’s room and I go into the room beside and gather up our daughter in my arms – blankies and teddy and all – and we head to the basement. There he opens the door to the closet beneath the stairs – supposedly the safest place in our home in the event of a tornado. We snuggle beneath blankets and listen to the howling wind. Our daughter continues to sleep on, her head against my chest, oblivious to the unsettled world outside.

As we huddle in the dark, my mind goes to my childhood farmhouse and a similar weather warning decades before, and the same fear that rose then. As dark, swirling clouds gathered over our modest 126 acres, I begged God to spare us, and if He could – if He would – I promised to read the Bible cover to cover. When the storm eventually passed, I pulled my dusty Bible off the shelf and turned to Genesis 1. It took me many years, with a few rebellious ones in between – before I fulfilled my promise.

“Mommy?” our son whispers in the dark, forcing my thoughts back to the present.

“Yes, I’m here.”

Satisfied, he settles again, unlike the storm outside that rages on.

I had read it that very morning in Psalms and it comes flooding back now.

“He spoke, and the winds rose, stirring up the waves. Their ships were tossed to the heavens and plunged again to the depths; the sailors cringed in terror. They reeled and staggered like drunkards and were at their wits; end” (Psalm 107:25-27 (NLT)).

God merely speaks and the winds rise, the trees shake violently, and the rain pounds.

“”Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves” (Psalm 107:28-29 (NLT)).

I think then about the power of prayer and the situations that motivate us to cry out to God. Doing battle on our knees for loved ones, worshiping in prayer with lifted hands to a God who is worthy, and then there is prayer in times like these – ‘Lord, help!’ kind of prayers.

So I begin to pray.

Because the same One who speaks to cause the winds to rise, is able to calm the storm to a whisper and still the waves of fear.

The words aren’t fancy – perhaps not even complete sentences or thoughts. They are simply ‘Lord, help!’ kind of prayers from one tiny basement in one tiny house on one tiny spinning ball of dust in a small corner of the universe.

But He hears.

And He answers.

Eventually the winds decreases, the rains soften and the storm passes.

After my husband goes upstairs to check the status of the storm both by peering out the windows and listening to the report on the weather channel, we abandon our hide-away and tuck little ones safely back in bed.

“What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbour! Let them praise the LORD for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them” (Psalm 107:30-31 (NLT)).

Praise the Lord for His great love and for His ear attentive to the prayer-thoughts of one Mama hiding beneath the stairs.

He is able to calm the storms in your life, Precious One. Cry out to Him. 


Shannon Leibold

Beyond the responsibilities as a wife and a mother of two small children, Shannonworks part-time as a Ministry Support Director at her local church. Her passions include studying Scripture, teaching the Bible, and writing about what God is teaching her through His Word. In her attempt to live more like Mary instead of her true Martha nature, she blogs at SittingAtHisFeet – a humble corner of the web where she records the lessons she learns while sitting at the feet of Jesus. Will you join her there? There is always room at His feet.