Dear Brothers and Sisters,
SIM (Serving in Mission) has produced a set of prayers relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
1 Pray for the Lord to intervene to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Pray in Jesus’ name that the virus would recede from this day forward, and that the numbers of those infected would decline rapidly. Pray, trusting the Lord to intervene today with his loving care.
And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. – 1 John 5:14
We can sometimes pray powerful prayers without really engaging in them. Do you believe that C-19 is going to be with us as long as it takes, or do you believe that God can and will intervene to change things? Ask! Ask humbly, ask confidently. Expect a rapid response, and when people say after, “well, that was a storm about nothing”, you will know that it was God who averted the disaster.
2 Pray for those who are sick, that they will have access to the care and treatment they need. Pray for peace and perseverance amidst suffering. Pray for those in isolation who are cut off from their normal routines and support systems, that they would seek their strength in Jesus. Pray encouragement for the thousands in quarantine, waiting to find out if they have the virus.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. – Psalm 46:1
Try to keep your prayer focussed on individuals, should you know any, because we can only really test God in prayer when we make our prayer specific. We can still cry out our lamentation for the state of the world.
3 Pray for health workers who are caring for those with COVID-19. Pray for their protection from the virus, for stamina during long and intense work hours, and for safe protocols to be observed in healthcare institutions in order to keep them protected. Pray for health workers to seek the Lord during this crisis.
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. – Psalm 107:28
You may know someone who is working on the front line. Pray armour upon them to protect them from the virus, and that those who present to them are prevented from spreading the virus.
4 Pray for grieving families who have lost loved ones to the coronavirus. Even as their hearts are breaking, pray they would know the nearness and comfort of the Holy Spirit. Pray that they would feel compassion from the Lord and from friends and neighbours coming around them. Pray against despair; pray for new mercies every morning.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
This may not be happening in our neighbourhood yet, but there are still grieving families out there in the world. Ask God for compassion so that you may grieve with those who grieve.
5 Pray for pastors. Ministers and clergy serving their churches and communities affected and infected by COVID-19. We pray that the Holy Spirit would give these shepherd-leaders the right words for the right time and the right actions for each situation. Pray they would speak the gospel in heart, word and deed to each person they minister to.
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. … The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. – James 5:14, 16
Pray for those who minister to you. Pray real protection on their lives as they carry out God’s calling on their lives. Consider, too, as you pray, that God will make clear his call on your life. We may be bound for glory on the Gospel Train, but no-one is just a passenger.
10 Prayers during COVID-19
6 Pray for the body of Christ worldwide, that the church would rise up to pray and to support the sick and their caregivers in practical and sacrificial ways. Pray for the church to be a light on a hill in hospitals, communities and cities where God has placed them. Pray for an outpouring of love, compassion and service, in Jesus’ name.
God has composed the body and has given greater honour to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its members should have mutual concern for one another. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each of you is a member of it. – I Corinthians 12:24-27
The Church is you and me, not someone else, or some distant institution. Make this prayer personal as well as corporate.
7 Pray for government officials and decision-makers who are leading countries and organisations through the crisis. We acknowledge that the Lord has allowed each one to be in a place of influence during this time. Pray they would mobilise resources quickly and effectively to where they are most needed. Pray for all those working behind the scenes and for the good administration and execution of response efforts worldwide.
Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper. – Jeremiah 29:7
I’ve heard every view concerning our government’s ability to handle this crisis. Don’t criticise – pray. Which part of the city are you committing yourself to pray for? How is God calling you to help?
8 Pray for those waking up each day to fallout caused by COVID-19, that they would reach out to the Lord. Pray for people to earnestly seek the Lord. We know the desire to seek the Lord comes from the Lord, and we know he will meet them. Pray for those whose businesses and livelihoods are ruined by the halt in many sectors of the economy. Pray for those who may lose jobs and salaries. For each one, we pray new beginnings with the Lord walking by their side.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” – Jeremiah 29:11
Do you really trust that God can bring us through this? It may take more time than we’re ready to accept, but we have hope. At times like this God is listening out for our prayer so that He may respond to it.
9 Pray for all mission workers worldwide today, especially those serving in areas acutely impacted by COVID-19. Pray for wisdom for each ministry team to know how to carry out their responsibilities. We pray that ministries would not have to shut down, but that the Lord would carry them through this difficult time, for his glory.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. – 2 Corinthians 4:8-10
These prayers were devised by an organisation dedicated to mission. Are we praying also that people look to God in this crisis? How do I respond to those who will ask difficult and challenging questions? Pray for the empowerment to be God’s worker right where you are.
10 Pray for all those who live and die without the knowledge of Jesus to hear about him through this crisis and respond to his love. We pray salvation for every man, woman and child in the world today. Through eyes of faith, we see them becoming our brothers and sisters in Christ. Ask in Jesus’ name for the gift of salvation for many to come out of this crisis.
The Lord is not slow to fulfil his promise, as some understand slowness but is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance. – 2 Peter 3:9
Jesus said that the dead can look after the dead – this is harsh stuff. Our compassion is for the living, the suffering, the grieving, the obstinate, the worldly, the hope-less. Who, specifically, can you start praying for? It may be a long journey of faith.