Obviously, during a time like this, we need to be listening to the best medical, scientific, and governing voices out there. As any rational person can now attest, those voices do not include Fox News or the president. Do not listen to either. At this point, not listening to those voices will probably save lives. Consider this a public service announcement.
We should also consider spiritual voices. After listening to all these however, beyond the requirements of simply being good and responsible citizens/neighbors, what is our responsibility as Christians in times like these? Many out there become upset when Christians suggest we pray in moments like these, because they seem to think Christians are asserting that’s all we need do. That is, of course, a misunderstanding. As Christians, we believe we are our prayers. As we serve others, as we work, live, and play—we are praying:
What we speak to God, whether out loud or in our hearts, whether formally or contemporaneously, becomes the movement of our bodies and spirits. We pray and we are our prayers.
So, in that understanding, where our feet and prayers meet, I offer that we should pray in moments like these. Pray and work, work and pray. My title is somewhat misleading. Whether in crisis or not, we are our prayers, but especially in times of trouble. Here is a prayer from the Eastern Orthodox tradition, which I’ve revised somewhat for this moment and brevity. Let us pray:
O God, our help in time of need, Who are just and merciful, and Who inclines to the supplications of His people.Look down upon all those suffering from this virus and have mercy on them and deliver them from the trouble that now besets them.
Deal with us not according to our iniquities, but according to Your manifold mercies, for we are the works of Your hands, and You know our weaknesses.
We pray to you to grant all those suffering from this virus, in whatever form, Your divine helping grace, and endow them with patience and strength to endure their hardships.
Only You know our misery and sufferings, and to You, our only hope and refuge, we flee for relief and comfort, trusting in Your infinite love and compassion.
We then shall rejoice in Your mercy, and exalt and praise Your Holy Name, O Father, Son and Holy Spirit, both now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.
Yes, we pray. And then, we continue to listen to the more rational and empathetic voices out there as we move forward and face this time together. Thus, we pick up the phone and call those who are alone. We shop for those who can’t and share with others. We don’t hoard but give. We check on each other, especially the most vulnerable among us. We become our prayers. Or, we should. That’s the point.
We are, after all, most certainly our brother and sister’s keepers.
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