We who consider ourselves to be in Christ must recognize that the true enemy in this pandemic is not Donald Trump, the Democrats, our mayors and governors, the World Health Organization, or whoever else we might be elicited by news outlets to blame. The true enemy is COVID-19.
We as the church should not mirror our society’s political divisions and deceptive ideologies. Our political leanings should not matter to one another; what should matter is that we uphold biblical values without turning a blind eye to abuse, slander, crime, injustice, violence, vandalism, and especially death, human suffering, and alienation from God.
If anything, we who are in Christ can pray about the current pandemic, and what I mean by prayer is not a standard, “You’re in my thoughts and prayers,” but a heart-felt, urgent prayer of faith that expects God actually to do something in this crisis. I do believe in miracles, and hopefully you do, too.
How then shall we pray? Here are 7 things to do when praying:
1. Lament in Prayer
N. T. Wright in a recent article about the Coronavirus says, “The point is that—as we see in the Psalms again and again – true hope arises out of lament. We have a prayer in the Anglican prayer book which asks God to help us love what he commands and desire what he promises. Our natural inclination is to do that the other way round: to ask God to command what we already love and to promise what we already desire. Only in lament—in which penitence may well (though need not) be a key element – can our loves and desires, our hopes and aspirations, be reordered” (David Moore, “Interview with N. T. Wright” on the Covid-19”).
2. Confess on behalf of our society
Not only for our own sins or ways that we have failed to follow God with all our hearts, but especially for the sake of our country and communities. The prayer of Daniel (Dan 9:3-19), Nehemiah (Neh 1:4-11), and Ezra (Neh 9) are models of righteous individuals confessing the sins of their people and interceding on behalf of their nation. If you haven’t noticed, mayhem and record-breaking violence are currently inundating some of our major cities as leaders play politics at the expensive of human lives. We should confess on their behalf.
3. Pray for unity
Pray for the church to unite, putting aside our political and denominational differences and networking together for mutual prayer and assistance. What would happen if all believers decided to be one like Jesus prayed in John 17?
4. Pray that God Intervenes
Pray for a God to wipe out this pandemic. Pray also for a vaccine. Pray against the spread of the Coronavirus. Pray, believing that the unified corporate prayers of those who are in Christ matter.
5. Pray against the promulgation of misinformation about the pandemic via media outlets
This requires us to pray against false and misleading information flooding our news and social media. Pray that such deception be exposed and replaced by the truth. Pray also against the suppression of vital information and real scientific consensus (and beyond just the U.S.A). Pray that suppression of evidence for the sake of politicizing the virus comes to a quick end. As well, if mayors and governors want to shut down our businesses, schools, churches, etc., do public opinion polls from their respective communities back their decisions? Does a consensus of scientific data (rather than cherry-picked samples and anecdotes) back up the shut down? If not, then why are the counter voices not being heard? Pray accordingly.
6. Pray for our leaders, as is written in 1 Timothy 2:1-3
It is written in 1 Timothy 2:1-3:
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, petitions, thanksgivings to be done for all people, for kings and all the officials in authority, that we might live a peaceful and turmoil-free life in all godliness and dignity. For this is good and pleasing before our God our savior” (my translation).
Notice the potential outcome of such prayer—peace and turmoil free lives! Regardless of whether or not you think certain elected officials are the devil incarnate, pray for them. Pray for the president, pray for our representatives and senators in the House and Senate, pray for our governors, prayer for our mayors and other elected officials. Pray they receive true wisdom and make informed decisions rather than succumbing to politicizing the virus. Pray the government does not do overreach when it comes to the church.
7. Pray for revival among the churches
The Pentecostal, Charismatic, and Third Wave revivals were all part of the 20th century. We in the western world have yet to experience revival or renewal of such magnitude in the 21st century. It is now time to start praying for one. A true revival involves not only renewed fervency among those already in Christ; it involves many unchurched people coming to faith.
And may we as the body of Christ spread a little love these days instead of division. Amen.
Pictures: 1) Praying God Christianity: from Pixabay.com. 2) Michelangelo abstract boy: from Pixabay.com