It’s amazing that something so small that it cannot be seen by the human eye can grind the world to a halt, but God is bigger than a virus. How could we not be aware of recent events that are gripping our world? The state of the world fills the evening news whether it’s the continuing war in the Middle East, the locust plague sweeping across Africa or now – the COVID-19 pandemic. A national politician recently said, “The world economy is shrinking, planes are parked, cars are parked. We can expect this for the foreseeable future”.
Fear has gripped the world as things seem to be swirling out of control; but we, as believers, should not be taken by surprise. The Bible has predicted that such things will happen with ever-increasing momentum as the Day of the Lord approaches.
We, God’s people, should not be overcome with fear but rather look with hope and anticipation to our future in God.
We are not overwhelmed by anxiety; we are faced with opportunities to:
- PRAY – Prayer is our first defense, not our last resort.
- LOVE – Our love will show as we serve others and help those who are distressed and afflicted.
- SHARE – Our message of hope is that Jesus cares and God is a “very present help in the time of trouble”.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)
Pray for God’s continual intervention to stop the spread of the coronavirus which is currently impacting people around the world in 140 countries. The virus has killed more than 6,000 and infected 162,000 people. Praise God that 75,000 people have recovered from COVID-19, the disease the virus causes. Pray for healing for those who have been experiencing its symptoms, and for comfort for those mourning loved ones who could not be saved. Pray that those seeking medical attention will be able to receive it, and that first responders will be protected from becoming ill. Pray that the negative economic impact on all businesses and communities will be alleviated. Also remember in prayer the people in developing countries who already are malnourished and vulnerable to this spreading disease. Pray for safety for our global workers who are living and working in these communities. Pray also that everyone will sense God’s peace, develop more confidence in God’s Word, and that opportunities for the gospel to be shared will increase during this time.
- Pray for an end to the virus’ spread. The Coronavirus did not take God by surprise; He is still governing and sustaining the world (Col. 1:17). Pray for God’s healing mercy and that He would graciously bring this pandemic to an end. Pray for healing for all those affected by the virus.
- Pray for government leaders. At all times, Christians are called to pray for those in positions of authority (1 Tim. 2:2). This is especially true during a time of national emergency. Pray for the Prime Minister, Provincial Premiers, Cabinet Ministers, and all those making decisions related to public health and safety. Pray for a spirit of bipartisanship as lawmakers work together to protect people.
- Pray for church leaders. Pastors around the country are making difficult decisions related to public worship and the safety of their members. Pray that pastors will have the wisdom to faithfully shepherd the congregations under their care, even if they are unable to physically gather (1 Peter 5:2). Pray that Christians will love their neighbors well during this time (Mark 12:31).
- Pray for the vulnerable. Authorities tell us that those immunocompromised people are especially at risk as the virus spreads. Pray for protection for the elderly, diseased, and those facing financial hardship. Pray for students who are being required to vacate university and college housing with very little notice. Over the next few weeks, there will be many opportunities to meet tangible needs. Pray that God’s people meet these opportunities with wisdom and grace (Mat. 25:35-40).
- Pray for honest reporting. Christians should pray for those in the news media. Pray that reporters and journalists would accurately report updates about the status of the virus, and not seek to peddle conspiracies, politicize the threat, or stoke fear where it is unwarranted.
- Pray for a spirit of generosity. During this time, churches will face a loss of income at a time when there are many opportunities to meet physical needs. Pray that God’s people will manifest a spirit of generosity and sacrificially give of their time and resources to meet needs that will arise (2 Cor. 9:6-8).
- Pray for a posture of trust. Scripture teaches us that God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control (2 Tim 1:7). Pray for enduring faith during this season of heightened fear, anxiety, and confusion. Appropriate precautions should be taken, but Christians must continue to rely on God and trust His purposes and plans (Rom. 8:28).
- Pray for the spread of the gospel. In this time of great anxiety, pray that God’s people would be ready to meet the world with the comfort and hope that only the good news of Jesus Christ can offer.