Praying During a Pandemic
Apr 3, 2020 | by Nik Lingle
The coronavirus has changed Americans’ religious behaviors. More Americans are praying now than a month ago. More than half of all U. S. adults say they have prayed for an end to the spread of the virus. Indeed, it is a good time to pray, as are all times of sickness. In fact the Book of Common Prayer has this prayer for times of great sickness and mortality.
O most mighty and merciful God, in this time of grievous sickness, we flee unto thee for succor. Deliver us, we beseech thee, from our peril; give strength and skill to all those who minister to the sick; prosper the means made use of for their cure; and grant that, perceiving how frail and uncertain our life is, we may apply our hearts unto that heavenly wisdom which leadeth to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Book of Common Prayer)
May these days of great sickness for the world be days of great prayer for God’s people. You might have more time and stillness now. Take some of that time for prayer.
Pray that the sick would be healed. God of all comfort, would you bring comfort and aid to those who are sick. Prolong their lives, that they might seek you. May their sickness instruct them of their need for you, and as you heal their bodies, may they repent and believe in the gospel for the healing of their souls.
Pray that the lost would seek forgiveness through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Father, would you turn hearts toward you. Even many who are not sick have been praying. As they recognize their finitude and inability, would you humble them that they might seek you not only for the temporary halting of a sickness, but for the saving of their souls unto eternal life.
Pray for public servants, both governmental leaders and health care professionals. Merciful God, we are thankful for your care for our society through the work of the leaders you have appointed and the service of men and women who work in our hospitals and clinics and ambulances. Please give discernment to our leaders, that their decisions may result in great benefit for our society. And would you strengthen and protect health care professions as they work for the physical healing and protection of others.
Pray that God’s people would witness of Jesus. Our Father in heaven, your kingdom come, your will be done. We want to witness to your kingdom and to your work through the life, death and resurrection of your Son. Give us open doors to speak of Christ to those who may be unusually receptive. And when we have opportunity, may we declare the mystery of Christ with boldness, clarity, kindness, and discernment (Colossians 4:2-6). Use the witness of your people to draw still others into your kingdom.
Pray for a revival of true religion. We pray that these days of darkness, concern and fear for many would lead to an intensification of your Spirit’s work in leading men and women to call on your name, turning from sin and walking by faith in the forgiveness of Jesus.
Pray that all would gain true wisdom as we reflect upon our mortality. Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. But we are frail and mortal. We are like a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away (James 4:14). So we pray along with Moses, teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom…make us glad in you for as many years as we see affliction and evil (Psalm 90:12, 15).
Pray for Jesus to return quickly. Diseases and disasters remind us that we are in great exile awaiting the greater Eden. We wait eagerly for the day when we see all things in perfect harmony under the reign of your Son Christ. “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).