Written by Sherry Schumann, Prayer Coordinator for Christian Grandparenting Network
Is the coronavirus impacting your life? Do you find yourself glued to the news for another COVID-19 update? Have you changed your plans, rearranged your schedule, or canceled an upcoming trip? Has worry about the economic impact kept you awake at night? Are your hands raw from neurotically washing them? For many, the fallout from this virus has filled us with fear.
Two Types of Fear:
I firmly believe there are two kinds of fear, healthy and unhealthy. Healthy fear is a gift from God. It stops us from engaging in risky behavior, like chasing after moving locomotives or skydiving without a parachute. It reminds us to wash our hands often and to avoid large arena-type areas when facing a pandemic such as the coronavirus.
Unhealthy fear is not a gift, nor is it from God. It is an affliction from the enemy. It creates a panic such as a run on the stock market or a stampede at a concert. Unhealthy fears ruthlessly steal not only our joy but our hope, as well.
Our Weapon Against the Coronavirus: PRAYER
The simple fact is we are not at the mercy of this pandemic. We have a tremendous weapon in our arsenal, and it is PRAYER.
Consider Paul’s words to the Corinthians: “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him, we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many” (2 Corinthians 1:8-11).
Individual and Corporate Prayer:
While God knows what we need before we ask him (Mark 6:8), He often waits for us to come to Him before He supplies our needs. Sometimes, He even waits for us to come to Him corporately and not individually. Why? The answer is simple. Our heavenly Father created us to be in relationship with Him and with each other.
In her podcast “Prayer and the Warrior” (Living Proof with Beth Moore, November 11, 2019), Beth Moore references the movie Miracle to address the importance of corporate prayer. Miracle is a sports docudrama about the United States men’s hockey team, which won the gold medal in the 1980 Olympics. Ms. Moore notes that Coach Brooks asks his team the same question after every practice: “Where are you from?” And every time, the players answer by naming the colleges and universities where they played collegiate hockey.
Something changes, however, when the team is soundly and unexpectedly defeated by an opponent. Frustrated and bitterly disappointed, Coach Brooks forces his players to return to the ice, despite their exhaustion, and makes them run drills, all the while asking, “Where are you from?” Finally, one of the players answers, “We are from Team USA.”
No Separatists on God’s Team
I believe that amid this pandemic God is asking, “Where are you from?” He doesn’t want any separatists on His team. He’s not interested in our credentials, denominations, race, or our nationalities. After all, Jesus walked among the hated Samaritans, praised the centurion’s faith, ate with the tax collector, and elevated the lives of the lowly, including the aged, sick, women, and children. He warned, “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand” (Mark 3:24).
Our world can’t afford Christians to remain silent or spiritually separated from other believers, especially as we face this pandemic. God is calling us to unite in prayer, regardless of race, denomination, or socio-economic status. He is calling us to raise our voices in one accord and to ask Him to eradicate COVID-19 from the face of the earth.
Will we answer God’s call?
All creation groans. Our world has been turned upside-down by the coronavirus and the fear that heralds its arrival. No one, except You, fully understands this pathogen’s epidemiology and the extent to which it will or will not spread.
We humble ourselves and pray, seeking Your face and turning from our wicked ways. Please forgive our sin and heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:14, paraphrased). Please eradicate this disease from the face of the earth.
We pray for government leaders, ministers, school officials, and others who are in positions of authority. Please give them wisdom and discernment to make prudent decisions for the common good.
We pray for our health workers—our doctors, nurses, techs, and first-responders who place themselves in harm’s way to care for the sick. Please provide them resistance “from the deadly pestilence” (Psalm 91:3).
We pray for people everywhere, especially those of us, who are more susceptible to the disease. Remind us that You “gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7). Let us stay informed but not afraid, vigilant but not compulsive, all the while, trusting that You are our immunity, our shelter, and our shield.
In Jesus’ Name, we pray.