How to Pray During a World Health Crisis
When a crisis hits, most Christians hit their knees. Seeking God when we experience turmoil in our lives is a natural response for those who follow Jesus.
And in many cases, figuring out how to pray is reflexive. We lose a job; we pray for a new one. We contract a life-threatening illness; we pray for healing. We have a wayward child; we pray for him to return to his faith.
But what about right now in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe?
In an event like the one we’re experiencing, one unlike any other in the past hundred years, figuring out what to pray for can be challenging. Here are a few good places to start:
1. Wisdom and guidance for leaders.
As our daily lives have been upended by new policies suddenly enforced by local authorities, we need to pray for all our government’s decision makers.
Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety” (ESV). Both our political leaders and medical researchers sharing information need wisdom in interpreting data to help us all figure out how to move forward safely.
2. Strength for our medical professionals.
There’s a good chance you know at least one person in the healthcare profession who are on the frontlines of this fight to save the lives of those struggling with virus-related infections. And while we might be disappointed in the upheaval of our daily lives, these people are putting themselves and their families in harm’s way to save others. Ask God to protect them and give them strength as they care for patients.
3. Peace for families and people who’ve lost their jobs.
Any time we lose our income, we’re thrust into a world of uncertainty and full of questions. How are we going to make ends meet? What if an opportunity doesn’t come along? Will we have to move or change our lifestyle to do it? How will our kids deal with the change?
The truth is, God isn’t surprised by what’s happening in our world. And he encourages us to truth him, even when life looks dark. Jesus told his disciples, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, ESV).
Ask God to give those people peace during this time and ask him to meet the needs of so many people who will be dealing with all kinds of loss during this time.
4. For hope to be restored.
When we’re in the middle of a raging storm, we sometimes wonder if it will ever end. After it’s over, we can reflect on everything that happened from a sense of peace, knowing that everything will be just fine. But in the moment? It’s hard to trust that will be the case.
But that feeling isn’t something new to the human condition. While many people might be experiencing that now, it happens on a smaller scale all the time.
In Proverbs 23:18, King Solomon writes, “Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off” (ESV). In the bleakest times of our lives, we must remember that God is with us—and, because of him, our hope will not fade.
5. Ask others how you can pray for them.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to ask others how you can pray for them personally. While there are some things we can intercede for corporately as the body of Christ, remember your friends, neighbors, and family members who might be struggling during this time. Give them a call and see how God might use a conversation to spark something good in them.
6. Pray for other countries.
While we’re spending more time at home with possibly work and all other extracurricular activities cancelled in the near future, take this opportunity to learn about other countries as you pray for them. Your family or small group can pick a new country each day or week to intercede for. This exercise not only strengthens our faith but also ties our hearts to people in far off places in a powerful way.