Praying In A Time Of Crisis
Does it seem to you that life is out of control right now? Many believers are worried and concerned as the Coronavirus ravages the earth. And yet, we have an All-Powerful Father who was not surprised in the least by this seemingly catastrophic event in world history.
The Coronavirus has sparked fear, stress, uncertainty, hoarding, greed, panic, hostility and more! All of these things are not God’s desire for His people. In fact, Jesus calls us to courage, peace, boldness, generosity, level-headedness and kindness! If the people of God begin to exhibit the characteristics of the world in this hour, our enemy, Satan, will win a great victory! However, if those who are committed to being Christ-followers will stand firm and seek His face in this moment, God will receive great glory!
Let us resolve to lean into greater faith, asking God to revive and awaken us, His people. How then, should we pray in the midst of this “unknown” evil that has overtaken our entire world? Let us look to God’s Word to inform our prayers:
1. Pray that a repentant people would turn to God seeking revival. “Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?” (Psa. 85:6). John Avant of Life Action Ministries recently said, “…Since this mighty God has invaded our hearts, since He inhabits our lives, we are not out of control. We live in His control. We are empowered with His purpose. We are a part of His plan.
“BUT…we have departed from Him. I have and you have. We will feel out of control as long as we stay distant from Him, numb to His call to repent. We will continue to point fingers and fight among ourselves until we find ourselves more astonished by God than we are afraid of a disease or anxious to return to our past patterns. We will feel out of control until we give up our own control and humbly cry out in brokenness, ‘I am the problem!’”
He continues, “If there is one thing above all else that is more important in these days (of dealing with Coronavirus) than washing our hands, it is to return to God and let Him wash our hearts!”
Prayer: Father God, Creator of the Universe, we bow our hearts before You in repentance. We have tried to control our own circumstances and figure everything out in the midst of the unknown rather than placing our trust in You. Forgive us, Lord, and turn our hearts back towards Yours. May we relinquish control of this harsh reality we are currently living in and trust You to work in the midst of it so that all the world is astonished at Your power and goodness. Help us to emerge from our brokenness before You as holy and purified followers of Jesus, ready to return to active duty on the front lines of Your kingdom instead of trying to control it or figure it out. We bless You, Lord, and ask for Your mercy as we humble ourselves before You.
2. Pray for God’s people to resist the devil and have the abundant life Jesus gives us so that others might have it too. We have an enemy who wants to destroy the people of God as well as take out those who have yet to put their faith in Jesus. In John 10:10, Jesus says, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” And, James 4:7 says, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” This is an exciting time for the church to live up to the expectations and commands of Jesus Christ! Loving and serving others flows from intimacy with the Father. Abundant life results!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You came to this earth to give those who follow You life…and not just any kind of life – abundant life! Strengthen us to be the church You have called us to be so that we might draw others into this amazing abundant life. Help us to stand firm with Your spiritual armor in place (Eph. 6:10-18), having great faith so that we might extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one (v. 16). Help us to live extraordinary lives of service, compassion, and generosity so that those outside of Christ will want what we have more than they want their own selfish desires.
3. Pray that God’s people will overcome fear and anxiety with peace. It is very easy to get overwhelmed and fearful in the midst of the unknown, but God’s Word says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7). “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Prayer: Prince of Peace, You calmed waves and storms and people wherever You went. May we be carriers of Your peace even when we cannot comprehend the scope of this destructive virus that threatens the lives and livelihoods of many. Help us to spread peace and not fear wherever we find ourselves. Guard our hearts and minds so that our emotions and thoughts are tuned into You instead of the uncertainty that swirls around us. Help us to be overcomers who help others through this crisis rather than those who live in fear and do nothing but help ourselves. We want You to be made famous because of how we represent You, Lord Jesus.
4. Pray for the church to rise to the opportunities God is giving us to show compassion, creativity and unity that will show off the power of Jesus. During this uncertain season, people are looking for help from the government and from the medical community, but it seems the church is perceived as a superfluous entity affected by the virus through having to close its physical doors to contain the spread of the disease. What if the church became the shining light on the hill, a beacon of hope and transformation, the Living Gospel of Jesus to our neighborhoods and communities? If ever there was a time, this is it! Let’s ask God for the church to do extraordinary things through our Extraordinary God!
Prayer: Compassionate Christ, help Your church not to shrink back from doing whatever she can to meet needs, to bring hope, to give encouragement, promote unity and creatively reach people with the Gospel. Give us courage and strength to do the extraordinary. Bring us into unity with one another across different faith traditions to help in whatever ways we can, coming alongside of our local, state and federal government officials, first responders, the medical community and social services to meet the needs of people in unprecedented ways. May all that we do be done in the power and strength of Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of the Father!
Pray Jesus’ prayer that He prayed over us in John 17:21-26. “That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
5. Ask God to protect the elderly and those in compromised health situations who are the most vulnerable to this virus. We all know people who fall into the high-risk group for being susceptible to Covid-19. Maybe you are in that group and are concerned. If so, a powerful and encouraging passage of Scripture to pray over your life is Psalm 23. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Let’s join together and ask God for protection of anyone of any age who is at risk. Ask Him to bring healing to those who are ill as well. Here is a good blessing to pray for those you know in this high-risk group: “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 1:2).
Prayer: Lord our God, You are good and filled with mercy. You are filled with compassion and love all You have made (Psa. 145). We ask You to remove sickness from our midst: “So you shall serve the Lord your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you” (Ex. 23:25). You love us beyond what we can imagine and have our best interests at heart. Please protect those who are elderly, have compromised immune systems, or have other health issues that put them at high risk for this disease. We ask for Your divine intervention and protection and that You will help healthy people to take great care to protect others and serve them.
6. Come against depression for those who have lost jobs, whose children are out of school, or who feel helpless or isolated. Being separated from loved ones and/or friends causes many people to struggle with feelings of being left alone and lost. Please consider how you can be an encourager and to pay attention to the situation of others who might be quarantined. For those whose work situations have changed, please be sensitive and creative. Consider hiring people who are out of work or find ways to support businesses that are working differently such as restaurants that are delivering food instead of serving food in a sit-down restaurant. Pray for parents of children who are out of school and may not be able to go to their jobs or get a good childcare situation. With the unknown comes uncertainty and fear. Ask God to use you to be an instrument He can use to be the hands and feet of Jesus for others.
Prayer: Father, thank You that we can cast all of our anxieties on You because You care for us (1 Pet. 5:7). You know the plans You have for us…plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future (Jer. 29:11). Thank You that You heal those who are brokenhearted and bind up their wounds (Psa. 147:3), whether physical, spiritual or emotional. When the righteous cry for help, You hear them and deliver them out of all their troubles. You are near to the brokenhearted and save the crushed in spirit (Psa. 34:18). We are grateful that when those who labor come to You with heavy burdens, You will give them rest (Matt. 11:28). Lord, Your Word says that You give families to those who are lonely and for that we are to be thankful (Psa. 68:6). Please do this for those who feel that they have no one and feel depressed and alone. We pray for those families whose children are out of school for an uncertain amount of time. Provide for these families, Lord. Give them all that they need. Most of all, help us to remember that You have commanded us, to “be strong and courageous” and not to tremble or be dismayed for You, the Lord our God are with us (Josh. 1:9).
May the Gospel of Jesus be made famous in the midst of this virus. May the enemy be defeated and may the church experience spiritual awakening that transforms individuals, families, businesses, schools, and our entire culture here in this nation and across the earth! In Jesus’ powerful Name, Amen!
© 2020 Harvest Prayer Ministries. Adapted.