6 Prayers for the Coronavirus Pandemic
Unless you've been living under a rock, you've likely been inundated by news stories, memes, blogs, and emails from organizations about one, unexpectedly disruptive topic: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (aka COVID-19). Before I get into the 6 truths you can pray for during this outbreak, here are some practical resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC). As you seek to learn more about the virus, guard your heart by comparing the information and rumors you hear to reliable, scientifically-backed resources and resist the urge to panic or spread misinformation.
Now, let's get spiritual! As Christians, we believe that God hears our prayers and that prayers are powerful (James 5:16) in part because praying and meditating on truth can help us be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1-2). So here are six truths you can pray for yourself and others during the coronavirus outbreak.
1. Pray for healing.
Take time to pray for God to heal those who are sick and protect those who are vulnerable.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. (Psalm 103:2-5)
2. Pray against selfishness.
If there's one thing the toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and face mask memes have taught me, it's that the panic people are feeling is leading to selfish behavior that denies other people of the resources they need. Pray that people would look out for other people's interests and for God to show you how to serve others during this time,
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4)
3. Pray for loving behavior.
This goes hand in hand with the above prayer. If people focus on God's perfect love, the fear that leads to hoarding and other forms of selfishness will abate and give way to loving others well.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:18-19)
4. Pray for people to take heart.
Trusting in Jesus means that our hope is not in this world, our health, or the convenience that comes with living in a modern, fast-paced society because we are guaranteed to face trouble. Pray for people to have hope that's grounded in the gospel during this tribulation.
“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)
5. Pray for people to reject fear.
Pray for Christians to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit so they can shine as lights during this time and show others the path to peace that surpasses understanding.
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)
6. Pray for comfort.
As of right now (March 13 at 5:50 p.m.), 41 people have died of coronavirus in the United States, and there are 1,629 total cases in the country with countless more around the world. Sickness is anything but comfortable, fear of sickness/death is disquieting, and losing loved ones is devastating. So pray that God would comfort all of the people affected by the virus, and ask God how you can comfort others with the comfort He's given you.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
In case you didn't pick up on it throughout this blog, fear is not your friend! Stay informed, stay faithful, and trust that God will work in you and around you. God will work all things together for our good (Romans 8:28) and is completely in control over this situation. His perfect purposes will not be thwarted (Job 42:2), and nothing—not even a pandemic—can separate us from His great love (Romans 8:31-39).
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)