Responding in Intercession to the Covid-19 Crisis
While there is no shortage of blogs and social media posts talking about the Coronavirus pandemic very few are giving counsel on how to pray other than - pray for those that are sick and pray for the pandemic to end!
While these are of course primary focuses for prayer, I want to suggest that there may be more at play here than is immediately obvious. It actually might be that the Lord is strategically using this international crisis to radically disrupt the status quo so that He can move in unprecedented ways. I’m not saying He caused it, but I am saying He can use that which was intended for evil - for good, and for the salvation of many (Gen 50:20). If you agree with me, let’s endeavour to discern how to pray strategically so that the Church can be strengthened and step into this unique moment, seeing great advances for the kingdom of God!
Let’s think first about what’s happening in the hearts of our fellow Canadians.
The post-Christian world has suddenly been confronted with it’s vulnerability and it’s mortality. Our secular society has been barreling down the road, self-assured and confident we had no need of God and that the Church was a relic from the superstitious past. Suddenly things look different. The world has been brought to its knees, humbled by a teeny virus. The sense of security we have had in assuming we live in a healthy, safe, environment, as well as the security many have found in their steady jobs and investment portfolios has been shattered. Anxiety is everywhere and escalating. That sense of security will not be regained in short order, if ever. Like in in the days of 9/11, our vulnerability has been exposed. The world has changed.
With this in mind, how do we partner with God’s purposes in our prayers?
Before we pray, I believe it is vital for every Christian to find the place of peace in God, otherwise our prayers become driven by fear rather than faith. It’s not enough to tell ourselves not to fear, we have to spend whatever time we need to with the Lord and His word to meditate on His care for us, the security we have in Him, the reality of the resurrection, and of course His ability to heal. This global moment is a test for the Church. We can only move into the good works He has for us if we set our trust solely on Christ. Whether we get sick or not, whether we live or die, whether we have prosperity or are financially reduced— He has us. This trust in His goodness and faithfulness, has to so permeate us, that it brings us into the rest of God— that place of abiding in peace and joy, even in the midst of the storm. If you are not there, why not set this article down right now and spend time with Jesus.
From that place of peace, let’s move into faith.
Remember, that the Lord could have had you born in any age, at any time in history, but He chose for you to be alive right now. You have, in a very real way, ‘come into the kingdom for such a time as this’ (Est 4:14). You are formed and designed for advancing the kingdom during this global crisis. The Lord predestined good works for you to do before the foundation of the world (Eph 2:10) and some of those good works pertain to this hour. Don’t fall into the world’s mindset which is only considering self-protection and self-provision, but rather, consider how can you (in wisdom) serve those in real need right now, even if it involves having to trust God with our lives in greater ways. How can we love our neighbours in meaningful ways?
The reports we are getting out of China involve testimonies of the Church in revival, fearlessly serving and caring for those in quarantine and gathering daily for communion and prayer because they have little fear of death. The influence of this kind of demonstration of the gospel, in such a counter-culture manner, cannot be quelled. It will change China. It is like the, seemingly insignificant, mustard seed thrown into the garden that grows against all odds to overshadow all the other plants. In Korea, again, the Church is stepping into the need, boldly going out into the streets to distribute masks at the request of the police.
In Iran, another global hotspot, BBC reports that 54,000 prisoners have been released to combat the spread of the virus in the prisons. We have to wonder how many of these are political prisoners, Christians and dissidents that the Lord has just arranged to have sprung for this hour! Remember, the fastest growing church in the world is in Iran right now! God is sovereignly turning for good, what the enemy meant for evil. He is doing it overseas, He can do it here.
So let’s get down to intercession! Here are some strategic prayer points:
by Sara Maynard