A PANDEMIC THAT NEEDS PRAYER
by Trevor DeVage
Confronted by uncertainty and pressing needs all around us, I decided to lead a Facebook Live prayer session yesterday. Inspired by Craig Groeschel’s Dangerous Prayers, I quoted several biblical prayers he lists at the back of his book. While the world has hit “Pause,” we paused for prayer. As I shared the Scriptures, dozens among the 320 who joined us wrote their prayer requests in the Comments section so all of us could pray about their needs.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Psalm 32:1-5: Blessed is the one …whose sins are covered…. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you…. And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
Some of us have been “groaning” these days, too. It’s surprising what relief we can get just by acknowledging to God the truth about ourselves he already knows and is eager to forgive.
PRAYER FOR PROTECTION
Psalm 32:6, 7: Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
It feels to many of us like the waters are rising now, threatening to overwhelm us. But we serve the one who makes the flood waters go away. I’m praying for protection for everyone in my ministry: protection for the families, their livelihoods, their faith, their hearts.
PRAYER WHEN LIFE IS UNBEARABLE
When Jesus was in agony on the cross, he prayed, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46). If you feel alone with the pressures you’re facing, remember you can be as blunt with God as Jesus was.
Just before he died, the Scripture tells us Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46). I’m praying we would commit our anxieties, our fears, and every aspect of our lives to God.
PRAYER FOR HEALING AND HOPE
Psalm 6:2-9: Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint; heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long? Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love…. I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow…. The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.
I’ve spoken with several “worn out from groaning” who could echo this prayer because of their own situation. I love this Bible prayer because it tells me God wants to walk with us in our moments of intense weeping.
God wants to hear raw, authentic prayers from us. If you’re afraid, tell God. If you’re ticked off at God, that’s OK. He can handle it. I still remember the night I sat up with a Bible college buddy who expressed his anger ag God colorfully and passionately. Finally he went to sleep, and after a couple hours of sleep, he apologized to me the next morning.
“You have nothing to apologize for,” I told him. “You were being honest with God, and I think God likes that.”
On the night before he was crucified, Jesus prayed, “Take this cup from me.” God didn’t remove the suffering, but Scripture said angels did come to strengthen him (Luke 21:41-43). There’s nothing we’re facing that’s greater than the strength God can give us.
Romans 15:13: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
We need God to answer this prayer in us so the world around us will see hope as well.
PRAYER FOR UNITY
John 17:20, 21: I pray … for those who will believe in me …, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.
I’m praying not only for unity in our congregation, but also for unity in the whole church. Crisis gives birth to unity, and I think we’re seeing that now. The phenomenal response to our food drive for children out of school with no lunches is just one indication of that. We even had friends from Hindu and Muslim communities donating to our effort. In times like these, the church becomes light in a dark place, rising up out of the ashes of our distress and disappointments to bring hope.
PRAYER FOR GUIDANCE
Exodus 33:13: If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you.
When our prayers reflect the faith of these prayers, we will have the chance to show the world the hope that only Jesus offers. So let’s pray. And while we’re at it, let’s commit to not telling people what we’re against; let’s show them how his followers live when they’re daily seeking his guidance.