Seven Prayers for a Pandemic
None of us saw this coming. The world is on lockdown. Hospitals are overrun. People are dying from a disease that is just a few months old. None of us saw this coming. And if you’re like me, you know you need to pray, but you don’t really know what to pray. You’ve heard church leaders say we need to be praying for our world and our county and our community. You’ve heard your pastors say you need to draw near to the Lord in prayer during this time. But what exactly should we be praying?
Should we be praying for health and safety? Should we be praying to be spared of this disease and the suffering it brings? Should we be praying that this all stops and we can get back to normal life? All of those are good things to be praying. Certainly, we need to be praying for this pandemic to end. Certainly, we need to be praying our government leaders, health-care workers, and church leaders. And certainly, we need to be praying for those who are suffering. But is that all we should be praying?
The apostle Paul was no stranger to crisis. Almost everywhere he went crisis was soon to follow. He was imprisoned. He was at the center of city riots. He was beaten many times. He was shipwrecked many times. He faced danger from rivers, robbers, Jews, Gentiles, cities, deserts, oceans, even family. He knew sleepless nights. He knew days without food. He knew days without a place to lay his head. (2 Corinthians 11:23–27).
The churches Paul ministered to knew crisis too. They faced suffering, ridicule, and persecution. These local congregations were no strangers to a crisis. Paul knew that. Many of his letters were written to help these churches face their crisis. What is striking, though, is that most of the prayers in his letters focused not on the storms but on how to weather them. Paul wanted these churches to know the depths of the love of Christ, the beauties of the gospel, and the need to live lives worthy of Jesus.
So what should we be praying during this pandemic? Here are seven prayers from Paul that help us weather this crisis. Seven prayers that can help us not escape the storm but find ourselves sitting at the feet of the One who can.
1. Pray that God would help us to see the riches of the gospel.
Ephesians 1:15–2—"For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come."(ESV)
2. Pray that God would help us to know the love of Christ.
Ephesians 3:14–19—"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." (ESV)
3. Pray that God would help our love to abound more and more.
Philippians 1:9–11—"And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God." (ESV)
4. Pray that God would help us to bear fruit with patience and joy.
Colossians 1:9–12—"And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light." (ESV)
5. Pray that God would help us to be holy and pure.
1 Thessalonians 5:23–24—"Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it." (ESV)
6. Pray that God would help us live so that Jesus is glorified in us.
2 Thessalonians 1:11–12—"To this end, we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ." (ESV)
7. Pray that God would help us share our faith with others in word and deed.
Philemon 1:4–6—"I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ." (ESV)