Three denominations have joined together, calling for a day of prayer and fasting on Good Friday, April 10.
Together, The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC), and the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) are asking their more than 3,500 churches, with 665,000 members, to share prayer resources and fast.
In a joint announcement, the churches quoted Jesus invitation, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). The group said:
The whole world is in the throes of a coronavirus pandemic that is spreading death, illness, economic turmoil, unemployment, isolation, panic, and fear. In such desperate times, the people of God should humble themselves and pray to their almighty God for his grace, mercy, and love to heal us, restore us, and relieve us from this crushing burden of disease.
The churches are sharing resources to guide congregation members and any other Christians and churches who wish to join them:
- A Guide to Prayer and Fastingby The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America.
- A Guide to Prayer and Fastingby Dr. Richard Pratt, President of Third Millennium Ministries.
- A Suggested Prayer List.
The call to prayer quoted the well-known passage in 2 Chronicles 7, where the Lord appears to Solomon at the dedication of the temple and says:
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chron. 7:14 (KJV)
Of course, the PCA, EPC and ACNA are not the only groups calling for prayer and repentance. Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has invited Catholics to join him in praying on Good Friday for an end to the pandemic.
The Archbishop reminded believers that in Jesus’ death on the cross, “we see the love of God for humanity, his love for each one of us.”
“Because he loves us, and because his love can never change, we should not be afraid, even in this time of trial and testing.” Gomez said.
Not just denominations, but individuals and smaller groups are calling for prayer – and praying. Here are just a few recent stories that caught my attention from across the nation – some of them from surprising and unexpected places:
- News outlets have posted articles and pictures of healthcare workers gathering on hospital rooftops to pray for patients and their families.
- Michael Brown, author and host of the Line of Fire radio program, wrote about MSNBC host Craig Melvin inviting the Rev. T.D. Jakes to pray on his broadcast. Brown ends his column with a call to prayer.
- A group of churches and faith-based organizations in Elk River, Minnesota are praying and fasting this week, “seeking the Lord for mercy and wisdom in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.”
- Terry Bollea – better known as wrester Hulk Hogan – posted on Instagram, quoting 2 Chronicles and saying, “Maybe we need to take this time of isolation from the distractions of the world and have a personal revival where we focus on the ONLY thing in the world that really matters. Jesus.”
- Three individuals set up a Facebook page and website called 8@8, encouraging people to pray for 8 minutes at 8:00 p.m. every evening. The group has almost 12,400 members in less than 3 weeks.
Individually and corporately, many are turning to prayer in this time of crisis.
An opinion piece by Robert Nicholson, at The Wall Street Journal, asks the question: “Could a plague of biblical proportions be America’s best hope for religious revival?”
In the commentary titled, ““A Coronavirus Great Awakening?”, Robert Nicholson reminds us that after the devastation of WW II, many Americans turned to God. He notes that “more than three-quarters of Americans were members of a house of worship, compared with about half today.”
“Some would later call this a Third Great Awakening,” he adds.
Could God be doing something similar today? Nicholson asks: “Could a rogue virus lead to a grand creative moment in America’s history? Will Americans, shaken by the reality of a risky universe, rediscover the God who proclaimed himself sovereign over every catastrophe?”
The Daily Citizen wants to know: How are you seeing God move in the midst of this pandemic? Where do you see others – individuals or groups – turning to repentance and prayer? Leave your comments on Facebook or send us a message.
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