Baptists Together Coronavirus – Call to Prayer
We need to pray. Looking at this striking image reminds us that it is in wintertime that the essential shape and structure of the tree is made plain. Finding ourselves caught up in a global pandemic is challenging and is going to reveal the essential nature of our discipleship. Like the early disciples our call is to follow Jesus in the midst of everything that life throws at us (2 Corinthians 1:8-9). As we do, we know that Christ is with us, God’s Holy Spirit is empowering us and that we have the pre-cious gift of prayer. Despite severe suffering Paul encourages the Thes-salonian believers to be joyful always, pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances (I Thessalonians 5:16) and we need to hear this as God’s word for us today. Each one of our churches has a vital part to play in being a Beacon of Hope at the moment. Our neighbours and communities need love, hope, peace and an eternal perspective and we can offer this in abundance, in the name of Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:18). We want to call all our churches to prayer and provide you with some words and ideas to help because we believe in the power of our collective prayers and actions at this time.
Prayer Reflecting on the world-wide situation Let’s continue to pray for all our sisters and brothers across the world who have been, and are continuing to be, affected by COVID-19. We pray that all will know God’s overwhelming, steadfast love. Pray for the countries currently suffering from the greatest outbreaks: Chi-na, Italy, Iran, South Korea, France, Spain, Germany, USA We pray for those who are particularly fearful at the moment. Pray for those in our communities who may feel vulnerable and scared. Pray that the love of God might be their peace. That they may know that even in the darkest times God’s love brings hope. We pray for the most vulnerable and isolated in our neighbourhoods. Pray for those who are currently self-isolating in our neighbourhoods. Pray for older people who are concerned about shopping, regular hospital appointments and general day to day contact with other people. Bring to God the regular activities for older and more vulnerable people provided by our churches. Pray for wisdom for church leaders to know how to keep people connected and safe. We pray for the medical staff on the frontline of care, we pray that they will be sustained physically, emotionally and spiritually in the coming weeks. Pray for medics in our own congregations. We pray that God will be their shield and their strength. We pray for wisdom and insight as to how to support those in our congre-gations and communities involved in frontline care. Pray for our world leaders and for the leaders in our own country that they will seek the wisdom of God as they make decisions over the coming days. Pray for physical strength for our leaders. We pray for all those leading the scientific response to COVID-19 across the world
Pray for the scientists from across the globe as they look for ways to allevi-ate symptoms and as they seek a vaccine for the future. Pray for all God’s people in this time of uncertainty and concern. That our eternal hope would make an earthly difference. Pray for a sense of calm and clarity as well as strength to face what is ahead. That Christians will be ‘beacons of hope’ and ‘carriers of the mes-sage of peace’ at this time. Pray for the work of BMS overseas Pray for BMS Personnel overseas, our partners and local communities, especially those who are living in countries where the health services and infrastructure might not be adequate to protect a global pandemic. Pray that God will use His servants to accompany people pastorally and missionally through this valley of uncertainty, fear and even potential death. May we be a people of Hope in encouraging others in the face of crisis to lean on God’s sustaining presence and unfailing providence. We pray for others in all parts of our world who daily face the uncertainty of life. We pray for those caught in war We pray for those who face hunger today We pray for those struggling with sickness and ill health because of other diseases, such as malaria. We acknowledge the Lord’s sovereignty in and through all things and pray using the words of Paul to the church in Ephesus: For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every fami-ly in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the rich-es of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power 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, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21 (NRSV) Please use these prayers yourself, with your church and in your commu-nities as we turn to our God asking for healing, help, hope for all those affected by the Coronavirus in the UK and around the world. Please em-body these prayers too in the many practical opportunities that will come your way to love your neighbour. We are praying with you. Ken Benjamin – President, Baptist Union of Great Britain Kang San Tan – BMS General Director Lynn Green – General Secretary, Baptist Union of Great Britain Diane Watts – Team Leader, Faith & Society