March 23, 2020
Occidental Community Church family,
As we begin another week of sheltering and social-distancing I want you to know that each of you is in my prayers daily. We have always been a church where prayer is indispensable to our spiritual life. Before Jesus began His earthly ministry He went alone into the wilderness for forty days of prayer and fasting. Before He went to the Cross where He would die for our sins, He went to the Garden of Gethsemane for a night of fervent prayer. Our Lord knew that without time spent in prayer He would fail to accomplish His father's will or fulfill the purpose for which He was born into this world. Should we do less?
We have all been brought into our own wilderness experience at this time as we unite to fight the coronavirus that has invaded our world. Although we feel helpless at times to fight this battle, there is one thing we can all do that God promises will help. We can pray. Remember, prayer is effective, even in isolation. Jesus said, "When you pray go into your closet." (Matthew 6:6). This is closet-time for all of us. So, as we begin another week of sheltering and isolation, we all need to spend time in prayer each day, trusting that Almighty God will come to our aid in a powerful way. Billy Graham once said, "For a nation to get back on its feet, we must first as a nation get down on our knees."
Here are seven specific requests to include in your daily prayer-time:
1. HEALING FOR THE SICK AND DYING - I believe the latest count is 192 nations that have been impacted by this virus. This is virtually every nation on earth. Let us pray that God would bring healing and restored health to all who have already become sick.
2. PROTECTION FOR ALL - We must all do our part to follow the guidelines we've been given which promote health and safety. But even then, we need divine covering from above to keep us free from sickness.
3. A VACCINE THAT WORKS - All over the world medical researchers and scientists are working feverishly to find and develop a vaccine to knock out the COVID-19 virus. More than 20 are now in development. Let us pray that God would open the eyes and minds of these medical researchers as they search for a cure.
4. OUR NATIONAL AND LOCAL OFFICIALS - If there were ever a time to put aside partisan differences and work together, it is now! Our elected and appointed leaders need our prayers for cooperation, practical wisdom in forming a plan, and clear voices in communicating with the public.
5. PUBLIC COOPERATION - We hear many different opinions being expressed concerning the way things are being handled during this healthcare emergency. And we are free to differ. But if this effort is to succeed, even as we pray for our leaders to do, we as citizens must also work together, putting aside our differences. Only then will we see success.
6. THE ECONOMIC IMPACT - Some among us will be little affected economically by this crisis. Others will be hurt significantly. Still others will be ruined. Pray for both workers and businesses that somehow they will be able to ride out this economic storm and recover when it is over.
7. THAT PEOPLE WILL TURN TO CHRIST - There will be people calling on God who for the first time realize their need for Him. The gospel of Christ is found everywhere in society today - on the airwaves, the internet, billboards, social media. Let us pray that God would open hearts and that many will turn to Jesus Christ for salvation.
Christian pastor and writer, Max Lucado wrote, "Our prayers may be awkward; our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the One who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers make a difference."
Trusting in Him,