“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” (Phil. 4:6, NKJV)
Right now we (as in global we) find ourselves in a pandemic. A pandemic is something that is widespread and conspicuous by its spread. Let us seek a pandemic of prayer. Rather than trying to contain it, let us make it infectious, spreading it to others, lifting their eyes to God and the only mediator between God and man – Jesus Christ.
My living room was filled with my adult children, their spouses, and their children. Sixteen of us sat on the chairs, sofas and floor. The youngest was three. The oldest was my wife (I’ll leave it at that). They were there for the Sunday dinner my wife hosted for our family each week.
This Sunday was different. It was the last time we would gather because of the social distancing called for in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. It was also a day of prayer called for by our president.
It had occurred to me that our family gathering was opportune. We would pray and God would use that. It would also be an opportunity to set an example for the grandkids of what Christians do in crisis. They cry out to God.
To guide the time of prayer I used a template that has served me well in my regular praying for my family. I follow the acrostic BLESS: B = body, L = labor, E = emotions, S = social, S = spiritual. I pray along these lines in general ways and in ways specific to the members of my family.
After we settled down, I explained that God wants us to seek Him and that He uses our prayer to carry out His purposes. I introduced the BLESS acrostic and fleshed it out with the various categories it represents. I said that we would spend a couple of minutes praying for each item.
Then we launched into our time of prayer. Soon the hiccup of silence gave way to a prayer for God’s healing and care. Before long a halting voice of a child chimed in. Then as one category yielded to the next both children and adults led one another in prayer.
Here are some ideas of what to pray. Think of yourselves and also of others. Pray for government and medical response. Pray for businesses.
Body – pray for God’s protection from the virus and for His healing of those who have it
Labor – pray for those who will be out of work for a time, and for God’s financial provision
Emotions – pray those who are afraid and worried about their health and their jobs
Social – pray that families get along while being home together and for care of neighbors
Spiritual – pray for the spread of the gospel and opportunities to point people to Jesus
Each category opens the door to all sorts of prayers and supplications, with thanksgiving. Follow the promptings of the Spirit. Keep in mind that God is at work for His purposes.
The word pandemic has Greek origins. Pan means all. Its form is found in Ephesians where Paul expresses the scope of our prayer: “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18, ESV).
“Lord, create a pandemic of prayer among Your people that catches up the nations and brings them to seek You in need. Pour out Your Spirit to revive Your church and spread the fragrance of life bound up in Your Son, our Savior.”
Scripture quotations marked NKJV are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Those marked ESV are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.