Prayer in the Shadow of Death

1 04 2020

Covid-19 will significantly change our nation and world. It remains to be seen what those changes will be. Analysts observe several areas that are already changing in some nations:

  • increased government role in surveilling citizen behavior and health
  • government activism in supporting the economy
  • nationalizing industries
  • government-run medical systems
  • sealing off borders

How will the Church change? As we seek to pray from our heavenly point of view, as Paul did in Ephesians, how do we understand the signs of our times so as to pray and live as Jesus would want?

Praying from the mountaintop must not detach us from serving in the valley of the shadow of death.

Books will be published by experts on these topics. I can only posit some preliminary thoughts from my vantage point.

I believe God would be glorified if the Church will enter into a lasting season of repentance and revival. We have been reminded that life on earth is fragile — that our few years here should be lived for the values of eternity.

This calls us away from self-preservation and toward risk for one another, especially the vulnerable in our world. Jesus calls us to extravagant love for the sick, blind, prisoner, the widow and orphan.

Those in developing countries are likely to be hit broadside with Covid-19 in coming weeks. Several factors make the situation worse:

  • denial of the threat by leaders,
  • close physical proximity in urban and slum areas,
  • cultures of communal living,
  • poor medical systems,
  • hunger leading to unrest,
  • government incapacity to assist financially

These and many other factors portend a tsunami of fatalities in poorer countries which could devastate nations.

Christians in the West must not look the other way while insuring we have enough supplies in our homes!

Millions of people in the global diaspora are now cut off from their families. Already struggling, many refugees face unemployment, no medical insurance, undependable housing, trauma, and little family support. Many are lonely and desperate. Yet what little they have has been shared with their needier relatives back home through remittances. Now, that flow of sharing is disappearing.

Wealthier countries will further draw up the bridges, shutting out desperate refugees in the name of self-preservation. We will see a lessening of opportunity for Christians to show the love of Christ to migrants who have never heard the gospel, nor seen it lived out.

The impact of this global crisis will take years to unfold. We must pray for a “spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him” (Eph.1:17).

We, the Church, need wisdom as to how to see the new world that is unfolding. We must pray that the Spirit would reveal the light of the gospel to millions before they enter an eternity separated from the God who loves them and sent His Son to be the Savior of the world.

We must care passionately and pray fervently for our brothers and sisters throughout the world who face poverty, illness, and death this week.

We must pray against further calamity coming on top of the virus. I believe the Holy Spirit is restraining further evil and disaster. We must pray, and seize this moment for repentance.

We must long to see “the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe” (Eph.1:19). We have a miracle-working God who sees and honors faith.

This, of all times in our lives, is when we must step forward and believe God to be God on behalf of all humankind.