I imagine many reading this have dear friends either living in or near the epicenter of the Coronavirus outbreak in China. If not, many more of us know friends who live in close proximity, either in the mainland or across Asia. In some cases, the person facing danger is you and the risk of disease is very real and present.
I hope you have had the opportunity to read the Chinese Church Voices column this week , which featured a letter from the pastor of a church in Wuhan, as well as Wednesday’s “Serving Effectively in the Face of a Pandemic” by Jon and Mindy Hirst. If you haven’t, I encourage you to check them out. They will speak strength and courage to you, as well as call you to prayerful action, no matter what your current situation.
If you are like me, you have been stimulated to pray for those you know who are in harm’s way, as well as to ask the Lord for the fullness of his Spirit and a personal readiness regardless of what comes next.
Wherever you are in the world, we have been reminded this week that “everyone in global outreach is only a few people away from the center of a pandemic.” As the two articles tell us, this is not a time to live in fear, to isolate ourselves, or seek to avoid the most extreme scenario at all costs.
It is a time to wait on the Holy Spirit as we seek him in the name of our Savior and by the power of his word, to inform, guide, strengthen, and sustain his “called out ones” and to pray for healing and protection for those who have been afflicted or are vulnerable.
I would like to invite you to join me in prayer as we have been encouraged by our brothers and sisters this week:
Pray for the people of God in Wuhan, Hubei province and the surrounding region to seek the peace of Jesus Christ in their hearts and to pray the peace of Christ for those who don’t know the Prince of Peace and the gospel of peace.
Pray that Christ’s people will be able to offer the love of God through a variety of caring actions, as well as exhibit strength, courage and a heart of joy and hope, which only he can express through them.
As our brother in Wuhan wrote in his letter: “You should first wage a battle for your heart, and secondarily battle for the soul of this city.”
Pray for wisdom and timely action for government and medical authorities. Pray also for the medical teams and practitioners, many of whom are courageously risking their lives for people they don’t know and, in some cases, without necessary treatments, equipment, or protective gear.
Pray that Christ’s church will continue to ask the deeper question of the Holy Spirit, “How do we remain a strong light if indeed the darkness looms in the form of disease?” Pray that God will accomplish his redemptive purposes no matter how bleak the situation. We were reminded this week there is great historical precedent for this request.
Pray that Jehovah Rapha—the Lord our Healer—will stop this sickness in its tracks.
Those of us who live far away (at least at this point) from the threat of the Coronavirus are not absolved from praying, either for those facing much more imminent danger, or for ourselves to be ready, willing and dependent on our Father’s wisdom when trouble and trials come.
So, we pray for:
- A “James 1 faith that seeks wisdom in the face of trials.”
- A vibrant life of prayer that seeks wisdom from God whether in peacetime and security, or under catastrophic threats to our health and well-being.
As Jon and Mindy Hirst have so powerfully expressed: “Our close walk with God, our willingness to face trials, and our desire to ask God for wisdom and understanding will produce a settled spirit in the face of fear, isolation, sorrow, and doubt.”
Rev. Kerry Schottelkorb is the president of ChinaSource. For twenty years Kerry was involved in local church planting and youth ministry, both in the US and Hong Kong. He was the founding pastor of the Cle Elum Alliance Church in Cle Elum, Washington and one of two founding pastors of... View Full Bio
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