Pandemic Praying 4
Fellowship Church continues to adapt to technology. Jessie reports that Coffee Break Ladies’ Bible Study met yesterday via Zoom and 30 ladies joined! We are so thrilled they have opted to move ahead in this way and continue to study God’s Word together. We had our first Movie Night last night, and a dozen of us got together to share what we learned from watching “The Two Popes.” It was great to be together and talk about something other than the virus! Committee meetings are continuing by Zoom. This week, these included the church Council, the Committee of Administration, and the Race Relations Committee. We are encouraged by the way everyone is embracing technology and helping one another along.
Did you spend any time yesterday meditating on Lamentations 3? It was tough going, wasn’t it, like moving through deep snow without snowshoes. We don’t go easily to lament. It makes you want to stop and rest—specifically, rest on verse 21,
21 But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul,
‘therefore I will hope in him.’
25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul that seeks him.
26 It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
Lenny emailed yesterday, “Wonderful fresh crocuses are blooming in my front yard.” Hers is just one example of the “new mercies every morning” that the writer of Lamentations spoke of. One wonders if the writer was wandering through the rubble of ruined Jerusalem and found a poppy growing up through the debris.
These new mercies give us strength to press on. Press on through Lent. Press on through the rest of Lamentations. Press on in the midst of the fog of uncertainty that we find ourselves in. We walk blindly, not knowing where the road leads, but we walk on in faith and in the mercies of God.
“We do not present our supplication before you on the ground of our righteousness, but on the ground of your great mercies” (Dan. 9:18).
When we look at the worldwide numbers of COVID cases, we are also brought to our knees, crying out for mercy for all areas and countries where the death toll is climbing. Crying out for mercy for the densely populated countries of the world, that the virus not take hold there. Crying out for those who are on the front lines of this, working with infected people so we don’t get sick. Crying out for friends and loved ones who are in very difficult circumstances.
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings
should be made for everyone” (I Tim. 2:1).
It is good and right that we should offer our supplications to God during this time, pleading for God’s mercy on behalf of those who cannot, or barely have time to, plead for themselves.
Today’s song, For the Troubles and the Sufferings of the World (Brazilian Kyrie), was taught (in this video clip) at this year’s Calvin Worship Symposium. (You can also read the lyrics. Other more formal versions of the song can be found on the internet as well.)
Here are some aids to your prayers of supplication, from the Prayer Guide to the recent Global Day of Prayer and Fasting.
Imagine the anguish of a person afflicted with the full-blown virus. Feel the aching bones. Take several small shallow breaths as if it were difficult to breathe. Empathize. Cry out to God from an attitude of deep compassion. Repeat the kyrie eleison, “Lord, have mercy,” pleading with God for relief for those afflicted by the virus. Hug a large pillow while you pray for those who are mourning the loss of loved ones, asking God to envelop them with love, and comfort them in their grief with a tangible presence of peace by the Holy Spirit. Bless them with the promise from Scripture that those who mourn will be comforted, as God is the source of all comfort. Pray for mourners who follow Jesus, asking God to remind them that we do not grieve as people who have no hope, but we look forward to the resurrection.
In closing, let’s pray together as Jesus taught us to pray:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Take this blessing with you today:God go before you to guide you.
God go behind you to protect you.
God go beneath you to support you.
God go beside you to befriend you.
Be not afraid.
Let the blessing of Almighty God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
Descend upon you,
settle in around you,
and make its home in you.
Be not afraid.
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