We come to you as people in the midst of a crisis. If we are honest, our hearts are filled with fear and uncertainty for our future. We are scared for ourselves, our families, our friends, our church, our community and our world. We honestly don’t know what to do and how to respond; the illusion that we are in control of our world is shattering under the weight of this reality.
Although fear, in itself, is not a bad thing, we reject any spirit of fear that begins to take root in our lives and causes us to act with ambivalence to our neighbours, hoarding of resources for ourselves or reactive decisions. Instead, we profess Jesus as Lord and, as such, love our enemies, give generously to those in need and respond to circumstances and situations with faith and peace. In the midst of this unique and challenging season, we recognize Jesus as our Saviour, Sanctifier, Healer and Coming King.
Because Jesus is our Saviour, we know that, in Christ, we have an eternal hope and therefore the fear of sickness and death is overshadowed by our hope in Jesus. As a result, we enter into our future with an eternal hope that is secure and that no virus can threaten or pandemic extinguish.
Because Jesus is our Sanctifier, we ask the Holy Spirit to empower us to love our neighbours and live in right relationship with them. As a result, empower us to care for the sick and the vulnerable, to give to the needy (even at personal cost to us) and to grieve with those who grieve. This is the time for a love that is sacrificial and practical. Empower us to be a church that, like a city on a hill, beams the light, love and hope of Jesus to a world covered under a shadow of sickness and death.
Because Jesus is our Healer, we pray and care for the sick among us. For those of us who are sick or will become sick, we pray for healing and trust in Your loving embrace as the Great Physician and the Good Shepherd. We pray for Your healing in people’s lives. For those who are grieving, we grieve with them and proclaim the truth that Jesus is the resurrection and the life.
Because Jesus is our Coming King, this pandemic will not win. We know the end of the story and Jesus has full and complete victory over sin and death and we wait with expectation and hope for King Jesus’ return. As we are reminded of the fragility of life, we embrace the truth that our future is certain and in the hands of the Living Hope, Jesus Christ Himself.
We pray also for our world and those who lead it. We pray for our government and health professionals who are making important decisions on our behalf. This is a time to pray earnestly for them and we do so with hope. Give them the wisdom to steward resources and strength to persevere. We also pray for the safety of the many health professionals who enter into a micro-organism warzone to care for the sick and dying. Give them wisdom, strength, compassion and safety as they care for the sick among us.
In all of this, we confess that we are overwhelmed, fearful and deeply worried. We profess Jesus is Lord. Give us Your peace as we trust in You as our Saviour, Sanctifier, Healer and Coming King. Give us Your wisdom and strength as You empower us to love you fully and love others freely.
May Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.
In Jesus name, Amen.
Written by: Rev. Dr. Bryce Ashlin-Mayo, Lead Pastor of Westlife Church in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.