“Don’t fear, because I am with you; don’t be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will surely help you; I will hold you with my righteous strong hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Throughout scripture, time and time again the people of God are admonished not to live in fear. As the world enters a time that most generations alive have never experienced it is a time to be wise and follow the advice of the experts. Remember that we are all held by God and are called to reach out to neighbor in time of need.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear expects punishment. The person who is afraid has not been made perfect in love.” I John 4:18
Now is a time for prayer. Prayer for those who care for others and those who are vulnerable. Prayer for all in the medical field and those who seek to find solutions. Prayer that our leaders make wise decisions on behalf of all God’s people.
“. . . whenever I’m afraid, I put my trust in you—” Psalm 56:3
Here is a prayer that came in an email a week ago from the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia (western Washington state), adapted from a prayer by Kerry Weber, American Magazine, March 3, 2020:
A Prayer for COVID-19 Healing
Jesus Christ, you traveled through towns and villages “curing every disease and illness.” At your command, the sick were made well. Come to our aid now, in the midst of the global spread of the coronavirus, that we may experience your healing love.
Heal those who are sick with the virus. May they regain their strength and health through quality medical care.
Heal us from our fear, which prevents nations from working together and neighbors from helping one another.
Heal us from our pride, which can make us claim invulnerability to a disease that knows no borders.
Jesus Christ, healer of all, stay by our side in this time of uncertainty and sorrow.
Be with those who have died from the virus. May they be at rest with you in your eternal peace.
Be with the families of those who are sick or have died. As they worry and grieve, defend them from illness and despair. May they know your peace.
Be with the doctors, nurses, researchers and all medical professionals who seek to heal and help those affected and who put themselves at risk in the process. May they know your protection and peace.
Be with the leaders of all nations and all public officials. Give them the foresight to act with charity and true concern for the well-being of the people they are meant to serve. Give them the wisdom to invest in long-term solutions that will help prepare for or prevent future outbreaks.
Whether we are home or abroad, Jesus Christ, stay with us as we endure and mourn, persist and prepare. In place of our anxiety, give us your peace.
Jesus Christ, heal us. Amen.
“God is indeed my salvation; I will trust and won’t be afraid. Yah, the LORD, is my strength and my shield; he has become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2
For many, attending worship may not be possible due to the cancellation of church services for the safety of others or having an at-risk condition that makes you vulnerable. Provide a means to stay connected to others – whether you have chosen to self-quarantine or you know someone who is. We live in a age in which social media can be helpful or harmful, so be positive and fact check what you share before pushing the “send button.”
“Don’t be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:31
To assist you in your personal prayer, here are some links to websites and apps for daily prayer and devotion. Share them with others too. We are all in this together. And God is with us.
- D365 – a new devotion every day (specifically for youth, but all might enjoy)
- Pray as You Go – site links to an app
- Common Prayer (from Shane Claiborne) – website with a link to an app
- Ceaseless Prayer – an app that helps you experience the joy of prayer by showing you Scripture and three people to pray for each day
- Daily selections from Forward Day by Day (those little quarterly booklets that you see in the Narthex or outside the church office)
- Centering Prayer app
- Disciple’s Prayer Book – a downloadable booklet with daily prayer following a similar pattern as Lectio Divina from Native American ministries of the Episcopal Church
- Contemplative Prayer each following Thomas Keating and Cynthia Bourgeault.
- Episcopal Prayer is a site put together by Jenifer Gamber with lots of practices and ideas
The Daily Office
- Mission St. Clare – one of the best sites for daily devotion (Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, Compline, et.al. to use throughout the day/evening
- Daily Prayer from Forward Movement
- The Online Book of Common Prayer – an actual BCP with links to all services, prayers, etc.
New to prayer? Download this chapter from John Roberto’s Living Well that is all about prayer for all ages. It’s a great overview and way to begin.
“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27