Pray God’s Will
Jesus teaches us to pray, “Thy [God’s] will be done,” (Matt. 6:6).
We are promised: “if we ask anything according to his [God’s] will…we have the requests that we have asked of him,” (1 John 5:14-15).
Thus, effective prayer does not pray your will, nor try to change God’s will (God forbid!).
Instead, we need to, “understand what the will of the Lord is,” (Eph. 5:17), then pray that. And pray that boldly…expectantly…humbly.
What is God’s Will in COVID-19?
Thus, effective prayer for COVID-19 must consider God’s desires with this pandemic.
In addition to 2 Chronicles 7:13-15 (as shared in my previous post), 3 other Scriptures have stirred me in prayer along these lines, and I humbly ask you to consider them in your prayers, too…
Passage 1: David’s Census (2 Samuel 24:1-17)
For issuing a sinful census, King David had to choose between 3 punishments: (1) famine, (2) enemy defeats, or (3) a plague.
He chose (3) a plague, saying:
Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great2 Sam. 24:14
Notice first that he preferred sickness because He knew God was overtly in control of such a thing. Thus, He could depend on God’s supernatural mercy if sickness came.
Sadly, it did come. And 70,000 people died. It was just, but surely God’s heart simultaneously broke (cf. Ezekiel 33:11).
This time of sickness had a measured duration:
- “the Lord sent a plague on Israel from that morning until the end of the time designated” (2 Sam. 24:15)
- “When the angel stretched out his hand to destroy Jerusalem, the Lord relented concerning the disaster and said to the angel who was afflicting the people, ‘Enough! Withdraw your hand.'” (2 Sam. 24:16)
See, the sickness had a designated end, based on God’s mercy. It had to run it’s full course, but after that, God could interpose and say, “ENOUGH!”
- Sickness is within God’s oversight, and God is filled with mercy.
- God predetermined an ending to this plague.
Passage 2: Lazarus (John 11:1-44)
When Jesus heard that Lazarus was ill, He said:
This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.John 11:4
Immediately after saying this, we read how much Jesus loved Lazarus and his family.
Yet, curiously, after saying the sickness wouldn’t lead to death, and after we read of Jesus’ great love for Lazarus…
We read that Jesus “stayed two days longer in the place where he was,” (John 11:6). And during this time, Lazarus dies!
Now many will know the rest of the story. Jesus resurrects Lazarus, and proclaims Himself, “The resurrection and the life,” (John 11:25). It truly is an awesome ending.
Nevertheless, in the middle of it, out of love, Jesus waited longer than they wanted to do something. He waited so long that Lazarus actually died (even after Jesus said the sickness wouldn’t lead to death!). The point, of course, is that it didn’t lead to ultimate death.
In fact, that is true for all who believe in Jesus, no matter what sickness they get.
- COVID-19 does not lead to ultimate, eternal death. In fact, I think the Lord may be speaking to me that it isn’t meant to ultimately be a destructive agent, but, instead, something that Jesus will receive glory from.
- Jesus had a determined time to heal Lazarus, for the ultimate glory of God, even if it lasted longer than people wanted.
- Christ used sickness to point people to eternal life and resurrection through Him.
Passage 3: God’s Spirit Isn’t Fear (2 Tim. 1:7-8)
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.2 Tim. 1:7
Christians may experience fear. Even Paul the apostle admits he had “fears within,” (2 Cor. 7:5). But this is our humanness, and is not part of God’s Spirit.
God does not want us to fear anything except Him. And He has given us the means to counter fear with power, love, and self-control: The Holy Spirit!
Further, this power from God’s spirit was to lead Timothy to share, obey, and suffer for THE GOSPEL (2 Tim. 1:8ff).
- God doesn’t want us to live with fear
- God has given us the means to conquer fear: His Spirit
- This is ultimately for the sake of spreading the gospel
How to Pray for COVID-19
In Daniel 9, when Daniel discovered from the Bible that God had decreed the 70 years of captivity he just lived through (and therefore the time had come for Israel to be set free), he wrote:
Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the LORD my God and made confession…Daniel 9:3-4
Notice that he:
- humbled himself,
This is equivalent to the 2 Chron. 7:13-15 response shared in my previous post.
But notice something further: he did all this in response to what God had spoken in His Scripture. He prayed for things already determined by God in the Bible. And guess what? They came to pass.
So…with the exact same heart I appeal to you Christian brothers and sisters, that you would pray with me according to the various biblical principles shown above on behalf of COVID-19:
- God would show his mercy in COVID-19 (2 Sam. 24)
- It would last the entire duration God has set for it (no more, no less), achieving the full effect God has for it (2 Sam. 24; John 11)
- It would not destroy people, but instead be used for God’s glory, pointing people to Jesus and eternal life (John 11)
- Christians would be filled with God’s power, love, and sound-mind instead of fear (2 Tim. 1)
- Christians would be eager to serve, obey, and share the gospel during this difficult time (2 Tim. 1)