By Rhett Burns

Our Father in Heaven, 

“[You are] our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea.” (Psalm 46:1-2)

We find ourselves in a time of trouble and so it is a great comfort to us that you are our refuge and strength. We ask you to strengthen us so that we do not fear, but rather trust your goodness to us in this time.

We do not know why this present affliction has come upon us, but we know it is right because whatever you ordain is right. It is good for us to experience this and we trust that you are working good in and through and for us, even if we cannot see it at present.  

Father, we praise your wisdom. We praise your goodness, your righteousness, and your justice. You are good and you do good. Teach us to see your hand in all that passes, and train us to receive it with thanksgiving. 

We also praise your mercy. You are gracious and merciful and full of steadfast love. We ask, that in your mercy, you will stop this virus from spreading. We ask, that in your mercy, you will spare life. We ask, that in your mercy, you would protect livelihoods—jobs and the economy. We ask this not only for our own communities and country, but for the entire world. Show mercy to places which are medically unequipped to deal with this virus. Show mercy to places with older populations.

Father, put your mercy on display for the world to see. And receiving your mercy, may they turn their hearts toward you.

Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. May our nation and world wake up to the reality that life is but a vapor. That eternity is real. That Heaven and Hell are real. May our neighbors, because of this pandemic, wake up from the spiritual stupor and see that they must turn to God. They must fear God.

May they see the beauty and glory of King Jesus, who reigns over this entire planet, plagues and pandemics and viruses and all. Jesus is King. May all peoples bow their knee to Him and confess it with their tongues to the glory of God the Father, having their sins washed away by the blood of Jesus.

We also ask that you would protect those we have sent out all across the world to proclaim that message. Protect our missionaries, and may they use this global crisis to advance the Good News to all peoples and places.

Give our leaders at every level wisdom. Give them the ability to remain calm in the face of many pressures, and to direct us in the best course of action for prevention and care.

Keep us from panic. We know you are sovereign and hold all things in your hands. Yet, often hearts are prone to fear and anxiety about what we cannot control. Let us be still and know that you are God. Help us to trust you. Be a comfort to us.

Give us opportunities to serve others during this crisis. Opportunities to be generous. Opportunities to meet needs. Opportunities to be calm and kind. Opportunities to pray and give witness to the Gospel.

Keep us sober-minded, with our eyes fixed firmly on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.

Lastly, Father, help us to remember that our only hope in life and death is that we are not our own, but we belong, body and soul, both in life and death, to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray, Amen.