By Matt Tullos
TBMB Special Assistant to the Executive Director
How will this chapter in the history of the Church be remembered? Certainly, we will remember 2020 as a year when everything changed. We will remember the lost lives, the cost to our way of life, and the emotional toll we have all felt. But, could it be possible that this might be a time when the church rose up in passionate intercessory prayer? Relentless intercessory prayer can change the course of our future as a state, nation and world. Could this be a time of great spiritual awakening and return? Yes. Let’s strategically pray during this ever-changing crisis.
Intercessory prayer is woven throughout Scripture — Moses for the people of Israel (32:31–32); David when the plague came upon the land (II Samuel 24:24–25); Daniel during the Exile (Daniel 9:1–19); the gathered congregation in post-exilic Jerusalem (Nehemiah 9:1–38). Both the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:27, 34; 11:2) and Jesus (Hebrews 7:25) intercede for us, and we are called to intercede for others (1 Timothy 2:1; 4:5).
We invite you to fast and pray with us.
Ideas for Fasting:
First: Choose a fast. There are a number of different types of fasts:
- Full Fast: Drink only liquids.
- The Daniel Fast: Eat no meat, no sweets and no bread. Drink water and juice. Eat fruits and vegetables.
- Three-day Fast: This fast can be a Full Fast, Daniel Fast, or giving up at least one item of food.
- Partial Fast: A partial fast is practiced from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm or from sunup to sundown. You can select from three types of fasting: Full Fast, Daniel Fast, or giving up at least one item of food.
- A Media Fast: Turn off the TV, streaming and media.
- A Silent Fast: Practice a short time of silence, by limiting your talking.
Following, is a brief fasting prayer strategy, as you pray for all needs listed.
As you pray for all the needs that you observe around you, focus your prayer on one aspect of this disaster each day.
We must remember the hope that we have in the Great Physician and His power, not only to heal our bodies, but to resurrect lost dreams and futures.
Day 1: Pray for healthcare workers. Pray that God will give strength and renewed vigor to all those in the healthcare system who are overtaxed and weary from the constant demands caused by this virus. Pray for these weary healers, as they work long hours under difficult circumstances. Pray that they will receive all the resources they need including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Ask God to protect them from post-traumatic stress and from becoming ill themselves. See 1 John 5:14.
Day 2: Pray for the often overlooked. Pray for those on the front lines that we rarely think about. We are learning the importance of the supply chain. Pray for the truckers, warehouse employees, stockers, delivery drivers, cashiers, and everyone working to get food and supplies to the aisles where you shop or to your front door. Ask God to give them strength and protection at each step along the way. See Ezra 8:23.
Day 3: Pray for essential workers. Pray for those men and women who are providing essential services to us, including pharmacists, police, and fire fighters as well as all who make sure our utility services continue uninterrupted — electricity, gas, water, internet, and phone services. Ask God to will lift their spirits and let them know how important they are during this time. During this time of fasting, take a moment to thank someone you know who is providing an essential service and think of a way that you can show your appreciation through a text, e-mail, card, or gift. See Colossians 3:17.
Day 4: Pray for pastors and church leaders. The enormous burden of caring for a church family is exacerbated by the environment in which we find ourselves. More than ever, we need strong leaders to nourish our spirits and to motivate us to be fully devoted followers of Christ. Pray that God will give pastors and church leaders vision, strategy, and a heart for the people. Make a list of five ministers that you know. Specifically pray for them as they work their fields. Pray for wisdom for these leaders. Now more than ever, we need leaders who can speak into the crisis and provide prudent guidance and a heart of wisdom. See Hebrews 13:7, 17.
Day 5: Pray for emergency responders. As we think of all the men and women who respond to emergencies in our community, we realize that these humble servants have an added amount of stress due to coronavirus. Pray for protection, quick thinking, teamwork, and breakthroughs. Ask God to give them sweet sleep during times of rest. Ask God to help them overcome the inevitable stressors that they are experiencing today. See John 15: 12-13.
Day 6: Pray for the grieving. Thousands across our nation are grieving the loss of their loved ones and friends without being able to gather at funeral homes or churches for shared comfort. Pray for the funeral directors, pastors, and friends who are seeking to extend compassionate care in a time of social distancing. Ask the Holy Spirit to comfort them, and to draw them to the compassionate voice of our Savior. See II Corinthians 1:3-4.
Day 7: Pray for our elected leaders. This is the time when we need to pray for all our national and state leaders. The words they speak have tremendous power. Pray that God will anoint them with godly wisdom, supernatural insight and strength. Take a moment and pray for: President Trump, Vice President Pence, and the Coronavirus Task Force; Governor Lee and his advisors; city and county mayors and all who advise them; our state and national representatives and senators. See I Timothy 2:1-2.
Day 8: Pray for the sick. Ask God to spare the lives of those suffering from coronavirus. Pray for God to circumvent the powers of the enemy to threaten and destroy the lives of people here and around the world. Thank God for the recovery of thousands rescued from this illness and brought back into health. The recovery for many of them is also fraught with stress. Let’s pray for physical and emotional healing. See James 5:14-15.
Day 9: Pray for our students, parents and educators. The educational system is sailing through uncharted waters for millions of school children, parents, support workers, and educators. Pray for parents who carry a heavy load of guiding their children in their education and for teachers who are grappling with the challenges of teaching from a distance. Pray for our children
who are separated from their friends and are dealing with all the uncertainties of 2020. New skill sets, and the speed with which they must be mastered, call for ingenuity and flexibility of the highest order, placing an incredible amount of strain on all involved. See Proverbs 23:12; Luke 2:52.
Day 10: Pray for the lost. Can this pandemic bring people to the cross? Absolutely! Let’s pray that God will open the hearts of the lost to the radical grace of Jesus. Who is “Your One?”—the one you need to reach out to and share the love of Jesus? Pray for Your One! See Romans 10:1-4.
Day 11: Pray for the poor. We know that these crises have a more damaging impact on the poor communities of our nation and our world. Ask God to provide for the needs of the marginalized of our society. Pray for the homeless. This is a problem that will grow as the crisis stretches into the summer. Ask God to provide a place for them. Pray for those who are addressing this issue in our churches, organizations and government. See Psalm 72:12–13; Proverbs 14:31.
Day 12: Pray for the suddenly unemployed. We have experienced the greatest sudden downturn in employment, rivaling only the Great Depression. We see it all around us. Pray for those who have lost their jobs and wonder what will happen in the future. Pray for God to be their source and provider during a time when the American economy has been forced into an almost full stop. See II Corinthians 9:8.
Day 13: Pray for the needs of those hurting in the hospitality industry. It is amazing, the conversations that open up with a simple acknowledgment: “If you don’t mind me asking your name, we are about to pray over our meal. Is there a way we can pray for you that only God can answer?” Many in the hospitality industry are believers who do their service as unto the Lord. We pray their trust will sustain them. Many others are living lives of “quiet desperation,” overwhelmed by fear, hoping against hope that someone will notice them, will value them, will rescue them in their time of need. Think of servers who have helped you and pray for them now. Is the Lord leading you to check on them and help in this time of shut-down? See Psalm 142:4-5.
Day 14: Pray for our Armed Forces. Whether fulltime or in the National Guard, the men and women in uniform protect us by land, sea, and air. Now, more than ever, we need a strong, healthy body of protectors of our nation. Many of them are forced to be away from their families while protecting other families from the invisible enemy of COVID-19. We don’t know what the future holds, but these patriotic Americans need our support in intercessory prayer. See I Timothy 2:2-3.
Day 15: Pray for the elderly. For the elderly, coronavirus is an even greater threat. For those who are living alone, the separation time from family and friends can be especially difficult. This is compounded for those in assisted living facilities such as nursing homes with visitation restrictions. Pray for each resident and caregiver. Pray for the elderly, but also pray with the elderly. Find time today to check on at least one elderly person or couple. Pray with them. Both you and they will be blessed. See Psalm 71:17-18.
Day 16: Pray for research breakthroughs. Medical professionals are projecting additional waves of the Covid-19 virus in the future. Researchers are working around the clock to discover new medical strategies, therapies, vaccines, and cures for this virus. Ask God to guide these researchers and scientists to utilize their skill, experience, knowledge, and creativity to win the battle this year and for the years to come. See Colossians 3:23-24.
Day 17: Pray for single parents. Single parents are dealing with several unique challenges. Ask God to co-parent with them in the overlooked and lonely vocation of raising their children without help in the home. With many childcare facilities closed, they are having to juggle work and parenting responsibilities in a whole new way. Pray that God will provide all the resources that they need. Pray for each single parent and the child or children under their care. See Psalm 68:5.
Day 18: Pray for churches. Pray that the Bride of Christ will stay focused on its missional purpose, remaining strong and vigilant despite the challenges, restrictions on gathering for worship, and decreased offerings for many. Ask the Lord to lead each church to find new ways to minister to their church members and to the neighborhoods and communities where the Lord has placed them. Ask God to awaken the church and to bring into reality a passionate, long-lasting revival. See Acts 2:46-47.
Day 19: Pray for your deacons and Sunday School/small group leaders. The church is strong when her people care for and encourage one another. This is an important time for lay leaders and caregivers within the church. Many are carrying a heightened sense of stress. The church is truly being the church when each member is praying for and ministering to one another and to those under their spiritual care. See Hebrews 10:24-25.
Day 20: Pray for truth. Pray that our citizens will receive good and true information that will help them make the right decisions as they live their lives. Pray that we will all be united by truth rather than divided by lies. Pray that God will give us an acute discernment when lies are being disseminated. See John 8:31-32.
Day 21: Pray for those facing depression and anxiety. Ask God to give persons struggling a peace that passes all understanding. Pray also that others will rally around them to support them, communicate with them and pray for them. Anxiety is real. Jesus addressed it in numerous ways during His ministry, whether in Matthew 6, Matthew 11, or John 14. David and the other Psalmists experienced their own share of despondency, discouragement, and depression. The only one who can consistently meet us in the “dark nights of the soul” and offer a way of hope is Jesus. He offers a peace that the world cannot understand. Let us pray that those whose hearts and minds are weary will find His peace. See John 14:27.