Elder Prayer – March 22, 2020

Please join us in praying for our church, our community, our country, and our world during the coronavirus. Full text below.

Heavenly Father — 

With the global outbreak of the coronavirus, we’re confronted in a very real way with the fact that life is fragile. That our world is broken in ways that we can barely even understand.

You made all of us, all of humanity, in your image — so that we would reflect who you are, what you’re like — you gave us the ability to create, you gave us our sense of right and wrong, our ability to reason, our ability to love… and to do great things… but we are reminded, in this time, of how weak and powerless we really are. 

All around us, lives are disrupted or ended. Jobs lost. Economies wrecked. All by something we can’t even see with the naked eye.

So, we repent of our pride. We repent of our cavalier attitudes in the face of danger. We repent of not loving you — and not loving other people — like you made us to do.

Lord, we know you don’t want death. That’s why Jesus, you wept at the tomb of your friend Lazarus. You weren’t sad because you missed him; you knew you were going to bring him back to life. And yet, you wept — because this is not what you wanted for your world, this is not what you wanted for your people.

So, we bring our hopes and expectations to you today — God — for our church, for our communities, for our country, and for our world. 

For GracePoint — as we navigate this new world we find ourselves in, we pray that you would show us practical ways that we could be lights in the darkness, and share your love with others. 

We pray for the doctors, the nurses, and the other health care professionals in our congregation who are putting their lives on the line to help the people all around them.

Please – give them emotional strength and physical immunity, so they can help fight back against this terrible virus, and still be present in the lives of their families.

We pray for our communities – for North Andover, Andover, Haverhill, Lawrence, Methuen, Salem, Windham, the greater Merrimack Valley and all the surrounding areas — we pray for the mayors, the town managers, for all the leaders — that you would guide them and help them to do good for the people they’re responsible for. 

We pray for the police, the fire departments, the paramedics, the educators, the nurses and doctors — for everyone who has dedicated their lives to serving and teaching and healing and protecting… we pray for their safety and that you would give them strength and courage to do the work you’ve given them. 

We pray for everyone who is sick — we pray for their recovery, and their comfort, and that they get the love and care they need.

We pray for families — all families — but especially parents with young children, parents who are trying to keep their kids safe and are also essentially homeschooling for the first time. We pray for patience and endurance and love. 

We pray for local businesses that are struggling. For people whose livelihoods are in danger. Please give them the strength to remain calm and hopeful even as things seem to be falling apart. If they need help, please give them the courage to tell someone they trust, who can help.

We pray for the churches around us — for Free Christian in Andover, King of Grace in Haverhill, and all the gospel-oriented churches who are finding new ways to bring your light to their local communities at a time when we need to maintain physical distance to keep the virus from spreading. 

And we pray for Fostering Hope, Somebody Cares New England, the Pregnancy Care Center, the Merrimack Valley Dream Center – and everyone who is engaged with serving local communities with the love of Jesus — in these extraordinarily dangerous times. 

We pray for our nation —  for President Trump, Vice President Pence, Speaker Pelosi, for all the leaders in all branches and parts of our government — that they would make decisions that keep the country safe from harm, and uphold the dignity of all people.

We pray for the scientists and disease experts who are working on vaccines and tests. Lord, we thank you for gifting them with knowledge and wisdom we don’t have — that I definitely don’t have. We pray for their tenacity, we pray that they get the resources they need, and we pray for a vaccine that can stop this virus, forever.

Finally, God, we pray for our world and for the missionaries who are carrying your words and your love to people who have never heard about you but desperately need you.

We pray especially for New Hope Eurasia in Moldova, for the Sa-vay-drases in Panama, and for Aliza Curtis in Mexico — we pray for their health and safety, and we pray they love the people they encounter with the same love you’ve shown to them, in Christ.

Lord — we know the world is not as you intended it to be. 

The coronavirus has come to steal our health, to kill our bodies, and to destroy our communities and our world. 

Thankfully, you haven’t left us alone here to try and fix everything ourselves. You’re here with us today. Your spirit is in the heart of every Christian, empowering us — today — with your love, with your joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control.

And you’ve given us a message of hope. 

Like your son, like Jesus, we weep at all this sickness and death and destruction. And yet — even now,  we remember that sickness and death and evil do not get the final word.

Jesus — you defeated Satan, sin, and death by living the perfect life we didn’t… by taking the punishment we deserve… and by your resurrection from the dead. 

And you’ve promised to return one day to make everything new — and when you do, there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain… Everyone who loves and follows you will get a new body that never gets old, never gets sick, never tires, and never dies. And we get to be with you, in person, forever. We look forward to that day, now more than ever. 

In the meantime, please destroy this virus, please heal the victims of this virus, and please heal our anxious and troubled hearts.

Lord — we are asking for a lot. But we know – because of Jesus – that you hear us, that you love us, and that you’re with us.  Our hope is in you, Jesus. And we pray all this in your holy name.

Amen.