President Ramaphosa, our church leaders, even our neighbourhood WhatsApp groups are asking us to pray. We know we should pray, but what do we pray?

“It is easy to tell me to pray, but I run out of things to pray for after a few minutes!”

This is a comment that I hear often from children, young people and even youth leaders. When the world is struggling with this coronavirus crisis and we are stuck at home in lockdown, it is hard to know what to pray. The bible gives us helpful insight that can guide and influence how we pray at a time like this. Let us take a look.

We pray for our country

As Jeremiah 29:7 says we pray for the peace of our country. We pray that God would bring peace to the hearts of people who are afraid at this time. We pray that God brings victory over this virus.

We pray for God to intervene and do a miracle

Like Elijah did with the rain (James 5:17-18), like Moses did with the Red Sea (Exodus 14:15-16), like Hezekiah did when surrounded by an army (Isaiah 37:14-20), we pray for God to intervene for His people and stop this virus in it’s tracks and protect our people.

We pray for protection

We pray that God would protect and watch over us within this situation. We pray for our townships, where they are unable to take some of the measures that others can take. We pray for supernatural protection for them, that this virus would not take hold there. We pray for our health workers struggling in the hospitals to help those who are sick, that God would give them strength.

We confess our sin

As Daniel did in Daniel 9, we confess our sin before God. We confess the failings of our nation and ourselves to live according to His ways. We don’t do this because this virus is a consequence of our sin or our fault. It is merely part of the fallen world we live in. We do this to recognise before God that we don’t deserve His love and that we are sorry for failing Him in many ways. We do this to show our need for Him and our trust that He is the only one who can help us through this.

We pray for our brothers and sisters who are struggling at this time

Hebrews 13:1 reminds us to remember our brothers and sisters who are suffering. So we pray for those who cannot work and have no money for food, we pray for young people living in abusive houses who can’t get out. We pray for young people who are used to being active. We share in their suffering with them and ask God to be their strength and help through this time. We ask God to provide for their needs, whether they be physical, spiritual or emotional.

We pray for those who are sick

James 5:13-14 calls us to pray for those in trouble or sick and so we pray for healing and strength for them to endure through this time.

We pray for our leaders

1 Timothy 2:1-2 instructs us to pray for kings and all those in authority that they would have wisdom at this time to make the right choices that will be best for this situation. We pray that they would resist popular opinion and follow wisdom at this time.

We pray for people to grow spiritually

This is a beautiful opportunity amid a tragic situation for people to stop and seek God. So we pray for people to draw closer to God, as Colossians 1:9-11 says:

“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.”

We pray for God’s glory

With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12).

Let us take time to pray that God may be glorified in the world during this situation. Let us pray that the name of God would gain honour. Pray that through our actions, His name would be glorified.

Seek God and pray

The reality is that there is a whole lot that we can pray for in this situation. There is far more than we have considered here. Let us seek God in this time where we are forced to slow down and bring before Jesus the needs of South Africa, the needs of our world, the needs of our families and communities, and seek what God would want from us at this time.