There are many questions that plague our minds as we try deal with the Covid-19 global pandemic. Will I get it? How long will the lockdown last? Where is God? When will the kids go back to school? Will I lose my income? What is my responsibility at a time like this?
For some of us it is life as usual, working from home. For others, the nature of their work means that there is literally nothing they can do at the moment other than follow the guidelines outlined by the South African government. Following these safety guidelines is wise. We should take every precaution available to help prevent the coronavirus from spreading. God gave us these leaders to guide us. He gave wisdom to enable them and He has called us to respect and obey them.
Yet God has given every Christian one big responsibility.
God has called us to do one thing at a time like this that can make a huge difference. This should be our first port of call. He has called us to do this at all times (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We have been given influence with the most important person in the universe, who has the power to help and cares about what we say.
God has called us to pray to Him. Let us look at the bible to see why.
God calls us to pray
When Solomon dedicated the temple, he prayed to God (1 Kings 8:37-40). He asked God that if the land experienced a plague or disaster, and if God’s people humbled themselves and prayed to Him that God would hear and act. 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 is God’s response to this request:
“When I shut up the heavens … or send a plague among my people, if my people, … will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
One of the reasons we don’t see God at work is that even as Christians, we try to handle problems ourselves, without looking to God.
God calls us to recognise that we need Him, that we cannot end this situation by ourselves and that He alone is in control. God calls us to respond to this by seeking to know Him better and by praying for His help. If we want help, we need to trust He knows best and ask Him to do what is right for the situation. When we honour Him by seeking Him, obeying His will and trusting Him with our problems, he will honour our prayers and heal our land.
No situation is too big for God to handle. He has the power to halt this plague if we ask Him. He has the power to protect us if we ask Him. What could happen if as a nation, rather than only relying on human plans, we sought Him and prayed for South Africa
Prayer has influence upon our Nation
As Christians we have an influence in South Africa we underestimate.
Proverbs 11:11 says “Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed.”
As we live and speak in a godly way as Christians, and as the church in South Africa, we can change the conversation, so that others are amazed by how God is working here. As we pray for God’s power to change circumstances in South Africa, we will see Him do miracles, bringing hope and transformation.
For this reason, Jeremiah told the Babylonian exiles to pray for the peace of that city.
Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (Jeremiah 29:7).
Stuck in exile for 70 years, God calls them to pray for an idolatrous nation to have peace and prosperity. Why? Because when we pray for our nation and our leaders, however bad we think they are, we bring God’s power into the situation, and hearts and minds can be changed. As we rise up and pray specifically for South Africa, we will see change that will benefit all.
God answers our prayers
When we pray, we can be certain that God will answer.
“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops” (James 5:16-18).
Prayer has the power to influence and change any situation. God knows better than us and we have no right to tell Him how to run the world. Yet, He has chosen to work in our world through our prayers. So, when we seek Him from with a godly attitude and ask Him to work in the situations we see, we know that He will work in them with power.
Elijah was able to bring rain because he prayed. And nothing has changed today. Personally, I have seen God stop the rain in answer to prayer only a month ago. We had planned a Beach Fun Day for Friday 28th February, but the forecast was for torrential rain through Thursday to Saturday. On Friday it was still raining hard. Yet, God told us to trust that the rain would stop in time, so we prayed for just that. And just before 2 pm, the rain stopped for the whole Fun Day, before starting again later!
- God can send rain in a desert
- God can stop rain in rainy season
- He controls the wind and the waves and the weather
- I believe He can control this coronavirus outbreak too if we seek Him and pray.
Let us rise up
If a million can gather to pray together in our country at Angus Buchan’s It’s Time events, surely we can gather an army to pray faithfully for our country today. If we as a nation hear the call of God and pray for our nation to be protected through this time, who knows maybe he will send a miracle and save our land. I believe he can and will.
It is not for us to tell God what to do or how to do it, but we know that – for whatever reason – he works through the prayers of His people.
Now is the time, let us rise up and pray and see what our God will do.