AUTHOR'S NOTE: On Thursday, March 19 I offered a call to prayer for this coming Sunday. However, given the escalating nature of COVID-19, it was a mistake to suggest we gather in groups of less than 10. Rather we need to do everything we can to limit the spread of this virus! Please stay safe and do what every government agency and the medical professionals are telling us, stay home if you can, keep your distance, wash your hands...and pray.
– Mark Vander Tuig, Service Coordinator, LCMC
Hello Friends, Pastors, Leaders, and Members of LCMC Congregations,
With a 24 hour news cycle and constant reporting about every movement of the corona virus and explicit and detailed ways of limiting its spread, you don’t really need one more person telling you what to do. I would simply encourage you to follow through with the protocols that our federal, state, county and local governments and medical professionals are asking us to do. This, however, is an invitation.
For the last 10 years I have been calling us in LCMC to become more and more a people of prayer. We have a great opportunity to do so this coming Sunday, March 22. I would like us to dedicate this coming Sunday to be a day of prayer and fasting.
Most of our churches will likely not be gathering for corporate worship, but as many have already said, the building is not the church, we are the church.
Gather with a small group of people from your church or even your neighborhood for prayer. Do so in homes around the kitchen table or sitting in the living room. Some of us have probably never prayed with our spouse, our children, or as a family. And not just reading prayers, but simply talking with God. You don’t need fancy language. Just bring every care to the throne of Grace.
Some officials have suggested that wherever we go we gather in groups of no more than 10 people—what a perfect size group for a time of prayer. View Current CDC Recommendations >>
What prayer concerns might you have? I have many, here are just a few:
- Pray for our government leaders (Romans). Ask the Lord of Heaven and Earth that they would be able to come together to make wise and common sense decisions to protect the vulnerable and ease the financial burden on those affected by all the shutdowns.
- Pray for those families who will be challenged to both continue to work to provide an income and at the same time care for their children who will not be in school, pre-school or day care.
- Pray for the businesses in our communities who will be drastically affected by the mandatory shutdowns that they might survive, recover and thrive once again.
- Pray for those who are working in the health care fields, those who will have direct contact with folks who are showing symptoms of Covid-19.
- Pray for our congregations, leaders, and pastors that together we might be light in the darkness and salt to a world that still cries out in pain, hurt, confusion, and frustration.
- And for all, in every nation that are suffering illness now because of this pandemic.
And fasting? There are many ways to fast. Not all of us can avoid nutrition without causing some serious consequences. You can fast from watching television—might be a good idea to not be bombarded with troubling news 24/7. You can fast from sweets, from broccoli, from anything else that takes up time and spend that time in prayer. You can fast from Facebook social media, and even video games. You can fast from your usual TV viewing and watch a Christmas movie.
Fasting is not an attempt to show God what a wonderful person you are or to gain any stars in your crown, but it is a good discipline that gives us more time for prayer and getting in to God’s Word.
Maybe what we need is a longer-term perspective. A year from now, this will just be a memory. 5 years from now some will have troubling remembering what it was all about, 10 years from now, no one will know and no one will care!
Here are some words from the Scriptures that I hang on to in times of trouble:
- "Cast all your cares on Him, for He cares about you." – I Peter 5:8
- "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you." – Matthew 6 (the whole chapter)
- Let today’s trouble be enough for today (one day at a time).
- Romans 8:28: In all things, God works for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
- Psalm 23
- And finally, the three most often said words in the Bible: Be not afraid.
Let’s remember that God is faithful. He is still the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Our God is greater than any virus or anything else in this world! We will get through this, and there is a better day coming!
Let’s dedicate this coming Sunday to a day of prayer and fasting.
Mark Vander Tuig
Service Coordinator, LCMC
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