The world is unsettled. Everything is different than the “normal” of a mere few weeks ago. In the county and state where I live, we’ve gone from gathering limitations of 100, to 50, to recommending 10 or less, to staying at home. Each decision has been marked with a great desire to stem the pace of this virus’ spread.
What it’s signaled to us: don’t do many things you normally would. Among others, we’ve been told to stop touching our faces, stop visiting one another, stop traveling, and stop gathering together.
I’ve never seen such unsettledness. I’ve never heard such limitations and concerns from our government officials. And I’ve never been more hopeful for what God can do in the midst of all of it.
Why you ask? We can pray. Our schedules have freed up. Our typical confidences have been shaken. For many, financial stability, job security, entertainment/leisure, and good health have been rocked. We must pray.
At Pleasant Garden Baptist Church, we’ve been praying. Before our gatherings paused, we had collected nearly 600 answers to prayer in Prayer Jars across the front of our altar throughout our series on prayer to begin this year. It’s no coincidence we’d been led to focus on prayer. Just this week, as my family has reengaged with each other more intentionally, we’ve seen God answer two specific prayer requests we have prayed together.
In the swirls of uncertainty and change, those two answers have felt like a lighthouse on a dark, foggy night. Those answers have brought reassuring peace in a stormy gale. Those answers have signaled again and anew that God sits on the throne, cares about the needs and burdens of His children, and answers our prayers as we cry out to Him.
We hope many of the don’ts we’ve been told to abide by will shorten the timespan and effect of this virus. It’s likely they will affect it some. For followers of Jesus, prayer is something we’ve been commanded to do that invites us to engage this virus—and everything else for that matter—in a spiritual realm.
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)
In all of this unsettledness, a few truths are sure. Prayer invites us to trust God’s hand and seek His peace. I can bring every form of worry and uncertainty to Jesus in prayer. While I have no ultimate control over my circumstances, I have direct access in prayer to the King of Kings, the Sovereign One, the Ruler over all.
In truth, this unsettledness can be a gift if we will realize it’s an invitation to pray to the One who has the whole world in His hands. In prayer, we can trust our days and our direction to Him! We can seek Him for our health and our homes. We can bring to Him both our fears and follies. We can pray!
Practically, I encourage you. Add five minutes to your routine of prayer. Or add fifteen. Take a favorite passage and pray through it. Matthew 6:9-13, The Model Prayer, would be a great place to start. Pray with your spouse. Pray with your children. Sign up with a resource like Bless Every Home. Whatever you do, pray. Just pray.
It’s quiet. Are you listening? It’s unsettled. Are you praying?