“A Sunday Prayer”
Oh Lord, my God!
My heart breaks for all the death, illness, lives turned upside down, uncertainty and fear that has been unleashed in our world because of COVID-19. My soul aches for all those who cannot be with loved ones in the most tender moments of their lives. My spirit winces for all those who are beginning to wonder if there is any hope.
Come, Holy Spirit, come! Unleash your healing power into the lives of those who are ill and dying. Indeed, I boldly pray that those who are sick will be cured, and that this virus literally will be cast out of our world.
Come, Holy Spirit, come! Protect and encourage those who are caring for the ill even as they know they are putting themselves at risk. I pray you will lift them up, fill their spirits and enable them to know how deeply they are loved and cherished.
Come, Holy Spirit, come! Let the Good News of Jesus Christ ring forth like a clarion call in these days when people need to experience his love, his joy and his new life. I pray that all who love Jesus – pastors and laity alike – will find ways to share his passion for people, regardless of who they are.
I pray this and so much more in the strong, strong name of Jesus – Amen!
The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting your life every single day. And while you know how blessed you are, it’s a challenging time. You’re getting sick and tired of Zoom meetings. You may feel like a cast member of “Groundhog Day,” in which every day is repeated exactly the same. You are longing to be with people you can hug and look in the eye. And you may feel sorry for yourself about a whole host of things. The Bible says this is the day the Lord has made, and you should rejoice and give thanks for it. These words are a powerful reminder that the quality of your life is not primarily determined by your ability to do what you want when you want and how you want. Rather it blossoms as you grow closer to God, experience the fullness of God’s grace and dwell in the presence of God – regardless of what’s going on.
You learn a lot about yourself when everything changes, your routine is ripped up and thrown away, and there is very little normal left. You learn how easily you adapt, what your priorities are, and whether you are basically an optimist or a pessimist. You also learn something about your relationship with God when life’s turned upside down. You learn what you expect from God, how dependent you are on Jesus and how much you long for the Holy Spirit to be at work in your life. Learning about yourself is always good. It can also be painful, especially when you are confronted with things you don’t like. But there is hope. Awesome Hope. Because God’s amazing grace loves you unconditionally and transforms you from the inside-out – all at the same time!
What if my 401K retirement plan is decimated because of what’s happening on Wall Street? What if I lose my job? What if my elderly grandmother gets COVID-19? What if the schools don’t open again until next fall? What if life is never the same again? Every one of these is an important – and very appropriate – question. But if you insist on asking “what if” questions that simply cannot be answered right now, you’re likely to develop a case of “WhatIfism” – constantly living in a state of imagining only the worst case possibilities. There is, however, a cure for this insidious disease. It’s Jesus’ love that seeks you out, embraces you (social distancing notwithstanding!) in unconditional love and redeems you so that you can thrive regardless of what COVID-19 throws at you.
You have been overwhelmed by the news, made change after change in your life, come to the realization that you can’t fix this regardless of what you do and faced the fact that COVID-19 is going to get worse before it gets better. Your mind, emotions and spirit are in overload mode, and it almost feels like it’s more than you can handle. So what do you do? Spend some quiet time with God. Experience what it’s like to sit in God’s presence. Share your heart with God. Experience how God’s love renews you. Hear the word that God speaks specifically to you. And discover what a joy it is to know because you know because you know that God is still God, Jesus is still Lord and the Holy Spirit is still at work – not just in others lives, but in yours.
COVID-19 is getting real. You see it in big ways – like the accelerating number of people testing positive, shut-downs of entire states and the tanking of the worldwide economy. You see it in more personal ways – like the lack of toilet paper on grocery shelves, not being able to eat in your favorite restaurant and the reality that you have been laid off. And you also see it reflected in your soul as you struggle with the realization that this is not going away in the next several weeks. It’s a lot to absorb in a short period of time. No wonder you are overwhelmed, frightened and uncertain about the future. But you are not alone, even as you feel isolated. The God who sent his only Son, Jesus, as one of us right into the midst of the world in all its struggles in order to redeem it, is entering into the midst of your life right now with healing, strength and hope. So look for him, welcome him and receive the grace he is freely offering you right now.