This morning I got up and turned on the news. I could hear the stress in the anchor’s voice, as she provided updates on what’s happening with COVID 19. Lena finally said, “Mom, turn that off!”
As I got into the shower, I was still thinking about what I’d heard. As I thought about it, I realized that I needed to be in prayer as I watched the news. As I hear about the guidance as to who gets ventilators, I can pray for those who have to make those decisions, and the patients and families of those who don’t get ventilators. I can pray that they would find the resources to provide all people the care they need. As I hear about health care workers getting sick, I can pray for them and that resources would be distributed to keep all health care workers safe during this time. As I hear about the unemployed, who are worried about paying for food and rent, I can pray that they will find ways to earn money, and that food pantries will be able to continue to provide food to those in need.
The Apostle Paul talks about this in his letter to the church in Philippi. He is writing from prison, and facing death. He explains how he is able to find strength and stay hopeful during this difficult time:
6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. –Philippians 4:6-7 The Message
The session and deacons took this passage and made one of our guiding principles for this year, “Turn your worries into prayers.” This is the time to put this into practice. Not only can we pray for our own worries and fears, we can pray for those around us who are experiencing stress, like the anchor this morning who sounded so anxious. It truly is wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of our lives. Turn your worries into prayers, and God will take those worries and give you peace.
Loving God, we confess that there are times when the worry and anxiety of this time feels overwhelming. Keep us mindful of the power of prayer. As we watch the news, help us to pray for the people whose stories we hear.
We lift up to you those who are forced to make difficult decisions.
We pray for those who are sick and their families.
We pray for healthcare workers, first responders, and the truckers and workers keeping the grocery stores stocked.
We lift up the lonely, who are isolated from friends and families during this time.
We pray that the resources would be found to care for the sick and protect the healthy.
We pray for individuals and businesses dealing with the loss of income. Help them find the opportunities and resources they need.
We pray for your peace, that peace that passes all understanding, that we would find our security in you.
We pray through Christ, our hope and our salvation. Amen.