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Praying During a Pandemic

- written by Jim Wallis

(inspired by the prayer Jesus taught his disciples as recorded in Matthew 6:5-15, Luke 11:1-13)

O Lord, we confess our sadness and our fears. We feel stuck, trapped inside, overwhelmed, helpless, and even hopeless. Help us to believe that our present does not control our future, that we can look forward and not just backward. Enable us to change our situation now by bringing the future into it. Only the radical values of your new order — of love and justice — will bring your kingdom into our community right now, lived in this and all moments. Inspire and sustain us to bring

your kingdom to earth even right now — in this moment of crisis.

Lord, in this moment we pray especially for those fighting on the front lines of the pandemic — our first responders, nurses, doctors, and other health care professionals — to save as many lives as they can. Shelter them from this virus and grant your healing mercies to those who will inevitably get sick despite their best efforts to protect themselves. Help our government and society mobilize to provide the protective and medical equipment they need to keep up as best they can with the onslaught of patients that is already here or on its way. And help those of us not in the health care sector to do the most important thing we can to protect them and lessen the severity of the strain they face — help us to stay home.

O Lord, we are all ultimately afraid of hunger, and that fear grows during a time of modern plague when we see even more people going without their daily bread and suffering from food insecurity. Give us the strength not to hoard, but the courage to share what we have in order to provide daily bread for all. There is always enough for all if we find the creative personal, communal, and political ways to share it together. Lord, we know that we find you and each other at the table, so please make us hungry for larger tables. Even in times of social distance, show us how our daily bread can bring us together.

O Lord, we owe you everything. You have forgiven our sins and trespasses, and for that, we are indebted to you. You have asked us to forgive others for their sins and trespasses, and perhaps their debts, too. Help us all to ask what a prayer for debtors would mean in this health and economic crisis. Where can we forgive the debts of others when we have the opportunity to do so? Oh God, how do we treat others they way you have treated us? Lord, you have never exercised foreclosure on our sins, trespasses, and debts. How can we follow your lead in our relationships with others, with our neighbors during a pandemic? Lord have mercy, Lord teach us to have mercy — right now.

Dear Lord, forgive us for the temptation to retreat from our neighbors in this health crisis, taking social distance into social withdrawal from the most vulnerable. Forgive those who feel exempt from this disease and therefore exempt from any responsibility for those who get sick. Forgive our president, and other people of wealth and power, who value economic activity over public health, and who are willing to sacrifice the worth of other human lives for their own political and economic gain.

Lord, give us the faith and the courage to make this proclamation even in a time of a deadly virus. Give us the “patience in tribulation” that the Apostle Paul calls us to.

Because we know what your kingdom on earth brings, give us the hope of that kingdom in our hearts, lives, communities, and the nations. Let that future we believe in help sustain us in the present, even when things we can’t control seem to dominate our lives. Lord, help us to believe that the virus, the threats, the injustices, and the fears they create are NOT in control and never will be, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, now and forever. Amen.

~ written by Jim Wallis. Posted on the Sojourners website.

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