Prayer for Times of Crisis

I was greatly encouraged when I saw a February 26 photo of the Coronavirus Task Force opening their daily meeting in prayer. Many people, however, criticized the group for participating in such an “ignorant superstition.”  The media were especially brutal in reporting the negative reactions. One person said, “Vice President Pence thinks the virus will magically go away with prayer.” A prominent TV personality even criticized Pence’s appointment as head of the Coronavirus Task Force. The woman quipped, “He doesn’t believe in science. Why was he appointed?” She surmised that people who believe in prayer dismiss science and are inadequate leaders in a time of crisis.

As imperfect and limited human beings, we must recognize our utter dependence on God, especially when circumstances are against us. He alone is “our refuge and strength, a present help in time of trouble” (Psalm 46:1). Prayer is our daily communication with Him. We have the privilege of sharing our deepest concerns without rScreen Shot 2020-03-06 at 7.51.20 AMidicule or accusations. But we also believe that God gives wisdom to doctors, researchers, and scientists.  When we need a physical miracle, we consult God first and then ask God to lead us to a good physician who can answer our questions and help us explore a solution.

In some instances, we have little or no control over a situation, and only God can resolve the issue. This was true for Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah. In 2 Chronicles 20, we are told that men came to the king to report that a great army of Moabites and Ammonites were coming to destroy Jerusalem. Since he was a righteous man, the king called for the people to pray and fast. In his public prayer, Jehoshaphat acknowledged God’s sovereignty and reminded God of His promises to the nation. Then he confessed their helplessness: “O our God…we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (2 Chronicles 20:12). After a time of praise and worship the people returned to their homes.

So, did God help Jehoshaphat? Absolutely! The next day, the king appointed worship leaders to go before the army. While they were on their way to the battlefield, the Moabites and Ammonites began to fight each other. By the time Judah’s army arrived, they found only dead bodies. God had taken care of their problem.

Whether it’s a national crisis like the Coronavirus or a personal crisis, we have the privilege of crying out to God as Jehoshaphat did: We don’t know what to do, Lord, but we are looking to You for answers. Give us wisdom. Lead us in the right path. Show us what to do.

If you are in the middle of a personal crisis, tell God that you’re helpless and ask for His intervention. He does have answers. Prayer and praise are powerful weapons against anything that confronts us.