One of the most essential doctrines of a person’s faith, regardless of denomination, is prayer. Church services throughout the country begin their service with prayer, include prayer several times during the service and then a closing benediction or prayer is offered to congregants as they depart the service.
20But what exactly is prayer? Ask 20 people and you’d probably get generally about that many answers, thoughts or opinions on the question. But more specifically, each answer would probably include something like talking to God, communication with him or asking something of him.
Today, our world is completely engrossed in the coronavirus pandemic. We’re being asked or told to limit our social interactions to a minimum. The pandemic is on everyone’s mind, all over the television and the topic of conversation anywhere and everywhere. Heck, even this guest column being written because of it. And we’re being told from all kinds of experts how to deal with it. You all know the drill; wash hands, wash hands, wash hands, stay home, cover mouth when coughing and so on and so forth.
But is this all we can do? Isn’t there anything else?
Yes there is! Men and women of faith can pray. When the battle continues to rage and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight, you grow weary and worried and life just isn’t running smoothly any longer, there is someone we can turn to — God! Now is the time to spend more time in prayer and listen to him as he speaks through his word. As your strength draws on God’s strength, we can refocus our faith and replenish our will by knowing that we will get through this. We did after 9/11, world wars and dark depressions, and we will see victory again.
During times of crisis, people turn to God. It’s the right thing to do. Sometimes it’s the only thing to do. But does prayer change God? Perhaps, perhaps not! But prayer will change you.
When we feel absolutely overwhelmed and utterly helpless we are told in the Old Testament book of Isaiah, “He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired and young men will fall from exhaustion, but they who trust in the Lord will find or renew their strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles and they will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
The world is looking to the United States for leadership through this pandemic and the United States is looking for the Church as its’ foundation of unrelenting faith and spiritual leadership. The Church and the men and women of faith in the Church were perhaps created for just a time like this. We have placed our confidence in God in the past and he has rescued us many times. He will do it again. He may not have us escape the situation we are in right now but if we seek his face, pray and turn to him in this time of crisis, he will give us the strength and a strategy to come through it much stronger.
John Sheda is pastor of the Living Water Church in Independence.