It’s March of 2020 …and it seems like there’s a new reality. We’ve just wet our feet in this new decade, and the twenties are anything but roaring. On the contrary, they seem to have slowed to a whimper. Schools are empty, movie theaters and gyms are closing their doors, and even churches are having to think of creative ways to exercise their faith as the ability to come together has been harshly limited. But while pandemic might prevent the church from meeting together physically, there has never been, nor will there ever be, anything that will stop the Body of Christ from binding our hearts together in prayer. Prayer, fueled by the power of the Spirit, is what the church needs more than anything else at moments like these.
Anxious For Nothing
Paul writes to the church in Philippi reminding them that anxiety is not a mark of the church of Jesus Christ, but rather thanksgiving and Spirit-filled prayer:
“6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
— Philippians 4: 6-7
God’s ear is open to the prayer of the Christian, especially in her time of distress. This reality allows the Christian to have confidence that is not accessible to people who do not have a relationship with God through Christ. In the midst of the fiercest drought and storm, we find Christ to be our steadfast and immovable rock. In prayer we find Christ to be a unifier of His Body, responding to turmoil with peace that surpasses anything that the world could understand.
Recognize that when Paul writes this passage, he is not writing to an individual, but to a church. The church, the entire congregation, should join together in giving thanks, with prayer and supplication, and let their requests be made known to God. The subsequent promise is also to the whole church in Philippi. The peace of God will guard the hearts and minds of the church that is united together in prayer. When the church is driven apart by distress, then we come together more than ever on our knees.
Things to Remember
As we join together to approach God in prayer, there are a couple of things that we should remember:
- When we pray to God, it is an appeal for the miraculous: When we bow our heads to pray, we do so in reverence, knowing that we can do nothing of ourselves, but it is God who must act on our behalf. In our prayers for healing, protection, and provision we ask our Father to move with the supernatural power that only He possesses. We come to Him relying on his miraculous power to change things. This should stir up in us an increasing amount of humility and love toward God who hears us through Christ.
- When we pray to God, we’re only asking that He be Himself: As we look through the Bible and through the history of the Church, we can be nothing but amazed when we see how God has always protected those on whom his steadfast love has rested. He has always answered the call, and has never failed to supply the needs of His people. So even in this time we should be filled with confidence. We should be confident that there is no problem too big and no pandemic too strong for Jesus to handle. When the world is out of control, He is absolutely in control. We can trust in the God who has never changed to be exactly what He has always been: present. God is with his people now as we join together under the shadow of our current trouble, and he is our comforter in the midst of it all.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.”
— Psalm 23:4