Here are some specific ways Christians can pray for the current COVID-19 situation:
#1: Prayers of Praise. Yes, it might seem awkward to offer a prayer of praise in this situation, but we must always start with God in our prayers. To clarify, we are not praising God that people are sick and dying. Instead, we are praising God because we know that He is still sovereign and all-powerful.
Praise God that He is Eternal. God cannot die and is not in danger of COVID-19. This attribute of God is astonishing because it places Him in a category of existence reserved only for Him. As contagious as COVID-19 might be, it cannot threaten our eternal God and His eternal promises. The eternality of God is important and is one of many reasons why He is to be praised (Isa 46:9–10; Acts 17:24:25).
Praise God that He is sovereign. God is not caught off guard by COVID-19. While we are not called to understand all the intricacies of why it is here, we know enough about God to trust Him and the exercise of His sovereignty. We praise God that His power and might are far above COVID-19.
#2: Prayers of Confession. Situations like the spread of COVID-19 lead us to self-reflection. In that self-reflection we are reminded of our frailty and the passing nature of human life. These situations expose our sin.
Confess our sins of selfishness. Christians, not just unbelievers, are hoarding and fighting at grocery and supply stores.
Confess our sins of materialism. This situation can exposure our love for health or material blessings over eternal things.
Confess our sins of ungodly fear. We obey what we fear. Situations like this exposure our obedience to things other than God.
#3: Prayers of Thanksgiving. Even in the situation of pandemic we can find ways to express thanks to God. These include the following:
Thanking God for the church. In times like this the church is given a unique responsibility to love one another. We are given opportunities to serve other Christians and non-believers in a very meaningful way. Give thanks to God for the local church and our ministry to one another and to outsiders for the sake of the gospel.
Thanking God for government (Rom 13:1–7; 1 Pet 2:13–15). God has given us government to care for our general well-being. This is a situation where God’s design of government works for our well-being and we ought to thank God for government. They have great insight and knowledge on medicine and disease control and we should trust their judgment in these areas.
Thanking God for medical technology. We live in a time when medical technology is both preventative and healing. Even the simplicity of general hygiene (e.g., washing hands, avoiding certain kinds of contact, and sanitization) help protect us.
#4: Prayers of Lament. Prayers of lament are appropriate for this situation. A prayer of lament is an expression of grief, pain, and sorrow. Why should this be part of our prayer life? Simply because we live in a fallen world and experience such grief. These prayers lead us in biblically expressing our grief in a God-honoring way. Remember, Christians are called to grieve as those with hope (1 Thess 4:13–18).
Lament over the impact COVID-19 has made on people’s health. There have been several cases of COVID-19 across the nation, in our state, and our local region. These people are experiencing pain and sickness for which we have no known cure. Cry out to God to send help.
Lament over the impact COVID-19 has made upon our economy. With all of the shutdowns taking place in society many people will have no work. This means that families and people could go for a significant amount of time without pay. Cry out to God to be gracious to those in a financial bind.
Every prayer of lament ought to end with a statement of trust in God. As you offer these prayers express to God your confidence and trust in Him regardless of the outcome (Hab 3:17–19).
#5: Prayers of Intercession. Prayers of intercession are important because this is God’s chosen mechanism for accomplishing His will here on earth. Saints are commanded to pray in obedience to God and He uses those prayers to accomplish His will.
Intercede for those who are Infected. Even if you don’t know anyone personally, these people need our prayers. Pray for their well-being and that they would come to know the Lord through the faithful witness of Christians.
Intercede for Church Members. Pray for your fellow church members and the varying ways COVID-19 is impacting their lives. Pray that they grow in holiness and love and that they would grow in their trust in God.
Intercede for those in Church Leadership. Pray church leaders have the wisdom and humility to navigate through the complexity of the situation. They will counsel, make difficult decisions, study, teach, and preach. They need wisdom for times like this.
Intercede for those in Government Leadership. The government has a huge task at hand. They must make wise decisions for the benefit of the people. These are difficult decisions and they need our prayers.
Intercede for those in the Medical Field. Many doctors, nurses, and hospital workers are in contact with those who have the virus. Pray that they have adequate supplies and instrumentation to protect the patience and themselves from the virus.
Intercede for those who are “high risk”. Those who are high risk include those who are 65+, pregnant women, and those with chronic illness. Pray for their protection from the virus and that others would be sensitive to their vulnerabilities.
I’m sure there are many other ways to pray for and about the circumstance we find ourselves in. If you have any, feel free to share them in the comments below.