A group representing 600 million evangelicals encourages Christians worldwide to pray and fast on Sunday, March 29. Due to the current pandemic, the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) developed the Global Day of Prayer and Fasting initiative based on Psalm 107 and the theme “Lord, help!”
Though March 29 is a targeted day of prayer and fasting, the initiative isn’t limited to one day. “We hope to galvanize the prayer efforts and encourage believers to become part of the global prayer movement to intercede daily,” says the Illinois-based group.
On its website, the WEA offers a guidebook and other resources for church leaders. It also created a public Facebook group for global prayer and offers a profile-picture frame that reads “I’m praying! #Covid19.”
WEA: This Crisis ‘calls for humility and prayer’
“We are reminded just how vulnerable man is as a tiny virus…brings the entire world to a halt,” says Bishop Efraim Tendero, WEA’s secretary general. “It is a time that calls for humility and prayer to our Heavenly Father, the Creator and Sustainer of this world.”
Tendero, based in the Philippines, adds: “Prayer is still the greatest help that we can give… Let’s pray especially for all the frontline medical and government workers—for protection, good health, and wisdom in all that they do. Working together with God’s help, we shall overcome Covid-19.”
Other prayer movements are underway, including 24-7 Prayer, which offers a virtual prayer room and several guides. President Trump called for a U.S. national day of prayer on March 15. The following Sunday, Italy and England had similar observances. The Netherlands held a teen-focused prayer day last week, using social media and YouTube.
Louisiana Governor Also Encourages Prayer, Fasting
March 24 was a day of prayer and fasting in Louisiana, which faces a spike in virus cases. Governor John Bel Edwards, a Catholic, cited the current “Lenten season where we focus on fasting and prayer.” He added, “God will, as He has done before, heal His people and our land.”
Despite the governor’s order against gatherings of 50 or more people, Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge refuses to comply. Pastor Tony Spell continues holding several weekly services with about 1,000 worshipers. “If they close every door in this city, then I will close my doors,” Spell tells CNN. “You can’t say the retailers are essential but the church is not. That is a persecution of the faith.”
A petition for Spell’s arrest has more than 4,500 signatures. The Washington Post reports that Tony Perkins, an evangelical adviser to Trump, spoke to Spell about the situation. In a statement, the White House strongly recommends that “all Americans, including pastors, follow CDC guidelines by limiting groups to 10 people and practicing social distancing.” It adds, “President Trump encourages Americans of all religious backgrounds to do their part to stay healthy and stop the spread.”
On Monday, Walter Kim, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, and Timothy Dalrymple, CEO of Christianity Today, co-wrote an editorial reminding church leaders that not meeting in person during this crisis isn’t a denial of faith. “It is one thing to risk your own life in order to worship together in person,” they write. “It is quite another to risk the lives of countless others, when so many churches are finding creative and compelling ways to carry on in worship and community from a distance.”