This morning, Rick and Kay Warren hosted an online global prayer gathering to encourage church leaders as they enter Holy Week. Global church leaders representing all seven continents prayed for pastors and believers across the world, who are facing an Easter unlike any other in history.
“This is the first time in 2,000 years of Christianity that churches all around the world will be unable to gather in large groups to celebrate Easter,” said Rick Warren. But even so, “one out of every three people on this planet will be honoring Jesus Christ this weekend.”
This year is the 40th anniversary of Saddleback Church and the 30th year Rick Warren has planned a prayer breakfast for pastors. “But then the pandemic hit,” he said. “And I began to get texts and emails and calls from discouraged pastors all around the world where public Easter services were being canceled due to the Covid-19 virus.”
Warren went on to say, “I knew that this year we needed to go global and we needed to invite pastors from all around the world to come together for encouragement at the beginning of Easter week and to pray with each other and for each other.”
So the Warrens decided to host the Easter Pastor Prayer Gathering online, where they were joined by church leaders representing each of the seven continents. Each leader who participated in the gathering spoke some words of exhortation and encouragement to pastors and prayed for a specific area of need the church is facing right now. You can watch the Easter Pastor Prayer Gathering here.
A Prayer Gathering Across the World
T.D. Jakes of The Potter’s House Church in the U.S. was the first leader to speak. He started off the prayer gathering by saying, “Pastors, I want to take this opportunity to say that if you ever thought that you knew what you were doing, times like these are quite humbling.” Jakes focused on praying that God would alleviate the anxiety the coronavirus pandemic is causing many people, and he quoted 2 Tim. 1:7, which says, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” He also referenced Phil. 4:6-7:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
“And so we come to you Lord,” said Jakes, “admitting our own frailty and our own weakness, and we ask you Lord to strengthen those that are fearful, to comfort those that mourn, to speak to those that have anxiety right now.” The pastor also prayed that people who think the pandemic has control will realize that God is the one who is truly in control and that “nothing that is current in our news is shocking in heaven.”
Next were Carlito and Leila Paes, who are the lead pastors of the City Church in São José dos Campos in Brazil. Carlito reminded those watching that Jesus is our “living hope” and “the greatest truth of Christian faith is that Jesus lives, reigns, and rules!” He quoted 1 Corinthians 15:55-57, which says, “‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The couple spent time praying for medical workers on the front lines fighting the virus, saying, “Thank you, Lord, for each nursing assistant, each nurse, each doctor, each and every one that is there, looking out for those most in need,” They prayed for the physical, emotional and spiritual health of the medical workers, as well as for their loved ones who are supporting them.
Tony and Mei Yeo with Covenant Evangelical Free Church in Singapore prayed for those who are hurting financially because of the pandemic. Said Tony, “In such a time as this, we need to remember to hold fast to the truth of God’s word in the midst of this chaotic situation.” The couple referenced many passages of Scripture, including Zephaniah 3:17 and Psalm 31:19, which says, “How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.” Tony prayed, “Whether in plenty or in need, give us the grace to choose you still.” In addition to those who are suffering financially, the pastor also asked God that those who are able would be willing to share with those who are in need.