Pastors in Mississippi are encouraging people across the state to gather this Sunday at their local hospitals to pray for COVID-19 patients, the patients’ families, and healthcare workers. Bishop Ronnie Crudup, who is helping to organize the Mississippi prayer gathering, said it would be “one of the largest prayer events in the history of the state.”
“We are inviting every person of faith who believes in prayer across the state of Mississippi to come out to their local hospital,” said Crudup, who is the senior pastor of New Horizon Church International in Jackson, Miss. A press release for the event says, “We plan to bring help, hope and healing to those that are sick, especially COVID-19 patients and healthcare workers.”
The “courageous healthcare workers,” said the bishop, “are our heroes. They’ve done a tremendous job for all of us, and we know that they’re tired and weary, and we want to pray for their strength, their support, their encouragement.”
Mississippi Prayer Movement Seeks Unity and Healing
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves invited Bishop Ronnie Crudup to a press conference on Jan. 28 to raise awareness for the prayer event, which is called “Healing Mississippi.” It will take place on Jan. 31, at 2:30 p.m. Crudup observed that there will be no football this Sunday to distract people from gathering, and there is no cost or registration required to attend. “Just go to your local hospital, wherever it is,” he said.
Event guidelines say that those who would like to participate in the Mississippi prayer movement should contact their local hospitals and churches to inform them about the event. The bishop said that he and his team are working with the Mississippi Hospital Association and that hospitals across the state have been notified about Healing Mississippi.
Attendees are encouraged not to block hospital traffic, nor to enter hospitals. The bishop emphasized that participants would be outside and would be encouraged to observe social distancing. He requested that people bring masks with them. Participants are also encouraged to bring “worship flags, banners, whistles and shofars”—as well as the expectation that God would answer their prayers.
Reeves asked people to “be safe” and added, “We have talked a lot about a message of unity for our country and certainly, hopefully, the vast majority of us can unify around an opportunity to pray for those healthcare heroes and pray for those who are struggling in our hospitals.” The governor said that while in the past few weeks the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the state has “come down considerably,” there are still around 1,000 people hospitalized with the virus.
Rev. Dexter Jones of Triumphant Baptist Church told The Vicksburg Post, “We have somewhere between 10 to 20 churches [in Warren County] already committed to coming out, Black and white congregations. We’re still contacting pastors.”
Crudup told the Post that the idea for the Mississippi prayer event came from friends in South Africa and said the response to it has been strong. “We’ve got the (state) hospital association that has approved this and is encouraging hospitals across the state,” he said. “We’ve got every denomination in the state involved. It crosses every demographic—race, politics, economics, so we’re just looking for everybody.”
Church leaders across the state will lead people in prayer in each location. Crudup will be present at the gathering at Merit Health River Region in Vicksburg, Miss. He said that after organizers give instructions to the attendees, participants will spend 20 minutes praying for the hospital’s patients and then 20 minutes praying for the hospital’s staff.
“My household has suffered with COVID this year,” said Jones. “We’re coming out of the COVID and I think it’s needed. Prayer changes things and the Bible said we should always pray. I believe it is a great opportunity for the churches, for the community to come together as we pray and ask God that he turn this thing around and remove this virus, this pandemic, out of our country.”