Throughout Scripture we are reminded that we serve a God who hears us. As you think through the reentry decision—should you go back to in-person church services?—and experience many emotions revolving around COVID-19, prayer can be a powerful tool. To pray for your church is one way to build unity when divisions arise. Prayer leads to peace.
Sometimes we approach prayer as a last resort, but it’s important to start with prayer. As you’re navigating relationships with people who hold various opinions on how and when churches should reopen, and you’re evaluating your own approach to in-person ministry, use prayer to guide you. “Be still and know I am God,” Psalm 46:10 says. A prayerful place will lead to deep thought and wisdom.
Remember: God is faithful and He gives wisdom to those who ask for it. Wisdom is one of the heart postures we need to take as believers when making decisions.
COVID-19 PRAYER PROMPTS
Sometimes it’s hard to find the words for prayer. It can be challenging to know where to start. Here are a few prayer prompts to adapt when seeking God’s guidance.
1. GOD, GRANT US HEALTH AND SAFETY.
Pray for your church: God, keep me, my family, my community, and my church family from all harm. Preserve our physical and mental health as we seek to serve you faithfully.
“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well” (3 John 1:2).
2. GOD, GRANT US HUMILITY.
Pray for your church: As I seek your will, clothe me with the humility that comes from you. As I seek wise counsel, teach me what it looks like to submit to you.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).
3. GOD, GRANT US WISDOM.
Pray for your church: Lord, you are a gracious guide. Show me the paths that you have prepared and teach me to walk in your ways.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5).
4. GOD, GRANT US COURAGE.
Pray for your church: God, if you lead me to make decisions that may be unpopular, grant me courage to do what you’ve called and equipped me to do.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
5. GOD, GRANT US PATIENCE.
Pray for your church: During these stressful times, I pray that all of us in the church family would practice patience with one another.
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2).
6. GOD, GRANT US UNITY.
Pray for your church: Within our body, Lord, people are of different minds about how to faithfully proceed. Grant us unity so that we might walk together in mind and thought.
“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought” (1 Corinthians 1:10).
7. GOD, GRANT US RESOURCES.
Pray for your church: As we all–individuals and families and organizations–adjust to an ever-changing social and financial climate, I appeal to you to be the good provider who blesses us with all we need to be faithful to you.
“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (1 Corinthians 9:8).
8. GOD, GRANT US REFRESHMENT.
Pray for your church: God, many of us feel weary, but you are the one who refreshes souls. Protect my church family and church leaders from burnout and renew our hearts.
“He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3).
9. GOD, GRANT US LOVE AND SUPPORT.
Pray for your church: Lord, I pray for the individuals, families, and leaders of my church. Give us the time, opportunity, and grace to love and be loved.
“Do everything in love” (1 Corinthians 16:14).
10. GOD, MEET THE NEEDS OF THOSE OF WHICH I’M NOT AWARE.
Pray for your church: Jesus, you know every hair on our heads. I ask that you would meet the needs of others of which I’m not even aware. Thank you for your gracious care.
“We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (Romans 8:26).
PRAY FOR YOUR CHURCH
Prayers matter to God, and your church needs them now more than ever. As you and your church make decisions about reopening the church, continue to lift them up.
Final prayer: God, thank you for hearing when we call on you and for knowing what we need, even before we do. Thank you for your Spirit who “intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”
Jamie Aten, Ph.D. is the Founder and Executive Director of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute and Blanchard Chair of Humanitarian & Disaster Leadership at Wheaton College (Wheaton, IL). His most recent book is A Walking Disaster: What Surviving Katrina and Cancer Taught Me About Faith and Resilience (Templeton Press).
This article originally appeared here.