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Prayers in a Time of Pandemic

Feel free to use some or all of the following, for online streaming services,

private devotions, mailings to congregants, etc.

 

Let us draw near the Throne of Grace, humbly beseeching God’s mercy for all people in this time of suffering and fear.

A brief period of silence may be kept.

Most holy God, you are the source of all goodness, wisdom, mercy, and life. If we never before knew how much we need those great goods – how much, rather, we need you – we know now. This isn’t just about our private fears or personal concerns, nor only our church or community or nation. This is about ever person on the face of this planet.  How vulnerable we all are, gracious Lord! How interconnected we are – and not just by social media, party affiliation, or various identity labels. No, we’re bound together by our common humanity and, through that, by the possibility of infection, illness, and death by a virus.

Father, bind us together by something even greater and stronger! Bind us together with “cords that cannot be broken,” because they are forged by your Son as he hung on a bitter Cross for the sake of the whole world. Bind us together with him in a fellowship of suffering: suffering with, and suffering for, our sisters and brothers according to the flesh. Bind us together in a fellowship deeper than our differences and stronger than death. Bind us together in Christ, crucified and risen from the dead for the salvation of all.

Lord, in your mercy, please hear our prayer.

Bestow your Spirit of wisdom and understanding, counsel and might upon all who take counsel for the nations in this time of crisis. Give them every spiritual, moral, intellectual, and social resource they need to act for the good of the people entrusted to their care. Let them be courageous, competent, collaborative, and compassionate as they ponder what course to take.

Lord, in your mercy, please hear our prayer.

Thank you for the brilliant and dedicated scientists who seek to understand the infection’s nature, to slow or prevent its spread, and to mitigate the suffering it causes. Thank you for doctors, nurses, and everyone from housekeepers to cooks, from dialysis and inhalation technicians to emergency room personnel, who are truly risking their lives for the sake of us all. Bless and strengthen them. Keep them safe from all harm – and grant them rest when they need it, for their own health’s sake.

Lord, in your mercy, please hear our prayer.

We plead on behalf of the many people who are quarantined and isolated because of exposure to the virus; for everyone who is already ill; and for those who are at the greatest risk of severe illness or death. Hide them under the shadow of your wings, and grant them healing and hope.

Lord, in your mercy, please hear our prayer.

Lord, give courage, patience, and ingenuity to everyone whose job or business is endangered by the quarantine and uncertainty. Help us to support one another, and to patronize, as we can, local small businesses in our community. Give lending institutions, landlords, and creditors the spirit of generosity and compassion, so that personal and communal suffering is not made worse by evictions, foreclosures, fines, and bankruptcies.

Most gentle and gracious Father, we pray for families with children in these difficult days. Some have only one parent. Some are already stressed by things ranging from drugs to physical abuse, from illness of body, mind, or spirit to financial fragility. Lord, some of those households will be like pressure cookers, and the children might suffer most when it “blows.” Let your Spirit brood over those troubled waters. And give us eyes to see and hearts to respond as helpfully and often as we can.

Lord, in your mercy, please hear our prayer.

Forgive, enlighten, and cause salutary repentance among the ignorant and flippant, the malicious and careless, the conspiracy theorists and the social Darwinists, the heedless young and the “it can’t happen to me” folks of all ages. Give them the common sense that you have given to guppies and fruit flies, Lord! Help us all to think beyond our own convenience (or lack thereof); our own risks or losses; our own plans or fears. Help us to think about the least of these, our Lord’s (and our) sisters and brothers, who are vulnerable in ways we really can comprehend, with your help!

Lord, in your mercy, please hear our prayer.

We pray for the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church throughout the world, and for our own little portion within it. Many of us cannot worship together or receive the Holy Sacrament, your own Medicine of Immortality. Many of our pastors, priest, deacons and deaconesses, monks and sisters and lay religious, are unable to care for their flock – your flock – as they usually do. Keep us steadfast in faith, courageous in hope, and unflagging in charity. By the power of your most Holy Spirit, keep us united with your beloved Son, our common Lord and Savior, the Shepherd of our souls, and our Good Physician. Increase in us the hunger for your Word, for prayer, and for acts of forgiveness and compassion. Use us, as we are able, to further your purpose and will, and to share your unchanging love – especially among the poor, the ill, the struggling, the dying.

Lord, in your mercy, please hear our prayer.

We pray for everyone who, even in this time of common suffering and crisis, refuse to turn to you. We might think that a pandemic is a board of sufficient strength to impart faith when whacked upside an unbelieving head, and we are astonished when it isn’t so! Let our words, actions, and lives be as lanterns filled with the presence and love of Jesus. Let everything we say and do be signs of your grace and mercy. Lord, we are bold to pray: Redeem this time of pandemic, so that many hearts may be softened, and many lives may be overwhelmed by a flood of repentant faith in Jesus, their Savior, Lord, and God.

Lord, in your mercy, please hear our prayer.

We know that other needs continue to be urgent, dear Father! We ask the Spirit’s help in remembering them before you. And, for the sake of your dear Son, we pray that you may heed all our prayers and graciously answer them in accordance with your will,  to your glory and for the welfare of your people.

AMEN.