“May They Meet the God of Hope in Their Despair”: A Special Prayer for Covid-19


Editor’s note: As America braces for its own encounter with novel coronavirus, Christians in the States can look to the example of the Chinese church as they consider their response. This special prayer from Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, which was shared at the end of February, is an example of corporate prayer for the church, government leaders, medical staff, those facing particular distress or threat from covid-19, and the specific challenges faced by the ERCC body.

“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”
Isaiah 55:7

1. Prayer for the Chinese Church

Loving Father in Heaven,

“Let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned.” (Nehemiah 1:6)

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Lord, you have sent this epidemic, not only because of the sins of those who do not know you, but even more because the people who are called by your name have sinned greatly against you. We honor you with our mouths, but our hearts are far from you. We have allowed mammon to influence and spread throughout your church. Many seek after material things and the pleasures of this life, just like unbelievers, and do not lay up treasures in heaven. We despise the widows and orphans in this country and close our hearts against them. We shut the door to opportunities for bringing people closer to the gospel. We are indifferent to lost souls, and we despise the eternal and noble position we have been given.

We grovel at the feet of Nebuchadnezzar. We do not speak up for righteousness, and we do not rebuke the king’s sins. We dream of making peace with the cities of this world and making peace with them. We have allowed the fear of politics to spread throughout the church. Lord, do not destroy this land because of our sins. Forgive us our sins and turn away your anger. Send down the fire of your Holy Spirit to consume the evil passions and desires within us so that we might die more to ourselves and to sin, and live to you in righteousness.

2. Prayer for the Authorities

Almighty Father,

“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.” (Proverbs 21:1)

It is true that you see the pain of your people and hear their cries. Make the king and his ministers see and hear them, too. Give wisdom and ability to the authorities in China that they might rule and plan well, that they might effectively stop the spread of this epidemic in this country. Lord, we also ask that you would break their pride and stubbornness. Make them know that they are but men. Make them stop being superstitious about power. Make them stop despising those whom you have created in your image, but rather respect these people. May they not overstep the limits of the power you have given them, and may they rightly use the authority you have given them to reward those who do good and to punish those who do evil.

We ask, Lord, that in your sovereignty you would execute righteous judgment among those in power. Chastise those evil men who are committing great evil, who are deceiving others, who have complete disregard for human life. Keep them from acting rashly according to their own desires. Grant them abundant mercy, and lead many evildoers to repent and forsake their sins. 

3. Prayer for Medical Staff

Compassionate Father,

You say, “See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.” (Deuteronomy 32:39)

Thank you, Lord, for bringing great healing through the hands of doctors and nurses and saving human lives from death. Many of these people do not know the one true God and have been given more time and opportunity to repent and believe. Lord, the bravery, dedication, selflessness, and sacrifice manifested through these medical personnel were placed in their hearts by you. We give you the glory.

Have mercy, Lord, on these doctors and nurses who risk the possibility of contracting the virus in order to save lives. Grant health and strength to their bodies and their souls. Grant them special grace to know that you are the Great Physician and that those who have been healed have been healed because of your grace, not just because of medicine. Only your Son can save men from sin and death. We ask that you would appoint more medical personnel unto salvation.  

4. Prayer for Those Struggling and Groaning in the Midst of the Epidemic

Merciful Father,

Based on official reports, the total number of confirmed cases in the country has reached nearly 80,000. Only you know how many have actually contracted the virus and how many have died from it. Lord, you know exactly how many families have been broken, and how many lives have withered away over the past month. Lord, you know exactly how many over the coming months will go bankrupt, how many will have nowhere from which to borrow money, and how many will face hunger and death. As Jonah said to you, “I know that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.” (Jonah 4:2)

Lord, “relent of the disaster you have spoken.” Bring an end to this epidemic soon. Lord, have you not used this epidemic to strike and besiege us so you might manifest your power and bring salvation? Please be gracious to Hubei and to China, and bless many through this disaster. As they reach their end, as they enter the valley of the shadow of death, may they meet the God of hope in their despair, and come to know the Lord of life in the darkness of death.

5. Prayer for Early Rain Covenant Church and for Pastor Wang Yi and Elder Qin Defu

Holy Father,

We thank and praise you! You have brought trials to your children. You say, “I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people.’” (Zechariah 13:9)

O Lord our God, persecution and pestilence are your ways of testing us. We ask that, in the midst of these continual trials, we might still have great joy through the faith you have given us. We ask that our faith would be stronger, that we would more diligently obey you, and that we would more passionately serve you after passing through these trials.

We especially place your servants Pastor Wang Yi and Elder Qin Defu in your hands. Protect your servants. Do not allow this disease to go near them. Use this difficult time to open up doors for prison ministry. Take care of the families of these servants of yours. Provide sufficiently for their bodies and their souls. Lord, be with your church and your servants. Grant us protection and guidance in all we do.

Help us, Lord, and grant us abundant joy!

In the victorious name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen!


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More COVID-19 Resources

We’ve put together a special page devoted to ways we can learn from, love, and pray alongside our Chinese brothers and sisters during the coronavirus pandemic.


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Further Reading

Why Should I Love My Enemies?: Give Up Revenge, Love Enemies
Read More
Nanjing: Bringing the Gospel Into Life
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Nanjing: A Welcoming City of Newcomers
Read More


With rising pressure and persecution in China, there are two challenges imperative for church leaders. The first challenge is for current leaders to love Christ above all else, and not to stray into legalism or love of the world. The second challenge is to raise up the next generation of leaders, who will humbly model Jesus even if current leaders are arrested.


  1. Current leaders to grow in their daily walks with Christ
  2. Current leaders to shepherd and raise up new leaders
  3. New leaders who love Christ and will model him to the world
  4. New leaders to love and care for the church



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