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

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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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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

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.

WILL YOU JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA? PRAY FOR:

  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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ABOUT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

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Shenyang is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Liaoning Province. It is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, including the Shenyang Imperial Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shenyang is also a hub for China’s heavy industry, with companies such as the China First Automobile Group and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation having their headquarters in the city.

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About Qingdao

Qingdao is a city located in eastern China and is famous for its beaches, beer, and seafood. The city is home to several landmarks, including the Zhanqiao Pier and the Badaguan Scenic Area. Qingdao is also a major port and has a thriving economy, with industries such as electronics, petrochemicals, and machinery.

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About Xiamen

Xiamen is a city located in southeastern China and is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful coastal scenery, including Gulangyu Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is also a hub for China’s high-tech industry, with companies such as Huawei and ZTE having research and development centers in Xiamen.

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About Chongqing

Chongqing is a city located in southwestern China and is a major economic center in the region. The city is known for its spicy cuisine, especially its hot pot dishes, and is also famous for the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric dam. Chongqing is also home to several historic sites, including the Dazu Rock Carvings, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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About Nanjing

Nanjing is a city located in eastern China and is the capital of Jiangsu Province. It is one of China’s ancient capitals and has a rich cultural history, including the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the Nanjing City Wall, and the Confucius Temple. Nanjing is also a modern city with a thriving economy and is home to several universities, including Nanjing University and Southeast University.

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About Changchun

Changchun is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Jilin Province. It is known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to several historical landmarks such as the Puppet Emperor’s Palace and the Jingyuetan National Forest Park. Changchun is also a hub for China’s automotive industry, with several major automobile manufacturers having their headquarters in the city.

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About Guangzhou

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is a city located in southern China and is the capital of Guangdong Province. It is one of the country’s largest and most prosperous cities, serving as a major transportation and trading hub for the region. Guangzhou is renowned for its modern architecture, including the Canton Tower and the Guangzhou Opera House, as well as its Cantonese cuisine, which is famous for its variety and bold flavors. The city also has a rich history, with landmarks such as the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. Additionally, Guangzhou hosts the annual Canton Fair, the largest trade fair in China.

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About Kunming

Kunming is a city located in southwest China and is the capital of Yunnan Province. Known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its mild climate, Kunming is a popular tourist destination due to its natural beauty and cultural diversity. The city is home to several scenic spots, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stone Forest, Dian Lake, and the Western Hills. Kunming is also famous for its unique cuisine, which features a mix of Han, Yi, and Bai ethnic flavors. The city has a rich cultural history, with ancient temples and shrines like the Yuantong Temple and the Golden Temple, and it’s also a hub for Yunnan’s ethnic minority cultures, such as the Yi and Bai peoples.

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About Shenzhen

Shenzhen is a city located in southeastern China and is one of the country’s fastest-growing metropolises. The city is renowned for its thriving tech industry, with companies such as Huawei, Tencent, and DJI having their headquarters in Shenzhen. The city also has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, and parks. Shenzhen is also known for its modern architecture, such as the Ping An Finance Center and the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center. Despite its modernization, Shenzhen also has a rich history and cultural heritage, with landmarks such as the Dapeng Fortress and the Chiwan Tin Hau Temple.

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About Chengdu

Chengdu is a city located in the southwestern region of China, and the capital of Sichuan province. It has a population of over 18 million people, and it is famous for its spicy Sichuan cuisine, laid-back lifestyle, and its cute and cuddly residents – the giant pandas. Chengdu is home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where visitors can observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. The city also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with numerous temples, museums, and historical sites scattered throughout its boundaries. Chengdu is a city of contrasts, with ancient traditions coexisting alongside modern developments, making it an intriguing and fascinating destination for visitors to China. 

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About Beijing

Beijing is the capital city of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 21 million people. The city has a rich history that spans over 3,000 years, and it has served as the capital of various dynasties throughout China’s history. Beijing is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in China, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. The city is also a hub for political, cultural, and educational activities, with numerous universities and research institutions located within its boundaries. Beijing is renowned for its traditional architecture, rich cuisine, and vibrant cultural scene, making it a must-visit destination for travelers to China.

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About Shanghai

Shanghai is a vibrant and dynamic city located on the eastern coast of China. It is the largest city in China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 24 million people. Shanghai is a global financial hub and a major center for international trade, with a rich history and culture that spans over 1,000 years. The city is famous for its iconic skyline, which features towering skyscrapers such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Tower. Shanghai is also home to a diverse culinary scene, world-class museums and art galleries, and numerous shopping districts. It is a city that is constantly evolving and reinventing itself, making it a fascinating destination for visitors from around the world.

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