Churches around the world are responding to the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic with incredible faith, creativity, and service for the vulnerable. More than ever though, we are also called to pray, with Sunday 22nd March having been designated as a Day of Prayer for the UK Church.


In this blog, Nigel Paterson, who represents Catalyst with CARE in Westminster, offers a few starting points on how we can be praying in the midst of a pandemic. These are primarily focused on the UK, but can be extended and applied more widely, and each section contains prayer points, passages to read and pray through, and promises to help us keep lifting our eyes to God.


Start by Centring on God’s Nature and Character
– He is the Creator (Isaiah 40:28-31).
– He understands everything there is to know about this world, including how it can be fixed.
– He is Lord and He sees everything.
God is our Father: Try praying through The Lord’s Prayer (e.g. Matthew 6:6-13) with special focus on the current situation.


Pray for God’s Hand to be at Work
– Pray for an unprecedented move of God in the coming weeks and months
– Pray for extraordinary miracles (as in Acts 19:11) leading to life-changing conversations
– Pray that the events that we are experiencing would turn people to Jesus and help bring unity and closeness to our fractured society.
– Pray for Spirit-led opportunities to bring gospel truth into people’s lives.
God is our Shepherd: Read through Psalm 23, praying for God to reveal Himself as the Good Shepherd who leads and guides us.


Pray to Renounce all Fear and Anxiety
– A GP friend has just reported that he has seen increasing numbers of patients with mental illness who are struggling, as well as the ‘worried well’.
– Pray, holding on to this truth: ‘There is no fear in love. But perfect love casts out fear’ (1 John 4:18)
– Pray against fear and anxiety in our nation, and for courage and unity in the days ahead
– Read and pray through Philippians 4:6-7 and Psalm 91:1-2
God is our Hope: Perhaps pray through Psalm 46, remembering especially those who are struggling with their mental health.


Pray for those with Vulnerability to the Coronavirus
Let’s remember:
– The grieving and the dying, and all those known to them
– The oldest age groups and others who have been told to self-isolate
– Any younger people who may think they are completely outside any risk
God is our Comforter: Psalm 62 is one of the best Psalms for us to pray through at this time – take some time to do that today.


Pray for our Political Leaders
Let’s pray for:
– The Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Government, the main parties, our MPs and the devolved parliaments
– The Queen and Prince Philip, especially because of their vulnerability
– The leaders of countries across the world to work together well.
God is Sovereign: praying for our leaders can be one of our top priorities at all times (1 Timothy 2:1-4), but now more than ever. Let’s do that today, whatever our political persuasions.


Pray for Medical, Emergency and Caring Staff
Pray for:
– The individuals we know, GP practices and local hospitals. The pressure on many medical staff is immense.
– Those in the emergency services
– Carers, especially those looking after vulnerable family members and others who are going in to help the vulnerable as part of their paid work
– Anyone else you know who is on or near the front line of what is happening.
God is our Healer: Try reading through one of the stories in the gospels where Jesus heals, and ask Him to be present by His Spirit with those working to bring healing.


Pray for the Scientific and Medical Response
Let’s pray for:
– Reliable and safe vaccines to be developed successfully and then shared widely
– Tests that can be devised showing who is immune to the virus
– Highly capable individuals and teams who can help find much needed solutions to current problems.
God is Wisdom: Try reading through some of the book of Proverbs, making a note of any proverbs that particularly stick out to you, and praying through those.


Pray for the Poor
Let’s pray:
– For all the particular needs of the poor at this difficult time, including finances, housing, work, security and health, and anything else that we can think of.
– That God will raise up some new champions for the poor, with the spirit and dynamism of people like Wilberforce, Fry, Shaftesbury and Barnardo.
– For those working for charities and projects that serve the poor
God’s Heart is for the Poor: Pray that we would be eager to remember the poor, as Paul wrote that he was in Galatians 2:10.


Pray for those in Education
Let’s pray for:
– Our closed local schools, remembering them by name, and their staff
– Pupils now at home and especially those who had expected to take exams this summer.
God is our Joy: Especially in times of uncertainty, God’s desire is for us to know joy in Him. Pray through Psalm 150 and take time to worship and allow your eyes to be lifted to Him again.


Pray for the Economic and Business Situation
Let’s pray for:
– Deeds of great courage in business and finance
– The needs of the self-employed, most of all their need to survive and stay in business for the sake of themselves and their customers
– Those working in the creative industries
– Inspiration for those facing seemingly impossible financial situations
– Miraculous business answers to prayer for those crying out to God for them.
God is our Provider: Try reading through the stories of God feeding the Israelites in the wilderness (Exodus 16) and Jesus Feeding the 5000 (John 6) and pray that God would provide for all those who need it.


Pray for the Media
Let’s pray:
– That our media they will be discerning and sensitive about what they investigate and publicise
– For protection for all from the ill effects of fake news
– For us all to become ever smarter at discerning the difference between truth and falsehood in the social media we access.
God is the Truth: Try reading through John’s Gospel and finding each of Jesus’s “I AM” statements, praying through each one in turn.


Pray for Opportunities and Against Threats
Let’s pray:
– For God’s mighty hand on the nation, softening the hard hearts of many and bringing great numbers to Himself.
– For many to find faith as a result of realising how trivial much of modern life is.
– For God’s protection of what He wants to be left standing as social structures are shaken.
– That we as a nation and as His people will find many good opportunities and be protected from what threatens and endangers us.
God is our Protector: Perhaps read through Psalm 91, that God would move powerfully in and through us, keeping the vulnerable from harm and revealing Himself to many.


Pray for the Response of the Church
Let’s pray:
– That the church shines brilliantly in this dark and confusing time (Matthew 5:14)
– That her people can do great exploits in these days (Daniel 11:32, NKJV)
– For wisdom for those in church leadership, to be sure-footed as they walk with God through so many unfamiliar situations
– That Christians in the community can be an honour to the Lord, loving their neighbours and showing what His compassion is like.
God Has Called Us: Try praying through Paul’s prayer for the church at Ephesus in Ephesians 3:14-21 and applying it to the church today as we respond together to this new challenge.

By Nigel Paterson

Nigel represents the Catalyst Network with CARE in Westminster, and is Communities Liaison at Kings Community Church, Hedge End.