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How to Pray in a Crisis

Two facts face us today. We are in a global crisis – a pandemic. No use to quote statistics related to the Caronavirus (COVID-19), since they are changing so rapidly that there will be a wide gap between what I write and what you read. The second fact is that leaders from presidents, to governors, to mayors to religious leaders are calling for days and times of prayer. If you are not one who prays on a regular basis, you may need some assistance. After all, crisis praying is by nature a spasmodic cry of emergency rather than the consistent communication of a godly life. Crisis is not the best time to get acquainted or re-acquainted with God. One thing for sure, he prays best in crisis, who prays consistently before crisis. If you are a regular pray-er, perhaps you can share this with someone who is not. So, how do we pray in times of crisis? Consider the model of Jesus, praying in Gethsemane, as recorded in Matthew 26. First, he called on His Father. Only children of God can be assured of being heard when they call on their heavenly father. While others may be heard, there is sufficient biblical evidence that God listens to the prayers of His children. To send the prayer anywhere else is useless, although I read often of someone who is “sending prayers your way.” Facing imminent death, Jesus taught us how to face the crisis head-on – “Stay here and watch with Me” . . . “He went a little farther and fell on His face and prayed” (Matthew 26:38). Then Jesus defined the crisis – ““My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death” (Matthew 26:38). Next, Jesus evaluated the options – “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me” (Matthew 26:39). Finally, Jesus came to a firm decision – “Your will be done” (Matthew 26:42). In Luke’s account of the Gethsemane experience, another dimension of crisis praying appears, namely that Jesus was empowered to face the crisis – “Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him” (Luke 22:43). These are crisis times, times that call not only for prayer, but for correct prayer. Let us pray!

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