Archbishop Beach issues a call to prayer on Ash Wednesday with a particular emphasis on intercessions for the intervention of the spread of the Coronavirus.
I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent: by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and alms-giving; and by reading and meditating of God’s holy Word – BCP2019, p. 544.
Dearly Beloved in Jesus Christ,
As you and I begin the observance of Lent on this Ash Wednesday, I want to ask you to build into your Lenten observance specific times of prayer (and fasting) asking for God’s intervention in the spread of the Coronavirus in North America and all around the world.
Dr. Nancy Messionnier, the director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease, said yesterday that it is only a matter of time before the virus now labeled COVID-19 begins to spread across North America. Saying that schools and businesses should begin preparing now, she said: “I understand this whole situation may seem overwhelming and that disruption to everyday life may be severe. But these are things that people need to start thinking about now.”
This is where you and I can make a difference in prayer. If you are going to give up something this Lent, give up “time” and use that time in prayer. If you are going to take something on this Lent, take up specific times in intercessory prayer. Ask God to eradicate this virus. Ask him to intervene. Ask him to help public health officials, doctors, and government officials with wisdom and guidance. Ask him to heal the victims and comfort those who have lost loved-ones. Let us pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are facing this virus right now in China, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Iran, Italy, and so many other places.
God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and sound judgment (2 Tim.1:7). Let us walk and live in God’s wisdom asking for his help, and trusting in His mercy.
The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach
Archbishop and Primate, Anglican Church in North America