GENERAL Brian Peddle has called the international Salvation Army to pray on Sunday 19 April 2020 for the effects that the coronavirus pandemic is having around the world. Setting aside the day for intentional focused prayer, The Salvation Army’s international leader shares a clear message in his video introduction to what he calls ‘a praying Army’, saying: ‘I believe that things happen when people pray.’
The General recognises that, while international calls to prayer are usually acted on through corporate worship, the isolation that most people are having to follow means this day of prayer will have to be followed through in terms of personal commitment.
A resource to aid times of prayer (individually or for use in prayer groups and video worship times) before, during and after the Day of Prayer has been made available on the International Headquarters website, at sar.my/covid19prayer. The virtual prayer room includes creative activities, reflection on Bible passages and prompts for prayer.
‘Following Easter,’ the General says, ‘we often hear sermons about the road to Emmaus, when Jesus came alongside and walked with the disciples. I want our hearts to “burn within us” because we are enjoying his presence through prayer.’
He asks that, wherever people are in the world, they use sunrise as a time to pray for the worldwide ministry of The Salvation Army and for the people of the world as they deal with this unprecedented pandemic.
Starting with the south Pacific nation of Samoa, Salvationists and friends are called to rise with the light, setting off a ‘tsunami of prayer’ that will sweep across Australasia, through Asia, over Africa and Europe and then on to North and South America, only coming to a halt as it reaches Hawaii, back in the Pacific Ocean.
The General shares a number of specific prayer topics: for people who have lost family members; for those who are alone, isolated and afraid; for many who have very little during this time of isolation; for families whose futures seem uncertain.
He also calls for prayer to support ‘the army of essential workers who are holding us up’ and challenges people to ‘pray with urgency that God’s mighty hand will hold back and stop COVID-19’.
Finally, the General calls for people worldwide to pray for ‘healing and hope in our communities’, leaning on the words of Psalm 91, with its reminder that God is ‘my refuge and strength, my fortress in whom I trust’.
He concludes: ‘I invite you to join me on my Facebook page and, in a few words, make a comment – tell me that you’ve prayed, share your confidence in God and, yes, leave a prayer request.
‘God help us to be faithful. Help us to be a praying Army.’