Can we help? with PASTOR & MRS BANDA
DEAR Raphael and Namukolo,
I am a Christian who believes in the power of prayer. The cholera outbreak has indeed hit us badly as a nation and poses multifaceted challenges.
As we seek God’s intervention, what guidelines can you give to individual Christians and the church as a whole on how best we can effectively pray for the situation we find ourselves in?
We are greatly encouraged to hear from one who believes in the power of prayer. Indeed, the word of God encourages us not to be discouraged but rather in every circumstance to pray without ceasing.
As we bend the knee, it will greatly help us to remind ourselves about the one to whom we pray, even God himself, who is He?
The Bible answers us that He is the Creator of all things; and that He is the ruler or governor of the whole entire universe. That He is the reigning King of kings and that all things, both visible and invisible, big or tiny (including a tiny bacterium called vibrio cholera) are subject to Him.
With respect to His reign, the Bible teaches us that in addition to Him being all powerful, all wise and all knowing, His throne is a throne of mercy and grace, and so, we can confidently draw near to enter His presence and He will deal mercifully with us.
As we enter God’s presence, we must present specific requests before him and avoid praying generally. To assist us to do so, here are some of the items we should specifically pray for:
1. The bereaved families: Unfortunately, some families have already lost loved ones to cholera. Some have lost a parent or a child. Some children have been orphaned and some wives have become widows. Some parents will never have the joy of seeing their child grow into adults. For all these, the loss is not a mere statistic but rather an unbearable burden. The Bible exhorts us to mourn with those who mourn. We must pray that they will know God’s comfort and that the orphan and the widow will be taken care of.
2. The Sick: There are those who are infected by the disease and are still at home or they are already at a treatment centre. Cholera is a highly inconveniencing disease. We must pray for their quick recovery.
3. The first respondents and the medical personnel: Let us pray for those family members and friends who might be the first to notice that someone close to them is infected; that they will know how to respond speedily and wisely. Let us pray for the hundreds of medical personnel who are taking care of the cholera-infected in the many centres and putting their lives on the line as they do so. That they will be driven by a spirit of sacrifice and service and will not be preoccupied with how they will benefit from this crisis. Let us pray that the Lord will protect them from getting infected.
4. The different categories of business people directly affected by the outbreak; the marketeers and vendors; the restaurant owners, etc: The ones whose daily livelihood and the survival of their families is dependent on their daily trade. Let us pray that the Lord will supply their daily needs in the period when their businesses are disrupted.
5. The suppliers: Let us pray for those who supply the traders, for example, the farmers who supply the vegetables, fruits, meat and fish etc, whose products are in danger of going to waste during this period of disruption. They are employers whose employees stand to lose jobs should their companies collapse.
6. The schoolchildren: As institutions of learning reopen, let us pray that our pupils and students will be protected from cholera; that they will be protected on the roads as they travel and that they will be enabled to catch up in their school work.
7. The men and women in uniform upon whose shoulders has been placed the mammoth task of cleaning up our cities: Let us pray that they will be protected from infection and that they will enjoy maximum co-operation from all the citizens they are assisting.
8. The civic and political leaders, whether they be in opposition or in Government: Let us pray that they will know God is leading and will be the instruments by which the mindset of the citizens will be radically and permanently transformed.
9. The church: Let us pray that the church will take its rightful place as bearer of the Good News of Christ in this time of gloom.
10. The nation as a whole: That as one we will rise above this challenge to a higher and better level.
Mourn with those who mourn – Romans 12.15.
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