“When famine or plague comes to the land, or blight or mildew . . . whatever disaster or disease may come, and when a prayer or plea is made by any of your people Israel – each one aware of the afflictions of his own heart, and spreading out his hands toward this temple – then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive and act; deal with each man according to all he does, since you know his heart (for you alone know the hearts of all men), so that they will fear you all the time they live in the land you gave our fathers.”
From 1 Kings 8:37-40, NIV
The peoples of the world are in shock and trauma as the ravages of the coronavirus are tearing people and nations apart. Something so small that it cannot even be seen has brought the world to its knees as the health authorities desperately try to cope with a pandemic that is already taking many lives.
When Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem and it was dedicated to the worship of the living God, His presence so filled the temple that the priests could not fulfil their responsibilities because of the glory of the Lord filling the place. It was a very holy moment. But Solomon knew that even though they had had this amazing visitation of the Lord, the heart of man was still vulnerable to sin and so, in his prayer to the Lord, he pleaded with God to hear the people’s cries of repentance, to forgive their sins and to act to save them from whatever circumstances they were going through including, as we see from our Scripture for today, plagues and diseases.
During the Second World War King George VI called the nation to prayer on several occasions – and God heard those prayers and delivered the nation. As I write this, I hear that President Trump has called America to a day of prayer for the nation also. For this is, indeed, a time for God’s people everywhere to be interceding on behalf of their country, repenting for their personal sins and the sins of their nations and crying out to God to hear their prayer, to ”forgive and to act”.
Solomon referred to each one needing to bring before the Lord the “afflictions of their own heart” – and that is where we must begin if we want our own prayers of intercession to be empowered by the holy presence of God’s Holy Spirit. And then we must bring before Him the sins of our nations, crying out to Him for forgiveness – but also that the fear of the Lord will come upon the people for, in reality, when there is no fear of God in the land, there is no incentive to see God’s order restored.
So may I encourage you to turn this terrible situation we all face into an opportunity to pray and intercede like you have never prayed before – that this plague may be stopped, just as we read in Psalm 103:30 when Phineas stood up and intervened. Let us stand together in prayer and intercession for our peoples and our nations.
Prayer: Thank You Lord that You choose to hear our prayers, to forgive and to act. Help each one of us, Lord, and also our nations, to come before you in repentance as we ask you for forgiveness and cry out to you for this plague to be stopped and our lands to be healed. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.