Friday evening, shortly after declaring a national emergency in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus, President Donald Trump tweeted:
“It is my great honor to declare Sunday, March 15th as a National Day of Prayer. We are a country that, throughout our history, has looked to God for protection and strength in times like these …”
He added “… No matter where you may be, I encourage you to turn towards prayer in an act of faith. Together, we will easily PREVAIL!”
The national emergency declaration frees up $50 billion for states, territories and localities as they fight the virus. Prayer, on the other hand, engages the inexhaustible power of Almighty God. Over and over in Scripture, we are told to pray:
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).
Jesus “spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1).
In an email Saturday morning, Franklin Graham said:
“I am thankful to President Trump for recognizing the power of prayer and showing faith in the Lord to intervene on our behalf. With so much uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus at home and around the world, people are afraid. Now is the time for Christians to be strong and courageous, knowing that Almighty God is with us. As His Word instructs, we are to cast our cares upon Him, because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).
“We need to pray for those who are sick and their families, for those who are living in fear and anxiousness, for the professionals who are providing medical care, for those working on treatments and a vaccine for COVID-19, and for our leaders to act with wisdom and courage as they make vital decisions that impact each of our lives. Please also lift up the President and our nation’s coronavirus task force headed by Vice President Mike Pence in prayer as they work closely and diligently with the myriad of issues related to this pandemic.”
In a Facebook post, Franklin said: “Will you join us in praying tomorrow? I encourage you to contact your family, your friends, church members you know, and ask them to be in prayer as well.”
Cissie Graham Lynch also responded to the Day of Prayer declaration: “Thank you [Donald Trump] for being a President who is unashamed to call on God during a time of need.”
Photo: Ken Cedeno/Abaca/Sipa USA/AP Photos