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Prayers during Covid-19 Crisis

The prayers below have been sent to us by Archbishop James Wong, the Primate of the Indian Ocean.

My dear brothers and sisters, 
 
Lenten season greetings to you all. 
 
In these days where global fear and anxiety are on the increase due to the pandemic spread of the Coronavirus, and the exponential growth of locust swarms and famine, we look to our Sovereign Lord God for refuge, consolation, intervention, wisdom, cure, and provision.  

We know from Scripture and experience that God acts differently when we pray. We believe that He not only hears our prayers, but that He uses people like our leaders, scientists, and medical professionals to accomplish His will. We pray that God would grant them wisdom, insight and strength in these coming days. We pray that in this time, people will call on Jesus in their pain, suffering and worries and find the rest and hope that only He can provide.  We call on Anglicans around the globe to join together in the Holy Spirit, in their homes in prayer and fasting this Sunday, 22 March 2020 as from 9.00 am.    

Let us pray and fast for our nations: repenting of our sins and asking God’s forgiveness, asking God’s intervention to stop the spread of this virus, asking God’s intervention to stop the locusts, asking God for healing for those who are sick, asking God for miraculous provision for the hungry, asking God to use us, his people, as agents of love and compassion, asking God to draw people to himself through the saving power of Jesus on the cross. 
 
“Return to Me with all your heart,” says the Lord, “with fasting, weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts, not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. Who know whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him.  Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast.” – Joel 2:12-15

Let us pray: 

Eternal God, whose son Jesus Christ bore our grief and carried our sorrows, hear us as we pray for those in distress: the hungry and the homeless;  the incapacitated and the handicapped;  the mentally afflicted and depressed;  the sick and the dying; the aged, the lonely, and the bereaved.  
 
Help us, O Lord, who offer these prayers, to bear the sufferings of others as we seek to minister to them in your name, demonstrating your love and bringing your grace to bear in their lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 
Prayers for Use especially during the Coronavirus Outbreak while our Churches, Schools, and Special Ministries are closed 

Prayers to begin each day during this time 

O Lord God, from whom we come, in whom we are enfolded, to whom we return: bless us in our pilgrimage through life; with the power of the Father protecting, with the love of Jesus indwelling, and the light of the Spirit guiding, until we come to our ending in life and love eternal; through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen. 

Bishop Peter Nott 

Most loving Father, whose will it is for us to give thanks for all things, to fear nothing but the loss of you, and to cast all our care on you who care for us: Preserve us from faithless fears and worldly anxieties, that no clouds of this mortal life may hide from us the light of that love which is immortal, and which you have manifested to us in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. 

The Collect for the Eighth Sunday after the Epiphany based on a prayer by William Bright 

A Prayer for a Pandemic 

May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake. May we who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable. May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent. May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close remember those children who will go hungry with no school meals. May we who have to cancel our trips remember those with no place to go. May we who are losing our margin money 
in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no margin at all. May we who settle in for quarantine at home remember those who have no home. As fear grips our country let us choose love. During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbour. Through Jesus Christ our Saviour, whose arms of love embrace us all. Amen. 

Cameron Wiggins Bellm (alt.) 

A prayer about the Coronavirus outbreak 

Keep us, good Lord, under the shadow of your mercy in this time of uncertainty and distress. Sustain and support the anxious and fearful, and lift up all who are brought low; that we may rejoice in your comfort knowing that nothing can separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen. 

For those in isolation 

God of compassion, be close to those who are ill, afraid, or in isolation. In their loneliness, be their consolation; in their anxiety, be their hope; in their darkness, be their light; through him who suffered alone on the cross, but reigns with you in glory, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen. 

Collect for All Saints’ Day 

For those who are worried and for social cohesion 

Loving Jesus, you are compassionate to those in need and heal the sick in body and mind. 

Look kindly on those who are fearful at this time. Help us all to put away all thoughts and actions that separate us from you and from one another. Give us grace to live our lives confident in your promise that you are with us always. Amen. 

Lord Jesus Christ, you taught us to love our neighbour, and to care for those in need as if we were caring for you. In this time of anxiety, give us strength to comfort the fearful, to care for the sick, and to assure the isolated of our love, and your love, for your name’s sake. Amen. 

For those who are ill 

Merciful God, we entrust to your unfailing and tender care, those who are ill or in pain, knowing that whenever danger threatens your everlasting arms are there to hold us safe. Comfort and heal them, and restore them to health and strength; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

For hospital staff and medical researchers 

Gracious God, give skill, sympathy and resilience to all who are caring for the sick, and your wisdom to those searching for a cure. Strengthen them with your Spirit, that through their work many will be restored to health; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

From one who is ill or isolated 

O God, help me to trust you, help me to know that you are with me, help me to believe that nothing can separate me from your love revealed in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your disciples, ‘I am with you always:’ Be with me today, as I offer myself to you. Hear my prayers for others and for myself, and keep me in your care. Amen. Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me. Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger. 

From St Patrick’s Breastplate 

I am giving you worship with all my life, I am giving you obedience with all my power, I am giving you praise with all my strength, I am giving you honour with all my speech. I am giving you love with all my heart, I am giving you affection with all my sense, I am giving you my being with all my mind, I am giving you my soul, O most high and holy God. Praise to the Father, Praise to the Son, Praise to the Spirit, The Three in One. 

adapted from Alexander Carmichael, Carmina Gadelica (1900) 

An ancient prayer for Lent 

O Lord and Master of my life! Take from me the spirit of indifference and discouragement, ambition and idle chatter. But rather give to me, your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humble-mindedness, patience, and love. O my Lord and King, give me the grace to see my own sins and faults, and not to judge my sisters and brothers; for you are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen.

Saint Ephrem the Syrian 

Soul of Christ, sanctify me, body of Christ, save me, blood of Christ, inebriate me, water from the side of Christ, wash me. Passion of Christ, strengthen me. O good Jesus, hear me: 
hide me within your wounds and never let me be separated from you. From the wicked enemy defend me, in the hour of my death, call me and bid me come to you, so that with your saints I may praise you for ever and ever. Amen. Anima Christi 

A prayer for the world 

God of love and hope, you made the world and care for all creation, and yet the world feels strange right now. The news is full of stories about Coronavirus. Many are anxious because of it; many are anxious that they might become ill; many are anxious about their family and friends; Many are anxious about their parents, their children, their jobs and their security. Be with us in our worries and help us to find some peace. We pray for the doctors and nurses and scientists who are working to discover the right medicines to give hope to those who are ill. Thank you that even in these strange and worrying times, you are with us. Help us to look for the signs of your goodness and love towards us, and keep our hearts always in your love; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. 

O gracious and holy Father, give us wisdom to perceive you, diligence to seek you, patience to wait for you, eyes to behold you, a heart to meditate upon you, and a life to proclaim you, through the power of the spirit of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Saint Benedict 

After a time of prayer 

Be with us, Lord, in all our prayers, and direct our way toward the attainment of salvation, that among the changes and chances of this mortal life, we may always be defended by your gracious help, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 
Prayers when we cannot receive Holy Communion 

In union, O Lord Jesus Christ, with the faithful at every altar of your Church, where your blessed Body and Blood are being offered to the Father, I join in offering the sacrifice of my praise and thanksgiving to you. I present to you myself, my soul, and my body, with the earnest longing that I may ever be united to you. And since I cannot now receive you in this Holy Sacrament, come spiritually, I pray you, into my heart. I unite myself to you, and love you with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind, and with all my strength. Let nothing ever separate me from you. Let me live and die in your love. Amen. 

Grant, O Lord Jesus Christ, that as the hem of your garment, touched in faith, healed the woman who could not touch your body, so may my soul be healed by the same faith in you, whom I cannot now receive in the Sacrament of Holy Communion; through your tender mercy, for you live and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen. 

Adapted from Prayers from the Anglican Diocese of Melanesia 

A prayer remembering that God is with us 

Lord God, you are always with me. You are with me in the day and in the night. You are with me when I’m happy and when I’m sad. You are with me when I’m healthy and when I am ill. You are with me when I am peaceful and when I am anxious. Today I am feeling (name how you are feeling) because (reasons you are feeling this way). Help me to remember that you love me and are with me in everything today. Amen.

A prayer at bedtime 

Before the ending of the day, Creator of the world, we pray, that you, with steadfast love, would keep your watch around us while we sleep. Tonight we pray especially for (names family or friends who are affected by Coronavirus) and the people of (country or place which is affected by Coronavirus) . Give skill and wisdom to all who are caring for them. Amen. 

Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace. 

From Compline 

Short passages of Scripture for reading and contemplation 

Psalm 27 Dominus illuminatio 

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom then shall I fear? * the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom then shall I be afraid? 2 When evildoers came upon me to eat up my flesh, * it was they, my foes and my adversaries, who stumbled and fell. 3 Though an army should encamp against me, * yet my heart shall not be afraid; 4 And though war should rise up against me, * yet will I put my trust in him. 5 One thing have I asked of the Lord; one thing I seek; * that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; 6 To behold the fair beauty of the Lord * and to seek him in his temple. 7 For in the day of trouble he shall keep me safe in his shelter; * he shall hide me in the secrecy of his dwelling and set me high upon a rock. 8 Even now he lifts up my head * above my enemies round about me. 9 Therefore I will offer in his dwelling an oblation with sounds of great gladness; * I will sing and make music to the Lord. 10 Hearken to my voice, O Lord, when I call; * have mercy on me and answer me. 11 You speak in my heart and say, "Seek my face." * Your face, Lord, will I seek. 12 Hide not your face from me, * nor turn away your servant in displeasure. 13 You have been my helper; cast me not away; * do not forsake me, O God of my salvation. 14 Though my father and my mother forsake me, * the Lord will sustain me. 15 Show me your way, O Lord; * lead me on a level path, because of my enemies. 16 Deliver me not into the hand of my adversaries, * for false witnesses have risen up against me, and also those who speak malice. 17 What if I had not believed that I should see the goodness of the Lord * in the land of the living! 18 O tarry and await the Lord’s pleasure; 
be strong, and he shall comfort your heart; * wait patiently for the Lord. 

Psalm 46 Deus noster refugium 

1 God is our refuge and strength, * a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved, * and though the mountains be toppled into the depths of the sea; 3 Though its waters rage and foam, * and though the mountains tremble at its tumult. 4 The Lord of hosts is with us; * the God of Jacob is our stronghold. 5 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, * the holy habitation of the Most High. 6 God is in the midst of her;  she shall not be overthrown; * God shall help her at the break of day. 7 The nations make much ado, and the kingdoms are shaken; * God has spoken, and the earth shall melt away. 8 The Lord of hosts is with us; * the God of Jacob is our stronghold. 9 Come now and look upon the works of the Lord, * what awesome things he has done on earth. 10 It is he who makes war to cease in all the world; * he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear, and burns the shields with fire. 11 “Be still, then, and know that I am God; * I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.” 12 The Lord of hosts is with us; * the God of Jacob is our stronghold. 

Psalm 91

Qui habitat 1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, * abides under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 He shall say to the Lord, “You are my refuge and my stronghold, * my God in whom I put my trust.” 3 He shall deliver you from the snare of the hunter * and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He shall cover you with his pinions, and you shall find refuge under his wings; * his faithfulness shall be a shield and buckler. 5 You shall not be afraid of any terror by night, * nor of the arrow that flies by day; 6 Of the plague that stalks in the darkness, * nor of the sickness that lays waste at mid-day. 7 A thousand shall fall at your side 
and ten thousand at your right hand, * but it shall not come near you. 8 Your eyes have only to behold * to see the reward of the wicked. 9 Because you have made the Lord your refuge, * and the Most High your habitation, 10 There shall no evil happen to you, * neither shall any plague come near your dwelling.  11 For he shall give his angels charge over you, * to keep you in all your ways. 12 They shall bear you in their hands, * lest you dash your foot against a stone. 13 You shall tread upon the lion and adder; * you shall trample the young lion and the serpent under your feet. 14 Because he is bound to me in love, therefore will I deliver him; * I will protect him, because he knows my Name. 15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him; * I am with him in trouble; I will rescue him and bring him to honour. 16 With long life will I satisfy him, * and show him my salvation. 

Psalm 139 Domine, probasti 

1 Lord, you have searched me out and known me; * you know my sitting down and my rising up; you discern my thoughts from afar. 2 You trace my journeys and my resting-places * and are acquainted with all my ways. 3 Indeed, there is not a word on my lips, * but you, O Lord, know it altogether. 4 You press upon me behind and before * and lay your hand upon me. 5 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; * it is so high that I cannot attain to it. 6 Where can I go then from your Spirit? * where can I flee from your presence? 7 If I climb up to heaven, you are there; * if I make the grave my bed, you are there also. 8 If I take the wings of the morning * and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 9 Even there your hand will lead me * and your right hand hold me fast. 10 If I say, “Surely the darkness will cover me, * and the light around me turn to night,” 11 Darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day; * darkness and light to you are both alike. 
12 For you yourself created my inmost parts; *  you knit me together in my mother's womb. 13 I will thank you because I am marvellously made; * your works are wonderful, and I know it well. 14 My body was not hidden from you, * while I was being made in secret and woven in the depths of the earth. 15 Your eyes beheld my limbs, yet unfinished in the womb; all of them were written in your book; * they were fashioned day by day, when as yet there was none of them. 16 How deep I find your thoughts, O God! * how great is the sum of them! 17 If I were to count them, they would be more in number than the sand; * to count them all, my life span would need to be like yours. 18 Oh, that you would slay the wicked, O God! * You that thirst for blood, depart from me. 19 They speak despitefully against you; * your enemies take your Name in vain. 20 Do I not hate those, O Lord, who hate you? * and do I not loathe those who rise up against you? 21 I hate them with a perfect hatred; * they have become my own enemies. 22 Search me out, O God, and know my heart; * try me and know my restless thoughts. 23 Look well whether there be any wickedness in me * and lead me in the way that is everlasting.  

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah 

But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my sight, and honoured, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; I will say to the north, “Give them up,” and to the south, “Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth— everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” 
[43:1-7] 

A Reading from the Gospel of Saint John 

Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. [6:37-39] 

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