Lord, teach us how to pray, and help us to pray now.
The world situation with coronavirus is utterly overwhelming. So many people dying, and grieving for people who have died. So many people frightened for their lives. So many people whose income has been cut off and don’t know how they will feed themselves and their families.
We pray for the virus to fade away much more quickly than it might. We pray for people and places where there is not enough money or organisation to be able to help everyone. We pray that our own country would be able to cope ourselves, and be able and willing to help countries that are struggling. We pray for unprecedented co-operation and solidarity between everyone in the world. Please protect us from allowing our own fear and insecurity to overrule our compassion for others.
We pray for everyone who is in hospital now, including Boris Johnson, and people we know personally. Please heal them and be close to them. Please give skill and energy to everyone caring for them. Please help their families and friends to cope, and allow them to support each other despite the social distancing restrictions.
We pray for our government: please help the civil servants to provide stable and insightful advice. Give ministers clear minds to make good decisions. We especially pray for the decisions made while Boris Johnson is unwell: we pray for clarity about who is making decisions and unity among senior ministers. Let all of our government be able to lift their heads from the day-to-day panic, to make decisions that are right for the longer term, and for the whole world.
We thank you so much for the key people who are helping us to survive at this time. Thank you for farmers and food production workers, for postal workers, delivery drivers and warehouse staff, for people serving in shops and cleaning them. We thank you for hospital admin staff and managers, for doctors, nurses and healthcare assistants. We all need these people (and all the people I missed from the list), literally, to survive: please keep them safe. Please help us to remember how much we value them when this crisis is over. We thank you for their courage, their skill and their compassion.
We pray for our siblings around the world who are grieving for people who have died. Please comfort them and give them help from people, despite restrictions on movement.
We pray for people stuck in home situations that are dangerous, or unhappy, or desperately lonely. Please help us to be aware of people we could help in any of those sitations. For everyone like this, please wake up someone near them to their need, and give opportunities to help.
We pray for ourselves.
Some of us are full of activity and risk and decisions.
Give us rest and safety.
Some of us are trapped and hemmed in on all sides.
Give us time and peace.
Some of us are alone and lonely.
Give us friendship.
Some of us are closing down, turning inward.
Give us ways to help and be helped.
All that is happening around the world is an unprecedented action designed to save lives, and that’s so good. Maybe we humans have learned a little bit about the value of people.
Today on Easter Sunday we remember what you did to save our lives, and we remember that our lives are more than just biological processes fighting it out. We read the story that Jesus came back to life, overthrowing death, and even as we have no way to understand it, we are trying to trust it.
We trust you that there is life, that we humans can be saved.
Give us the ability to look beyond our lives, beyond our deaths, and to trust you for it all.
We are in your hands.
We are in your hands.