There have been more than 13 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 across 216 countries. More than 574 000 people have died, and the virus is still running rampant in countries like the United States, India and Brazil.
In Australia, we’d just about beaten the virus. Now Melbourne is having a second wave worse than the first and the city is back in lockdown.
While cases aren’t confined to urban areas, our cities face unique challenges. It’s hard to maintain social distance if you live in high-density housing or have to travel to work on public transport.
Yes, we need to act on health recommendations and keep working towards a vaccine. Yes, our politicians need to enact wise strategies to stem the spread of the disease. But there is something even more important that undergirds all of these endeavours. We need to pray.
In a previous devotion, we looked at God’s instructions to the Israelites for their time of exile in Babylon. They were to keep on living a full life, but they were also called to prayer.
Also seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper. (Jer. 29:7)
God has always had a heart for the cities. He relented and saved the city of Ninevah when the people called out to him and turned from their wicked ways. The prophet Jonah was angered by this, but God showed his compassion:
But Ninevah has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left … Should I not be concerned about that great city? (Jon. 4:11)
There has never been a more urgent time to pray for our cities. Let’s lift our voices to God and pray for breakthroughs.
Lord, you hold the world in your hands. We pray for our cities and all who live in them. Please bring your healing, your power and your glory, that all may turn to you and be saved. Amen.
Q1 Meditate on Jeremiah 29:7. How could you pray for the prosperity of the cities?
Q2 Read Jonah 3–4. What role did repentance play in the prayers of the people? What was the result of their prayers?
Photo credit – Melbourne skyline by Adri Marie on Pixabay.
Coronavirus statistics from the World Health Organisation. Please note that the statistics cited above were correct at the time of publication, but statistics on this site are constantly being updated.
Scriptures taken from the NIV Bible. Click here for the copyright notice.