“Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief” (Part 1)

The way Christians and the church responds to the Coronavirus pandemic will show the level of faith we have individually and corporately. 

Politicians say they are reliant on the advice of scientists and clinicians. We go with science they say for we must follow the evidence.

Yesterday was national day of prayer in the USA and comments I read was disparaging of the idea. I get that the idea of a national day of prayer coming from president Trump is hard for his critics and opponents. Some accuse him of cynicism in that it’s a political stunt to cover up his gaffes at the start of the crisis. Others accuse him of shoring up his political base of evangelicals. As for me the motive for calling a nation to prayer is not as important as the act of praying itself. Prayer is after all first an individual thing even when it is done collectively and in public.

The king of Assyria called a national time of prayer and fasting after being told by the prophet Jonah that the city of Nineveh had 40 days before it was destroyed. The nation prayed and fasted and repented and was spared.

Jehoshaphat called for national prayers after being threatened with invasion. God heard and fought and defeated the enemies of Judah. 

So, I’m sure God heard the prayer of the USA as they prayed yesterday. 

Last Friday, I called an impromptu prayer meeting at our church for our nation. In that prayer meeting God spoke to us through the prophet Amos which is the subject of blog number 383.

After the clear message I asked that we devote time yesterday in our morning and evening services to continue praying for the UK. 

The British prime minister and his most senior ministers have been in office for less than a year so they and the nation need our prayer.

Let me now turn to the point of this blog. Many have faith until, like Peter, they need to exercise it. Peter was very certain that he would not deny his Lord but that’s what he did and three times to boot.

Many Christians and churches will stop attending church service and having church services sooner than stop going shopping or to work. They will say they are being wise.

The PM and ministers are working very long days, every day to manage the crisis. Scientists and clinicians are providing advice and treating patients for many hours each day including weekends. Recently retired clinicians are being asked to help out. Emergency services are geared up to respond to the inevitable need of society. Even retailers are working extra hard to respond to the panic buying.

Wouldn’t it be nice if our PM declares a national day of prayer for the UK. I’m praying for Boris Johnson and his government for the buck stops with him. Sleepless nights and very long days. Varying opinions on what to do and when to do it. These are momentous decisions that can save lives or end more lives than needs be. Let’s pray for our national and local leaders even if there is no national day of prayer.

That said, it doesn’t stop the Archbishop of Canterbury calling for a national day of prayer. I pray the Spirit moves him to do so for he has the ear of government, the monarchy and the media.

There is work for Christians and the church to do. Imagine running to a police station for help and finding it closed. 

It’s time to walk by faith and not be ensnared by fear masquerading as wisdom.

The people are fearful, these are the final days we must not neglect our responsibility to lead people to Christ by opening our hearts, arms and churches. As a church we pray for divine covering each Sunday morning invoking Ps 91. 

In my experience the world may not like our message or our practices but hardly ever do people reject the offer to pray for them.

In part 2, I will examine the title of this blog which is taken from Mark 9 verse 24.

Our platform is the world and congregation the people.

The Lord’s servant 

Lloyd Denny