March 2020 Prayer Partner: Wash Your Hands… and Pray
Though it’s a work day, I’m writing this email from my home, learning how to work remotely while also caring for my children, whose school has been cancelled for (at least) a few weeks. Restaurants, libraries and theaters are closed. Supermarket shelves are cleared out. Church last Sunday was via webcast—and likely will be for several weeks. All of us have had our lives significantly interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
As we adjust to this situation and care for our families, I’m trying to use this unique time to be more faithful in prayer. Theologian Esau McCaulley shared a suggestion that I’ve been trying to adopt: as I wash my hands (more frequently and for longer than normal), using those 20 seconds to pray specifically for all those affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
I encourage you to pray, in particular, for those who are most vulnerable as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including those who are elderly or who are immunocompromised. Many immigrants are also uniquely vulnerable right now. Among other people, I’d invite you to pray for:
- Medical professionals, whose dedicated care for patients at this time could expose them to the virus and put them and their families at risk. Roughly 3 out of 10 physicians and roughly one-quarter of nursing and home healthcare aides in the U.S. are immigrants.
- Those most financially at risk as economic activity slows and, in some sectors of our national economy, all but stops. I’m particularly mindful of those in hourly, relatively-low-wage jobs, for whom the economic slowdown could mean going without a paycheck or losing jobs altogether. Those in the hotel and restaurant industries, where immigrants make up 31% and 22% of the labor force, respectively, are especially vulnerable. Already, some recently arrived refugees who had just found their first jobs have been laid off in Seattle, which has been at the epicenter of the crisis in the U.S.
- Those in immigration detention facilities, where many asylum seekers and other immigrants are held pending their court hearings, and where “social distancing” is basically impossible.
- Those outside the U.S. – including in refugee camps in various parts of the world and in church-based shelters for asylum seekers along the Mexico-U.S. border – where, if the virus were to spread, medical facilities are lacking and the fatality rate would likely be much higher than within the U.S. or other contexts with greater healthcare infrastructure.
As you’re washing your hands and engaging in other practices to slow the spread of COVID-19, I’d ask you to join me in praying for all who are vulnerable, asking God to intervene to protect human life and to inspire His people to be the hands and feet of Jesus during these perilous times.
National Coordinator, Evangelical Immigration Table
P.S. In case it’s a valuable resource for you or your church, my friends at Wheaton College’s Humanitarian Disaster Institute have created a helpful manual on preparing churches for the coronavirus, available in both English and Spanish. They’re also partnering with the National Association of Evangelicals to host a free online summit on COVID-19 & the Church on March 26 & 27.