People across the world are being urged to join together in prayer to “rid the world of the coronavirus pandemic.” The invitation, issued by the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church echoes a call from Pope Francis, Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, the Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Church in America (ELCA), and other religious leaders.
Specifically, the call is to pray The Lord’s Prayer at 12 noon. The one prayer, offered in many voices, will happen at that hour in various time zones, providing a chorus of petition to God to end the scourge of the Coronavirus.
Bishop Ken Carter, president of the Council of Bishops of the UMC, cites the words of Pope Francis. “We wish to respond to the pandemic of the virus with the universality of prayer, of compassion and tenderness.” Carter believes that in the spirit of resurrection of the upcoming Easter, “we have sure trust and confidence that God will hear the united prayers of the church across the world.”
Rev. Eaton writes to the ELCA, “During the global pandemic of COVID-19, the church can and should give witness to our unity in Christ and express our deep concern for God's creation. Despite social distancing, through prayer, we are able to enter together into the presence of Christ… When the church gathers in this way, we can be assured that Christ, our eternal hope, is present in the midst of suffering.”