by Becky Sorlien
Reflections and 10 Daily Prayers on the pandemic of 2020
Written on Palm Sunday - April 5, 2020
Scripture: I lift up my eyes up to the hills. From whence does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. --Psalm 121, v. 1, 2
Reflection: As I watched online church today and wished for a palm in my hand and church community, I cried.
This pandemic is a shock and a surprise. It has turned the world upside down.
But at this terrible time, we must not be afraid and as Pastor Ali stated today, we are not alone.
One of the most important names for Jesus right now is Emmanuel, God With Us.
Every day I become aware of new things in people and situations affected by this virus.
Every day it feels like a war with silent casualties and an invisible enemy.
Every day I search for the balance. I need to begin each day with a prayer, and then think about how I can help others and if I am able, to act on something that day, while trying to take care of myself and family.
There are so many people and situations to pray for, I needed to start with that.
Here are ten things I want to pray for daily:
I pray for those lost to the virus and their friends and families not only for dying in a way we never would have thought four months ago, but for having to adjust to new ways of grieving without funerals and a physical presence of all those who would have grieved with them. Help them keep their memories alive and know their loved ones are all in God’s arms.
I pray for all those on the front lines of this war—not only the medical and emergency community, but also anyone taking care of others and at risk in close contact. Keep them all well and provide for them the tools and supplies they need. Help them know we all are extremely grateful for their work, and give them rest and revitalization between working shifts.
I pray for those known and unknown hundreds of people working on a cure. Provide them insight, help them share their work with one another, and keep everyone risk-free. I pray with all my heart that the cure be found soon and available for all people.
I pray for those businesses providing products and services we all need including medical supplies, medications, computer devices and internet service, cleaning products, gloves, masks, grocery and drug stores, and providers of funeral services. As people are working long hours and getting exhausted, worried, and overwhelmed, give them the tools they need for themselves and others, help them also know how much they are appreciated whether they hear it or not, and also give them rest and revitalization between working shifts. Help leaders be honest and fair in pricing and in the distribution of supplies and services. I pray that we can find new ways to keep the economy going to get us through the storm.
I pray for those financially affected in the loss of jobs, pay, and hours. Enable them find the ability to provide for themselves and their families and for all of us who are able to help them get what they need. May landlords and owners of properties continue to support helping families stay in their homes.
I pray for the homeless, those in prison, those living alone or in large groups, and any people in at-risk circumstances that feel or have felt forgotten and lost during this time. Help us help them in providing ways to get them food, housing, medical needs and support. Help people living alone, young and old, to reach out to others in their isolation and for others to reach out to them as well.
I pray for the families of the world. While we are fortunate that most children aren’t contracting this virus, help us remember the extreme disruption in their daily lives and help us to talk to them in a positive loving manner. Give all children the tools they need to continue learning with devices, Wi-Fi, and schoolwork mailed home to them, and especially children struggling academically. Be present with those losing and grieving interactions with friends and colleagues, sports, music, other extracurricular activities, and graduations. Help parents balance home and school for their families and be with those struggling without work. Keep grandparents and other elderly relatives safe and supported as we connect with them at a distance.
I pray for people to come together in the world against hate of any individual or group of people around this virus such as anyone of Chinese descent. In all the world, we must realize that hate and fear go hand in hand and it is easier to fear and hate others we don’t know, especially when we are looking for someone to blame. Help us understand that when we get to know one another as people who want the same things in this world, the energy required to keep up hate and fear diminishes.
I pray for the media and government officials to keep us informed on what is happening in our world. Provide for them the tools to present information in a truthful and clear manner. Help them remember the influential power they have and to use this power wisely. Please be with people combating misinformation, internet interference, scams, and fear tactics and help those who prey on people to gain an understanding in the damage this causes both to themselves and others. Help government officials serve all people, setting partisan politics aside, doing what is best for everyone while taking care of themselves at work and home in this difficult time.
I pray for the mental health of all of us. Help us all overcome the shame in telling others or admitting to having feelings of worry, depression, anger, and anxiety. Open doors for all of us to know that one of the keys to combating this is doing what is the most difficult to do--talk to others. Help us reach out in any manner and use this time as an excuse (“this pandemic has made me feel….”) to directly communicate with someone we trust. Be present with people who at home suffer from physical, emotional, or psychological abuse providing them resources to be safe, and help those inflicting the suffering to know that there is always another way to live if they can but reach out to others to find it.
Closing Prayer: Dear God, we are living in a time of tragedy as well as opportunity.
Help us all grow as individuals, be kind to one another, obtaining a greater ability to see and help others in need.
Bio: Becky was born in Minneapolis, grew up in Brooklyn Park, and moved to Seattle in 1988 where she met Ron LaFond and married in 1992. They returned to Minnesota in 1996 with their son Ben following the death of Becky’s father Don the year before. They joined St. Michael’s that year raising Ben and their daughter Mia in Roseville. Becky works for an area school district. She enjoys being the family photographer, genealogy, nature and gardening. On days working at home, she, Ron, and Mia (in college) each find a separate corner of the house to work and study. Becky feels grateful that in all this tragedy, there is hope in springtime.