By Aaron Wilson
This article was originally published in Facts & Trends, a ministry of Lifeway
The coronavirus pandemic currently casts a shadow over all aspects of our lives, from the way we process news to the means by which we shop for groceries. It also greatly affects the way we pray.
What sometimes gets in the way of our prayer life during this season, however, is not knowing where to begin.
Pandemic means “all peoples,” so how do we practically lift up the needs of every person who—in ways great and small—face challenges during this current crisis?
Facts and Trends recently took this question to social media, asking:“We know we should be praying for healthcare workers and the elderly during this time. What are some other professions and demographics that can use targeted prayer?”Here are some of the answers we received, along with suggested prayers for each group.You might work through this list during your daily prayer time, taking time to lift up one group in the morning and one in the evening for as long as the pandemic lasts.
1. DELIVERY DRIVERS
Bless those who professionally travel the roads so others can safely reside at home during this pandemic.
Grant these workers safety as they come in contact with people and handle packages coming from a variety of locations. Keep them awake and alert as they navigate routes during a season marked by longer shifts.
2. PASTORS AND CHURCH LEADERS
Equip church leaders as they work to shepherd their flock from afar during this season of social distancing. Help these leaders embrace new technology and ministry methods.
Please allow these leaders to be financially stable in a season when they can’t physically pass offering plates around and when congregants may be less mindful to give.Help the church thrive during this season and come out even stronger on the other side.
Please encourage singles who may feel the effects of social distancing to a greater degree than people who have family at home to help them pass the time.
Allow singles to feel a sense of community even when they can’t gather with others in person. Grant them support and encouragement from friends and family during this season of marked uncertainty.
As teachers are forced to be away from their students, give them a peace about their kids’ wellbeing.
Help teachers who are transitioning to online classes make good use of new technology and methods as they adapt lessons plans and schedules.
Please bless teachers financially as they wait for schools to reopen.
5. FIRST RESPONDERS AND POLICE OFFICERS
In a season when people are intentionally avoiding face-to-face interaction, thank you for the brave souls who intentionally race to serve people in some of their greatest times of need.
Please keep first responders safe from COVID-19 and other dangers as they come in contact with a variety of situations that often require quick, hands-on decision making.While society feels unsettled, help police officers maintain order, especially during a time when economic strain could lead to a rise in crime.
6. COUPLES WITH WEDDING PLANS
Father, from the very beginning you created marriage as an institution that would glorify you.Help those whose wedding plans have been uprooted by the coronavirus make wise decisions about what to do going forward.
Give patience and self-control to engaged couples who decide to postpone their plans. And help those who decide to get married without friends and family present have no regrets.
7. GROCERY STORE WORKERS
Thank you for employees who provide daily bread to members of their community. Grant these workers safety from the virus along with endurance and patience.
In a time when empty shelves and tight funds can easily cause tempers to flare, bless these employees with customers who are understanding and flexible.
8. MEDICAL SUPPORT TEAMS
Lord, bless those in healthcare leadership who must make difficult, critical decisions during this time when resources are stretched thin.
Be with workers in the medical supply chain who produce, obtain, and deliver needed supplies—that they will work efficiently to get the right resources to the right people at the right time.
9. FOSTER CARE FAMILIES
Please help foster children who, because of social-distancing requirements, are missing therapy appointments, court dates, and scheduled visits with biological parents.
Enable foster children who rely on routine and structure to easily adjust to these changes. May this disruption not lead to extreme behaviors at home.
Help foster parents and other family members who may feel helpless during this time.
10. THOSE WHO CANNOT WORK FROM HOME
Please provide for employees around the world whose jobs don’t allow them to work remotely.
Examples include hairdressers and barbers, those in the travel and tourism industry, restaurant employees, event workers, gym and fitness centers trainers, non-essential retail employees, and many others.
11. THOSE IN ABUSIVE SITUATIONS
Lord, help children and adults who are in abusive situations at home during a time when social distancing is forcing them into closer quarters with their abusers.
Please grant these individuals and family units hope and deliverance. Grant them the resources, support systems, communication outlets, and the justice they need to be seen and valued as God’s image bearers.
12. THOSE DISPLACED FROM THEIR HOMES
Please provide for refugees and those who don’t have an agency over them to keep their families safe during this pandemic.
Grant these people whose lives have already been marked by disruption a sense of belonging and a network of care.
Please quell the spread of the virus in places like refugee camps where there’s little to no medical care and where it’s impossible to practice social distancing.
13. EMPLOYEES DEEMED “ESSENTIAL” WHO WORK AMONG THE PUBLIC
Lord, bless employees who must continue to serve the public during a time when being in contact with others puts them at a greater risk.
Keep them safe and help them to serve faithfully while they battle longer shifts, less resources, and customers and clients who may be frazzled and impatient.
14. INTERNET-SUPPORT PERSONNEL
Father, be with employees who work to keep the internet going during a season when people are spending a vast amount of time on devices and screens which creates strain for online infrastructures.
Bless, in particular, the work of HVAC employees who are working to cool data centers, especially at medical buildings.
15. GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS
Please grant wisdom and integrity to leaders and representatives who are shouldering heavy responsibilities and making decisions that greatly affect the people they serve.
Give them accurate data, trustworthy counselors, and the resources they need to govern in a manner that will bring you glory.
16. COVID-19 CLEANING WORKERS
We lift up employees who work for companies that service buildings with suspected or confirmed cases of the coronavirus.
Please keep these employees safe from contracting the virus as they labor to protect others from it. Bless the effectiveness of their efforts to help quell the spread of the coronavirus.”
17. HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE STUDENTS
Help young people whose dreams, plans, and goals have been turned upside-down overnight.
Be with upcoming graduates who are missing out on the last half of their school year and who didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to close friends before they head in different directions.Help students deal with such disappointment and enable them to make use of this season while preparing for the future.
18. SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS AND EMPLOYEES
Lord, please sustain businesses that rely on foot traffic during a time when the coronavirus has disrupted typical shopping and buying patterns.
Please help these business owners and employees to rely on you during these lean times. Enable them to reopen as soon as it’s safe to do so.
When this is possible, grant them a flood of customers to make up for the time and revenue lost.
19. PEOPLE STRUGGLING WITH ANXIETY, DEPRESSION, AND OTHER MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES
Father, these times of uncertainty and social isolation can exacerbate mental health issues that already exist.
Please grant a sense of peace and joy to those who are already prone to struggle in these areas.
Give them the courage and financial provision to reach out for care during these times, such as through mental health professionals by way of telemedicine.
20. COUNSELORS AND THERAPISTS
Please be with mental healthcare professionals. Many are seeking to care for patients during uncharted scenarios at a time when face-to-face visits are not an option.
Enable mental healthcare workers to effectively help others when they themselves may be dealing with personal issues.
21. THOSE FACING JOB LAYOFFS
In the midst of unstable times, please strengthen the job market so that as few people as possible will need to file for unemployment.
We know this is already the reality for many and that it looms on the minds of those who aren’t sure if their jobs will still be there in a week or so.
Please provide for everyone during this time and grant special grace to those who now find themselves out of work—especially single income homes.
22. DEVELOPING NATIONS
Bless societies where there is little infrastructure to handle medical pandemics. Prevent this from becoming a humanitarian crisis in such areas.
In a time when countries’ economies are strained, please enable nations to rally around one another to spread aid as needed.
Allow the Church to be your hands and feet during this time of widespread physical and spiritual need.
23. MILITARY PERSONNEL AND THEIR FAMILIES
Lord, please care for those who are sacrificing so much to bring stability to the world during a time of volatility.
Bless military families who were in the middle of being transferred and now are caught in limbo.
Please grant these families grace during this time as you bless the fruit of peacekeeping efforts and humanitarian relief.
24. EXPECTANT PARENTS
Father, care for parents who are expecting their birth of children. Keep them and their children safe from contracting the coronavirus.
In a time when retailers’ shelves are thinly stocked, grant expectant parents access to the supplies they need for their babies.
Please keep parents from developing coronavirus-like symptoms that would prohibit them from interacting with their newborns due to quarantine requirements.
25. THE HOMELESS AND THOSE IN DEEP POVERTY
Pray for people who, during a season, must rely on others’ generosity to survive.Grant those without homes the means and resources to escape conditions of poverty in a time when many services to them have dwindled.
In situations where addictions have led to poverty, and during a time when people may be more tempted to give into destructive habits, please grant self-control and community support, even when people can’t gather in-person.
CONTINUING IN PRAYER
This list barely scratches the surface of people to pray for during the COVID-19 pandemic.Help us continue the conversation by adding ways to pray for additional professions and demographics in the comments below.
AARON WILSON (@AaronBWilson26) is associate editor for Facts & Trends.