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In times of national emergency, people of faith are always ready to lend a hand to those in need—and to pray.
Now, in response to the Coronavirus Pandemic, the combined Christian churches across every denomination in Australia have launched a ‘National Call to Prayer’ . Starting March 19, it’s a campaign calling people to take a moment to pray, every evening at 1900 hrs (7pm), for God to bring an end to the crisis.
The time of 1900 hours has been chosen as a simple prompt, linking it to the ‘19’ in COVID19, and because most families will be able to gather at that time to take a moment to pray.
Pastor Wayne Alcorn (pictured), head of the Australian Christian Churches, a network of Pentecostal churches in Australia, is leading the campaign. He said that some people may only pray for a minute, others may choose 19 minutes or more, but either way, the message is simple: seek God for his healing, strength and peace across our nation.
“I just think it’s a wonderful thought that at 7pm across all the different timezones, and now it’s going beyond Australia, that people in their timezone turn off TVs and other devices and distractions and seek a God who said, ‘if you call on me, I’ll answer you’,” he said. “And that’s what we have to do right now. It’s so simple. It doesn’t require budget, or program, or promotion. It just requires God’s people to pray.”
Unity Across Denominations
Wayne, who is pastor at Hope Centre in Brisbane, said that as the pandemic has developed, he’s been encouraged to see the the great unity among different faith traditions, to put aside their differences and together seek God for help.
“It’s one of the most encouraging, heartwarming things,” he said. “I’ve been in Christian leadership of different shapes and forms for 40 years [and] I’ve never seen such wonderful unity. We’re not talking about doctrine, we’re not talking about styles and tradition, we’re talking about a need to seek our Father in heaven. 100 percent [of denominations are] right in, standing together in faith. [This is] a magnificent time in church history, despite the pain that a lot of people are in.”
He also encouraged people who aren’t sure about God, or faith, to have a go at prayer, too.
“100 percent of denominations are right in, standing together in faith. This is a magnificent time in church history, despite the pain that a lot of people are in.”
“Start a conversation with heaven,” he said. “We complicate prayer; we think that God’s impressed with big and flowery words. He [just] wants to hear the heart of people that want to connect with Him.
“I think if we can take all the complicated nuances out of prayer and just begin to say, ‘God help us right now…would you just begin to speak words of comfort and clarity into my own heart?’ [When] people start that, I think they’ll be surprised about the journey that God would begin to lead them on.”
He encouraged believers to exercise their faith by being ‘salt and light’ in the community – being calm, being kind, and loving their neighbour; by asking people how they are going, and looking after those who are vulnerable physically and financially.