Craig* is a marketplace worker in the Middle East. Following clear direction from the Lord, he and his wife have spent the last twenty years learning Arabic and releasing God’s Kingdom to Arabs. In these stories from his personal blog (edited and used with permission), he talks about opportunities to share God’s love and extinguish fear by praying for hundreds of people, including dozens of nationalities, as the coronavirus shuts down the country where he lives.
People battle constantly with fear in normal times. Right now, however, are not ‘normal’ times. And what we are witnessing globally are not people being minorly 'concerned' about the coronavirus pandemic; rather it is all-too-often full-blown fear and panic.
At a time when fear is running rampant, and that same fear tragically is gripping many Christians as well, we need to come against it. We need to address it. We need to be imparting hope and peace into anxiety and fear. We need to be reminding one another of God's promises for protection and healing.
My wife and I went to a large mall (all malls have subsequently closed) and were able to minister to many Christians who were working the stores. We simply asked them: “How are you doing?” and the responses were incredible! Many were paralysed by fear and the added stress of not knowing what would happen to their jobs. Some are being put on ‘unpaid leave’ and are worried about not being able to send money to their families back in their home countries. All churches have cancelled their services, and they felt isolated spiritually.
But what did we get to do? We got to bring church to them. We got to pray with many of them. We got to conduct mini-services with them, reminding them of what God's Word said about protection and about healing. We got to remind them that as believers the Person that resides in them, the Holy Spirit, is greater than the power of the enemy and of this virus.
Fear is everything – and even when people aren't fearful for their own personal safety, they are often fearful for their families, for their ageing parents, for their job security, etc.
Extinguishing fear is our mandate! It has been said that "Fear Not" is a commandment that can be found 365 times in the Bible, one for every day of the year. Whether that is an actual number, it is the most cited command in God's Word. We have been given grace to not live in fear. To be able to obey what God commands.
On a two-and-a-half-hour prayer walk the Lord opened the door for me to pray for literally another 20 people!
Restaurants/coffee shops can operate but only on a ‘take out/take away’ basis. So I would walk into a shop and ask the employees: "How is everyone doing?" I ask if anybody is fearful, nervous, etc. And the next thing I know, I am praying for them all.
I prayed for their protection, asked God to surround them with His angels, for the Holy Spirit to come upon them, for them to have dreams, for their salaries not to be suspended (which is happening more and more), etc.
I have never experienced an easier atmosphere to minister in! I don't know if I have ever been able to pray for that many people in this country in that short of a time period.
Things are changing so rapidly with new restrictions seemingly coming every day. Fear and anxiety are only heightened in such a climate.
But this is our hour to shine! This is our hour to live out our faith in obedience to God. The Apostle Paul exhorts us: "Above all, clothe yourselves in love" – Col. 3:14 (NLT).
What could be more loving right now than helping those who are gripped with fear? Helping those who are not looking to the Lord, and those who are not being reminded of His promises and His power?
This has been spiritually one of the most engaging and satisfying times in my entire life – everything is being taken away from us and in many ways, the primacy of the Lord in our lives can be on the rise.
Functioning within the limitations/restrictions that the government has set, which we are honouring, we get to go and release the kingdom. We got to partner again with God to bring hope, peace and prayer for protection and provision to many different people – multiple nationalities, from many different religions (Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus).
In one location, God opened a big door! Until then, I think the largest group I'd prayed for all together was five people, who would all kind of bunch up behind the counter where they worked. But on this day, I saw a group of 15 restaurant employees in the back who were about to start a meeting, and I walked back there, after praying for the two people at the front door and got to pray corporately with all 15 employees! The same stuff as before – protection, deliverance from fear, for financial concerns, for their families, and all of it in the name of Jesus.
The next day, it was more of the same – not as big of a group, but the privilege of praying for a Hindu man from India, a Buddhist woman from Bhutan, three Muslim men from Egypt (whom I got to pray for in Arabic) and a handful of Christians as well.
Please Christians, be Christian! Know what you carry! Remember Whom you represent! Even the name ‘Christian’ means ‘little Christs’. I pray these stories will inspire you and empower you. You actually can't go wrong here – do you know why? Because love never fails. Please, for the sake of God's Kingdom in this hour, don't miss these opportunities to become love to everyone you meet. It won't be this easy after this whole coronavirus thing is over.