Almighty God, by Your great goodness mercifully look upon Your people that we may be governed and preserved evermore in body and soul; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
If there was a prayer which was written for these days of pestilence and plague, this might just be it. God has all the power. We are counting on his goodness to mercifully look down up on us. The result of such a merciful look will be good governance and our preservation in body and soul. As of this morning when these are being written, it appears that much of the country is heading toward a mandatory isolation in place. Perhaps by the time you are reading these words you will be forbidden to leave your home except to procure food, medical care, or other absolute necessities. The governor announced just such an order in my state today.
We pray for good governance. Yes, that surely includes the clarity of mind and insight to be self-governing in this time. God preserve us from joining the hoarders who can only think of themselves in these days. But we also pray for those who are empowered to govern. I am talking about the leaders of our state and federal governments who make the decisions that might save millions of lives or crash the economy. Pray for them. Even if you did not vote for them or if you personally loathe them, pray for them. Their decisions are important, and the Bible calls on us to pray for them. Paul prayed for Nero.
Pray for those who govern, but also trust in God. The leaders of Jesus’ day thought they were saving their social order when they brought Jesus to trial and sentenced him to die. He looked to them like a dangerous man with revolutionary ideas who was likely to bring the wrath of the Romans upon them. It all made sense to them. They made a decision which looked right. As Caiaphas said, “do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish” (John 11:50). Our leaders may make disastrous decisions or wise decisions. But it is never beyond God’s ability to save. He used the wicked and terrible logic of Caiaphas to save the world once before.
We pray that God look upon us in his great goodness and mercifully govern and preserve us in both body and soul. Say that prayer, today and every day.