Coronavirus Letter 


                                                                                                18/03/2020
Dear Friend,
 
Unfortunately, Government and Baptist Union guidelines over the coronavirus mean that we are not currently able to meet on Sundays nor are we able to meet for our usual midweek prayer, Bible study and other activities. I hope that this will be a short break, and as soon as we can meet again I shall be in touch.
Even though we cannot meet, this does not prevent us from praying, studying the Scriptures and drawing closer to God in our isolation. We have the great privilege and responsibility of prayer. We are not helpless in the face of catastrophes but have access to the God who reigns over all, through Jesus Christ our Mediator.
As God’s people we must call out to him, interceding as the coronavirus spreads around the world and as governments and individuals respond.
Please join me as I join Christian Concern in prayer demonstrating our faith in God by calling on him for help during this difficult time. Below, are many prayer points to help guide your prayers, along with Bible passages on which to meditate.
Let’s join together as followers of Christ at Rickmansworth Baptist Church remembering each other in prayer – as we dwell on God’s word and pray for his help.
Should you need to contact me, do not hesitate to do so. My contact details are below.

In Christ,
 
 
Gareth Garland
Email: minister@rickmansworthbaptist.org.uk


Praising God
"For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God."
(Psalm 62:5-7)
- Praise God as the maker and sovereign Lord over all things – none can question his ways (Job 38-42)
- Praise Jesus as the one to whom all authority in Heaven and Earth has been given (Matt 28:19-20)
- Praise God for his loving protection of his covenant people (Isaiah 43:1-7, Psalm 91)
- Give thanks that nothing on earth can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8:38-39)
- Give thanks that every good and perfect gift is from our Father and that we have much to thank God for, even during suffering (James 1:17)
- Praise God for a hope beyond death – that death will finally be defeated and we shall be raised (1 Cor 15:50-58)
 
Praying for those in authority
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
- For Boris Johnson and the cabinet – that they would be wise in setting and communicating policies to stop and mitigate the virus
- For the scientists advising the UK government – that they would understand the virus better and make excellent recommendations on how best to protect the population
- For the World Health Organisation – that it would help governments worldwide fight the virus effectively by issuing wise advice
- For NHS management to find the most effective policies to provide high levels of care to those at threat from coronavirus and those with other illnesses
- For business leaders to put in place policies that help the country respond – by slowing the virus’ spread and by helping provide resources needed by the NHS and by those who are ill
- That church leaders would be bold in proclaiming Christ with wisdom and compassion and in leading the church to respond to those around us with love

Praying for society
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all  your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
- For those doctors, nurses and other health professionals as they come under pressure and strain – that they would be kept free from illness
- That the threat of illness would help many in society recognise their own mortality and their need for hope in the face of death
- For scientists to be successful in finding a vaccine and other effective ways to protect people from the virus
- That people would be mindful of the effects of their actions on others: following medical advice carefully and being responsible when buying supplies
- That time in isolation from others would provide an opportunity for non-Christians to reflect, repent and turn to Christ
- For all those whose work or study is hit by the crisis – that we would be fair to all who are affected and look after those whose livelihoods are threatened
 
Praying for the church
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:18-19)
- That the Church would act out of faith, not fear, in its response to the virus
- That Christians would be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us
- That Christians would be both bold and sensitive in sharing the gospel
- That we would be willing to be examples of Christ’s love for us by sacrificially serving our brothers, sisters and neighbours according to their needs
- For churches that run foodbanks, homeless shelters, schools and other social action projects – that they would be effective in caring for others despite the challenges
- That churches would put effective measures in place to continue worshipping God and providing pastoral support, while not endangering the vulnerable
 
Praying for forgiveness
“There were some present at that very time who told [Jesus] about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.'” (Luke 13:1-5)
- That God would forgive our sins – recognising that every disaster reminds us of our need to repent
- That God would show mercy on us for our complacency – for believing in our own self-sufficiency and the ability to protect ourselves
- That God would forgive our carelessness – for when we have mistreated the bodies and gifts he has given us and left ourselves vulnerable to illnesses
- That God would forgive us for when we have loved money or comfort more than loving God or our neighbours
- That God would forgive us for when we fear sickness or death more than him
- That God would show mercy on us when we lose perspective by failing to help all those who die on a daily basis worldwide through abortion, euthanasia, persecution and other threats to human life

Praying for protection
“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:13-15)
- That God would heal the elderly and vulnerable who have contracted the virus
- That there would be adequate medical and personal care for all who are affected
- For the friends and family of those who are ill, that they would be comforted and enabled to care for those who are sick
- That God’s mighty hand would be shown through the slowing down and eradication of the virus
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High  will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.”
(Psalm 91:1-3)