The confinement in our homes is forcing millions to stop abruptly, cancel all our plans, and take time to look in the mirror.
The Italian Evangelical Alliance issued an appeal to all evangelical churches, ministries, and believers to join together on March 22nd to pray in unity, asking God to be revealed in this very moment.
The current Covid-19 crisis that is ravaging Italy is providing many opportunities for the evangelical minority to overcome divisions, to shine as a testimony of the hope evangelicals have in God.
This hope is based on the truth found in God’s word and the salvation it teaches we have by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in the work of Christ alone, to the glory of God alone.
This is a message of hope that sounds completely different than the messages of hope being proclaimed by the majority religious institution and Italian humanists/secularists. Theirs are false messages of hope telling people to look within themselves, at their own goodness, at the goodness of those around them, regardless of belief in God.
This week the Italian Evangelical Alliance issued an appeal to all Italian evangelical churches, ministries, and believers. The appeal is one to join together on Sunday, March 22nd to pray in unity, asking God to be revealed in this very moment.
The response has been encouraging. In fact, the Vice President of the Alliance, Leonardo De Chirico stated: “We are not aware of a time in Italian history where there has been such a large representation of the Italian evangelical churches converging on a common prayer initiative”.
Participation has been confirmed by the following denominations:
- Assemblies of God in Italy;
- Pentecostal congregations of Italy;
- Federation of Pentecostal Churches
- Apostolic Churches of Italy;
- Christian Pentecostal Churches of Italy;
- Romanian Pentecostal Churches of Italy;
- New Pentecost Evangelical Churches;
- Elim Churches in Italy
- Consulta Evangelica;
- Chinese Evangelical Churches in Italy;
- Churches of the Nazarene;
- Evangelical Reformed Baptist Churches in Italy;
- Union of Christian Biblical Churches;
and many other churches and missions, such as Operation Mobilization, Worldventure, the IMB in Italy, Open Doors and Compassion International. The unity we are seeing is of great encouragement. A beautiful sign of unity, indeed.
In this midst of the pandemic, we have access to the God who sits enthroned above it (Psalm 27). We can approach him through the one and only mediator, our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Below is the outline and the prayer points prepared in collaboration with our Federal Council. This guide was prepared with the desire that the prayers would represent the equal consent of Italian evangelicals.
PRAY FOR GOD TO HEAL OUR COUNTRY
- We pray that the Lord will bring physical and emotional healing in this moment of disease and in the spreading of the virus. Above all, we pray for a spiritual healing, but also and above all spiritual: may this may be an opportunity for an Awakening to the Gospel and biblical reformation.
- We ask God to intervene in people's lives and to comfort those who are in mourning, suffering or afraid.
- We thank God that we can trust in His sovereign reign, that everything is under His control, and we ask for forgiveness for all those times that we have let ourselves be overtaken by fear, thinking that we are capable of being in control.
PRAY FOR THE CHURCH
- We pray that the Church in Italy would understand the importance of her vocation and therefore remain faithful to Christ and His Gospel, being light in this moment of suffering,united and a blessing for Italian society, alert and sensitive to the needs of our country.
- We are grateful for the witness of the biblical Gospel in our country, and for those who brought the witness of the Gospel here long before us.
- We ask for forgiveness for all those times when we have been divided or distracted by marginal issues.
PRAY FOR AUTHORITIES
- We pray for our politicians and medical authorities, who are dealing with a situation without certainties. May God guide and inspire them.
- We pray for doctors and all medical personnel who are under stress, that God can protect and bless them.
- We pray for those who will have to endure the economic consequences of this crisis, that it would be carried out with equity and justice, remembering the weakest and people in difficulty.
- We express thanks for health providers and services that seek to take care of our citizens.
May we call out to Him together by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The appeal to the Italian evangelical churches, to the evangelical ministries, to the Italian evangelical believers says:
“These I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” The Lord GOD, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares, “I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered”. (Isaiah 56:7–8 ESV)
The emergence of COVID19 has proven to be a trial that is heavily impacting our country in never imagined by our generation. As the people of God, it isespecially in circumstances like this that we are called to pray, glorifying God, and intercedingon behalf of the church, the country itself, and the redemption project that the Lord is carrying out in his midst.
While we know that every church, every organization or mission is already promoting numerous prayer activities, we wish to propose a national prayer day for all Italian evangelicals for SundayMarch 22, 2020, in which all evangelicals agree to meet at the feet of the Lord in prayer.
Clay Kannard is an evangelical pastor in Rome, and communications director of the Reformanda Initiative.