Hannah* is in lockdown in the Muslim nation in which she lives. Just like us, COVID-19 has her cooped up for much of the week. From the first day of the nation’s lockdown, however, Hannah has felt the Spirit leading her to intentionally engage with the shopkeepers and restaurant people she encounters when she goes out.
“I specifically ask how they are doing,” Hannah reports. “I ask if they are feeling fearful or stressed, then I pray for them or bless them right away. So far, every single shopkeeper and restaurant worker I’ve talked with has expressed a lot of fear and stress. For some, it’s fear for their livelihood as their businesses suffer while rent and expenses haven’t gone down. For most, it’s the fear of getting sick. In a time when we are supposed to stay home and away from others, they are the ones interacting with the greatest number of people every day. They are afraid of bringing the virus home to their families.
“I look them in the eyes, and I pray for them. ‘Father God, protect this woman who is serving her community every single day in this scary time and protect her family. Please keep them healthy and give her the strength to serve her community.’ Sometimes I pray a verse over them; Psalms 34:6 and 46:1 cover a wide range of fears. Other times I bless them: ‘Father God, bless this man and his whole family with your peace. Provide them with everything they need and give them your joy instead of fear.’
“After I pray for them or bless them, they seem relieved. Someone sees them, sees their anxiety and fear, sees that they are risking not only their own health but also their family’s health in order to serve the community. They are so thankful to have someone pray for them. My prayer is that the Lord will turn their relief and gratitude into a desire to know Him.”