I don’t have to tell you this global pandemic is changing the shape of our lives. One of the hardest things is how much it has separated us from each other. But one of the beautiful things is how nothing — no quarantine, no lockdown — can keep us from praying for one another.
A lot of you have shared your prayer requests these past few weeks, inviting others into your life and humbly asking them to cover you and your loved ones in prayer. I’ve been watching and praying over these requests as they’ve come in by the hundreds. And many of them are heartbreaking.
People are aching right now. They’re grieving the jobs and the loved ones they’ve lost. They don’t know how they’ll keep their families afloat. They’re worried about the vulnerable friends and family they can’t be with right now. They’re burdened for the children they sponsor around the globe. They’re struggling with anxiety and depression. They need prayers for health, for safety, for comfort, for peace.
A heaviness hangs in the air, and whatever your life looks like right now, I know you feel it. I feel it too. A lot of us are lonely, afraid or both.
If you’re starting to think that you’re alone in all of this, I want you to know that you aren’t. There is hope on the other side of the struggle and the pain. And I’d like to give you a few ways you can take hold of that hope, even in the midst of the fears and uncertainty.
Don’t do it on your own.
As a collective, we’ve never seen anything like the reality we’re living right now. It’s teaching and testing us in new ways. And as we go through it, we need each other.
Here are a few ideas to help you be intentional about staying connected to others:
- You can adhere to health guidelines and still be creative in the ways you reach out to other people. Maybe that’s forming a virtual prayer group on Google Hangouts — or even organizing a ShareTube viewing party, where you and your friends can chat as you watch all your favorite videos together. These are just a few ways you can re-create those moments of human connection and make all that social distance feel a little less daunting.
- In our loneliness, we sometimes forget that God is right here with us. And prayer is an action we can always take. Use this time to pray for your loved ones, for your leadership, for the child you sponsor, for your neighbors (and not just the ones in the house next door). Lift up requests from all over the world, and share your own needs too! And if you don’t even know how to pray right now, that’s OK. You can download this free prayer guide for help getting started.
- If you’re at home with your family, you have an opportunity to grow together in new ways. We’ve put together a bunch of a free resources for kids, like devotionals about trusting God during scary times, games, coloring pages and recipes from around the world. Try a new activity together and have fun with it!
Look for the good.
It’s easy to fill our minds with constant news updates and all kinds of opinions on social media. But this can lead us down a path of fear and anxiety.
The good news is that we all have the power to take control of our own thoughts and focus on things that will lead us into a more helpful frame of mind. Right now is an ideal time to practice dwelling on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable …” (Philippians 4:8).
So, what are some things you can spend time thinking about, instead of just the sad or unsettling things?
- Tell yourself, and meditate on, the truths of Scripture. These are knowns in an unknown world. Read God’s Word and remind your own heart that God is with you in your suffering (Isaiah 41:10). He can handle your anxieties (Philippians 4:6-7). He is faithful (2 Timothy 2:13). He is in control (Psalm 46:1). He offers you peace (Psalm 4:8).
- Spend a few minutes every day reading some uplifting stories that will give you glimpses of joy and triumph in the midst of hardship — stories like these.
- Join our Share the Good Facebook group, where people all over the place gather to share positive, fun, encouraging updates. You’ll find free laughs and reasons to celebrate! This is also a perfect way for you to stay connected with others and experience a sense of community, wherever you are.
Give compassion to others and yourself.
If there was ever a time to give and receive grace, we’re living in it. When we practice empathy and compassion, we can start to appreciate the perspectives of the people around us. And once we realize that almost everyone feels a little uneasy — and many are grappling with painful realities — we can choose to be patient and kind.
It doesn’t stop there, either. Just like you can choose to extend patience and kindness to others, you can choose to extend patience and kindness to yourself. Here’s what I mean:
Admit to yourself that these are unusual times. Tell yourself that you’re going to celebrate progress in this season, not insist on perfection. Allow yourself room and permission to be a little off some days. You’re dealing with major life adjustments right now. Give yourself the same grace you’d give someone else.
Don’t forget to simply take care of yourself. This can really fly out the window during a crisis — whether you’re sharing a tiny space with a big family, tired and stressed from helping on the front lines, or just lacking the motivation to get out of bed.
You might have to be extra intentional about doing the things you already know how to do, like being active every day, protecting your sleep, getting some sunshine whenever you can, eating foods that are good for you, and creating a sense of structure for your days (yes, even in quarantine).
If you suddenly find yourself with more time at home, use it to create new rhythms and rituals in your walk with God. Maybe you’ve been wanting to start your mornings with dedicated prayer time, study the Bible during your lunch break, or do family devotions together every night. Now is the perfect time to practice incorporating these things into your daily routine!
Take any newfound free time as a chance to draw strength from the One who is over and above it all. You may find, to your surprise, that this season can be a time of real growth for you.
Our challenges — and the ways we’re experiencing disruptions in our daily lives — are unique to each of us. But we are all being stretched, and we are all in this together.
You are never alone. There is always hope. Let’s keep pointing each other toward it.
Leave a comment below and share what you’re doing to stay connected in this season. And share your prayer requests so we know how to pray for you!
If you’re in danger of any kind, your health and safety are of utmost concern. Please dial 911, as police and emergency personnel are operating as normal. You can also contact the domestic violence hotline (800-799-7233), the suicide help line (800-273-8255), or a crisis counselor by texting HOME to 741741. Visit our Emergency Resources for more ways you can get the help you need.