A Prophet of God Has Asked Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Fast in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Will You Join Me?
By Ken K. Gourdin
Please join me and the rest of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as we begin a special fast in light of the worldwide COVID-19 epidemic. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that prayer has power, not to change God’s mind, but to help us to accept His will in whatever circumstance we may find ourselves, as well as to give us the wisdom to make wise and prudent decisions in our various circumstances.
Members fast, going without food and water for one twenty-four hour period one Sunday per month (usually from Saturday evening to Sunday evening, or perhaps Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon) and then donating the funds that would have been spent on those two meals (and more, as desired and inspired) to help the poor and those in need in their local area. We believe that fasting may make prayer more effectual because the sacrifice of our own personal desires and needs represented by the fast helps us to focus our hearts and minds outward rather than inward.
The offering is known as a Fast Offering, and the day is known as Fast Sunday—though to children and others for whom going without food and drink for that long is a challenge, it hardly seems “fast”! When it is possible to meet in larger groups, members meet together and share their feelings as directed by the Holy Spirit about Christ’s Gospel and about the miracles and other good fruit He has borne in their lives. Sharing such feelings is known as “bearing a testimony,” and the meeting is known as Fast & Testimony Meeting.
Typically, prayer in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is extemporaneous. In this case, though, I wrote down the things I wanted to pray for in order to help me focus my thoughts better. This is my prayer.
- That healthcare workers caring for people with the virus (as well as others) might be protected insofar as possible
- That first responders may be protected from contracting the virus insofar as possible, and that as many of those who have contracted the virus as possible may recover
- That as many of those who have contracted the virus as possible may recover, and that spread of the virus through them might be minimal
- That those who have lost their jobs because of the virus may find other work as quickly as possible
- That people who have not contracted the virus may make wise and prudent decisions in order to prevent, or at least to minimize, its spread
- That those who are searching for effective treatments may find them, and that those treatments may be implemented as quickly and as widely as possible
- That those who are working on a vaccine may be successful in their efforts as quickly as possible, and that people will be wise and get vaccinated
- That leaders and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may be protected insofar as possible
- That missionary and temple work may be able to resume as soon as it is possible to do so safely and in an orderly fashion
- That American industries and businesses hardest hit by the economic aspects of the virus may be able to recover insofar as possible, and that America’s economy and those of the nations of the rest of the world may also recover as quickly as possible
- That political leaders may make wise and prudent decisions that will slow the spread of the virus and facilitate effective treatment
- That those who have lost loved ones to this disease, and those who will, might be comforted in their losses
- That this crisis might enable us to count our blessings, realizing all that we have taken for granted, and that it might make us more kind, loving, and charitable toward one another