How Prayer Ignited Our Hope During The Covid Pandemic
At 9-centimeters dilated and laboring, police escorted my support out. Covid-19 was changing hospital protocols by the minute. Heartbroken and tired I was learning the hard way that life in lockdown would look different than the plans we made.
2020 for my family was like a scene from the movie Cast Away with Tom Hanks and his volleyball friend, Wilson. My husband and I hunkered down at home with days between showers, feeling lost, ignorant, scared, and desperately reaching out for rescue with a newborn in our hands. Being stuck on our own private island wasn’t a fantasy anymore.
Family canceled flights and friends stayed home. My husband and I were forced to celebrate our little girl alone. The long days in isolation turned into weeks of postpartum tears and despair. We were facing baby battles on the outside and feeling fear on the inside.
Finding time to read my Bible for encouragement and strength was incredibly difficult. Under a slew of sleepless nights and strenuous, tear-soaked days, my thoughts were growing weary and my role as a mom was feeling heavy.
In a frantic SOS text, a friend responded, “God equipped you with His Word in all the days leading up to this moment. He knew back then what you would need today. His Word is in you.” The wrestling in my soul went still as I recalled Psalm 23 in my mind:
“’The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.’” Psalm 23:1-6 ESV
Friend, if you feel yourself drowning under the hardships of life or you feel overwhelmed by the battles you’re up against, draw on what the Lord has planted in you out of this season. Recall His faithfulness in all the moments that brought you here. God was planting His seeds of hope back then to grow in this season you’re in. The Helper is in you and has equipped you with what you need to live in His presence today.
Everything you need, you already have.
During stay-at-home orders, our church started mid-week prayer calls on Zoom to help connect the congregation outside of Sunday online services. Every Wednesday my husband and I logged on to see our spiritual family face to face through the screen and partner with Jesus and the Church in prayer for our city, our nation, its leaders, and the pandemic. It was like a breath resuscitating our dry bones.
In the fabric of our being, we were all created to come to the Father with our praise, our pleas, and to just be. Present. Listening. Longing. Not the kind of self-centered prayers that focus solely on how our situation could be better. Our hearts need to be advocating for the Church with the Church, praying for the lost and those struggling through a pandemic without Jesus.
The problem was my perspective. Seemingly overnight my heart of gratitude turned into grumbling. I was giving too much attention to what wasn’t working and missing the bigger picture. It’s easy to let emotions consume us in the valley of our circumstances. We might complain, become bitter, and get angry. The enemy deceives us into thinking our pain is too great, our strength too weak, and our burdens too heavy to possibly care for others. What more can we give when everything we have has been taken?
The world looks a lot smaller when all we can see is our own struggle. When we’re staring at the trenches of our situation, we miss the Truth. I did have more to give. I had gifts of prayer stored up inside. I had songs of worship and blessings to give praise for.
Prayer and worship are what held my family together when the world was falling apart. Burying our thoughts in prayer instead of complaints kept us free and moving forward when we felt like giving up. Prayer renewed our minds and our hearts. Prayer was God’s grace and gave us hope again.
Personally, motherhood turned out to be much different than I had planned. I had to release my grip on what I considered my purpose with work and writing and accept this new assignment in ministry as a full-time stay-at-home mom. This was my lane to run in and thrive. I realized that I can still change the world from here. And that brought me great peace to know that I am fulfilling my purpose and God-appointed assignment.
The global pandemic helped develop my prayer life and taught me to lean in and trust the Lord for perseverance. Marriage and motherhood in lockdown have both taught me to keep my focus on God. They have forced me to spend a lot of time on my knees and to be thankful for the moments I have in God’s Word. The more I pray and the more I seek God’s will, the better my ministry to my family becomes.
‘Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.’ Psalm 112:4 ESV
Trisha Keehn is a creative writer fueled by a lifetime of faith. She is part of the Life.Church and YouVersion Bible App creative writing team, a communications specialist in mental health, and uses her broadcast news background to help companies choose their words wisely. Trisha is a wife, mother, coffee connoisseur, lover of libraries, and a savvy traveler. Find more of her words at www.trishakeehn.com.
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