By Baptist Message staff
BATON ROUGE, La. (LBM) – Gov. John Bel Edwards has asked Louisianans to join him on Sunday, March 14, to pray and remember those in the state who have died from COVID-19.
“Sunday marks a year since the first confirmed COVID-19 death in Louisiana, and, sadly, there are thousands of empty seats at churches, Sunday dinners, family celebrations, homes, businesses and schools all across our state,” Edwards said in a news release. “As we mourn, I am calling on all Louisianans to join me and Donna on Sunday for a moment of prayer or remembrance for those we have lost and their families and friends who need our support now more than ever.
“We have lost far too many mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers and daughters and sons from all races, religions and creeds,” he continued. “We owe it to all of them to protect ourselves and each other as best we can to continue to slow the spread of COVID and prevent even more deaths as we work to end this pandemic.”
Louisiana confirmed its first COVID-19 case on March 9, 2020, and the first death five days later. According to the Louisiana Department of Health, 9,812 Louisianans have died and 435,514 have tested positive for the virus as of March 10.
Last year, Edwards called for multiple days of prayer as Louisianans battled the virus.
“I am thankful Governor Edwards has once again called a day of prayer,” Louisiana Baptists Executive Director Steve Horn told the Baptist Message. “I was on the conference call a few days ago when he first mentioned his desire to do this. He was clear that he desired the focus of our prayer to not only be on continued intercession, but also a day of thanksgiving as we seem to be getting better day by day.
“At this call to prayer, specific to thanksgiving, I am mindful of the one leper of 10 who returned to Jesus to give thanks for his healing,” he continued. “Seeing he was healed, he returned and with a loud voice, gave glory to God. I always want the fervency of my praise to match the fervency of my petition. Sunday is day to join our hearts together in thanksgiving.
“As we pray, we should also be mindful of those no longer with us,” he said. “I read this morning that a recent poll indicated that 23 percent of Americans have lost a family member or close friend. I’m in that 23% percent and even today have a friend battling for his life with this disease. With much good news surrounding us regarding this virus, let us continue to pray, ‘Lord, have mercy on us!’”