By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
BATON ROUGE, La. (LBM) – Governor John Bel Edwards, state legislators, other government leaders and pastors have asked Louisianans to devote the noontime hour over the next four Tuesdays to focused prayer and fasting for God’s intervention in the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation.
“Lunch Fasting Before God on Tuesdays” will begin Tuesday, March 31, and end Tuesday, April 21.
“I want to encourage all Louisiana Baptists to join the Governor and many of our legislators in fasting on Tuesdays at lunch,” Louisiana Baptists Executive Director Steve Horn told the Baptist Message. “In fact, what I really want to say is ‘Unless you are medically restricted from fasting, I cannot see why you would not want to participate.’
“We are beginning to see this virus invade the lives of those we know and we are certainly starting to feel the effects of the economic implications of this pandemic,” he continued. “Let us pray with desperation and expectation. Most of all, let us pray that a long-awaited spiritual awakening is the result.”
Edwards, who is a devoted Catholic, previously called on others to join him during a Louisiana Public Broadcasting town hall meeting March 23.
“I’m going to do a day of prayer and fast tomorrow and I’m just going to encourage people across Louisiana if they are of a like mind to join me in that so that we can unite our prayers together for our state, for our country, for everyone with the virus, for those who’ve already perished and that we will be able to come together, flatten this curve, and take care of one another,” Edwards said during his closing remarks.
State Sen. Mark Abraham, a deacon at Trinity Baptist Church in Lake Charles, and Rodney Wood, a state chaplain who ministers to state governmental leaders, first thought of the idea for the day of fasting and prayer and then pitched it to Edwards.
Abraham said the focused days for prayer and fasting will be a time for people to focus their attention on God.
“I’m hoping the message will go out to faith leaders and pastors and we will have a lot of people praying to God on Tuesday at lunchtime,” Abraham told the Baptist Message. “God hears those prayers and God honors those prayers. We will wait and expect for God to move through the prayers of His people.”
Wood added: “We all know that we are in a great war. In times like these, we are reminded that God, in His infinite mercy, has given us the most potent, spiritual weaponry. If you belong to Christ Jesus our Lord, this weaponry is in your hands. Now is the time to vigorously employ your armaments.”
State Senate President Pro Tempore Beth Mizell, also a member of First Baptist Church in Frankinton, noted that at a time when the world is in crisis and feels powerless, Christ followers know they can turn to the Lord for answers.
“With that thought we will join together on Tuesdays to fast and pray during lunchtime,” Mizell said. “We do this united in our concern and to pour out our plea to Jesus to please save our people. Please join with folks from all over Louisiana seeking God’s blessings and healing from this horrible virus.”