Commentary / Coronavirus

Faith During Crisis – An American Strength

americanSomething odd is happening – or perhaps not so odd. The coronavirus is causing more Americans to seek out, rely on, and expressly draw comfort from prayer – placing their faith in a loving God’s mercy. This is not a matter of conjecture, but survey-supported fact.

According to the non-partisan Pew Foundation, more Americans admit they are turning to prayer in this coronavirus crisis than at any recent time. Just as during the height of World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, Americans are revisiting faith.

In 2017, the Pew Foundation reported, after surveying 35,000 Americans, that 63 percent were “absolutely certain” in their faith, 20 percent “fairly certain.” Of that group, the majority were Christians – not surprising in a nation where 70 percent identify as Christian. Still, parallel numbers attached to other major faiths.

More surprising are Pew’s numbers from March 2020 – that is, now. Despite a historic, multi-decade drift toward relative ambivalence, agnosticism and ambiguous connections to faith – especially for younger Americans – something striking is afoot when mercy is at a premium, belief in God – and the overt turn to God for that mercy – spikes.

Here are the Pew numbers. For starters, more than half of all adults in the United States – 55 percent – say they are praying for an end to the pandemic. With families praying together, overall Americans praying may be considerably higher.

Within this group, 86 percent of those who “pray daily” and 73 percent of Christians are praying for the crisis to end. But that is not the surprise. In a country of 331 million, 70 percent of whom identify as Christian – one should not be surprised that 73 percent of that number are praying.

Put differently, in a nation with 231,700,000 Christians or 70 percent of 331 million citizens, 169,141 or 73 percent of that number are praying to end the crisis. The surprise is elsewhere. What Pew uncovered is that, at this time of unprecedented global fear surrounding the pandemic, people who seldom pray are doing so.

Specifically, millions are turning to faith who – in other times – indicated little stock in God.
According to Pew, 15 percent of those who indicate they “seldom or never” pray are praying. Perhaps more remarkable, 24 percent who indicated they were not affiliated with a religion, are now praying for an end to the virus.

All this gives reason for circumspection. A spike in prayer from longstanding believers, coupled with “eleventh-hour” arrivals, suggests a reservoir of faith not previously recognized. The reservoir is more surprising, as collective worship has been largely curtailed in deference to “social distancing” recommendations and state mandates.

Other Pew survey data is interesting. While public health and police powers have been leveraged to reduce public gatherings, causing concerns over federal and state constitutional rights of assembly (including travel) and “free exercise of religion,” virtual gatherings – or virtual assemblies allowing collective worship – are proliferating. Already, four in ten Americans are attending virtual religious services, according to Pew data.

Also interesting are less statistical, more ecclesiastical observations.

Notably, for Christians of all denominations, this is the time of Great Lent, a season of self-denial, preparation, reflection and contemplation preceding Easter or Pascha – which celebrates the resurrection of Christ. This is also approach of Passover, the major Jewish festival commemorating liberation of Israelites from Egyptian slavery.

Perhaps fittingly, within the Christian tradition, pre-Lenten services include a Sunday dedicated to teachings embodied in Matthew 25:31-46. Why does this matter or have any relevance to the spike in prayer or moment of national crisis in which we find ourselves?

Again, the timing of that biblical teaching – whatever your persuasion – and our current crisis is at least instructive, for those of good heart, goodwill and attention to moral compass.

These pre-Lenten verses offer depth, hope and guidance, in a time of national crisis and well beyond.
Christ speaks forcefully about judgment, noting those in the moral right are judged by their mercy.

“I was hungry, and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me drink. I was a stranger, and you took me in. I was naked, and you clothed me. I was sick, and you visited me. I was in prison, and you came to me.”

The good are at first confused, unaware of the significance their acts of mercy. Earnestly, they ask: “Lord, when did we see you hungry, and feed you; or thirsty, and give you a drink? When did we see you as a stranger, and take you in, or naked, and clothe you? When did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to you?”

The answer given is arresting. It peals and resonates like a great bell breaking the silence, a shaft of light piercing darkness, says it all: “I tell you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” We are our brothers’ keeper, and never more than in crisis.

There – in a nutshell – is our way forward in this crisis, being aware of the fears, needs and suffering of our fellow citizens, watchful to help and protect our families, neighbors and friends – and also to respect, nurse, and protect the “stranger.” In love of the stranger, care for the stranger, mercy shown to those who are strangers – is our destiny, as individuals and a nation.

We Americans are an incredible lot, never stronger than when we pull together, lift together, work together, hope and pray together. We are – objectively, as history is our unwavering witness – unstoppable. To get there, however – to get to that level of deep understanding, consistent compassion, uncrackable unity, and collective impact – we must remember who we are, remember our strength has many sources, and honor them all. Faith is one – and it looks like we are remembering.

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter
and Download the AMAC App

Sign Up Today Download

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter!

Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
3 years ago

Faith is everything!!!! If you do not have it, alas you have NOTHING!!!!!

Giancarlo Newsome
3 years ago

Nice! Well said Bobby! Why we at precisely built our app to help encourage and facilitate prayer for not just a time like this but for all time.

Chuck C.
3 years ago

Historically, we have been a nation of people of faith, but in our prosperity and security we have wandered away from or have ignored God. I believe that this virus is a wake up call from Him. He wants us to return to him. “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear their prayers, forgive their sins and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

May we be found faithful and may God heal us of this Coronavirus.

3 years ago

It will be a prayer of mine that those who return to God in such times as these will go and buy a Bible in modern English such as the New International Version. I love the King James version but don’t always understand it, so I have both Bibles,
one to learn about God/Jesus the Christ/and the Holy Spirit, the other is to just enjoy the “olde English!”

Many people I know say they are Christian but they rarely read the Bible which is God’s love letter to us. I guess they make their own rules and, because they are not Jewish or some other religion, they claim Christianity as their faith. I was one of those but now know who and why in whom I believe. I like this way so much better than the old way. Through Bible studies in my church and Bible studies on Christian television, I can read and understand why I accept Jesus as my Savior and Lord. It all makes sense to me now.

Jesus was crucified, died, was buried, and rose from the dead so that we can spend eternity with Him in the scenario God has planned for us. God required a blood sacrifice to cleanse us from sin and that’s what purpose the animals served in the time before Jesus went to the cross and became the blood sacrifice once and for all. How He loves mankind. He is Holy. I love Him. Have a blessed Resurrection Sunday tomorrow.

Patricia Garza
3 years ago

Beautiful story, growing up going to church I have a lot of faith in our Lords Jesus Christ. I pray he removes this ghostly killer coronavirus that has taken lives worldwide. On Sunday, include a cross .. hang over your front door a red ribbon, scarf, or piece of red torn rag in place of blood to show we believe in what the Bible said… Jesus’s blood on doors during Passover. All pray and have faith. God Bless us all worldwide. We’re all in this together. ???✝️?

3 years ago

If a christian believes that God allowed this virus to come upon us because of our sins and is trying to lead us to repentance why would we pray for him to end the virus? Why wouldn’t we pray thy will be done. We have become a very sinful and perverse nation and I believe God is sending punishments on us to lead us to repentance and those punishments will get stronger till we get the message.

Billy Boone
3 years ago

Saved by grace 60 years ago, and the longer I live, and the longer I serve the Lord, the better I understand why it’s called Amazing. Even in wrath He remembers mercy.

3 years ago

Well, then according to the numbers of the poll, we 63% should examine our priorities. In Mark 16:15, Jesus said “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” That means we the (67%); have opportunity to reach the (37% ). Let’s Glorify God and witness to that 37%. Make this a priority and, “Together we can do it.”
Thank you Father for granting us this opportunity to be your witness for Jesus Christ. For tomorrow is Easter Sunday the day we celebrate Christ’s resurrection, allow us to be moved to witness to whom ever we meet. This I ask in Christ’s name, AMEN

3 years ago

Use caution when reading articles like this. The author may have the best of intentions. However, use of Matthew 25:31-46 to justify or encourage work on behalf of the poor is a misinterpretation because it’s been pulled “out of context.”

The critical point here is the term “brothers.” The definition of this word was explained to me in a sermon on Matthew 25:31-46 by Pastor Greg Lundstedt of Vancouver Bible Fellowship in Vancouver, Washington. He points to Matthew chapter 12 as evidence showing how Jesus defined “brothers.” I’m using a different Bible version (NIV) than the pastor used but beginning in verse 47 it says:

“Someone told him, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.’”
“He replied to him, ‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’” Pointing to his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.’” (Matt. 12:47-50)

In the parallel passage in Luke 8 Jesus said, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”

Pastor Lundstedt also pointed out that while Christ is the Son, true believers are sons of the living God. Read Hebrews 2:10-12.

Do you fit the description?

There’s also prophetic significance to this portion of Scripture but you can search the Internet for the sermon to learn more on that aspect.

I contend that this is one way we can tell true, born-again Christians from false Christians. If someone you know claims to be a believer, perhaps even claims to love Christ, yet is critical of the body of Christ to such an extent that they avoid working in, with, through and for those individuals who are part of that body, how can they love Christ who claimed to be the head of that body? A person can’t claim to love Christ (in other words they’re not a “brother” or “sister” in Christ) if they have disdain for the people He loves and lives in as their shepherd!

This is not to say that we don’t have a biblical responsibility to all the poor among us. We do. That’s one way to develop the communication channels that allow us to share the Gospel with those among the poor who need it. However, true, God-fearing love for all the poor of the world is best exemplified by those who first love Christ and show it by loving those who make up his body.

Have a blessed Resurrection Sunday!

3 years ago

FAITH is everything,!!!!!! If you do not have your FAITH, you have NOTHING?????

3 years ago

As soon as the world starts turning again, which probably won’t be that long, these new praying people will head for the sins of their passion and be lost, Again. In the meantime the best thing that they could do is die for as believers they would be saved; not so later. Religon is such a wonderful thing! They can live if they die but if they live they die.

3 years ago

Let us pray that God will put ending to the Covid-19 and not just in USA, but the entire world —- so that this does not make another circle of the globe plus the world economy is healthier is all nations are able to produce & sell their products to other nations.

Mary Blaylock
3 years ago

Friends, The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints has invited you to Pray and fast with us on Good Friday and offer a petition To our loving Father In Heaven to bring an end to this horrible Corona Virus and let us get our lives back together. He is waiting to bless us during this very trying time.

This special Fast and Prayer opportunity is world wide as all of the members of our Church have been invited and we are asked to bring our friends as well. Please join us in this petition that the Corona virus plague will come to an end and we can get our lives back together. Mary Blaylock, your Neighbor

3 years ago
Reply to  Mary Blaylock

Mary: Thank you for the invitation but there are numerous problems in this instance because Mormonism has a different Jesus. The Mormon Jesus is the spirit brother of Lucifer, a concept that is anathema to those of us who adhere to historic, biblical Christianity.

Secondly, Mormonism is big on claiming that it’s adherents have the Melchizedek priesthood. Actually, Mormons do not have the priesthood. Read Hebrews chapters 5 &7 and see for yourself who is the one able to hold such a title. Since true Christians are members of Christ’s body, with Him as the head, those of us who are truly born-again (John 3:3) have the privilege of being part of the priesthood of all believers (see 1 Peter 2:4-10).

Don’t be swayed by tradition, the size of your organization or any emotional ties you may have to it. Such things don’t determine truth. Be like the Bereans in the book of Acts and check what I’ve communicated here by what’s in God’s word, not extra-biblical texts. Repent of your sins, ask Christ to reveal himself to you and get ready to have the truth set you free!

3 years ago

Read Mathew 24&25 and you will see that things like this are the birth pains . Start looking up he is coming and soon .keep praying that all people will come to know Jesus as lord and savior.

3 years ago

Lately I have been pondering why so many people no longer practice their faith. Churches are being closed due to lack of participation. I know that all churches have greatly disappointed people with various crises that had nothing to do with God but with human behavior, perhaps even Satanic influence. I only know 20 people who attend church with the exception of the people in my church. I was wondering if God was in the process of tearing down His church in order to rebuild it. Now I am wondering if this is part of His plan – meeting and walking with people where they are – online. With young families so busy today, perhaps it will become the new normal to attend online services when people can take the time. It is food for thought.

3 years ago

So tragic that in a time we need to pull together so many in power are trying their hardest to tear us apart.

3 years ago

Great article of faith and the power of good when evil (the virus) seems overwhelming.

Waite Cathy
3 years ago


Joanna Johnson-Smith
3 years ago

It has been my hope all during this pandemic, that it would be a call for America to return to God, for many to awaken and be saved. For the doors of our schools, municipal buildings, and public places to be re-opened to God. There is a message and important lessons to be learned from this crisis. Don’t ignore what may be your last opportunity.

3 years ago

We all agree it is heart breaking to have our aged and immune compromised loved ones die from this virus or any virus. But to shut down the country when it appears they are the only number of our population seriously affected by this disease is irresponsible. I’ve said it before, heads are gonna roll when accurate statistics reveal that Democrats overreacted in shutting down the country. The media played their part in fear mongering. It is true we are praying more now than ever and it is also true that if we don’t take our back sliding seriously and earnestly ask the Lords forgiveness for ourselves and our nation, it may be too little too late to ask for God’s help. In looking at this in the perspective as parents dealing with unruly children we can understand why our Heavenly Father would be angry with us. We have become lackadaisical in our relationship with God. God knows how to get our attention, and I believe this is His way of telling us that we are foolish to think we can get along without Him. Famous words in our bibles, ‘The Lord gives, and the Lord taketh away.’ Also; ‘A nation which forgets God will fall.’ It’s easy to blame the Democrats for a lot of what’s going on but we are also responsible because we’ve fallen short of taking stands against certain evils that have been allowed to grow and fester in our society over the past thirty or forty years. We’ve taken too much for granted and now we’re paying the price. So I ask my God’s forgiveness for us as Christians and for our nation. I hope in His mercy and that He’ll hear from Heaven and cure our disease and heal our land. I also pray for God’s vengeance against our enemies.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x