With the second oldest population on earth, the nation of Italy was an especially ripe victim for the COVID-19 outbreak that is sweeping across our planet. Inside of the virus’s crosshairs, it slammed into Italy’s everyday society. Like a tidal wave of infection, it has flooded Italian society like a pandemic tsunami.
At first, the outbreak seemed mild. The first two cases arrived at the end of January and the beginning of February. And though no one was too concerned, the cases began to steadily climb. But before the nation knew it, cases of the coronavirus began to skyrocket. A couple of cases turned into a few dozen. A few dozen cases turned into several hundred. Several hundred cases turned into thousands. And now, the cases of COVID-19 are in the tens of thousands, nearing 70,000 and rising each day.
Attacking the elderly—who are particularly susceptible to the new virus—the death toll in Italy has also risen in a dramatic and devastating way. Being pushed past their capacity and to the brink of their abilities, hospitals and health care workers helplessly watch as hundreds are dying each day. Reaching a grim milestone, Italy has now surpassed China in total number of deaths—approaching 7,000 deceased. A shortage of ICU beds, ventilators, and personnel has significantly contributed to the death toll and left Italian doctors begging the world to help—tangibly and financially.
Christianity is not a nationalistic religion isolated to the United States. Our compassion, care, love, and relief for physical need should extend worldwide just as the spread of the gospel should extend worldwide. As sons and daughters of the King of the cosmos, we are called and commanded to grieve for Italy and seek to extend the arm of relief to Italy where we can. Most of all, God’s children are commissioned by their Father to pray for those suffering in Italy.
Here are eight ways you can intentionally and specifically pray for Italy during global pandemic.
1. Ask God to break your heart for those in need.
Human beings are hopelessly susceptible to the temptation of selfishness and self-concern. Typically, and honestly, we tend to only care about those situations that immediately affect us. For example, how much prayer did you devote to those affected by COVID-19 when the virus was only in China?
Since we are naturally and inherently selfish, we have to ask God to give us the love and compassion that he has for the world, breaking our heart so that our spirit aches for the suffering of those afflicted.
Ask God to help you love the Italian people more than yourself. Beg him to break down selfish walls of pride and self-concern so that you sob prayers of compassion for Italy.
2. Ask God to stop the spread of the virus, if it be his will.
As slaves and servants of Christ, we must ultimately care more for his will than our own will and desires. Though we do petition God, our petition must come with an understanding and contentment that God has a divine plan that he will carry out.
Our prayers must echo Jesus before his crucifixion when he said,
“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42).
With this righteous frame of mind, ask God to supernaturally slow the progress of COVID-19. Ask him to spare those who are on the cusp of death and to preserve those who come into contact with the virus.
3. Ask God to provide medical equipment and healthcare personnel to those in need.
As already stated, possibly the worst contributor to the death toll in Italy is the lack of medical supplies and the large number of cases that has overwhelmed hospitals. Ventilators that assist the breathing of patients are in severely short supply. Healthcare professionals are being put into the horrifying position of deciding who lives and who dies by their decision of who gets a bed and a ventilator.
Ask God to intervene and provide funds for additional ventilators and other equipment that they desperately need. Ask God to call and inspire other qualified individuals around the world to join the fight in battling COVID-19. Ask him to inspire those who have the means to use their financial resources to fund the costs of additional medical equipment.
4. Ask God to strengthen those who have lost loved ones.
With the death toll of COVID-19 nearing 7,000 in Italy, there are thousands upon
thousands of people who are feeling the grievous effects of losing a loved one. Since the virus is particularly deadly to the elderly, many are losing the anchor of wisdom that holds their family together. On top of that, because funeral homes are being overwhelmed, many are being forced to seal their loved ones off in rooms for days.
Ask God to give strength to those who are crippled by the death of the ones they hold near and dear. Ask God to speak to the hearts of despair and enable them to see his presence in the midst of their pain. Ask him to use this pain for their good and his glory.
5. Ask God to show his power and glory by saving lives.
Jesus performed many miracles that produced and invoked awe and wonder in the hearts of those who were privileged enough to witness it. However, the miracles were never for the miracle’s sake. Instead, the miracles were the means that Jesus used to show the world who he was—God almighty in the flesh who had come to save the lost. God can do exactly that in Italy and around the world. He may show the world his power and might through the miraculous preservation of those who would have otherwise perished.
Ask God to supernaturally heal those who are deathly sick. Ask him to reveal his glory and power through undeniable acts of miracle.
6. Ask God to draw Italy to himself.
Throughout history, God has used calamitous events to draw his people to himself. And although we are called to bring relief to the physical need of the world, what the world ultimately needs is reconciliation back to its Creator; it needs the gospel. People may recover from COVID-19, but that is a small victory compared to an eternity of torment spent separated from God.
Ask God to give the Italian people what they ultimately need—the revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Ask God to draw them to himself. Ask him to fill them with his Holy Spirit and transform their hearts.
7. Ask God to strengthen our brothers and sisters in Christ.
We are unavoidably commanded to be there for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ (Matthew 25:31-46). This command includes brothers and sisters who live amongst us and those who live around the world. We have brothers and sisters in Italy who desperately need our love and prayers.
Ask God to empower our brothers and sisters who live in Italy. Ask God to give them the strength and resources they need to proclaim the gospel in the midst of this catastrophe, and to care for those who are sick and in need.
8. Ask God to show you how you can help with the relief effort.
The Bible calls Christians to be people characterized by their love and selfless sacrifice. Jesus said it was costly to follow him, telling his followers that they must deny themselves and lose their lives for Christ’s sake (Luke 9:23-24). Historically, Christians were known for their risky and selfless effort to assist those who were sick and in need. We are called to do the same.
Ask God to show you how he can use you to bring relief to those in Italy. Ask him to give you the strength and courage to make financial sacrifices and possibly even health sacrifices for man’s good and God’s glory.
Check out this Guided Prayer Video or Italy:
Author: A. C. Minor
Scripture quotations are from The ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version), copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version.