Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves (R) is used to conducting business from his office -- not Sunday devotions. But over the past weekend, he decided -- America could use a little more of both.
"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed," the governor read from 2 Corinthians 4:8-9. The prayer service, which Reeves announced on his Facebook page, was his way of connecting to an anxious community. "We all need some fellowship and God's grace in this time," he urged.
During his impromptu Bible study, Governor Reeves encouraged people to help their neighbors as much as they can and then led the state in prayer for Mississippi and President Trump's leadership team "as they deal with this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic across the globe." Before closing, he shared John 3:16 and reminded everyone, "You'll notice it doesn't speak to Baptists or Methodists or Pentecostals or Catholics or any other denomination," he said. "For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life."
In other places across the country, Sunday usual ministry was replaced by something a lot more personal. Pastor Hernan Castaño, one of the "Houston Five" and founder of Iglesias Rios De Aceite, spent seven hours praying for carloads of families in his church parking lot -- one right after another. He prayed with them, laid hands on their windshields, and tried to be an encouragement.
Others, like Danville, Kentucky's Bryan Montgomery, was one of the pastors inspired by FRC's conference call with the president, vice president, and Secretary Ben Carson to start thinking creatively about what his congregation could do to reach out to the local community. "Our country is at its best when we are serving others," he told a local reporter. "The church is going to have to adapt," he agreed, but as much struggle as it may be, all of that hard work will eventually pay off. Pastors are going to thrive as they serve their cities during this crisis," he insisted.
And it's not just American leaders calling their nation to prayer. Leaders around the world have watched the United States' response -- and our president's open calls for prayer -- and urged their own people to turn to God. Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, seeing Trump's proclamation on March 15, followed up with one of his own a week later. "Dear fellow citizens, I invite you to make this day a fast, a day of prayer. Let us unite regardless of our creed this Saturday before Sunday, the day of God. Let us unite Guatemalans in fasting and prayer and make our requests that God bless Guatemala."
Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele admitted that not everyone in his cabinet may believe but asked the rest to bow their heads and join him in prayer. Governor of Mis, Mario Abdo Benítez of Paraguay, and former Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales made similar pleas. Costa Rico's Alvarado pointed to the other presidents asking for God's wisdom and insisted that his country should never be "ashamed to say our trust is in God."
In the darkness of crisis, people are looking for the light. It's our great privilege to be a part of a nation -- and under an administration -- shining it for the whole world to see.