The following letter was circulated to members and adherents of the RP Church in Australia.
Dear Saints of the RPCA,
What is happening in our world right now is unprecedented. Thousands and thousands from every country in the world have been struck with a virus that continues to spread, not unlike the recent bushfires. Thousands are dying. Hundreds of thousands have lost jobs and global economies have been thrown into panic-mode, while markets collapse. Millions have been affected in their daily routines, being locked down in their homes and human contact has been brought to a minimum. The church is not unaffected.
Just yesterday I learned of a friend and former fellow pastor in the RPCNA who contracted the virus and lost his life to it. The church around the world is struggling to maintain the means of grace of Christian fellowship and the regular participation in the sacraments.
What is the response of believers? If they have learned anything from Biblical history it is that they need to turn to their Sovereign God in prayer. This involves prayers of repentance, of supplication, of lament, of thanksgiving, … indeed the full gamut.
Remember Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple:
“If there is famine in the land, if there is pestilence or blight or mildew or locust or caterpillar, if their enemies besiege them in the land at their gates, whatever plague, whatever sickness there is, 29whatever prayer, whatever plea is made by any man or by all your people Israel, each knowing his own affliction and his own sorrow and stretching out his hands toward this house, 30then hear from heaven your dwelling place and forgive and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways, for You, You only, know the hearts of the children of mankind, 31that they may fear You and walk in Your ways all the days that they live in the land that You gave to our fathers.”2 Chron. 6:28-31
Reformed Presbyterians around the world are setting aside time to pray and fast, seeking the Lord’s mercy.
Some began on April 2nd, others have chosen different days. We are asking that the RPCA set aside time to join with our brothers and sisters around the world to lift our prayers to God. That the LORD of Hosts might have mercy upon us and draw us closer to Himself and in light of the global pandemic and the threatening of life and livelihoods, the church is called on April 14th to join in a day of prayer and fasting to:
- Take careful evaluation of our ways, seeking the Lord to reveal “any grievous way in [us], and lead [us] in His way,” (Ps. 139:23-24) individually, as a particular church and as a nation.
- Confess and lament our sin. (Ps. 51:1-4)
- Repent of any idolatrous inclinations – any embracing or yielding to materialism, luxury, money, employment, recreation, mammon, entertainment, politics, institutions, family life, pursuits that keep our hearts from a whole-hearted devotion to Jesus Christ.
- Petition the Lord for His everlasting mercies (Ps. 136).
- Commit ourselves to a new zeal, setting our affections above (Col. 3:1-3), renewing our efforts in God’s strength to live life fully on the altar of service with prayer, holiness, love, and worshipful sacrifice (Rom. 12:1-2), that we might truly love the Lord our God with whole heart, and our neighbors as ourselves. (Matt. 22:37-39)
- Give thanks for His covenant faithfulness in expectant anticipation of His answer to our prayers. (Phil. 4:5-6)
- Glorify God in Christ as our immanent Mediator, and Judge of all the earth (1 Cor. 10:31), and
- Seek the Lord’s favor for the purification of the church, for the repentance of the nations and the salvation of the lost. (John 17:1-26)
This effort is of course voluntary, but we encourage as many as possible to join us as we seek deliverance from the impact of COVID-19 and that glory be given to our Savior and King, Jesus Christ.
Pastor Andy McCracken, Frankston, VIC