By Tanya Smith-Cartwright
A NATIONAL Day of Prayer and Fasting was observed yesterday as religious leaders engaged with worshippers through social media amid the COVID-19 crisis.
The event was different from previous mass prayer services. Due to a ban on large social gatherings and a 24-hour curfew imposed in light of the pandemic, people were urged to pray individually in their homes.
On Tuesday, the Bahamas Christian Council sent out guidelines on what to pray for and what times to pray through social media. The prayer event lasted from 6am to 6pm.
The Tribune spoke with some Bahamians who said they are turning to prayer for strength during the pandemic.
“Prayer is very important and I am happy to participate in this National Day of Prayer,” said Willamae Ferguson, who described herself as a “prayer warrior”.
“We may not be all together physically, but we are gathered together in spirit and the word of the Lord must prevail. The world is in chaos right now and the only thing we can resort to is prayer. “This coronavirus is a very serious disease and as we can see thousands are dying around the world. We must remain steadfast in prayer. Not just today, (Wednesday), but every single day until it goes away.”
Sandra Newton told this newspaper that while she doesn’t go to church on a regular basis, she has turned to God in this crisis.
“I would not really call myself a Christian,” she said. “I don’t go to church unless it’s New Year’s Day or Easter or something like that, but what I see going on in the world right now is frightening. We have to turn to God. I have to turn to God. If you have a heart, and any sense, and see where hundreds of people are falling down dead per day from this COVID-19 you would realise that something isn’t right in the world. I sincerely believe God is speaking to us and chastising us.
“I got down on my knees this morning and prayed to God to help us. I asked Him to have mercy on us and to forgive us of our sins. After we have prayed, we can only leave it up to God to help us. I hope the people of this country are not taking this virus lightly.”
Graham Lewis, 19, said he too took part in the prayer event.
“I didn’t really follow the guidelines,” he said. “I don’t feel that prayer should be outlined like that. “We know that COVID-19 can be a deadly virus so we know what to pray for – the victims and the fallout from it. So that’s what I prayed for. I approached the throne of God, like I am taught to, and I prayed, sincerely, about all factors.
“I do believe God has heard my prayers and the prayers of all the others praying about this situation. God is going to help us get out of this. We will all be giving our praise reports soon.”
Rita Colebrook said she was moved by videos on social media of people praying for humanity.
“I do believe the worldwide spread of COVID-19, and all that comes with it, is a way of God bringing us back to Him – a way of Him showing us that He is God and that everything started with Him and that we must come back to Him,” she said. “We have to pray, and pray unceasingly, to get rid of this plague called COVID-19. Our country is too small to take on what it can really do. Let’s continue to pray.”
There have been more than 400,000 cases of the disease with just over 20,000 deaths worldwide. Health officials have said most people who get the disease may have mild symptoms and not need to go to hospital, however the elderly and people with underlying conditions are at higher risk of death.