USA South called to join worldwide Army in prayer, fasting

By: Dan Childs

Salvationists of the USA Southern Territory and the entire Salvation Army world are being called on to set aside this coming Sunday, April 19, as a day of prayer for relief from the COVID-19 public health crisis. General Brian Peddle called the international Salvation Army to prayer on that day, and Commissioners Willis and Barbara Howell have reinforced that call with a territorial call to prayer and fasting on Sunday.

Commissioner Willis Howell was joined by Territorial Sergeant Major Jeremy Rowland in a video message (see below) calling on the South to set aside Sunday as a full day of prayer and fasting. Commissioner Howell noted that we are living in days of challenge and adjustment imposed by social distancing, changes in work routines, loss of employment in many cases and financial uncertainty.

“But on the other side of the coin,” he said, “for many, these days have also helped them discover a spiritual power and strength they’ve perhaps never experienced before. We’re learning that through phone calls, video meetings and certainly through prayer that it’s possible to be together in our separateness. We’d like to leverage that for the sake of the Kingdom.”

TSM Rowland said that fasting is a valuable resource that can be a part of our arsenal in appealing to God for intervention into the coronavirus crisis.

“Fasting is not something we talk about much in The Salvation Army, at least not like we used to,” he said. “But it is a powerful weapon … both the Old and New Testaments teach the value of fasting.”

Resources for the territorial day of prayer and fasting are available at ministrytoolkit.org.

General Peddle, meanwhile, said in a video message that, “I believe things happen when people pray.”

The General said that because of the social distancing being practiced, the international call to prayer cannot be acted upon in corporate worship as is normally done. Acting upon this call to prayer will require a personal commitment.

Both the General’s video and resources for the day of prayer may be found on The Salvation Army’s international website (salvationarmy.org).

General Peddle asked that people, wherever they are in the world, set aside sunrise as the time to prayer for the Army and its ministry in the world, setting off a “tsunami of prayer” that will sweep across the world’s continents as the day progresses.

He shared several prayer topics, including prayer for people who have lost family members; for those who are alone, isolated and afraid; for many who have very little during this time of isolation; and for families whose futures seem uncertain.

General Peddle asked that Salvationists pray for “the army of essential workers who are holding us up” and challenges people to “pray with urgency that God’s mighty hand will hold back and stop COVID-19.” He called also for Salvationists around the world to pray for “healing and hope in our communities,” leaning on the words of Psalm 91, with its reminder that God is “my refuge and strength, my fortress in whom I trust.”