Prayer is powerful
I’m an activist – I feel good and productive when I’m doing things. Particularly when it comes to challenging injustice. I feel like if I am actively serving or helping, this is a productive route to creating change. But what happens when you are confined by lockdown, and can’t ‘do’?
It’s by no strange coincidence that many breakthroughs in the Bible are preceded by prayer. Prayer is powerful. It changes and transforms people and situations. All too often I neglect the power of prayer, but God has recently been teaching me that although action is important, prayer needs to be central to everything we do. I’m slowly learning to put this into practice, and I’m excited to see the transformation that will follow. My hope is that post-lockdown, we will be an even stronger community of people who both pray and act.
We need community
If, like me, you didn’t have much to do with your local community before lockdown, you might be overwhelmed by the kindness of your neighbours, and of people’s willingness to help. It seems that overnight, support groups and collections for vulnerable people have sprung up. There is certainly something beautiful in togetherness and it seems that the illusion of difference which once separated us has (at least temporarily) been forgotten.
As I hear of Christians who are spending more time connecting with their communities, it gives me hope for a future where we will be better at modelling Jesus’ love by connecting with those who are physically close to us, and caring for those around us who need it.
Life doesn’t have to be lived at 100 miles per hour.
Pre-lockdown, the most common response to ‘how are you?’ was probably something along the lines of ‘busy’. I live in a big city, where there is always something to do. Consumer culture sells us the myth that to ‘live your best life’ you must be productive all of the time. I’ve found freedom in lockdown to enjoy space, think, read, rest, and discover things I never thought I’d enjoy.
Granted, for some this is a busier time than ever (key workers, parents-turned-teachers), but for others, it will have freed up time and space that they didn’t have before. I’ve realised not only can I survive without a diary that’s full to bursting, I actually quite enjoy it. Looking back at everything that kept me busy before, I miss a lot and can’t wait to get back to. However, I’ve noticed some things that occupied my time were a result of social pressure, or fear of missing out. Lockdown has released me from the need to constantly ‘do’ and shown me the richness and productivity in slowing down.
The extent of inequality
While we are all affected by this pandemic, and people of all backgrounds will tragically be experiencing the loss of loved ones, people living in poverty are still being disproportionately affected. Both nationally and internationally, the Covid-19 pandemic and resultant lockdowns have highlighted inequalities in our world, more than ever.
At present, the impact of Covid-19 on developing nations is still unfolding, however the UN Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs recently said:
‘Unless we take action now, we should be prepared for a significant rise in conflict, hunger and poverty. The spectre of multiple famines looms.’
Closer to home, there has been a surge in calls to domestic abuse helplines, children in poverty are experiencing the significant pressure of lockdown, food bank attendance is through the roof, and death tolls are highest among BME populations. Our key workers, who are holding society together, have been underpaid and undervalued for so long.
Yes, the scale of these inequalities appears impossibly large. But let’s remain hopeful in a God who is even greater and be stirred to strive for change by caring for our communities, engaging with our political leaders, and pursuing prayer.