In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Rev. Dr. Jung-Hyun Oh, the senior pastor of the Korean SaRang Church, urged deeper prayer for Christians.
Citing Colossians 1: 10-11, the megachurch pastor said that we should take Paul's prayer as an example and pray to God to give us the ability to endure longsuffering and be persistent, not just to change the environment. Meanwhile, be joyful and grateful.
Pastor Oh shared, "Paul's prayer to God is: May all saints live with a mission that is well-pleasing to God. Everything is getting better; everything is updated and everything goes well. But more importantly, I need to experience change myself. No matter what the environment is, plead with God to enable you to live the life of a person with a mission that is well-pleasing to Him."
"In order to better take the mission that is well-pleasing to God, we are not going to change the environment, but we are going to plead with God for longsuffering and persistence." Pastor Oh added, "So that we can suffer long and be persistent, and take on this mission by faith. A change in the environment does not mean that the problem has been solved. First of all, we should arm ourselves with deeper prayers. In the raging period of COVID-19, one of the important problems in our life is that we have become too self-centered. As we become self-centered, our discernibility and judgment are reduced. Consequentially, our thoughts are controlled and we become unable to obey Christ. Therefore, let us pray to God with wishes in our mind: Father God, please help me not to make self-centered prayers, but to have the prayers that are well-pleasing to You."
Meanwhile, he mentioned that joy, prayer, and gratitude should be three in one.
"As we pray without ceasing, we can give thanks in everything, and in doing so, we can pray without ceasing. With such virtuous cycle, we can naturally have expressions that are unknown to the world and full of joy. Hallelujah!"
"Be alert with grace, we can keep praying". Pastor Oh said, "Through deep prayer, we can offer endless gratitude to God. This gratitude will lead us into a deeper and never-ending prayer. What happens after entering such a virtuous cycle? Everything around me can be interpreted with prayer. In the countless persecutions and thick darkness, all the things in my life that people see as suffering and misfortune are wonderfully connected with gratitude."
"Even if we can't have gratitude, we will still try to. We should first have gratitude even when things are not done. When we hand out our first without fear, what will happen? May God make us live a life that is well-pleasing to Him! When we make different interpretations through deep prayers, when we don't make self-centered prayers, but have prayers that are well-pleasing to God, even as we can't get rid of these unspeakable sufferings, these sufferings will all work together to achieve joy, gratitude and goodness in us through this deep prayer."
Finally, he also reminded us that praiseful words such as "great" and "amazing" are nothing more than human evaluation. In the end, we still have to face the Lord by ourselves.
He concluded, "At that time, it would be best if we kept the life that is well-pleasing to God. May we enter this deep prayer and live a life with mission, giving glory to God! May God give each of us tailor-made grace!"