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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Why Has the Prophet Not Called for a Day of Fasting and Prayer?

            Why has the Prophet not called for a day of fasting and prayer? This question did not originate with me, but it did cause me to ponder. On March 21 I received an email from my stake presidency, which began: 

On Sunday, March 29, we have the opportunity to join with church members across the globe to fast and pray together for a successful resolution of the COVID-19 outbreak. We as a stake presidency invite you to join with fellow saints in fasting and prayer, keeping in mind the five-fold purpose of this fast as outlined in the invitation letter from our North America West Area Presidency…. Please consider this invitation our second witness to the inspiration of our Senior Church Leaders and the love our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, have for all of us…. [The email included a copy of the mentioned letter.]

            The statement about being able to “join with church members across the globe to fast and pray together” caused me to think that all church members worldwide were receiving the same invitation. Today I discovered that my assumption was not true. Family members in the North America West Area received the same invitation, but a family member in the Utah Area did not.

            This realization brought several questions: Why did the invitation come from the area presidency instead of the prophet? Has the Lord told the prophet not to call for a day of fasting and prayer? Why would the Lord (who commands us to pray always) not want us to pray for a resolution to the coronavirus? I do not pretend to know what the Lord would do, but that possibility does not make sense to me.

            At any rate, I am sharing the invitation with all my readers no matter which area you live in or who sent the invitation. I am a firm believer in prayer, and I believe that many prayers going up to Heavenly Father will bring about great blessings. Let me share the invitation from the North American West Area presidency with all of you. I hope that you will join in fasting and prayer on Sunday, March 29, 2020, for the Lord’s blessings to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Edit March 26, 2020: Today the Prophet issued an invitation to join him in fasting and prayer, so there was obviously no need to be concerned.

            Dear Brothers and Sisters,                 

We extend our love to you and want you to know we are praying for your safety and well-being.

We are entering a very critical phase in the COVID-19 outbreak. The next two to four weeks will determine whether the extensive efforts of national and local leaders to stem the rate of community spread of COVID-19 will be successful. The personal health of millions of people and the economic well-being of all nations hang in the balance. The next few weeks and months will likely be an unprecedented period of challenge and economic struggle for many. These are extraordinary times. There has never been a greater need in our lifetime for all people to turn to God for help and peace. We assure each of you that our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, are mindful of us and our individual needs. We can turn to Them for peace and comfort.

Sunday, March 29, 2020, is a fast Sunday. It is also the weekend just prior to April General Conference. As an Area Presidency, we invite you to join us in a Special Day of Fasting and Mighty Prayer. The purpose of this fast is five-fold:

            1. To ask the Lord to bless and inspire our leaders and their efforts to protect the health 
            and well being of all people and to find solutions to address the challenges we are facing
            in all nations.

            2. To pray for all those who are suffering the physical, emotional, and economic impact 
            of COVID-19, that they will be blessed according to their needs.

            3. To pray that the hearts of people everywhere will be softened and turned toward the 
            Lord in humility and that faith in Jesus Christ would increase on the earth.

            4. To pray for spiritual strength to overcome fear and anxiety, for inspiration to protect                         ourselves and our families, and for the awareness and ability to minister to those in need.

            5. To pray for increased understanding and personal revelation in preparation for the 
            prophetic guidance and messages regarding the bicentennial of the restoration.
            Like the prophet Enos, we too can turn to the Lord in mighty prayer in behalf of ourselves,                   our families, our nations, and those in need. He will hear and answer our humble prayers.

We hope you will invite others of faith to join with us in uniting our faith and prayers. As you do, please consider a generous fast offering and, based on your personal circumstances, a donation to the Humanitarian Fund. As an Area Presidency, we will be looking for significant and meaningful ways to address the immediate and growing humanitarian needs of our area. We encourage you to listen to and share President Russell M. Nelson’s recent media posts on hope and love with your family and friends.

We invite you to join us in a Special Day of Fasting and Mighty Prayer and to unite with others as we pray for heaven’s help and blessings.


The North America West Area Presidency

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