International Day of Prayer and Fasting
The International Fellowship of Free Will Baptist Churches (IFOFWBC) is promoting an International Day of Prayer and Fasting on June 14th to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences. The International Fellowship is a cooperative effort of FWB associations from different countries. It “unites Free Will Baptist churches from around the world for the purposes of identification, communion, and mutual edification and encouragement in order to better fulfill the Great Commission of evangelism and the establishment of churches among all peoples.” The IFOFWBC meets every three years in a different country.
Dr. Melvin Worthington, executive secretary of the NAFWB at the time, was the first to suggest the creation of an international organization in the early 1990s. A Consultation with representatives from different countries was held in Panama in 1992. This consultation recommended an organizational meeting three years later, in Brazil, when the IFOFWBC officially came into being. The International Fellowship meets every three years. The last meeting was in Japan in 2018 and the next one will be in Bulgaria in 2021.
The current president of the IFOFBC is pastor Jeancarlo Achê, from Brazil. In May pastor Achê called for this International Day of Prayer and Fasting. Each Free Will Baptist Church is invited to join, even if their association is not affiliated with the IFOFWBC. Five areas of focus of prayer are suggested: the COVID-19 disease, the economic effects of the pandemic, the emotional effects, the political effects, and the impact on local churches. Within each area a few generic prayer requests have been suggested:
Pray that the spread of the disease would halt.
Pray for those who have become infected.
Pray for those who are mourning the loss of loved ones.
Pray for the protection of healthcare workers and others in direct contact with COVID-19 patients.
Pray for those who are struggling due to loss of employment or source of income due to economic activity restrictions.
Pray for those who are struggling just to feed themselves and their families.
Pray for relief efforts in which many FWBs are participating.
Pray for business owners who are facing large losses and bankruptcy.
Pray for the churches and Christian ministries that are greatly affected by the current and future economic recession.
Pray for those who are suffering from anxiety and depression during the pandemic.
Pray for those that are suffering from domestic abuse due to long periods of confinement.
Pray for those who are confused, questioning God, or who have lost hope.
Political effects – many places are facing a political crisis due to diverging views of how the pandemic should be handled.
Pray that the Lord would give wisdom to government officials at all levels in the best way to help protect the people and care for those who have been affected by the crisis.
Pray that Christians would act as peacemakers and hope-givers and not contribute to the polarization of society.
Pray for local churches that have been affected by meeting restrictions and the ability to care for their members.
Pray for wisdom for the congregations as they make decisions regarding returning to in-person services.
Pray that the lessons churches learned from this pandemic would be applied to everyday ministry.
Pray for pastors as they have been under increased pressure to meet the demands of their congregations during this exceptional time.
Pray for the support of the pastors, as the income of most churches has been affected.