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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

Acting and Praying in Jesus' Name (A Perspective on Covid-19 Part 28)


Today’s readings:

Acts 13:44-52

Psalm 98:1-4

John 14:7-14



As COVID-19 is God’s chastisement on a world steeped in darkness and evil, it is also to God whom we turn for relief and redemption. This pandemic has made us helpless and for some even hopeless. It is precisely only God who can deliver us.


Here are important truths we look to which give us hope.


First, God is merciful and faithful. Though God disciplines us, He does not abandon us. In fact, He disciplines us precisely to bring us back to Himself. He does not forget His covenant with His people. “He has remembered his mercy and faithfulness toward the house of Israel.” (Ps 98:3a). Christians are the new Israel. One-third of the whole world is Christian.


Second, God has power to save. “His right hand and holy arm have won the victory.” (Ps 98:1b). This is about God’s saving power. God is a powerful warrior who defeats the enemy, which today is COVID-19, used by the evil one to kill and destroy. If God wills it and determines it is time, this pandemic will be contained.


But people have their part to play. There is a response that needs to happen on our part.


First, people need to act with justice. God is a God not just of mercy but of justice. “The Lord has made his victory known; has revealed his triumph in the sight of the nations.” (Ps 98:2). Another translation renders “triumph” as “saving justice.” God has already told the nations how they are to act. They are to do justice, giving to God the reverence due to Him, and giving to their fellowmen the fraternal care and equitable sharing of goods due to them. These are what have been ignored or discarded by this evil generation in today’s world. So for God to act with mercy, we need to act with justice.


Second, people need to put their faith in God. God’s intent, manifested by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, is to redeem the world and to bring people to salvation and eternal life. For that to happen, we need to believe and put our faith in Jesus. “All who were destined for eternal life came to believe” (Acts 13:48b). If we reject God and His ways, which much of the world today is doing, then we condemn ourselves as unworthy of eternal life. Paul and Barnabas told the Jews who contradicted their preaching, “you reject it and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life” (Acts 13:46b). The refusal to believe frustrates God’s plan for His people.


In particular, authentic Christians have their part to play. God is trying to teach His people a lesson, but many in the world will miss that lesson. There are those for whom God plays no role. There are those who insist that it is man who will resolve the problem. There are those who do look to God, but do not want to take the steps needed to experience His saving power. There are those who hold dearly what the world offers and thus would not want to amend their lives.


So what should true Christians do?


First, we need to evangelize. God has already commissioned us. “I have made you a light to the Gentiles, that you may be an instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 13:47). God does want and intend to bring salvation upon the world. But God acts through His human instruments. We act in the name of Jesus. We are to witness to Jesus, we are to be light and leaven in the world, we are to proclaim His salvation to the nations. We must do the work of evangelization, and know that God empowers us. “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.” (Jn 14:12). Jesus has done his part and now remains in heaven with the Father. It is now our turn to continue with his work. By and through this work, what happened then can happen now. “All who were destined for eternal life came to believe, and the word of the Lord continued to spread through the whole region.” (Acts 13:48b-49).


Second, we need to pray. We back up our evangelization work with prayer. And we pray and ask for God’s mercy. We pray for people to repent of their sins and turn to faith in Jesus. We pray for renewal to come upon the earth, starting with the Church.

Now Jesus gives us an amazing promise. “And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.” (Jn 14:13-14). But how many times have we prayed “in Jesus’ name” but have not received what we ask for? It is because it has become just a formula in our prayer. Many Christians do not even understand what it means to pray in the name of Jesus.


To pray in Jesus’ name is to ask for something that glorifies God. So it must be in line with God’s ways, will and intent. It is to pray for something that Jesus himself would want. It is not about us but about God. It is not to please ourselves and get what we want from God, but to please God as His will is done.


Now we know that God wants well-being, both spiritual and material, for His people. So we pray for relief from COVID-19. But God also wants people to return to Him. So we must pray for this as well.


We pray in the name of Jesus. We evangelize in the name of Jesus.


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