Family photo of Javier's return home after being discharged. [Photo Courtesy of the South American Division]

General Conference

Prayer Unites Family and Friends for the Recovery of hospitalized Administrator

Learn how prayer can help overcome difficult situations and its benefits for well-being and spiritual growth

Brazil | Karol Lazo

According to research from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, Google searches for the word “prayer” have increased worldwide, following the growth of COVID-19 cases.

Data from Google Trends indicates that interest in seeking information about prayer soared in March 2020 as COVID-19 went global. Almost a year later, and despite the progress of vaccination around the world, with the emergence of new variants, the virus still continues to cause concern and deaths.

Since the emergence of the omicron variant, nearly 90 million cases have been reported to the World Health Organization (WHO), a record higher than what was reported for the entire year 2020. However, the agency recently expressed that its greatest concern is the sharp increase in deaths from COVID-19 in most regions of the world during the last four weeks.

Many people have lost loved ones during the pandemic, and today, there are still many who have family and friends facing complications from the disease. Faced with the increase in contagions, fear also grows, and the intensity of the search for the word “prayer” is again notorious. With that said, how effective is prayer in these cases? And how does it help to face this kind of situation?

United by a Miracle

Evelym Núñez, a nurse who lives in Ecuador with her family, had given birth to her third child about three months ago, when her husband, Javier Espejo, had to be admitted to the intensive care unit of Clínica Adventista de Quito due to severe complications from COVID-19. During the 52 days he was hospitalized, Evelym took refuge in prayer to find hope and ask God for her husband's recovery.

“The most difficult situation I had to face was when the medical report was given and the doctor told me that my husband was very serious and that only a miracle could save him. At that moment, I felt myself falling into an abyss, but my knees touched the ground, and I began to ask God for his life. Only prayers sustained me because I was not prepared to be a widow, but I trusted that God would take us out of that nightmare,” explains Evelym.

She intensified her moments of personal prayer; her children did as well; and she asked her family and friends to also pray to God for her husband's recovery. People around the world joined in prayer for Javier Espejo's health—that God would comfort and strengthen the family and allow him to return to his three children and his wife.

“Prayer has a lot of power when several people come together to intercede for their family. I learned that a person has to be at peace with God, be up to date with God, have a solid relationship with Him. Prayers sustained me and my family emotionally and especially spiritually throughout the process. That's why I advise that we spend time alone with God, every day, through prayer, because He always answers and helps us overcome difficult times,” highlights Evelym.

Just as many people prayed for this family, strengthening their faith and bringing peace, millions of people around the world also asked God through prayer to heal and care for their loved ones.

The Renewing Power of Prayer

In Brazil, Johanna Lazo, broadcaster of Rádio Novo Tempo, was visited by her mother to prepare the last details of her wedding. A week before the big day, her mother was admitted to the ER due to chronic anemia and, while receiving care, contracted COVID-19, which worsened her medical condition.

“It all happened very fast. One day, I was talking to her, and the next day, they were asking me if I would authorize the induced coma to intubate her. Definitely, at that moment, I cried out, asking God for a miracle. Before she was intubated, my mother understood that she was dying, and I remember very well that she said to me, 'Johannita, let Christ come to me,' and that faith went through me. I replied that more than ever, I would talk about God and His plan of salvation to others, to hasten his return, and thus, we will meet again soon,” recalls Johanna.

The day before the wedding, Johanna's mother passed away. In this moment of suffering, Johanna took refuge in God through prayer. In spite of the outcome and pain, she found comfort and hope in meeting God, sharing the message of salvation with others, strengthening her daily communication with Him, and reviving her faith.

“A biblical text that helped me get through this grieving process is Romans 8:18, which says, 'For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.' With all this, I learned that instead of worrying more about my problems, I need to focus on my relationship with God, praying more each day to understand the purpose He has for my life and for Him to help me be a light that transmits your hope for those who are suffering in the dark,” emphasizes Johanna.

A Call to Prayer

This is also the focus of the 10 Days of Prayer and 10 Hours of Fasting project, promoted by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, for the year 2022. With the theme “Call to prayer: the angelic messages and the revival of the church” daily content is addressed based on the three angels' messages from Revelation 14 that highlight the importance of sharing the message of hope and salvation with people, especially in these challenging times.

From this Thursday, February 10th, until this Sabbath, in addition to setting aside a special time to dedicate to prayer, each day, specific reasons will be presented to God with the intercession for friends and family, asking for them in prayer. To know the complete program and follow the guide of themes that will be developed each day, click here .

Various materials were also made available for children, youth, and adults to participate in this project, carrying out different activities. These materials, such as posters, videos, magazines, and even sermons to share with and motivate more people to value their time with God through prayer, can be found and downloaded at adv.st/10diasoracao.

10 Hours of Fasting

During the 10 days of prayer, there will also be 10 hours of fasting. In addition to benefiting physical health, fat loss, improved metabolic health, and the immune system, this short period of food restriction is very important for spiritual health.

Fasting is biblical and performed in support of prayer; it promotes healing and restoration of the spirit and allows you to stay in tune with God's plans to help others by presenting them with the message of salvation. Learn more about fasting at adventistas.org/en/jejumeoracao.

This special prayer and fasting program is intended to develop a relationship with God and strengthen faith, but mainly to mark the beginning of a life of communion with Him and a commitment to share the message of salvation with the world.

This article was originally published on the South American Division’s news site

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