LEXINGTON, Ohio — 120 pastors in North Central Ohio have signed on to a collective proclamation calling for residents to join them in a time of prayer and fasting the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
“In light of the COVID-19 world crisis, 120 area clergy … feel the Almighty can heal their land if His people humble themselves,” a report from Frontline Ohio states.
During a press conference on March 22, Paul Lintern of Oakland Lutheran and Southside Christian Church, Louis Blevins of Latter Rain Church of God in Christ, and Jody Odom, pastor of Ambassadors for Christ, outlined the proclamation and joined together in a time of prayer, which was posted online for viewing.
Lintern opened the event with a reading about the various deadly diseases that have plagued history, such as the Bubonic plague and cholera, noting that during the latter, U.S. President Zachary Taylor declared a national day of prayer and fasting, as did Dayton Mayor John Howard. Citizens knelt in the streets and prayed, and soon the death rate decreased and the pestilence subsided.
“That was an event that affected our country, that brought us to our knees,” Lintern said. “It also brought God’s healing to our plagues.”
He then asked Christians to do likewise during the present COVID situation as Louis Blevins, pastor of Latter Rain Church of God in Christ, and Jody Odom, pastor of Ambassadors for Christ, read from the proclamation.
“[T]he Bible is a leading source of modern health knowledge, referring to the practices of quarantine (Leviticus 13:21), personal hygiene (Leviticus 15), and the concept of disease vectors (Leviticus 15), and has also inspired leading medical pioneers like Dr. Benjamin Rush, Dr. John Snow, and Dr. Louis Pasteur,” it states in part.
The proclamation also notes that last year, one Ohio county observed the 170th anniversary of the turning of the cholera pandemic following a call to prayer and repentance, and that clergy throughout north central Ohio proclaimed 2019 the “Year of the Bible.”
It further points to a Harvard study that suggests that spiritual health, such as church attendance, can positively affect one’s physical well-being.
“Therefore, be it resolved, as leading clergymen from 120 congregations across north central Ohio, we are calling Ohioans to a season of corporate prayer and fasting,” it reads. “We stand in solidarity as a faith community during these extraordinary times, being fully convinced in the words of Psalm 91 that only the Most High God will be our refuge and fortress and will deliver us from the perilous pestilence.”
Signees include Chris Spencer of Crestline Grace Baptist Church, Steve Baldridge of Rome Community Church, Patrick Bailey of North Bend of the Brethren Church, Mike Corwin of Bucyrus Methodist Church, Don Wilson of Mansfield Faith Assembly, Brian Hall of Ontario Abundant Life Tabernacle, Clinton Hearns of Mt. Hermon Missionary Baptist Church and David Ferrell of Mansfield Holiness Chapel.
Jerry O’Brien, pastor of Faith Harvest Fellowship, presented a prayer from the podium, noting that nothing takes God by surprise but that He hears those who call upon His name in times of trouble.
“Lord, we come before you now as ministers of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. We petition you on behalf of the people of America [and] on behalf of the people of Ohio [and] on behalf of the pastors and church leaders and our members,” he said.
“Through all that we have seen as ministers, and all that we have gone through, and all that we have seen over the years, it has taught us to trust You for the things that we now cannot see,” he continued. “So we trust You in this hour. … We pray, Father, right now an end to this virus …”
“We pray for our president and for our elected officials, our leaders, our church leaders, our pastors — give us all wisdom,” O’Brien prayed. “Our first responders, the doctors, nurses, all the way to the truck drivers who deliver our resources — we pray for wisdom, for protection, for comfort, that in this hour that You would give us courage.”
As previously reported, 150 pastors in Ohio likewise signed a proclamation last year that spoke about the wonders of the Word of God, its role in American history, its confirmation in science and archaeology, and the need for all men — including professing Christians — to turn to the Scriptures and find truth.
“[W]e formally reaffirm the Bible as being living, active and God-breathed; and demonstrating thru history to be the anvil that has worn many hammers out,” the proclamation read.
“Consequently, since Bible illiteracy is plaguing our politically-correct society, since the Bible is being censored by governments and cultural institutions, and since the authority of both the Old and New Testament Scriptures of the Bible are being subverted by some religious circles,” it lamented, “we do proclaim 2019 as the ‘Year of the Bible.’”