What I’m Teaching During the COVID-19 Crisis: The Lord’s Prayer

COVID-19 will not be the last cause of anxiety our students and families will face. This season can be a laboratory classroom where we use our current anxiety and fears to learn how handle them.

In Philippians 4:6, Paul advises the Philippians to “not be anxious in anything.” That sounds like nice advice on the surface. But what if you are facing something truly daunting? What if something like a global pandemic hits and the world around you changes suddenly and you feel like you have no control whatsoever? Is that included in the “anything” Paul tells us to not be anxious about?

If it is, then just being told “don’t be anxious” won’t cure you of your anxiety. That would be like telling a starving person “don’t be hungry.” As much as they’d like to obey, they can’t. Thankfully, Paul does not just tell us to brush off our anxiety. He gives us something do with it.

Paul says, instead of being overwhelmed by anxiety, “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” What good will this do? Paul claims “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” In other words, anxiety is eclipsed by the peace of God through prayer to God.

Because of this truth, the COVID-19 pandemic seems like the perfect time to start a series on prayer. Specifically, we started a series on the Lord’s Prayer, so we could learn to pray from the greatest teacher on prayer that has ever walked this earth. The Lord’s Prayer has been a pillar of Christian teaching for centuries. It was a part of the earliest church discipleship manual we have outside of the Bible, a small book known as the Didache (didache means “the teaching”). Reformers like Luther and Calvin knew that this prayer was an basic building block of the Christian faith. This prayer is a model for us, people who are anxious about our current global pandemic and economic shutdown. Scripture assures us that when we learn to pray we are learning to fight anxiety, and we are taught to pray in the Lord’s prayer. Jesus assures that in the world we will have trouble, not just in Spring 2020, but throughout all our days. But he also assures that we will have peace. By prayer, the peace of God which passes all understanding can guard the hearts and minds of each of our students and their families.

Dan Montgomery is Jane’s husband, Micah & Molly’s daddy, and the Youth Pastor at First Evangelical Free Church in Sioux Falls, SD. Before moving to Sioux Falls, he helped lead a College/20s ministry for eight years. He has an MA in Historical Theology from Wheaton College. A native of the Chicago suburbs, he misses living close to a place with good deep dish pizza. He also loves running (for fun!), playing the piano, and hanging out with his family.

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