Isolation. Social Distancing. Separation.

Those are key words that call us to action during the COVID-19 outbreak that has swept across the globe in the first few months of 2020.

While obedience to authorities, an abundance of caution, and simple wisdom require us to be separated from our normal social interactions during this time, it doesn't mean we can't come together through prayer that crosses every distance and brings us together (without contaminating anyone!).

Here are five points to help focus our prayers and bring us together in unity through prayer:

1) Pray for the sick

Here you can get up-to-date information on the COVID-19 statistics--not to induce fear--but to recognize who you are praying for. If you're home with children, maybe let them pick a country to pray for. Find that country on the map and pray specifically for those who are sick, or for the families who have lost loved ones. As you pray, you can check back and see as people recover giving a visual number to the impact of prayer to your children.

2) Pray for the lonely and distressed.

Suicide hotlines have reported increases in calls related to anxiety and isolation caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Pray that in the middle of the stress, confusion, and fears, people will experience God's peace and draw close to Him. Maybe there's someone you can call to encourage and pray with by phone.

3) Pray for health workers

Doctors, nurses, paramedics, technicians, researchers, cleaning staff and many others are not at home with their families. They are working hard to care for the sick and help bring an end to this virus. Pray for their endurance, health, strength, and wisdom. Pray for their families too. Maybe send an encouraging note or text to your doctor or a friend working in medicine.

4) Pray for leaders.

Local, regional, national and international leaders have to make tough decisions about responding to this virus. These decisions affect the day-to-day activities of millions and can be matters of life and death. The long-term impact of these decisions will be felt for a years, possibly decades. Pray for Godly wisdom for these leaders as well as strength of character, bodies and minds. Also pray for their families who are away from them.

5) Pray for the lost

Tens of thousands of people have stepped into eternity due to the COVID-19 virus infection. We are reminded that tomorrow is not guaranteed, but everyone can have hope for eternity if they accept the sacrifice of Christ. Pray for your family members, neighbors, and the lost across the world. Pray that God will work this out for good and that people will turn to Christ.

As you respond to this situation, we encourage you to remember that Jesus knows what's it like to be isolated and alone much more than we do. Before he went to the cross, Jesus was abandoned by his friends, beaten and abused. Then, when He hung on the cross, he was forsaken, not by people, but by God His Father. His Father turned away from the sin Jesus was carrying for us. Jesus died there without anyone comforting Him. He died there in our place. Yet, that isn't the end. Three days later, he rose again and soon went to be in the presence of Father God. In this world we face separations from loved ones, but through Christ we can handle these times wisely and help others connect with Christ.