Pray Hope Over Houston: March 23rd

Bethel Church of Houston is joining a ministry of 5 Churches in Belfast who are united to pray for a great awakening of souls, in their city and land. They initiated a 20-day Pray Hope movement in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This prayer initiative runs from March 22-April 10 (Good Friday). We have responded to their call for others to join them. Bethel Church of Houston has adopted the theme of Pray Hope Over Houston.

The prayer focus, Scripture reading and prayer points of this devotion come from our partners in Belfast. The comments section is mine. These comments give context and reflection on the verses as we are prompted to pray.

Prayer Focus: Healing in Jesus Name

Reading: Matthew 14: 34-36

And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent around to all that region and brought to him all who were sick and implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.

Matthew 14:34-35 (ESV)


Jesus and his disciples had been on quite a journey in the preceding days. Jesus was rejected at his hometown of Nazareth and determined to not do “many mighty works there, because of their unbelief (Matt. 13:58). Then John the Baptist was beheaded by Herod at the manipulative prompting of his wife and daughter. In response, Jesus withdrew into a secluded place by himself. From the human side of things, the ministry looked powerless.

However, the crowds still came and Jesus had “compassion on them and healed their sick (Matt. 14:14). He then feeds the five thousand in a display of his provision. Note his Jesus motive was compassion. Jesus loved people and was moved by their suffering.

Jesus then had a lesson in faith for the disciples. The following scene records Jesus walking on the water and Peter’s lesson of faith. Here the disciples are growing in their comprehension of who Jesus is when they proclaim, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (Matthew 14:32) Jesus heals, Jesus feeds the hungry, and calls forth faith from his disciples.

When they got to the other side of the lake they came to Gennesaret, a small village located on the coastal plain on the northwest coast of the Sea of Galilee. News apparently traveled fast in the region because the crowds recognized Jesus and they brought their suffering friends and family to Him for healing. The faith of these people contrasts with the lack of faith of the disciples in the boat.

These verses show us what it means to have faith in Jesus. He heals and he provides. He has compassion and provides hope. These are important lessons as we pray during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prayer Points:

(1) Jesus, we bring the 1000’s who are sick with Corona to you. We pray for those who are sick in ___________ (insert name of country or region). We pray for those who are vulnerable, isolated, scared and sick. We bring them to you for healing, hope, and mercy.

(2) Jesus, all power and authority reside in you. Heal the sick with your power, in your mercy. May your perfect will be done.