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An American Answer to the Coronavirus

An American Answer to the Coronavirus

By Jake MacAulay

When faced with hardship, Americans have a history of coming together and crying out to God. 

This morning I read an article in that recorded numerous occasions of prevailing prayer over American calamities: 

At the start of the American Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress declared: “Congress … considering the present critical, alarming and calamitous state … do earnestly recommend, that Thursday, the 20th of July next, be observed by the inhabitants of all the English colonies on this continent, as a Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer, that we may with united hearts and voices, unfeignedly confess and deplore our many sins and offer up our joint supplications to the all-wise, omnipotent and merciful disposer of all events, humbly beseeching Him to forgive our iniquities.”

Our novice American patriots went on to win a miraculous victory in the war for independence against the greatest empire in the world. 

In his Inaugural Address, President George Washington acknowledged, “[I]t would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect…”

In fact, almost every other president since has issued a proclamation of thanksgiving and/or prayer.

During World War I, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed May 30, 1918, to be a day of prayer. The German empire had almost broken through the Allied lines. One day after the proclamation, the United States Marine Corps began its first major engagement of the war at Belleau Wood. Then something miraculous occurred: the Americans won a stunning victory over the Germans, keeping the Allies from losing the war.

During the mid-1800s, an estimated 150,000 Americans died from cholera, which was spread by drinking unsanitary water, though this was unknown at the time.

It was the first truly global disease, killing tens of millions in crowded cities all over the world:

My friend Bill Federer, in his American minute newsletter, recently shared:

On July 3, 1849, President Zachary Taylor proclaimed a National Day of Fasting:

“At a season when the providence of God has manifested itself in the visitation of a fearful pestilence which is spreading itself throughout the land, it is fitting that a people whose reliance has ever been in His protection should humble themselves before His throne, and, while acknowledging past transgressions, ask a continuance of the Divine mercy.”

“It is therefore earnestly recommended that the first Friday in August be observed throughout the United States as a Day of Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer…to implore the Almighty in His own good time to stay the destroying hand which is now lifted up against us.”

After President Taylor’s Day of Fasting, it was reported the number of deaths dropped suddenly in August.

That same year, 1849, English physician John Snow confirmed that the disease was spread through drinking contaminated water.

And in 1884, Nobel Prize recipient bacteriologist Robert Koch successfully confirmed the identity of the cholera bacillus, which aided in future treatment and prevention.

While this global pandemic of COVID-19 is new only in name, the solution remains the same: employ biblical sanitary practices, and pray to our Creator that He would stay this plague and bless His Church so we may help the world through this daunting time.