, 29 April, 2020 / 2:35 AM
Christians in Ghana ended their three-day National prayer and fasting to seek God’s intervention and direction in the fight against COVID-19, with religious leaders cautioning against the temptation to question God’s existence in the difficult pandemic times.
In a televised sermon to mark the commencement of the prayer and fasting period that ended Sunday, April 26, the Chairman of the Church of Pentecost, Apostle Eric Nyamekye said that the reason why Christians ought to fast and pray is to demonstrate God’s reality in the world as well as people’s dependence on Him.
“In times of pestilence, people are quick to question the existence of God. Christians need to fast and pray to petition God to demonstrate His glory and power for all people, especially unbelievers,” said Apostle Nyamekye.
The virtual fasting and prayer was organized by the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC), the Christian Council of Ghana, the Pentecostal and Charismatic Council, the National Association of Charismatic and Christian Churches, and all other Ecumenical Bodies in Ghana.
Held under the theme, “Oh God Heal Our Land”, the national program was conducted in partnership with over 35 media outlets and was broadcast on Radio, TV and live streamed on various social media outlets.
In the prayer points put together for the three-day program, Ghanaians expressed gratitude for the COVID-19 recoveries, the growth of the country, despite the disease outbreak and the gift of the country’s President who, they say, has been guided by wisdom to mitigate effects of the virus.
The people in Ghana also came together virtually to thank God for the kindness of people who are donating resources to fight the virus as well as health workers who are on the frontline of caring for infected people, among other blessings the country is enjoying amid COVID-19.
On the list of prayer points for Sunday, the last day of the Programme, Christians prayed that “the Lord Will Stretch forth His Hand on COVID 19 to deliver His people.”
Apostle Nyamekye said that although fasting may have various physical and spiritual benefits, “it remains the Christian’s most effective defense whenever they are under attack.”
Speaking on the topic, “The Purpose of Fasting,” he explained that fasting helps to deepen the Christian’s spiritual life and enhance their relationship with God saying, “Anytime Christians are faced with difficult challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic, they must fast and pray to seek help from the Lord.”
He noted, anytime Christians feel threatened by overwhelming challenges, they “ought to cry out to the Lord through fasting and prayer for His intervention.”
“In this period of hopelessness and uncertainty due to the viral disease, which has resulted in the death of thousands of people across the globe and brought the economies of nations to their knees, Christians ought to fast and pray to seek help from the Lord,” the Ghanaian Pentecostal church leader said.
Meanwhile, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo has extended the ban on public and social gatherings including religious activities by an additional two weeks, which took effect Monday, April 27, a move that has been supported by Religious leaders in the West Africa Country.
Speaking during his eighth address on Sunday, April 26, the President said the decision follows a strong consensus from some stakeholders in the country.
“The strong consensus that emerged from these and other consultations is that the existing measures must be maintained for now, until we have a firm grip on the movement of the virus,” President Akufo-Addo said and added, “This consensus is supported by data and science, and I am also very much of this view. I have, accordingly, by Executive Instrument, extended for another two (2) weeks the suspension of all public and social gatherings, as set out in E.I 64 of 15th March 2020, effective tomorrow, 1 am, Monday, 27th April.”
As of April 28, confirmed cases in Ghana were at 1,671, with 188 recoveries and 16 deaths.
In a televised homily Sunday, April 26, to mark the end of the three-day Ecumenical activity amid COVID-19, Archbishop John Bonaventure Kwofie of Accra reminded Ghanaians that the lifting of lockdown did not mean that the COVID-19 was over.
The Archbishop appealed to Ghanaians to continue to observe the safety protocols, physical and social distancing especially in the market spaces.
“Market women, it is for our own good, when you are asked to observe social and physical distancing,” said Archbishop Kwofie.
Highlighting the successes of the three-day ecumenical initiative, the Archbishop noted, “When we are unable to come together as Christians, the resurrection of Christ becomes our joy.”
He called upon the faithful to permit the risen Lord to enter their hearts and lives.
Archbishop Kwofie who marked his 62nd birthday on April 26 implored that with the prayers and fasting, the risen Lord would heal “our lives and the world from the pandemic as the people place hope and trust in you, come and manifest your power among us.”
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa