For the second time in as many weeks, Latter-day Saints and all others are being called to join in a worldwide fast.
“For all whose health may permit, let us fast, pray, and unite our faith once again,” said President Russell M. Nelson in his Saturday evening general conference address. “Let us prayerfully plead for relief from this global pandemic.
“I invite all, including those not of our faith, to fast and pray on Good Friday, April 10, that the present pandemic may be controlled, caregivers protected, the economy strengthened and life normalized.”
President Nelson first invited members and others to participate in a worldwide fast on Sunday, March 29, to plead with the Lord for “physical and spiritual healing” in response to COVID-19. Latter-day Saints around the globe reported feeling peace, hope and unity as they joined with President Nelson and legions of others around the world for a historic Sabbath-day fast.
On Saturday evening, the Church president taught that a customary fast is two meals or a period of 24 hours.
“But you decide what would constitute a sacrifice for you, as you remember the supreme sacrifice the Savior made for you,” he said. “Let us unite in pleading for healing throughout the world.
“Good Friday would be the perfect day to have our Heavenly Father and His Son hear us.”
Unified fasting offers disciples a precious opportunity to “put [their] faith in the Lord Jesus Christ into action” at a moment in the world marked by pandemic fears and commotion.
Church members, of course, observe the law of the fast one day each month. It is an ancient doctrine practiced since the days of Moses, David, Esther, Isaiah and Daniel.
The Lord said in Old Testament times: “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free?” (Isaiah 58:6).
The New Testament’s Paul admonished Saints in Corinth to “give yourselves to fasting and prayer.” (1 Corinthians 7:5). And the Savior Himself taught that certain things go “not out but by prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17:21).
In a recent social media video, President Nelson said, “As a physician and surgeon, I have tremendous respect for the medical professionals, scientists, and others who are working around the clock to curb the spread of COVID-19.”
Now, as president of the Church and its senior apostle, he testifies of an all-knowing, merciful God that offers salvation to all who repent and believe in Him.
“So, during times of deep distress, as when illness reaches pandemic proportions, the most natural thing for us to do is to call upon our Heavenly Father and His Son — the Master Healer — to show forth Their marvelous power to bless the people of the earth.”