God Has Not Forgotten Our Nation, and We Pray for His Restoration

God Has Not Forgotten Our Nation, and We Pray for His Restoration

God has not forgotten our nation. This truth should give us confidence to continue to pray for deliverance from this global crisis and believe for better things ahead. 

One common Filipino song we sing is “Hindi Kita Malilimutan.” Interestingly, this came from a passage in Isaiah that reads:

But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me;
my Lord has forgotten me.”
“Can a woman forget her nursing child,
that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget,
yet I will not forget you.
Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are continually before me.”
Isaiah 49:14–16

This passage initially referred to the nation of Israel. But God extended His salvation when He sent His Son, the Messiah, to be a “light for the nations” (Isaiah 49:6), so this ode of love has been extended to the nations as well. God reminds the nations that He will not forsake us and He has engraved us on the palms of His hands. 

God has not forgotten the Philippines. God has not forgotten you. Even when you feel that this crisis has already stretched out for far too long and you have almost nothing left, that your faith is already hanging by a thread; even when your own world has really been shaken, and you haven’t even begun to recover; even when we don’t know for how long this will still be and the prospects of the future seem bleak, God has not forgotten us!

The facts are clear: New COVID cases are at an average of 17,730 the past week bringing us to a total of 2.49 million cases, with more than 37,000 deaths and over 161,000 active cases. Our economy remains battered as the lockdowns cost us P4.3 trillion in foregone output last year alone, with projected long-term scarring as the pandemic could cost the Philippine economy up to P41.4 trillion in output losses up to 2060. Many families have experienced loss of their loved-ones, and the stories are getting nearer. To add to that are the uncertainties brought about by the upcoming elections as major political alliances continue to shift and inquiries into possible corruption continue.

But God’s promise of compassion and restoration is clearer. In the same chapter (Isaiah 49), it says:

Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth;
break forth, O mountains, into singing!
For the LORD has comforted his people
and will have compassion on his afflicted.
Isaiah 49:13

This is our confidence as we continue to pray for our nation: God is full of compassion for the afflicted, and He shall comfort His people. Prayer is expressing our faith in God, and partnering with Him in what He is already doing to turn things around. Prayer moves the heavenlies and releases God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. And in the end, we “shall exult in Him and break forth into singing!”

May God bless and restore our nation.

PRAYER POINTS

  1. Let us declare together God’s healing for the afflicted and deliverance from this pandemic (Jeremiah 33:6).
  2. Pray for the continuing efforts of our local government leaders against the spread of COVID-19 and for wisdom as they contextualize and apply strategies to address the needs in their own areas (Romans 13:4).
  3. Pray that the political alliances being forged would be for the welfare of the people (1 Timothy 2:1–2).

To learn more about the COVID-19 situation in our nation, you can read the resources in the links below.

Pray for Our Youth to Be Spared from COVID-19

Pray for Our Youth to Be Spared from COVID-19

How are the young people in your home? 

In light of the Delta variant, adolescents and children are now increasingly being affected by the COVID-19 infection. Here in the Philippines, there were around 48,000 cases of those affected who are 19 years old and below by February 2021, but this has since increased to more than 176,000 by August 8, with 466 deaths from our younger population. This has spurred on efforts to vaccinate more adults in order to “cocoon” (or protect) our un-vaccinated minors. 

Furthermore, mental health concerns have also risen in this age group as our young people continue to battle their own personal and family issues in the eighteen months of community quarantine, social isolation, and challenges in online learning. Recent studies used the term “languishing” to describe their sense of not thriving and feeling of stagnation and emptiness that could eventually lead to depression and other mental illnesses. In fact, it is reported that the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) hotline has been receiving an increasing number of  calls—around four times more—since last year, and most of them from adolescents.

We believe that God will continue to protect and spare the young people of our nation. As they go through this, we pray that they would put their hope in God and find renewed strength in Him. 

Each generation would have to fight their own battles, and this is theirs. As Psalm 78:4–7 says, our role as parents and guardians is to “tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and His might, and the wonders that He has done” in order “that the next generation might know them, so that they should set their hope in God.” May they also have a true encounter with the God who saves them! 

And they are not without help, for “even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:30–31). May they know early in their youth that their own strength could only go so far, and that true and lasting strength can only come when one fully depends on the Lord.  

Individual struggles have a way of defining our lives for the better when we respond in the right manner, and going through this pandemic as a nation may have a way of maturing a whole generation. This just might be their preparation to make a difference for the future. 

That is our hope, which is why we shall cover the next generation urgently in prayer.

PRAYER POINTS

  1. Pray that God would spare the young people and children from being infected with this disease.
  2. Pray that young people would look to God, and find hope and strength in Him.
  3. Ask for much grace for parents and guardians as they help their children navigate through their physical, emotional, mental, and academic concerns.
  4. Pray for the online Every Nation Campus Leaders Conference on September 10–11, that we may rally our students to be strong in the Lord and raise these young leaders to fulfill their purpose and destiny in Christ.

To learn more about the COVID-19 situation in our nation, you can read the resources in the links below.

Pray against the Spread of COVID-19

Pray against the Spread of COVID-19

The COVID-19 Delta variant is now in the Philippines, with confirmed community transmission and a total of 64 cases as of July 24, 2021. It is a mutation that originally surfaced in India and was initially identified in December 2020. This variant is said to be at least 75% more transmissible than the original COVID-19 strain.

In light of this, NCR+ (Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal) has once again been placed under general community quarantine with heightened restrictions until July 31. Meanwhile, the provinces of Bataan and Davao Occidental, as well as Cagayan de Oro City and Butuan City, are placed under modified enhanced community quarantine.

Let us continue to be vigilant in practicing health safety protocols, such as wearing of face masks and shields, keeping physical distance, and meeting in well-ventilated spaces. Vaccination has also been reported to slow down the spread. At present, the Philippines has had 4.7 million citizens fully vaccinated (4.27% of the population), with another 5.7 million awaiting their second dose.

But God remains to be our ultimate protection, for “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty” and “He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence” (Psalm 91:1, 3).

Our response is one of faith, not of fear, and so, “I will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’” (Psalm 91:2).

As a response, this is God’s promise: “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows My name; when he calls to Me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him; with long life I will satisfy him and show him My salvation” (Psalm 91:14–16).

On the basis of this shall we pray!

PRAYER POINTS

  1. Pray that the spread of the COVID-19 virus would cease, and may God spare the nation from an outbreak of the Delta variant (Psalm 91:9–10).
  2. Speak God’s protection on those who continue to go outside and serve our nation, especially those in the healthcare system and those who keep the economy moving (Psalm 91:4–6).
  3. Pray for those affected by the Taal volcano’s recent activity, the recent earthquakes, and the flooding caused by the monsoon rains (Psalm 91:11–12).

To learn more about the COVID-19 situation in our nation, you can read the resources in the links below.

Pray for the Continuing Vaccination Efforts and the Rising COVID Cases in the Provinces

Pray for the Continuing Vaccination Efforts and the Rising COVID Cases in the Provinces

Surge in Cases

Recently, we have seen a rise in COVID cases in cities outside Metro Manila. While NCR+ is already in GCQ, there are twenty-one areas in the provinces that are now under MECQ. These include major urban centers such as Cagayan de Oro City, Davao City, Iloilo City, Lucena City, Naga City, Puerto Princesa City, and Zamboanga City. A few days ago, Davao City already reported critical levels in its hospital and ICU utilization rate. Our nation has around 6,500 new cases per day, with deaths averaging 125 per day within the past seven days. 

Vaccination Efforts

As of June 17, 2021, we have received more than 14 million vaccine doses, almost 7 million of which have been administered. So far, almost 2 million citizens have received their 2nd dose. This means that only less than 5% of the country’s population have received the first dose of the vaccine, and barely 2% have been fully vaccinated. 

The government aims to fully vaccinate 70% of Filipinos by the end of the year. That would mean 350,000 to 500,000 people should receive shots every day. But our average this past week has only been 112,600, less than half of the number of people we aim to vaccinate per day. There are a number of concerns that led to this: the logistics of getting more vaccines into the country, the challenges of vaccine distribution and administration, and the hesitancy of our fellow Filipinos in getting vaccinated. 

Let us continue praying for our vaccination efforts to reach more people and for God’s healing power to be felt across the nation.

A Call to Prayer

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
1 Timothy 2:1–2

The apostle Paul pointed young Timothy towards the urgency of praying for “all people.” Then he uses four different words to describe prayer. Supplications are petitions or requests made to God, entreating Him. Prayers are words spoken to God in earnest. Intercession is standing in the gap and speaking to God on behalf of others. Thanksgiving is gratitude expressed to God as a form of worship. 

Let supplication and intercession be made for all people: for protection against the virus, healing and quick recovery for those with the disease, and provision for the costs of hospitalization.

Let supplication and intercession be made for those in authority: for wisdom in making policies and decisions to resolve the issues brought about by the pandemic, swift nationwide execution of plans, and unity in the government rather than politicking in these dire times.

As we pray, the eventual result is that we would lead peaceful, quiet, godly and dignified lives. There is hope for these things to be so again.

May our prayers be powerful and effective as we storm heaven together!

 

PRAYER POINTS

  1. Pray against the spread of COVID, especially in the provinces. Pray for healing and the complete recovery of those who are affected, and for provision for their hospital bills. Pray for the healthcare system and the economy to be sustained in these regions.
  2. Pray for more vaccines to be delivered and greater efficiency in its administration to our people. Let us believe together for the miraculous fulfillment of the 70% vaccination coverage by the end of the year.
  3. Pray for God’s mercy upon our nation. Pray for our government leaders and those in authority for great wisdom and compassionate service as they seek the well-being of our nation and people.

To learn more about the vaccination program and the COVID-19 situation in our nation, you can read the resources in the links below.

Pray for Our Nation’s Vaccination Efforts

Pray for Our Nation’s Vaccination Efforts

All historical pandemics end at some point. The flu pandemics of 1918, 1957, and 1968 eventually faded away and simply became the seasonal flu. 

How did the pandemics end? They ceased medically—the population came to a point when most have developed a measure of immunity to the disease (herd immunity), whether through surviving the infection or through preventive vaccination. They also ended socially when people went past the pervasive fear and found new ways to go about their lives again. 

This is also our hope for the COVID-19 pandemic. The advantages in our present time are the advancements in medical science and the capacity of our global village to share resources like never before. With these factors, we may simply need to brave through this period. 

To persevere through this pandemic, we need to find our joy in God and His faithfulness all over again, to pray and not give up praying, and to nurture a grateful heart as we see telltale signs all around that God is working. As 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” It is easier said than done, but by God’s grace, we can walk through this with joy and reach the end with victory.

As we move forward, here are some reminders that may be helpful for us.

  1. Remain cautious and considerate. The quarantine has eased a bit to GCQ with heightened restrictions. This is again an effort of our government to keep the economy moving to the degree that our healthcare system can manage the cases that come with more people moving around. But this does not mean that the danger has passed. Let’s stick to essential meetings (such as church and work), while observing minimum safety precautions (consistent use of N95 or surgical mask and face shield, and practicing physical distancing). 
  2. Grow in faith rather than fear (2 Timothy 1:7). Let us not miss out on how God is moving in our lives, families, and nation at this time. Let us not allow the lessons of this crisis to be put to waste, but rather see that God is strengthening our faith, is still faithfully working out His purpose for our families, and will use us to bring the gospel to many people in this season. In the end, the Lord will heal our land!

This pandemic, too, shall end, but we must continue to brave through it!

 

PRAYER POINTS

  1. Pray for wisdom for the leaders in government and in the private sector as they devise strategies and enact solutions to address the pandemic. (Proverbs 21:1; 1 Timothy 2:1–2)
  2. Pray for healing for those battling COVID-19 and for God to uphold our healthcare system and economy. (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18; James 5:16)
  3. Pray that our population will achieve herd immunity at the soonest time and that vaccination efforts will reach more people. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

To learn more about the history of pandemics and the COVID-19 situation in our nation, you can read the resources in the links below.

Pray for Our Economy and Healthcare System

Pray for Our Economy and Healthcare System

In the past four weeks, we have seen afresh the realities of this pandemic—overcrowded hospitals, patients waiting in tents in parking lots, over-extended frontline healthcare workers, social media feeds that have become obituaries, and deaths closer to our circles. As a result, Metro Manila and some provinces were placed under stricter quarantine measures yet again. We even reported our highest caseload, 15,310 cases, on April 2, 2021. The nation is grieving.

Added to that are our dire economic realities. Over 9 million Filipinos were laid off temporarily and permanently the past year, and the number of unemployed is still at 4.2 million as of February 2021. Food manufacturing, grocery stores, and telecommunications still thrived, but the rest of our businesses were badly hit. At least 75 percent of the economy has been shut down.

We are in the middle of the “dance” between the need to curb the rising number of cases and the need for the economy to open up. We want to loosen the quarantine so our economy can move, but only up to the point that our healthcare system can cope with the demands of the number of active cases.

This month, we will specifically pray for God to breathe life into our healthcare system and our economy. As we pray, we can find encouragement in the book of Jeremiah. 

In Jeremiah 29:4–7, we find God’s words for the Israelites, people who have experienced war, death of loved ones, loss of livelihood, and eventually exile to the land of their oppressors in Babylon. In the midst of their difficult situation, God’s message to them is not what you would expect. He told them to “Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.” It almost sounds as if God was insensitive to the unbelievable pain that they had gone through losing their nation. To top it off, God told them to “seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” 

What was God doing here?

God was telling them to move forward with hope. 

He gives His assurance in verse 11 saying, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Because God knows what He is doing, He was asking the people to trust Him and still find hope in the midst of their dire situation. He told them to move forward by building homes and families and to even bless a foreign nation because, in it, they will find their welfare.

The situation of the Israelites has several parallels to where we are today. God, too, may be asking us to trust that He remains to be in charge and has a plan, even when the situation seems to worsen. And in light of that trust, we may come to acceptance rather than grumbling and resentment. We may expect God’s move rather than languish in hopelessness. We may speak and act in courage rather than cower in fear right within our homes. Many of us are grieving and tired in many ways today, but we can cling on to hope because God’s promise is that this grief will end someday. Trust that God has a plan, bless rather than resent our situation, and build with faith.

An example of blessing others and rebuilding with faith are the many community pantries sprouting around. Even with all the controversy surrounding it, this effort is still a means for people to serve those in need. It’s encouraging to see many people not losing hope and doing something to flourish within the situation. 

Another example is the people who have maximized online opportunities to be able to move goods and services, which resulted in the many delivery options we have today. Instead of being limited by our work-from-home setup, others have utilized it for greater productivity by maximizing relational connections, trainings, and lessons online. 

People of faith can be undaunted because our God is undaunted. He even strongly assures us that He has a plan for our good, and we are right in the middle of it. 

Finally, we can continue to pray in confidence because God hears us. In Jeremiah 29:12, God affirms, “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.” May our prayers be filled with much faith and hope, and may the blessing we speak on our land heal it!

PRAYER POINTS

Bless our nation’s leaders. Pray that God will guide them with His wisdom and lead them to His plans.

Bless our healthcare workers and our hospitals. Pray that God will give them extended strength and resources to cope with the continuing demands.

Bless our economy. Pray that God would breathe life into the business sector and miraculously restore our production, manufacturing, and service industries.


To learn more about the COVID-19 situation in our nation, you can read the news in the links below.

Pray for the Rising COVID-19 Cases

Pray for the Rising COVID-19 Cases

The COVID-19 cases have been rising in the nation, especially in the National Capital Region. On March 15, 2021, exactly a year after Metro Manila was placed on community quarantine, 5,404 new cases were logged. On March 22, the highest number of COVID-19 cases per day in our nation was logged at 8,019, bringing our country’s total infections to over 671,792. New cases per day are projected at possibly 11,000 per day by the end of March, in light of the 2.1 reproduction rate of the infection. This rate means one infected person could infect two more, and the two could infect four more, and so on.

This increased rate has been attributed to the new variants as well as the public’s greater mobility. Though generally, 97.5 percent are mild and asymptomatic and the number of people who die from the disease in the Philippines is just 1.93 percent, this is still a serious matter since more cases mean more people experience the severe form of the disease and even death.

Yesterday, March 22, the government has designated NCR and its four neighboring provinces (Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal) as the NCR Plus bubble, where additional restrictions to the general community quarantine guidelines are implemented. A year into the pandemic, we seem to find ourselves in the same situation: curfews and community quarantines, limited movement, and no assurance of what our circumstances will be weeks from now. As a nation, we are holding on to the hope that we will emerge victorious in this battle against a seemingly invisible enemy that has continually plagued us.

The Lord is still in control. He is at work among the nations and has a plan and a purpose in all these (Psalm 46:8–11). We can confidently come to Him in prayer and participate in what He is doing, with full assurance that He is at work healing individuals, families, and our nation.

In the apostle Paul’s letter to young Timothy, he encouraged him to have the right spirit in facing difficulties, which is an apt word for us today:

. . . for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7

The Lord is at work in our nation, so we don’t need to fear. Instead, let us proclaim His power to heal, keep reaching out to our neighbors in love, and be mindful of each other’s well-being.

As the government implements measures to curb the rising cases and expand the reach of the vaccination program, as our health workers strive to serve despite approaching full capacity in our hospitals, and as private entities continue to implement safety health protocols, let us stand on behalf of our nation and ask God to heal our land!

PRAYER POINTS

Faith over Fear. Pray against the fear in our nation at this time. Speak the promise of God in 2 Chronicles 7:14 that as we, the people who are called by God’s name, humble ourselves, pray and seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways, then He will hear from heaven and forgive our sin and heal our land. Pray that Filipinos will find hope in God and call on Him today.

Wisdom for Our Leaders. Pray for wisdom for our government and private sector leaders as they make decisions in this season to mitigate the spread of the virus and increase access to proper healthcare.

Healing for the Afflicted. Pray for the individuals and families that contracted the virus, that they would quickly recover and that they would be spared from the severity of the disease.

Protection for Our Front Liners. Pray for the healthcare workers and other front liners as they consistently serve the nation in the midst of a pandemic for over a year now. Speak protection on them and a blessing on their families as they selflessly serve.


Starting today, we will be posting prayer points for the Philippines every month.

To learn more about the COVID-19 situation in our nation, you can read the news in the links below.