As Easter Day was celebrated in a nationally televised service from St Andrew’s Cathedral, Archbishop Glenn Davies urged that there be ‘a great wave of prayer’ during the coronavirus pandemic.

The service, televised on the Nine Network’s GEM channel, 9GEM, featured music from a trimmed down and socially distanced choir, singer/songwriter Rob Smith and a sermon from the Dean of Sydney, Kanishka Raffel.

Rob Smith sings during the TV service

A precious Easter

“This is an Easter unlike any we have known before,’ Dean Raffel said in his sermon. “Ordinarily today would be a day when churches are brimming with those who come together to proclaim ‘Christ is Risen, He is risen indeed!’.  But this Easter is different. We’re not together, we’re not gathering, we’re not singing with one voice. But for all that - this Easter perhaps is more urgent and more precious than any I can remember.”

The Dean said the pandemic had caused a re-evaluation of life by many people.  “Easter is precious because it is the resurrection of Jesus from the dead that confirms that everything matters.  Justice matters, kindness matters, you matter and the decisions we make, especially the decision we make about God and life and death and eternity matter.  In the western world, we have slowly persuaded ourselves that only what can be seen, only what can be touched is real - but the coronavirus has brought to light again that this world is not a sufficient explanation of itself or of us.”

A great wave of prayer

In finishing the national telecast, the Archbishop called for fervent, daily prayer about the pandemic. He began by leading in prayer for frontline health workers.

“Those doctors, nursing staff, health care workers, as well as emergency services, police and defence force personnel need our prayers and our support. They are the front line workers, not only here in Australia but around the world.” the Archbishop said.

The prayer for frontline health workers and leaders

Our heavenly Father, we come before you with contrite hearts, yearning for your comfort and your grace. In the midst of COVID-19 spreading across the globe, we ask in your mercy that you would stop this plague and restore harmony and health to the nations, and especially Australia. We thank you for all those who have dedicated their lives to serving our community, for health workers, doctors, nurses, paramedics, and especially those who labour In laboratories seeking a vaccine for the Coronavirus. Give them wisdom, skill and patience in their work, and by your grace, give them success in their endeavours.

We also pray for those who govern us, for our Prime Minister, Premiers and Chief Ministers, for their courageous leadership and national cooperation across States and Territories. Grant them wisdom in their decisions as they navigate the threats to lives and livelihoods. We also pray for our police force, our emergency services and defence force personnel as they seek to maintain order in our country. May all Australians respect their work, accept the limitations on our freedoms and seek the welfare of others, for the good of all.

And we pray for ourselves and our families, especially those who have lost loved ones to this disease, or those suffering from its effects. May we know the peace that passes understanding, as we place our trust in Jesus, in whose powerful name we pray.

The trimmed down choir, with social distancing, sing a hymn during the TV service

A call to pray daily

Dr Davies also urged continued prayer. “Our God is not socially distant. He longs to hear our prayers and answer them. We may not always understand the larger picture of how he works - but he will not abandon us.”

Dr Davies says he and his family have set aside for COVID-19 - 1900 hours; at -7pm - to remember to pray for our world, our nation, our leaders, our health care workers, our community and our families. 

“Imagine if we had a great wave of prayer across this nation!” he said. “Remember we have the confidence to pray to our heavenly Father, because Christ has defeated death by his resurrection, and brought hope to the world.”

See the COVID-19 prayer page.