Iowa declares statewide ‘Day of Prayer’ amid coronavirus outbreak

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Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has proclaimed Thursday a statewide “Day of Prayer” in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The power of prayer and faith in God is something that has guided so many of us in good times and bad,” Reynolds said in a statement. “We have all been impacted by COVID-19. Some of us have lost a loved one and others know those who are sick.”

The outbreak has prompted shutdowns of churches and nonessential businesses across the country, snarling the economy as part of social distancing guidelines aimed at keeping people apart to prevent the virus’ spread.

The proclamation urges “all Iowans to unite in prayer and ask God to comfort and bless all severely impacted; to protect medical care workers, first responders and all who are serving during this crisis; to grant wisdom, courage and strength to our local, state and national leaders; and give us all the hands and hearts to be generous with our time, skills, and resources to serve our neighbors within and alongside the many churches, non-profits, businesses, and other organizations providing relief.”

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There were at least 423,135 confirmed cases across the United States as of Wednesday evening and 14,390 coronavirus-related deaths.

President Trump proclaimed a National Day of Prayer in mid-March, shortly after declaring a state of emergency as the government kicked up its efforts to combat the outbreak.

The Iowa move comes as residents have now dealt with weeks of social isolation — with some forced to stay home from work and many working overtime in response to the virus.

“Let us join together and pray for our neighbors, communities and state.”

— Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds

“Whether you are a nurse on the frontlines fighting the pandemic, a grocery store worker, the truck driver making a delivery, or someone laid off at home, this has been a challenging and stressful time,” Reynolds said. “Let us join together and pray for our neighbors, communities and state.”

The chosen date is both the first day of Passover and Maundy Thursday, also known as Holy Thursday, the final Thursday before Easter.

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And it is the day of the 59th Annual Iowa Prayer Breakfast, which will occur over the Internet due to concerns about the contagion.

The online prayer breakfast will be free of charge.

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“The governor and I encourage everyone to join us for that event to celebrate this Day of Prayer,” Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg said.

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