Our Forgotten Pandemic Remedy
Want the world’s greatest wireless connection? Want to end a pandemic? Try prayer.
Based on prayer’s eventual defeat of the cholera epidemic of the 1800s, it seems the best remedy for the worldwide panic that's ramping up again.
So, how did prayer work during the cholera outbreak almost two centuries ago? First, some background information.
Cholera is a disease caused by contaminated water. Diarrhea, vomiting and muscle cramps kill victims within days of exposure. Thus, India, where multitudes bathed in the toxic Ganges River, became the source of a huge epidemic of this disease in the early 1800s.
Great Britain’s railroads and steamboats in India enabled cholera-infected individuals to travel to Europe to flee the outbreak. However, these travelers carried germs to other European countries, and then around the world. Eventually it spread to America.
That’s where insightful men saw prayer as the best and only hope for a sick population.
Senator Henry Clay, in 1832, asked for a Joint Resolution of Congress to request that the President declare “A Day of Public Humiliation, Prayer and Fasting to be observed by the people of the United States with religious solemnity.”
Those lawmakers recognized our country was founded on Christian principles; thus, they instinctively knew that meant praying to the Christian God, designer of heaven and earth…and people.
The battle continued to rage. By 1849 cholera killed 5,000 persons in New York. It spread up the Mississippi River to St. Louis and on to Cincinnati, causing Ohio to postpone the first Ohio State Fair.
Spreading westward, cholera attacked travelers heading to the Pacific Northwest, including the California Gold Rush.
President Zachary Taylor entered the picture. (A God-honoring man, Taylor had previously refused to be sworn in on the Sabbath day out of respect for God and the Ten Commandments).
On July 3, 1849, Taylor proclaimed a National Day of Fasting, His words eerily parallel the challenges of our day.
“At a season when the providence of God has manifested itself in the visitation of a fearful pestilence…it is fitting that a people whose reliance has ever been in His protection should humble themselves before His throne, and, while acknowledging past transgressions, ask a continuance of the Divine mercy.”
He continued, “It is therefore earnestly recommended that the first Friday in August be observed throughout the United States as a Day of Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer…
“It is recommended to persons of all religious denominations to abstain as far as practical from secular occupations and to assemble in their respective places of public worship, to acknowledge the Infinite Goodness which has watched over our existence as a nation, and so long crowned us with manifold blessings, and to implore the Almighty in His own good time to stay the destroying hand which is now lifted up against us.”
New Jersey Governor Daniel Haines made a similar proclamation in a newspaper on August 1, 1849:
“Whereas the President of the United States, in consideration of the prevailing pestilence, has set…a Day of Fasting…and whereas I believe that the people of this State recognize the obligations of a Christian nation publicly to acknowledge their dependence upon Almighty God…that abstaining from their worldly pursuits, they assemble…with humble confession of sin…and fervently…implore the Almighty Ruler of the universe, to remove us from the scourge…”
Dayton, Ohio’s mayor John Howard proclaimed a Day of Fasting and ordered all stores to close. Scores of people knelt openly in the streets and prayed.
By August, the number of deaths from cholera dropped suddenly.
So, rather than debate over masks and vaccines, wouldn’t it be more sensible to implore the God of heaven?