Latter-day Saints and others mark Good Friday in fasting for relief from COVID-19

Worldwide Day of Prayer and Fasting (Courtesy: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)
President Russell M. Nelson inviting members to fast and pray on Good Friday, during General Conference, Saturday, April 4. 2020 (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).

SALT LAKE CITY — For the second time in as many weeks, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and others are being called to join in a worldwide fast for relief from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Church President Russell M. Nelson extended the invitation during the faith’s semi-annual general conference last Saturday night. The call, to go without food or water for two meals, was similar to a previous fast that he called for last month.

“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 said.

Members of the church traditionally 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.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert speaks during the daily COVID-19 media briefing at the Utah State Capitol, Thursday, April 9, 2020, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, Pool)

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, also a member of the church, concluded his press conference Thursday afternoon repeating President Nelson’s invitation to fast and pray for “heaven’s blessings.” He mentioned that U.S. President Donald Trump had also called on Americans to join in a similar prayer effort during the Easter holiday.

“So, I want to add my voice as the Governor of Utah and as a man of faith, and say that I too am going to join in this fasting and prayer and supplication in our behalf as a state,” Gov. Herbert said. “My wife and I and our family will join in doing that same thing. We would like to invite the people of Utah, whatever your religious affiliation is or if you have no religious affiliation. Let’s all join together in a united effort to ask for the blessings of heaven to come upon us.”

The invitation to fast and pray on Good Friday marks an upcoming Easter without traditional worship services and community events. Most religions have suspended services and activities because of social distancing directives and orders.

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