MASSACHUSETTS – Prayer State for Week of March 22, 2020

Our prayer state for this week is Massachusetts, which is very timely because the Coronavirus has struck harshly in that state. Known as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and “the Bay State,” Massachusetts is the most populous state in the North East region, with a population of almost seven million. It is composed of 10,565 square miles and is bordered by New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, and the Atlantic Ocean. The capital is Boston.

Massachusetts became the sixth state to join the union, which occurred on February 6, 1788. The history of Massachusetts is of major interest in the development of the country. In 1620, Pilgrims arrived from England in search of a place to worship without the domination of the Church of England. This group, known mostly as Puritans, established their religion in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, the strictness of the belief system resulted in the 1692 Salem witch trials, when 24 women were convicted of being witches and were executed. On the other hand, Massachusetts was one of the earliest states to abolish slavery. Another positive development was the establishment of the oldest college in the country—Harvard—in 1636.

The climate in this state is variable. Temperatures range from 16.4 degrees in the winter to 85.8 degrees in the summer. Annual snowfall is about 47 inches, and annual rainfall is about 48.5 inches.

The economy of Massachusetts is primarily industrial, with major products being electrical and electronic equipment, technical instruments, plastic products, and paper products. Agriculture and dairy products are other main sources.

In terms of religion, 46% are Roman Catholic, and five other Christian denominations are present as well, including 1.7% Presbyterians. Additional denominations of Pentecostals, Latter Day Saints, and other smaller groups make up 3.2%. There is a small Jewish population, plus other religious groups.

Problems in Massachusetts include lack of full health care, where many residents have no insurance; many who do have insurance are suffering rising premiums; and access to medical services is quite limited. Also, energy is becoming an issue, along with criminal justice reform, budgeting, income inequality, end education reform. The state lottery, which is the main source of funding for local aid to towns and cities, is presenting a major problem because its profits have fallen by more than 500 million dollars. Budgeting has surfaced as a critical issue.

Let us lift up our thanksgiving and concerns for this state; let us pray. O Lord, we put before You the state of Massachusetts, which has a long and significant place in the history of this nation. We are glad for the founding of Christianity, for beauty of the state, for its sources of living, and many other things. We ask that You intervene in its problems, including health care matters, financial matters, energy concerns, reforms in justice and education, and the cases of Coronavirus at this time. May you speak to the leaders and guide them, and may You heal those who are ill and afraid. May we share our faith and hope with these brothers and sisters. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.