The "TODAY" show's Craig Melvin, who has returned from a voluntary quarantine after being potentially exposed to the new coronavirus, asked Texas megachurch pastor and televangelist, Bishop T.D. Jakes, to pray on "MSNBC Live," saying he’s “never done this on the air” but many are not being able to attend church.
“For folks who weren’t able to get to church yesterday … I've never actually done this on the air. Can you lead us in prayer for 30 seconds?” Melvin asked Jakes, senior pastor of The Potter's House megachurch in Dallas, Texas, Monday morning, according to NewsBusters.
Jakes said, “Yes, I can.”
The megachurch pastor prayed, “Our Father and our God, we bow our heads to you in humility, understanding that we are not competent in and of ourselves to handle this kind of global calamity.”
He continued, “We look to you, Lord, to be the source, the strength, the help, the light that we need, strengthen our first responders, strengthen even our broadcast people, strengthen all of us whose lives have been devastated and disrupted and give us the peace that passes all understanding. In Christ’s name we pray, amen.”
Earlier on the show, Melvin told Bishop Jakes, “[i]n times of crisis and in times of uncertainty, a lot of Americans turn to faith” or “religion for comfort and solace” even though “[i]t’s no longer practical to pray or gather in person as we know,” according to NewsBusters.
He also played Jakes’ remarks from Sunday’s streamed service. “There has been all this discussion about whether we should have church or whether we should be in a building or not, and then talk about what would Jesus do. I don’t know because Jesus never saw church. All of this stuff you made don’t have nothing to do with the power of God. It’s not about a building. It’s not about a building. It’s never been about a building.”
Melvin was in self-isolation for nearly two weeks, as one of the show’s staffers had tested positive for the COVID-19 disease.
Speaking to co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb during the time of self-quarantine, Melvin said he had no symptoms or signs of the disease. He also said he and his children were fine. “I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with my kids for the last three days.”
Later, responding to a tweet that said he had tested positive, Melvin wrote: “Not true. He’s quite healthy and thankful for that. He’s also thinking about and praying for the tens of thousands affected by this virus so far.”
In 2018, Melvin wrote on Facebook, “I don’t talk about my faith often, but the folks at (website) Simple Grace asked. Here’s part of what I told them. Feel free to share more about your faith journey.”
As of early Wednesday, there were 874,081 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus around the world, with 43,291 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. In the United States, there were 189,633 cases and 4,081 had died.