SALT LAKE CITY — In a videotaped message released Thursday, President Russell M. Nelson called for worldwide fasting on Sunday along with prayer for relief from the global coronavirus pandemic’s “physical, emotional and economic effects.”

The president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints invited members of the faith and their friends to join him in the fast and unite their faith to plead for divine strength.

“As a physician and surgeon, I have great admiration for medical professionals, scientists. and all who are working around the clock to curb the spread of COVID-19,” said President Nelson, who was a pioneer of open heart surgery. “I am also a man of faith, and I know that during these challenging times, we can be strengthened and lifted as we call upon God and his Son, Jesus Christ — the Master Healer.

“I invite you to join with me in a worldwide fast — for all whose health permits — to pray for relief from the physical, emotional and economic effects of this global pandemic. I invite members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints everywhere, along with our many friends, to fast and pray this Sunday, March 29. Let us unite our faith to plead for physical, spiritual and other healing throughout the entire world.

“The Lord understands the feelings you are experiencing. He loves and cares for you, as I do, too.”

The message came 12 days after President Nelson released a message of comfort, hope and optimism that became a top-three trending video on YouTube on March 15. That video now has 4.1 million views.

Another senior Latter-day Saint leader said earlier this week that the world will win the “war on the coronavirus.” World history articulates humankind’s resiliency, President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, told the Church News.

The church has temporarily suspended all church meetings and activities, closed all of its temples around the world, sent tens of thousands of its missionaries back to their home countries and announced a broadcast-only general conference, carried throughout the world on satellite and through the internet.

“From the beginning of history there have been circumstances similar to this one,” President Ballard said. “Somehow they got through them, and we are going to get through this one.”

President Nelson’s latest message comes as world leaders have called for prayers around the world.

Pope Francis, for example, led many Christians in a worldwide prayer on Wednesday. “May the Lord help us conquer our fear,” he said.

Leaders from the three Abrahamic religions — Christians, Jews and Muslims — prayed together in Jerusalem on Thursday, according to the Vatican News.

Read the rest of the article on Deseret News - Faith.