Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has called for prayer and fasting last week to combat the cases of COVID-19 in his state.

The Christian Post reported that Edwards made the call in the face of rising cases in the state through a statement released last August 6.

The statement, which was released four days after the governor reinstated mask mandates indoors in the state, specified a particular time and day of fasting for Louisianans to accompany efforts being done by the local government to "slow the spread of COVID." The statement also specified particularly for whose intentions will the prayer and fasting be offered for.

In the statement, the government asked Louisianans to join him and the First Lady, Donna Edwards, in "praying and fasting during their lunch time for three days for Louisiana health care workers and all of those who are sick with or affected by COVID-19."

"Yesterday, I asked hundreds of ministers and pastors throughout Louisiana to join me during the lunch hour next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in praying and fasting for our state, and I am extending this invitation to anyone and everyone who is so inclined, no matter their religious beliefs," Edwards said in the statement.

"I believe very strongly in the power of prayer, and there are thousands of people right now in Louisiana who need to be lifted up in prayer. So I hope you will join your prayers to mine for healing and protection," he disclosed.

Edwards, a retired Army Captain and running as second-term governor, revealed in the statement that he will personally be praying for the healing of those who are sick with COVID and for the protection of those who care for them. He also said he will be praying for the safety of everyone else, especially the children and teachers since school has opened again.

"I will be praying that our sick may fight this illness, that the medical professionals caring for them can remain strong and safe," Edwards stated, "that our children, teachers and school support staff can safely begin the school year and that our people will do everything they can to help us slow the spread of this terrible virus."

Evangelist Franklin Graham praised Edwards on Facebook for his "leadership" and for knowing "the importance of calling on God for help" on Wednesday. Graham quoted the governor's belief on the power of prayer taken from the official statement that was mentioned in the report he shared with his post. Graham urged others to heed the governor's call not only in Louisiana but throughout the country.

"Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has called for prayer & fasting in response to increasing Covid-19 cases in his state," Graham said, "Let's do that and join him in praying for those in Louisiana and across this country who are battling coronavirus-and for an end to this pandemic. I'm thankful for Gov. Edwards' leadership and that he knows the importance of calling on God for help."

On August 2, Edwards "temporarily" reinstated the mask mandate pointing that the increase in COVID-19 cases in the state has threatened "hospitals' ability to serve communities" as the primary reason for doing so. The secondary reason was the state being in "the worst surge of the COVID-19 pandemic so far in terms of case growth rate, percent positivity, and hospitalizations."

The governor also pointed out, as another reason for the temporary reinstatement, the mandate released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last July 30 that vaccinated people become carriers of the Delta variant. Finally, the state's "insufficient vaccination rate" was another reason for imposing the mask mandates indoors again. Tentatively, the mask mandate will be in effect until September 1 unless extended otherwise.

The Christian Post said Louisiana reported 6,088 new infections from the recorded 597,000 infections and 11,353 deaths for its 4.6 million population since March 2020, which was when the first nationwide tallying for COVID-19 cases began.