A Prayer for A Hurting World

In review of last week’s world events and those that we anticipate, I struggled to focus on one thing for our Presbytery in Prayer this week.  The events in Afghanistan, the earthquake in Haiti, the spread of the Delta Variant, and the anxiety of children returning to the classroom, all swirl around us like a whirlwind of dust and debris.  The editor of the Presbyterian Outlook published a prayer that responds to our bewilderment and sadness related to  the events that surround us at this time.

A prayer for a hurting world

August 16, 2021 by Teri McDowell Ott, Presbyterian Outlook 

God of mercy, as wildfires and wars rage, earthquakes shake the planet, tropical storms threaten, we are at a loss as to what to say or do. In these moments of anguish and fear and grief, we turn to you in prayer, Holy God, confident that you hear the cries of your people.

As we send our daughters back to school, free to raise their hands in class, free to study and to speak, we pray for the daughters of Afghanistan. We pray for women shrouding themselves in fear, for liberties recently gained to hold despite the new oppressive regime. We pray for the Afghani men—fathers, brothers, sons, uncles— desperately seeking refuge for their families. We pray for all the Afghani people whose lives are trapped in a war zone. We pray for American troops, morally torn over leaving this country and their service behind. Lord, have mercy. Turn us from violence as a justified means for achieving our ends. Guide humanity toward your path of peace.

In your mercy, God, hear also our prayers for Haiti. Why, O God, have the people of Haiti suffered so? How long, O Lord, must your people on this island endure tragedy after tragedy? We pray for this nation rocked by economic crisis, political assassination, a spiraling pandemic, and now an earthquake causing death and destruction. O God, we see the faces of those who have lost their homes and their loved ones. We grieve for your beloved ones and cry out on their behalf. Rescue the people of Haiti, God, desperate for help. Protect them from the next deluge heading their way, from the flooding and the mudslides. Guide us in global mission so our efforts might provide relief and support.

Great God of all, you know us so well. You know our pain. You know our loss. You grieve with us as wildfires consume homes and COVID-19 fills hospital beds. You cry with us as tragedies plague your people. You work beside us in ministry and mission. God of grace, open our eyes, hearts and hands to the movement of your Spirit in this broken world. Restore hope to the suffering, mend the hearts of the hurting, grant us all the strength to support those in need. As we forage for hope along the path of tragedy, may we bear the good fruit of faith, turning to each other and to you in love. Restore us, Holy God, with your hope.

We pray this in the name of Christ. Amen.

Link to original publication

The scale of the disaster facing Haiti after the Aug. 14 earthquake is becoming clearer. The quake and its aftershocks have left almost 1,500 people dead, thousands more injured and an unknown number of people are still missing. At least 13,000 homes were destroyed, and roads, bridges and communication systems have been severely damaged. This catastrophe comes on top of Haiti’s ongoing struggles with endemic hunger and poverty, COVID-19 and continuing civil unrest, and as Tropical Storm Grace bears down on the region.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is providing emergency relief and short-term recovery in the impacted areas through our established local partners and in collaboration with ACT Alliance and its members. The PC(USA), through PDA and together with regional World Mission colleagues, will remain active throughout the entire recovery process, accompanying our partners in the area as they determine long-term program needs and providing financial support for rebuilding and resilience.

You can help.  Click here on how you can assist those in need in Haiti.