Your people in Puerto Rico and across the Caribbean have looked up into rain flooded skies and out onto destroyed homelands, waiting for water, food, shelter and the provision of medical care. Open the hearts of decision makers to release funds to continue the rescue, to bring relief and stability. Smooth the communications to move people to care as the USNS Comfort (US naval ship) waits for the needy. Help us to grow in compassion as a people as we listen to news from hurricane-devastated places and during the long recovery, not forgetting the gulf coast.
We pray for the Rohingya peoples who await smugglers to take them across the Naf River between Myanmar and Bangladesh. Others make the treacherous journey to safety through jungles and mountains and into refugee camps such as Balukali, Kutupalong and Nayapara, where the depth of need is continually expanding. Dear God, our Comforter and Protector, be with the nation of Bangladesh and the NGO’s as they summon all their capacity to meet the needs of these deeply suffering refugees. Surround exhausted families with nourishing sleep. Tend to the children who make up 60% of the refugees – lost and torn from their families. Open our eyes to the horror of genocide, as a people are being erased from Myanmar’s history and annihilated. Come Holy Spirit. Guide the world as it seeks to address this calamity.
Some look up into smoke and ash filled skies in the western United States barely escaping burning homes and a tortured landscape and yet 10,000 firefighters – including 100 women prisoners working as firefighters – move toward the flames. Renew their energy to endure and guard their steps. We are so grateful for their unique skills in this treacherous work. Dear God, provide shelter to families bereft of everything they owned. Sustain the communities in their great work of serving these families, providing food, a listening ear, counseling and guidance in next steps and getting in touch with family. Be with the 42 families who have lost loved ones and the 68 families with unaccounted for loved ones. Hold them in their distress.
Some hide in the shelter of darkness yet afraid. “Has the fighting stopped?” Oh Lord, how seemingly endless is the noise and dust and calamity of war and the horrific suffering, the interminable loss and degradation. We pray for the peoples caught in the wars within wars, in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region of Kirkuk, for the police killed in Taliban raids and bombings in the Paktia and Ghazni provinces in Afghanistan. We pray for the dead and wounded civilians as they were waiting to get their identity cards. We pray for an end to 6 years of suffering in the Syrian civil war displacing 6.3 million people internally, causing the deaths of 400,000 with more than 5 million Syrians fleeing the country.
Open the hearts of combatants to give safe humanitarian access. Our hearts are torn again as we hear about the global food crisis, severe food insecurity, and the increasing risk of full on famine in northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. Some are too week to sit or even cry, hungry to the point of death. Oh God, you are listening. You surround them. You love them. Open our hearts. Help us to prayerfully consider our time, talent and treasure. Help us to share the wealth from our tables. Bring peace in those places where war creates famine, where conflict creates war, where war seems to be endless.
We watched with deep concern as Ireland and the UK received the effects of Hurricane Ophelia downgraded to a tropical storm. We are saddened at the loss of life as severe winds toppled trees on to cars. We are grateful for advanced warning such that the Irish Defense Forces were ready where needed and schools were closed keeping children safe. Be with families in their sudden grief and with those experiencing the deep deep losses in Portugal and Spain as wildfires fanned by the winds of the very same hurricane have brought further catastrophe. Again we pray for the 6,000 firefighters and nations called to come together in these wildfires. Be with the injured and their caregivers as severe burns are treated. Comfort those who are in mourning of the over thirty-two victims including a one-month old infant taken so quickly. Many weep for their cherished lands and fields, and livestock so vulnerable. Comfort them in their mourning. Give them your strength.
And your people in Mogadishu, where the Somali nation again suffers a bombing so despicable and barbaric with over 276 lives destroyed in an instant. Oh Lord, we take-in this news of the over 300 injured and suffering, and families still searching for the missing. We hear of the need for donor blood, the exhausted hospital staff, and how they keep going, as its populace is weeping, weeping, weeping. Help them as they assemble and arise as a people to discern steps for increased stability and safety in their nation. Comfort your people of Somalia in their great sorrow. Bring them peace.
Guide us in our faith. Help us to seek your will.
May we rush to understand one another, to love urgently, and to grow steadily in becoming more tolerant.
From you comes all blessings and life itself.