Another hurricane hits our nation. In the wake of Harvey, Irma creepily crawls up the coast of Florida.
Like you, so many friends and family are holed up in hotels and basements and bathtubs right now. Watching. Praying. Waiting.
Born near Cocoa Beach, Florida, I learned the hurricane drill all too well. Boards. Screws. Sandbags. Packing. Traffic. Sold-out bread and water and Duck Tape and blue tarps. Bare shelves. No more gas. No more places to stay inland.
The stress… the extreme stress of preparing and packing, waiting and watching…
The sense… of driving away and knowing life you once knew may be lost… that you may come back to nothing…
The losses… of roofs and homes and inventory and businesses and hospital care and life as you know it…
The wait… as we wait and we pray…and maybe like me, you wonder how to pray when you don’t know what to pray…
I’ve been wrestling with a question over the last few weeks:
Are we really wired for this?
I mean, I know God is wired for this… but you and me…
The images of loss, pain, suffering, flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, and hurricane damage. Trees bent in two. Cars crushed. Homes knocked down, drowned out, bashed in, blown away. The destruction takes place around the world, but now we’re seeing it again, thrust on our nation.
The visual carnage makes me want to pray, but what do you pray when there are no words?
I hear the sacred echo…
Remember my name.
Oh, yes, but which one?
Should I call you…
Alpha or Omega
King of Kings or Lord of Lords
My Rock or My Shepherd
Or do you prefer…
El Roi or The God Who Sees
Jehovah Jireh or The Lord Will Provide
Jehovah Rapha or The Lord Who Heals
Or may I call you…
Creator or Father
Abba or Pappi
Almighty or Ancient of Days
In a short list of many names, I remember that yours is the name I need most…
To regain footing…
To refill lungs with breath…
To shift the focus from the darkness to your glorious face
To remember you’ve established us on the rock, not sand or pebbles
I take my place and invite you, my friend, to join me, as we bend our knees…
- Begin with God’s name. The name that seems so right for this situation…
Alpha or Omega or King of Kings or Lord of Lords or My Rock or My Shepherd or El Roi or The God Who Sees or Jehovah Jireh or The Lord Will Provide or Jehovah Rapha or The Lord Who Heals or Creator or Father or Abba or Pappi or Almighty or Ancient of Days or the name that comes to mind.
Call on God’s name.
- Ask God how to pray.
What is the first line of the Lord’s prayer? The most common answer, “Our Father, who is in heaven.”
Yet if you look at Luke 11:1, you’ll see that the Lords’ prayer begins with an earlier request of the disciple, “Lord, teach us to pray.”
This is a powerful way to start praying. Too often we begin prayer by thinking of what we would want if we were in the person’s situation.
God hears these prayers, but what if you approach the Alpha and Omega, the one who knows and sees all things, with the humble request, “Lord teach us to pray in this situation”?
Pay attention to what and who comes to mind as you ask Christ how to pray.
- Pray the Prayers of Scripture.
In prayer, you may find the words you need from the Holy Scripture
- A prayer for all those in the path of the hurricane.
Abba, Pappi, Father,
You who laid the earth’s foundations and marked its dimensions
while the morning stars sang and the angels shouted for joy.
You who fashioned the springs of the sea
and walked the recesses of the ocean’s depths,
every element of nature obeys your command,
whether sky or storm or cloud or wind or raindrop or hailstorm.
We humbly ask you, Creator, Lord of All,
Protect us, guard us, keep those in the path of the storm
safe from every danger, sheltered on every side,
from the harsh gusts of wind to the wild spin of tornadoes,
from the firebolts of the lightning to the soundbolts of the thunder,
from the receding waters to the storm surges to come.
The calamity and destruction of this storm reminds us yet again
we have no power, we have no place, we depend only on you
for our life, our breath, our shelter, our bread, our everything.
You are the One who holds all things together.
Now we call on you to hold those in the storm’s wake extra tight.
Scoop them up in your loving arms of protection and provision,
Hold them extra tight, this day and this night, now and forever.
Help us find our security and comfort in you.
May we seek you today and in the days to come
To serve you and praise you with thankful hearts.
For you are our God, our Savior, our Lord.
We ask this in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Amen and amen.
Will you join me in praying? Write your prayer in the comments below.