Thursday, January 14, 2010

How Do I Pray for Haiti?

In the face of a cataclysmic event such as Haiti's earthquake, our minds cast about for some way to begin to grasp it, a starting point to try to imagine the unimaginable.

I begin my attempt to make sense of what I'm seeing and hearing with the news that Danny, Tom's dentist brother, left Haiti just two hours before the quake. He'd been there for two weeks with a group of dentists from the Wesleyan Church, providing dental care for locals.

What do I do next? I think about what I know of Haiti -- an island nation, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, the home of 14,642 Free Methodists, 4,000 sponsor children through International Child Care Ministry, and 53 schools for these children, many in or near Port-au-Prince. I remember that just recently we became sponsors for one of those children (see post on October 29). How is he, I wonder. I check the website but it is too soon for them to know anything about the children there. As a matter of fact, there are three Free Methodist missionaries (out of 19 currently in the country) who are still unaccounted for. The young adult daughter of friends of ours was dug out of the rubble after several hours and she and one other of our mission staff were taken to Guantanamo Bay for medical treatment, where they are in stable condition.

How do I begin to pray for something this huge? I start with what I know and work out from there.

I pray about what I know. I thank the Lord that my brother-in-law is safe. I ask God to care for our Jean-Philippe and his family and schoolmates. I pray that the three missing missionaries will be found. I pray that the leadership within the Free Methodist Church responsible for decisions about supporting relief efforts will make wise decisions and that all agencies providing relief work will work together in an efficient manner. I pray that those who care for people will have strength to do what they need to do, and that those trapped under debris who are still alive will be found in time. I pray that money donated will be used wisely so that the greatest good can come of it. I pray for clean water to be made available. I pray for the sanitation conditions, always a huge concern at such times, and for the clean-up efforts. I pray that God will turn the hearts of people to Himself during this devastation. I pray for God's comfort and peace for the nation of Haiti.

And I ask God to help me be faithful in prayer, to watch the news with a prayerful heart, and to be available as He would direct.

Oh, God, hear our prayers for the people of Haiti. And when we have no words left, hear our cries.

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