The past 24 hours have been frightening. Yesterday (Monday, October 29th, 2012), one of the strongest storms on record hammered the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast coast. The hurricane brought historic coastal flooding, monster-force winds, unrelenting rain, and blinding mountain snow. The NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center called it “an incredible day in meteorological history.”
My prayer through the entire day was for the east coast. Protection for the victims. Safety for the responders. Strength for the churches. And even for Jesus to be magnified above the destruction of this hurricane. We can’t forget how crucial moments of prayer can change our hearts, and provide greater perspective of gospel rescue. Here are four focus-points to remember praying before, during, and after the big storm.
- Protection for the victims. Obviously, we fear for those in harm’s way. I imagine ever since the first torrential drowning of Noah’s day, people have cried out in fear of storms. Our prayer for can echo the words of Nahum 1:7… “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, He knows those who take refuge in Him.” By the power of the Spirit, Jesus stilled the storm, and saved his disciples. By asking for God’s protection, we acknowledge His power, and praise His might to protect those who trust in Him.
- Safety for the responders. Military, emergency personnel, and first-responders act as lives are endangered. They fly, row, drive, dig, pull, and lift others from danger. In every way, they exemplify the honor of sacrificing their own bodies for the good of another. They remind us of Jesus, who came as seeker and savior of those who were the path of danger and storm of sin.
- Strength for the churches. Natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy allow churches to serve and lovingly meet the needs of their cities. A bottle of clean water, a set of dry clothes, a warm place to sleep, a hot meal to eat. The church can comfort and cry with families experiencing such tremendous loss. These are all crucial and immediate needs of those affected by the devastation. Hours, days, weeks, and months after a storm are opportune times for the church show God’s light defeating the night.
- Encounters for lost people with Jesus. Our greatest hope in the face of disaster, is that many lost souls would meet the Savior, and know the shelter of His body, the church. The hope of the world is Jesus (the man) who slept through a storm, and Jesus (God) who stilled the storm. We believe that Jesus would use even a hurricane to bring back sinners from the spiritual catastrophe of sin. Our prayer for salvation is for the world to know Him, in whom “all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”
Prayer changes perspective. It helps us see these “incredible days in meteorological history” as the Creator stands over the tempest, calls it to peace, and commands the obedience of his creation. Yes, Mother Nature still bows to Father God. “Who then is this, that even the wind and sea obey him?” (Mark 4:41) Let’s continue praying in Christ’s name for all those affected in the path of Sandy.