A Prayer of Hope During Harvey

Dear Church Family:

Words cannot begin to express the devastation our community has suffered for the past four days. And not only ours in the Friendswood, Pearland and League-City area, but also all of the greater Houston area. The estimate from the City of Friendswood alone is that one-third of the homes here have been flooded. This is hard to fully grasp. The images on the TV are difficult to watch.

As I write this there is a lull in the rain, and the sound of air-rescue helicopters begins again. Lord hear our prayers! I pray that the rain and wind will stop so that people who are still trapped in flooded homes can be brought to safety. And I give thanks to God for all those who have already been saved.

Yet even as we have seen the worst of nature, we have also witnessed the best of our community. Our police and firefighters, national guard, air rescue pilots and so many volunteers with boats helping ferry people to safety and volunteers working tirelessly to help those evacuated in shelters is amazing to behold. Words cannot begin to express our gratitude. I pray for strength and safety as they continue their work of mercy for our community.

I am reminded of an old African-American spiritual:

When the storm of life is raging (Stand by me)
When the storm of life is raging (Stand by me)
When the world is tossing me like a ship upon the sea
Thou who rulest wind and water (Stand by me)

In the midst of tribulation (Stand by me)
In the midst of tribulation (Stand by me)
When the hosts of hell assail and my strength begins to fail
Thou who never lost a battle (Stand by me)

As the remnants of Tropical Storm Harvey move out of our area, the work of recovery will begin. And although the road to that recovery will be long and difficult for many, I am confident the Lord will give us the strength rebuild our community.

And we will not be alone in that task. I have already had pastor friends call me yesterday and today pledging their support. Work teams are already being organized to help us when the flood waters recede.

Let us remember the words of the Psalmist in Psalm 48:

1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
7 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord! Let us pray.

Almighty God our Heavenly Father:
As your Son Jesus calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee and said “Peace, be still” so calm the storm raining upon us, we pray. May this storm move quickly out from us and all other people in its path.

And calm the storm of our hearts. Release us from worry and banish fear far from us. For, no matter what nature has thrown upon us, You, O Lord, are our shelter and our refuge. You are our strength and our help in the day of trouble.

And as you have stood by us through these days of calamity, so you will lead us to a new day of hope. Grant us strength now and in the coming days and remind us every day that You are always with us. And we will bless Your holy name and praise You that Your steadfast love endures forever and Your mercies never come to an end.

In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord we pray. Amen.

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