by Pastor Karen Helsel
This week President Bush called for a National Day of Prayer for the victims of Hurricane Katrina today, (Friday). Many have been praying since the hurricane struck the Gulf states, and continue to do so.
How shall we pray today?
---Thank God for those who are unselfishly sacrificing vacation time and personal comfort and convenience to minister personally to survivors.
---Thank God for churches who are offering sanctuary to the homeless.
---Thank God for neighborhood "Good Samaritans" who have lost so much themselves, but are still reaching out to others with less than they have. One young man in Mississippi, living in a battered, but still-standing apartment, rides his bike out every day to water and food distribution centers. He brings back whatever he can carry to those who have no gas, no car, no way to get help for themselves.
---Thank God for policemen, firefighters, rescue personnel, and many private citizens who have risked their lives helping others, many of whom lost all of their own possessions.
---Pray for survivors who are still searching for family and friends. Pray for those who have lost loved ones.
---Pray for hope in the middle of despair for survivors. Pray that there would be no more suicides from this tragedy and its aftermath.
---Pray for the grace, mercy, and strength of God for those who are having to decide where to go and what to do, how to rebuild their lives.
---Pray for mental health, clergy, and medical personnel who are trying to meet the needs of those devastated by the losses. Pray for strength, hope, and wisdom. Pray for others around the nation and world to hear God's call to relieve them in coming days.
---Pray that the tons of supplies being collected across the country and around the world will get to the people who need them.
---Pray that the millions of dollars raised will be safely and wisely used to help those for whom it is intended.
---Pray for wisdom for those considering and planning rebuilding efforts in every state.
---Pray for communities where the mass influx of evacuees has swelled their population and stretched their resources. May there be mercy and harmony.
---Pray for healing between city, state, national officials. Pray for understanding, and that all blaming would stop and relief and rebuilding efforts would take its place.
---Pray that we, as a nation, would be permanently moved by this tragedy to work toward relieving poverty in our own country, distributing wealth more fairly, and lifting everyone to places of respect and dignity.
---Pray that through this and other tragedies that are surely to come, we would all recognize our extreme dependence on the grace and mercy of a loving Heavenly Father.
May God help us all.
- Pastor Karen Helsel of the Sunnyside Church of God, North Avenue.