Australia

Continue to pray for bushfire relief

Prayers continue to be needed for Australia’s bushfire crisis as the threat to lives, homes and land remains. Other communal prayers can be found here.

‘The Disaster Recovery Chaplain’s Prayer’, by Stephen Robinson, National Disaster Recovery Officer of the Uniting Church in Australia:

Gracious God.

You brought light out of darkness.

You formed the beauty of creation from the waters of chaos.

You raised us from the very dust of the earth and brought life from death.

We thank you for your grace, your faithfulness, and your strength to restore.

Unite your people to bless all who suffer in darkness, chaos, grief and loss.

Grant us your guidance and strength, to serve faithfully as people of hope.

For your sake, and that of all you love, we pray,

Amen

Melissa Lipsett, Chief Operating Officer of Bible Society Australia, suggests Psalm 22 as a model for prayer: 

Christians are familiar with a scriptural understand of creation groaning. We understand that we live in a world broken by sin, and that although the redemption of that world has commenced through the work of Jesus, it is not yet complete. Instinctively, we know this to be true. We feel it in our personal difficulties but also in the sadness and tragedies that we see around us and in our world.

As fires have raged, creation has indeed been groaning – and not quietly, but loudly and in a way that has caused great fear and anxiety. Some have been personally devastated by the events – lives and livelihoods lost, homes destroyed, families and communities suffering badly. In response, many of us can feel entirely helpless.

May I suggest that in the midst of such profound chaos and despair, we turn to our God in prayer using the example of the psalmist (Psalm 22) and with words echoed by Jesus himself from the cross:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken us?

Why are you so far from saving us, so far from our cries of anguish?

My God, we cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.

We are fearful and anxious, Lord. We have seen so much destruction and suffering, and still it continues. Still it will continue. 

Do not be far from us, for trouble is near.

Thank you for those who are helping – for the fire and emergency services, for all who have put themselves in the line of fire to save the lives and property of others, often at great personal risk and detriment. 

Thank you for good and caring neighbours, for good Samaritans and strangers who go out of their way to care for others. 

May all truly know that you are with us. That you are with us in the ash and the dust and the dirt and the smoke. That you will never leave us. That you will bring comfort and peace, and that the redemption of all that you made will continue until creation groans no more. 

May it be so, our Lord and our God. 

In Jesus name, we pray,

Amen. 

Prayer requests provided by Ken Spackman, CEO of the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, who is currently in Mallacoota, where the massive impact of the bushfires is far from over:

Give thanks to God for continued safety and for rain for those traumatised by fire and smoke.

Pray for safety for road-clearing gangs trying to provide safe passage for those cut off by fires and fire damage.

Pray for comfort for those who continue to be isolated in communities cut off by fire.

Pray for comfort for those who have lost everything, and give thanks for their continued work and service to community despite their grief and loss. 

Pray for emergency services and personnel supporting the community, that they would find strength, resilience and rest while they care for others ahead of self.

Pray for residents across East Gippsland and other regions of Australia who have lost livelihoods and summer income, that they would be supported through the long recovery that they face.

Pray that amidst suffering in the faces of all that we meet, we would see and reflect Christ and despite our circumstances, be His example to those that we serve.

UCA Synod of Victoria and Tasmania Moderator Denise Liersch shares prayer reflections (at Crosslight):

We are praying for those who are fighting the fires, risking their own lives, leaving behind family and work and forgoing income, out of a commitment to protect others and our unique bushland and wildlife.

We are praying for community leaders and the myriad of volunteers donating their time, money and goods to support firefighters and those in evacuation and relief centres.

We are grateful for those who are calming children, caring for vulnerable older ones, and supporting angry and distressed ones.

We are grateful for those who are caring for injured and homeless wildlife.

Byron Smith offered this prayer (at Common Grace):

Creator of life, this beautiful land cries out.

For the disfigured splendour of charred forests, blackened soil, ashen skies, we grieve.

For the hundreds of millions of creatures that perished in smoke and flame, for the millions more who emerge after the inferno to starvation or predation, for the twisted, frayed and torn strands of ecosystems that may never recover, we mourn.

For smoke-filled lungs, dread-filled hours, anxiety-filled evacuations,

for ruined livelihoods, incinerated sacred sites, smouldering homes,

for bereaved families, inflicted trauma, gutted dreams, we weep.

Lord have mercy.

Lord have mercy.

Generosity

Jesus our brother, all generosity echoes your own.

For the dangerous labour of firefighters, for the kindness of strangers, for neighbourly bonds reforged in calamity, we offer thanks.

For sandwiches made, shelter provided, funds donated, we are grateful.

For accurate reporting, insightful forecasts, skilful logistics, we acknowledge our debt.

Christ have mercy.

Christ have mercy.

Kanishka Raffel, Dean of St Andrew’s Anglican Cathedral, Sydney, put out this prayer online:

Lord of all days and years, and time and eternity,

You made this land and have blessed us with its riches and beauty.

We have not always cared for the land, the wildlife, the waterways as you would have us do.

You are a gracious and forgiving God, a refuge to all who seek your shelter, our strong defence in trial and tribulation.

Send rain we pray to extinguish flames and heal our land.

Mercifully protect life and property.

Give help and hope to our neighbours assailed by fire.

Comfort and provide for those who grieve.

Uphold those who suffer loss,

Give peace and hope to those bewildered and broken-hearted.

We thank you for men and women of courage and selflessness.

We thank you for brave communities of care and support,

We thank you for those who share your comfort and hope,

We thank you for those at a distance giving and praying.

Lord, you sent your Son so that we would know your power to save, your presence with your people in this world of turmoil, and your promise to renew the whole creation. Turn our hearts to you, that we may have faith for this day and hope for eternity.

We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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