As record-breaking floods are decimating homes and livelihoods in northern and western New South Wales, especially in the Forbes region, and many communities in Queensland, NSW, ACT, Victoria and South Australia face ongoing cleanup after floods and storms, congregations are asked to pray for all affected by natural disasters.
The Commission on Worship provides this prayer:
“In Psalm 46, hear the promise that God is the refuge and strength of his people, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, let us pray that God would be an ever-present help and refuge to those who have been so significantly impacted by devastating floodwaters across Australia.
Almighty and merciful God, creator and preserver of our world, we ask you to hear our humble prayers for all those affected by the devastating floodwaters across NSW and Victoria. Grant safety to the thousands of residents under evacuation orders. In your mercy, bring relief to affected areas and protect both life and property.
Show your compassion and bring your comfort and relief to all those struggling with flood and storm damage in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.
Bring all who are missing safely home and comfort all who love them and worry for their safety.
Give courage and hope in the midst of despair. Through the generosity of governments and individuals, provide a future for those whose present circumstances are marked by loss and desperation. Grant wisdom to those who assist, especially government leaders, State Emergency Services, our Australian Defence Force, other emergency workers and aid agencies. And by your gracious hand, rebuild communities where men, women and children are nurtured with care and love.
We pray for pastors and their congregations serving affected communities. We especially think of Pastor James Leach and the St John’s Lutheran Church community in Forbes, NSW at this time. By your grace, enable and equip them to be faithful servants in the midst of hardship and effective witnesses of your saving message.
At this time, may those without genuine peace find true hope in your Son, Jesus.
In His name we pray. Amen.”
Bishop Paul Smith will release a message of encouragement shortly. Congregations may like to share this as part of their services.
Songwriter Leigh Newton wrote the following hymn after Black Summer for a service of thanks for emergency service workers. He has generously passed it on for use by all churches as we struggle with natural disasters including the current floods and storms.
Hymn of thanks for Emergency Services
Words: Leigh Newton © 2020
Melody: Nun Danket Alle Gott by Johann Cruger 1647 (LH 437/TIS 106) Backing Track
Now thank we all our God,
for those who help in crisis,
in rescue, flood and fire,
and those who work in quiet.
For chaplains who give ear
to loss, distress and grief,
who offer sacred space,
that they might bring relief.
For those who give themselves,
for love of unknown stranger;
and those who sacrifice
for property and neighbour.
All gratitude be theirs –
these mates who note the call;
who walk the way of love,
and serve all people well.
For justice and for love,
and joy of serving others,
for honour and for grace –
in common wealth of colours.
We praise the suff’ring Christ,
who knows the cross we bear;
who walks our troubled road;
brings hope in our despair.
Now thank we all our God
For life on Easter dayspring
Good Friday’s loss remains,
But hope is now our wellspring.
These feet and hands are God’s,
enfleshed in answered prayer –
a gift in anxious days,
God’s strength in our despair.
Resources for Times of Crisis and Disaster
The Worship Planning Page now has a section under Seasonal Resources for Times of Crisis and Natural Disaster. It includes the resources shared in this post as well as other material developed in response to the challenges of the last couple of years. The intention is to provide an archive of prayers, liturgy, music and articles which congregations can draw on whenever they face challenging times. Visit it here.
Forbes Flood Appeal
To help Lutherans and the communities they are supporting with immediate assistance and then, later, post-emergency restorative support:
- You can donate via credit card at LCA Disaster & Welfare Fund (tax-deductible).
- You can donate via bank transfer:
Account name: LCA Disaster and Welfare Fund