The most powerful work a Christian can do is pray. According to Paul, effective intercessory prayer is hard work (Col. 4:12-13). In Old Testament times when the nation faced a crisis, godly leaders called the nation to prayer, often with fasting. Fasting took place in times of national calamities (2 Sam. 1:12). When a great multitude of foreign invaders came against King Jehoshaphat, he was afraid. But his immediate response was to “set himself to seek the Lord, and [proclaim] a fast throughout all Judah” (2 Chr. 20:3). We would have expected him to rally his army and prepare them for war. Instead he proclaimed a fast and gathered the nation to pray. The result was that God intervened and gave him a resounding victory.
However busy we are, individual and corporate prayer should be an important aspect of our relief operations. And the beauty of prayer is that this is something that every Christian can do—young and old, physically active and those confined to bed. When there are national or local crises, Christian leaders should call their people to special times of prayer and fasting.
Here are some things that we should be praying about:
• for God’s grace to go to those who have suffered loss of loved ones and property;
• that those who are deeply traumatized would be ministered to, and that those who are displaced from their homes would find a solution to their housing problems;
• that those who are in shelters would be adequately provided for, and that those who are vulnerable to attack, like women and children, would be protected;
• that Christians would rise up and be sacrificially involved in effective service;
• that the church would be revived to bring glory to God through our actions and our witness for Christ;
• that God would guide each of us about how we can be involved in the process of healing;
• for the process of relief and rehabilitation and for the groups involved in this process (especially Christian organizations and churches), and for the government authorities who are responsible for allocating funds to the affected areas;
• that corruption, waste, a lack of planning, and anything else that could hamper relief operations would be minimized;
• for wisdom for our political leaders who make policies that affect the healing process;
• that there would be adequate supplies and funding for the huge task of restoring the affected areas;
• that through this tragedy, the world would see the love of Christ displayed through His followers to people in need;
• that God’s glory would shine through to the nation as never before, resulting in people seeking God and finding His salvation.