October 1, 2022 – Circulating this post again in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. The location is different, but the prayers that are needed are the same.
I am a native Houstonian. I have seen every hurricane and storm since Hurricane Carla in 1961 when I was 3 years old. Hurricanes, flooding, tornados – these are nothing new to Texas. But there has never been anything on the scale of Hurricane Harvey. And it’s not just Texas – it’s Louisiana with this one as well.
My entire family escaped what so many are suffering. Our homes were not flooded. We only lost power for a short time. Other than a little cabin fever we are ok.
The outpouring of love we have witnessed both from outside and inside our communities has warmed my heart. Over the past couple of years, we have seen so much hate and vitriol in our country. Could God have used this in some way to change the conversation? I don’t know, but I am so encouraged about the positivity and love and graciousness and kindness in the midst of this tragedy.
I spent 25 years working in nonprofits in Houston, so my original idea was to write a post on which organizations to donate to and how to evaluate a charity before giving. I know a lot about that, but so do a lot of other people. You can read some of those guidelines here.
Instead, I decided to write a post on how to pray for the people who suffered loss as a result of Hurricane Harvey. Because that’s the first thing we should do. And after we’ve donated and volunteered and helped and listened and sympathized and encouraged that’s all we can do. And it’s the BEST thing we can do.
Here is my list of things to pray about today and through the months to come. Because it’s going to take more than a couple of weeks to get through this. Long after they stop talking about it 24 hours a day on the news.
- Thank God for his mercy. He was there. He never left us and He is here now, working through people.
- Thank God for His love that has been poured out through people across the world. What would we do if we were not loved and cared for?
- Pray that God would provide places to live for people who need it.
- Pray for government agencies to work efficiently and quickly to meet the many needs these communities have.
- Pray that God would protect families who are rebuilding from unethical and incompetent contractors and tradesmen. After a disaster, these types swarm into devastated communities, do shoddy work, incomplete work and take off with the money.
- Pray for our first responders who are exhausted. Many left their own flooded homes to help us.
- Pray for those who are grieving the loss. Most put on a brave face and say things like “stuff can be replaced”. And that is true. But when it’s YOUR stuff, it’s hard.
- Pray for kids. If your parents are stressed out and things are uncertain, it’s hard.
- Pray for kids and teachers. Schools will open again and be full of teachers and kids who have suffered loss. How does one concentrate on learning or teaching in the midst of devastation? Schools have been flooded. Everything will be topsy turvy in our educational system for a while. Pray for God’s peace and order.
- Pray for local businesses. There has been great loss in our area businesses. It will be hard to get up and running again. The ladies who clean my house weren’t able to get here this week. (That is only a tragedy if you’re me :). Seriously – I think about the people who only get paid when they work, paid by the job, don’t have vacation days and sick leave. If you are one of these people and you are out of work, you are in a world of hurt. I will be paying them for this week. If someone like this works for you and didn’t make it in this week, consider paying them anyway if you are able.
- Pray for our government officials who have to make a lot of decisions – that God would guide each and every one and give them wisdom. That they would seek Him and He would show them what to do.
- Thank God for all the churches, businesses and nonprofit organizations who have mobilized to help. Pray God’s blessing on them and that He would direct each on how to use their time, expertise and resources in the most efficient manner.
- Pray against donor fatigue – and that also goes for volunteer fatigue. At some point, you just get tired of hearing about Hurricane Harvey. Then there will be another disaster somewhere to take our attention. All the while people here still need lots of help.
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This was in my reading of Jesus Calling this week. So appropriate. Isn’t the Lord so good that way? Just showing up with exactly what you need to hear.
“Trust me to supply what you need when you need it”
Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. – Lamentations 3:22-26
Yes – we serve a Lord of compassion and faithfulness. Always faithful.
What wonderful suggestions, Cathy and so glad your family were spared. We have all been watching and have been constantly amazed by the good will and strength of the people of Houston.
Rebecca – as bad as it is here, the spirit of community we are seeing is so encouraging. Thanks for reading and commenting.
I’d also ad d in a practical aspect – if you can’t send money, send items – blankets, food that doesn’t need to be cooked (water and electricity are luxuries and not everyone has them) etc. I’d contact a church, mosque or temple that has accommodated people and work out how to get them delivered (normal post also isn’t working.)
Lydia – yes – those goods are important. It’s also important to work with organizations like you mentioned, to find out what you need before sending them and make sure they have the place to keep them and the capacity to distribute them. Thanks for reading and commenting.
This is so awful to see year after year. Hurricanes, earthquakes, landslides and all these horrible things. All those people losing their homes, lives, beloved ones.These are the moments I really struggle to believe in God. But I know, we all get these moments. Nevertheless, your suggestions are excellent!
Klaudia – it IS so devastating to see. But I see the goodness of God come through by the generosity, love and compassion that come through people helping those that have suffered such great loss. Thanks for your comments.
Hello Cathy Lawdanski, Thanks for your post so this was very helpful!
Gloria – so glad you found it helpful!
Cathy, I also worry about the hourly workers. It’s probable that their homes and vehicles are damaged/destroyed. No way to get to work IF their job is still there. So many businesses are lost. What are they going to do? Schools will have a tough time this year. Until one’s basic needs are met there will be no learning. I applaud Houston ISD for providing three meals a day for the entire year. Texas will get through this but it will take years. Thank you for your prayer post. Very helpful.
Yes, we will get through it. But it will be a long, hard road. I am so pleased to see our community rallying around the victims.
It was useful
Cathy sometimes the best thing is prayer and positive thoughts to all those in need. And now we can add all those folks in the North West and the fires, the victims of the earthquake in Mexico and lastly the people who are in the midst of Irma. What is going on? Let’s pray for everyone. Glad to hear you had minor problems.