The New Testament is filled with words of encouragement for believers to pray for the benefit of others. The recorded life of Jesus Himself is a great example of selfless, compassionate prayer for all others. He did not only pray for Himself, but also for His disciples, and many others including those who did not yet believe. Paul prompted us to pray for others when he said, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior” (1 Tim. 2:1–3
Beloved, it is during tragedies or disasters, that suffering and losses are present, nevertheless in those times we are admonished that our praying is vital and effective: “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (5:16). It is reassuring to know that Jesus is praying for the sufferer and the spiritual caregiver, interceding for both. In those stressful times of suffering and caring for the suffering, Paul reminds believers of their strong connection with God in Christ Jesus with the promise that even during “tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword” (Rom. 8:34–35), we are never separated. And so, beloved, we pray . . .
Lord of great compassion and mercy, we pray for those who have been and are being devastated by these wildfires throughout California. We fix no blame, nor do we suspect to judge. We simply remember those who may have lost their lives as a result. We hold their families and friends, who are forever changed by grief and loss, close in our hearts and prayers. Give to them Your support and comfort. Envelop them with our prayers for strength. Bless those with much help who have survived, and heal their memories of trauma and devastation. Give to them the daring to face the lengthy paths of rebuilding.
We ask Your blessing on all who have lost homes, livelihoods, security, and hope. Bless the work of first responders, firefighters, relief agencies and those proving emergency assistance. May all their work be directed by the grace and strength that comes from You alone.
Help us all to respond with what we can with bigheartedness in prayer, in assistance, or in finances. When the flames are out, keep our hearts and minds focused on the continuing needs of those affected. We are relieved that we can depend on You to protect and guide our actions in helping, in Jesus’ name Amen