Pastoral prayer in storm and exile – Hurricane Matthew

God of all times and all places, as we gather this day to worship, give praise and say thank you, we are mindful of the many who are in exile, living in temporary shelters as a result of war, poverty or extremes of weather. We pray for those who have been in exile for long years, those who are trying to make a life and care for their children, planting gardens and seeds of hope and survival in refugee camps with scarce resources. We pray, too, for those who have evacuated due to Hurricane Matthew. Grant them patience as they wait to see when they can return home. Ease their worry about what they will discover when they get there. We pray for those who have lost their homes, their loved ones and their lives in this storm. We cannot forget, Lord God, those internally displaced in countries ravaged by violence and those who are alienated within their own communities. For all those without the comfort and safety of home, we pray rest and respite, courage and comfort.

Flooding and damage from Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, a city on the southern coast of Haiti. Photo by Peterson Gustav.
Photo by Peterson Gustav.

No matter what city or town, suburb or back road, shelter or house, we find ourselves this morning, may its welfare be enhanced by our presence within it. Take our willingness to be salt, light, and leaven, bless and use it. Make us like the little boy with the loaves and fish, offering whatever gift we have, no matter how small, for the good of the community of which we are a part. Help us to be like the one, the Samaritan, who turns back and says ‘Thank you.’ Prompt us, Holy Spirit, to remember all that has brought us to this day and this time, the people, the resources, the mercy, the healing and the healers, so that we may respond with gratitude and grace. Inspire us to extend hospitality to those most in need of a warm, loving welcome.

On this Lord’s Day, when many are afraid and wondering if their exile will ever end, grant the peace that passes understanding. May our songs of praise recounting your promises, your provisions, and your power, encourage hope in those longing for healing and home.

Photo by Michael Broyles

Hear our prayers, our praise, our gratitude. Thank you for seeing us, claiming us, healing us, making your home in us, so that no matter where we are, we are never alone. Thank you for the people on this journey with us, the ones who’ve opened their homes to us, those who have called us family, friends who have loved us, strangers who have cared for us, all who have been the hands and feet of Christ to us. Thank you for those who right this very moment are feeding the hungry, healing the sick, tending the dying, restoring power in cities that are not their own, staffing shelters, making ready to repair the damage inflicted by the storm, and in countless ways serving for the sake of others.

In thanksgiving, may we all leave this sanctuary to be the Body of Christ in the world.


Editor’s note: You have permission to use this prayer in worship as written or adapted for your context.  If you would like to reprint it in a bulletin or newsletter, please contact our office.