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A Very Moving Prayer for Japan

Multitudes of relief agencies, journalists, governments, and politicians have turned their eyes toward Japan this week. After last week's tremendous earthquake and the tsunami that followed, Japan is a devastated country. The Knoxville Daily Sun would like to share with you a very moving prayer for Japan and for the relief workers and others who are attempting to provide aid to that country.

A Very Moving Prayer for Japan
By William D. Shiell, Ph.D.
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church Knoxville

Japanese Version

"Over the past several days our hearts and minds have been with the people of Japan. I thought we might spend a few moments doing what Christians do. We worship, and we take the very weapon that the Lord gave to us and we use it. That weapon is prayer.

Even in this hour, as the death toll rises, rescuers try to reach victims and people who are alive facing the threat of imminent, nuclear disaster. We need the Lord's intervention. Just as He has already been present with those in the rubble, just as He is always with us in moments of suffering.

As I pray, I invite you to pray as well -- just as you already have been and continue to do during these days. Then allow our prayers to go ahead of us praying for God's peace, comfort, and help, and mercy and deliverance even in this hour.

Would you join me in prayer?"

"Oh, God, you are our refuge and strength. As the psalmist proclaimed, 'Though the mountains shake and the earth give way and the waters roar and foam, we will not fear.'

We have watched the dreaded power of nature. We have seen, oh God, the earth giving way, changing and rearranging the landscape of life.

We are reminded again, despite our best efforts and best plans to plan ahead and to have everything under control the best our technology, and science, and order and organization can do can only lead us again back to you in utter and complete dependence upon your mercy. Just as you have already been in and amongst those who are surviving and struggling to live; just as your presence is already guiding relief workers, governments, politicians, and decision makers, so, oh God, our voices and our lives again echo the very calls for help.

We pray today for children who will no longer have parents, for grandparents who will no longer see their grandchildren. We pray in your mercy today for people fleeing the fallout zones from nuclear catastrophe. We pray for relief workers who are trying to fly helicopters into places that can no longer be reached by land.

We pray for Red Çross workers and resources and relief agencies and people from all faith, journeys, and walks of life who look past the labels that we provide and look solely to the lives in the rubble and are trying to go and to be equipped to go.

We pray for politicians and political servants. We pray for decision makers, for discretion and discernment; for cool heads, for time. All of it is out of our hands. It always was and always will be, Lord. But, somehow, by turning to you we turn, just as your creation does -- groaning and longing for your redemption -- because we know that nature does not get the last word. That the last word is you. You have the last word in every disaster. We are asking today, oh God, our Savior through Jesus Christ, that you would bring hope. Bring hope and health and healing to the nations. Bring hope and health and light to those who are in darkness. And bring hope to our lives. For as the earth churns beneath us we are reminded of the shifts that we need to make in this season. We are reminded of the deep crevices of our hearts that can only be filled by the forgiveness of your grace. We are reminded of the times we've tried to go it alone only to realize that when our lives have been kicked out from under us you are there to pick us up. So may we focus on you and, in so doing, receive your grace and mercy praying the prayer you taught us to pray saying:

'Our Father who art in Heaven
Hallowed by Thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen'" -- Matthew 6:9-15

Published March 15, 2011

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