Hurricane Ida struck Louisiana on Sunday – no less the anniversary of Hurricane Catrina – leaving millions of people without electricity and in fear for their lives. The storm raged through the state’s coastal areas and resulted in heavy rainfall in low-lying areas of the state. But probably the most damaging part of the hurricane is its relentless winds of 105 to 130 mph. This affects transportation and roads, making it impossible for some to get to safety.
Hospitals are already being inundated with an influx of injuries in addition to COVID as they attempt to keep the building powered. Officials shouted that Hurricane Ida was catastrophic as a Category 4 hurricane.
From what we now know, the storm is easing, but those who stand in its way need our prayer and help. Whether you are a concerned Christian or a native who can weather the storm, it is hard to know how or what to pray. But prayer is the most powerful tool we have. Jeremiah 33: 3 reminds us: “Call on me and I will answer you and tell you great and inexplicable things that you do not know.” Let us call on the name of the Lord! One of the first ways we can pray is for God to calm the storm.
Father God, all elements of nature know your voice and obey your command. You are the God who shared the Red Sea with your hands. You are the God who calmed the storms – even the wind and waves obey you. We pray for you that you calm the storm, the winds ease and we pray that you comfort and those who are on the way of the storm Provide security because you are the God who rules. In Jesus name, amen!
1. A prayer at the time of an approaching hurricane
God of the universe, at the beginning of creation your spirit breathed on the water and made it the source of all holiness. You created the oceans and rivers and everything that dwells in them, and at your word the wind and waves were born. The seasons follow your plan and the tides rise and fall at your command. You are with us when there is no wind or storm. On the Sea of Galilee, even as the disciples began to fear, Jesus showed that he was Lord of the waters by rebuking the storms so that all would know that even the wind and waves obey him. Creator God, we ask you to calm the wind and waves of the approaching hurricane and protect those who are on its path from harm. Help those who stand in his way get to safety. Open our hearts in generosity to all who will need help in the days to come. Help us in all things and at all times to remember that even when life seems dark and stormy, you are in the boat with us and lead us to safety. (Prayer by Fr. James Martin SJ)
“And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there was a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was inundated by the waves; but he slept. And they went and woke him up and said, “Save us, Lord; we perish. ”And he said to them:“ Why are you afraid, you of little faith? ” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm. And the men were amazed and said: “What kind of person is that whom even the wind and the sea obey?” Matthew 8: 23-27
2. Prayers for safe travel for the evacuees
For many in the state of Louisiana and the surrounding area, they cannot live safely in their homes due to power outages, high winds, trees falling into homes, and rising floods. For those who have no choice but to evacuate, here are two prayers we can pray for for safe travel and car safety.
In the name of Jesus I pray for protection, wisdom and strength for those who try to get to safety. May the protective hand of the Lord Almighty God be on those in the way of the hurricane. Father God, please be your guide on your safe path. May you hold back the winds, may you open roads that were closed. Protect the people in the way from accidents and injuries. Protect your mind, body and soul from harm. Give them your supernatural peace and comfort. Support them with your grace. Give them patience and may your presence be felt. Amen.
“My God is my rock. He is my shield, the strength that saves me and my place of safety. He is my refuge, my savior, who saves me from violence. ”2 Samuel 22: 3
3. A prayer for safe driving
I pray for safe travel in our car today. I ask that there are no unexpected mechanical or tire problems. Please ensure safety on these crowded streets as well as the others we share it with. As a driver, give me the ability to judge when to take breaks so that I don’t push myself to the limit. Release your angels to surround and protect us until we reach our final destination. In your name i pray Amen. (Prayer by Carrie Lawrence)
“Isn’t it my family that God has chosen? Yes, he made an everlasting covenant with me. His approval is arranged and guaranteed in every detail. He will keep my safety and my success. ”2 Samuel 23: 5
4. Prayers for safety for those in Louisiana
For some, leaving the area may not be an option due to limited mobility, financial resources, or lack of transportation. We can pray for supplies, protection, and needs.
Father God, you are our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of need. We raise everyone who stays in Louisiana. Although the earth shakes, the trees shake and the wind blows, we ask for your mighty protection. We ask that you protect those left behind and provide for all of their needs. We are asking for food, water and shelter for those trapped in this storm. We pray that the electricity will be restored and that you will reveal yourself in ways that no one can deny. We ask that mighty miracles and lives be spared. Help us all remember that you are the Lord of hosts and that you are mighty in their midst!
5. Prayers for the first responders
God has given servant hearts to so many brothers and sisters in Christ to be first responders. Instead of running away from danger, tragedy and accidents, they run there. Let’s cover them with prayer.
Father, we are so blessed to have women and men who respond to our calls for help in difficult times. These people take the extra time of their lives to exercise and be prepared if a disaster strikes. They are our first line of defense and we ask that you bless them for working diligently in any emergency. Today and in the days to come, these people will experience accidents, emergencies and tragedies. We ask that your hand be on them. May you come down from heaven and touch each of these people with your wisdom, strength and perseverance. May you give them peace and comfort. Lord, we ask you to surround these people with guardian angels and give everyone a hedge. We also ask you to reveal yourself in powerful ways that only you can do. Give them the power that only you can give so that when they serve you will be honored and your name will be victorious! Move across our nation to pray fervently for our first responders – that they may be salt and light in dark places. May they be hope for the hopeless. We praise you for their hearts and their sacrifice. Amen.
“When one serves, one should do so with the strength God gives that God may be glorified in everything through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 4:11
What can we do to help?
Not only can we supernaturally stand up for those trapped in the path of Hurricane Ida, but we can also find ways to help them. Find a church that organizes relief efforts. Some churches may accept monetary donations. Cash is still king and can be used to provide gasoline, car repairs, home repairs, or to accommodate a family or individuals in a hotel. Your donation can be used to purchase medical supplies, personal supplies, safe drinking water and food.
Other charities such as the Convey Of Hope or the American Red Cross have websites that list items needed and how donations can be made. Once the storm is over, consider joining your local church or organization (here’s a list) to volunteer your time when the cleanup and rebuilding begins.
In the midst of natural disasters, we can still rely on a God who holds the whole world in his hands. We can turn to the Lord and pray for the Restoration of Louisiana, and we can pray that He will be a shining beacon of hope!
Photo credit: © Getty Images / Scott Olson / Staff
Heather Riggleman is an award-winning journalist and writes regularly for Crosswalk. She calls Nebraska with her three children and a 22-year-old husband. She believes that Jazzercise, Jesus, and Tacos can fix anything, and not necessarily in that order! She is the author of I Call Him By Name Bible Study, the Bold Truths Prayer Journal, Mama Needs a Time Out, and the author of several books. You can find them at www.heatherriggleman.com or on Facebook.