This article was originally published in Edition (2) of Prayer Magazine, Spring 2005.

…Asia Tsunami Prayer Update…

SOUTH ASIA PRAYER ALERT – TSUNAMI DISASTER – Described as the biggest humanitarian disaster the international community has faced, the Tsunami affected millions of people. As we know, over 150,000 lives were lost – maybe many more – millions were made homeless and whole communities were wiped out in the Asian countries of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and many island communities, including the Maldives, Seychelles, Nicobar and Andaman Islands, as well as the countries of Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania in Africa. It also affected twenty four other nations, hundreds of whose citizens perished whilst being in the affected areas of these South Asian countries.

We have had heart-rendering messages from Christian leaders in the region, talking of personal loss, hundreds of bodies being buried or cremated, or continuing to be washed up on the shores with each incoming tide. They speak of pastors and their families, and even whole church communities, being wiped out. Christian orphanages have lost hundreds of the children they were caring for. There are no easy answers to the question “why” or “why here” or “why them”.

Many governments, agencies, churches and individuals are seeking to answer the question “what can we do” with aid, collection of clothing, cash and with personnel. This article is to attempt to answer the question “how can we pray?”

For THOSE WHO CALL OUT TO GOD – One of the most poignant interviews, shortly after the tsunami was with an elderly British man in Thailand. When asked what did he do, he replied “I clung to a tree. And (pause) I prayed (pause) to God.”

Maybe thousands of others will have cried out to God in their distress. Pray that God will meet with those who turn to Him at this time, and show in both practical and supernatural ways that He cares and provides.

For THOSE WHO ARE SERVING GOD – Hundreds of ordinary people – both in the South Asia region and elsewhere in the world – have been reaching out in Christ’s name with aid, practical help, medical care and love.

Pray that as they come with the love of God in their hearts, God would use them. Their prayers and care can make a difference. Pray this particularly for areas where Christians have been the persecuted minority – Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Somalia, and parts of India. In situations like this, God always has His children on the ground in positions of influence and responsibility. Pray that their contribution may help to alleviate suffering and honour God by the way they speak and operate. Sometimes disasters result in a spate of church-planting, strange though that may seem.

For SITUATIONS OF CONFLICT – The tsunami hit areas where there has been ongoing conflict – sometimes tribal, sometimes against Christians. Pray that God would cause these situations of strife to cease. In Sri Lanka the uprising and political unrest among the Tamil separatists, and the persecution by militant Buddhists towards Christians, which, in the past, has resulted in hundreds of churches being burned and Christians being killed.

Pray for ‘L’ a church-leader who has been personally at risk, and who is caught up in the disaster, seeking to help churches, many of whose members have been wiped out.

In Indonesia there has been civil unrest in the Aceh region for many months, some of it levelled against Christians. In Tamil Nadu, India – a state where the church is comparatively strong – the disaster has been particularly fierce. Despite the Christian influence, there has been discrimination and violent opposition from militant Hindus.

For CONTINUING MEDIA COVERAGE and AID DISTRIBUTION – that it might be fair and unbiased. The international media tends to ignore the Christian and Jewish element in their reporting. None has mentioned, for example, that the first nation to respond was Israel with aid, medical and rescue teams going to the region within 24 hours of the tsunami. The Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka reported on the 31st December that they were yet to have the backing of any big development agency in their efforts to come alongside churches in the affected regions who were uniquely positioned to assist in recovering from the disaster.

Is there a scripture to pray through? Habakkuk 3 v 6-18 is an appropriate passage.

For THE WHOLE WORLD – That we might again pause and consider the God of all creation, the frailty of human life, and our own impotence in the face of a cataclysmic event that no man can control, predict or avoid. One has to see in this that the God of justice, love and mercy, is also a God who judges the sins of the world. May we be humbled before our great and awesome God.

Brian Mills

INTERPRAYER

www.interprayer.com

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