OSJ Prayers: August 30, 2017

Devastating Floods in Texas

Much of Houston and the surrounding area is under water due to unprecedented rainfall from Tropical Storm Harvey. Eight people have been confirmed dead. The slow-moving nature of the storm has made Harvey the largest flood event Texas has ever experienced, and it comes after two floods–one in 2015 and one in 2016–that were also considered “500-year floods.” Eastern Texas and Louisiana are now bracing for heavy rains as well. Concerns about levees along the Brazos River being breached have led to the evacuation of many more residents; officials fear that levee breaks could lead to destruction similar to what occurred in New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Join us in prayer for those most vulnerable in the wake of Harvey’s destruction.

Eastern Texas’ homeless and poor

Some people chose not to leave simply because they could not afford to. Without insurance or the means necessary to leave and wait out the storm elsewhere, they decided to remain in their homes or in other forms of shelter. For many of these people, the cost of rebuilding or finding other lodging is insurmountable.

God, for those who are in danger because they lack the resources to find safety, we lift our prayers. We pray that you might bring help, and we ask that this help may not only be short-term but also offer new life, new hope, and new flourishing.

Immigrants, asylum seekers, refugees

Fears of immigration enforcement during evacuation and sheltering loomed large for southeast Texas’ undocumented population. Border Patrol did not shut down checkpoints even as neighborhoods were being evacuated. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials left 50 asylum-seeking women and children alone and without money at a bus station in San Antonio (where the buses were shut down due to the storm), even though the asylum seekers had just gotten out of family detention centers and had passed their “credible fear” interview, and were on their way to families and sponsors. City officials, nonprofit groups, and religious organizations worked together to provide them shelter.

God, we pray for those who have suffered so much trauma—only to discover more fear in the place that promised safety. Protect those whose safety is precarious because of their immigration status and their vulnerability as newcomers to the U.S.

The sick and elderly

Many hospitals and nursing homes in the Houston area are struggling to treat storm victims and care for residents as many facilities are now flooded or damaged by Harvey. At the Ben Taub Hospital in Houston, 350 patients were left out of the reach of rescuers when the hospital was surrounded by water. Even for hospitals that are fortified for storms of this size, flooded or impassable ambulance routes make it difficult for people in need of care to reach the necessary help facilities. Decisions to not shut down nursing homes left some residents in distress. A photo from a nursing home in Dickinson, Texas, showed residents sitting in water above waist-level.

God, we pray for all who lack the strength and health to find safety. We pray for people who are confused, traumatized, or otherwise at great risk of danger or death because of the severe flooding. We pray for caregivers to have the means, supplies, safe routes, and energy to provide care.

Pastors, Disaster Relief

Pastors—including many in the CRC—are struggling to name the devastation and heartache their communities are experiencing. Many pastors and members have evacuated their homes; many churches are acting as shelters. World Renew is already responding.

God, we lift in prayer the CRC churches—our denominational family—who are so in need of your protection, provision, and peace. We pray for New Life Church, Peace Church, Hope Church, Misio de Fe, Casa de Oracion, Fil-Am CRC, Nueva Vida, Square Inch, Houston Hanbit Church/Living Water Ministries, and the many other churches, pastors, chaplains, and ministries in Texas that are affected by this week’s devastating storm.

Other Prayer Items for the Week

God, we also lift in prayer the many other needs for justice, mercy, and peace in your world. We pray for those grieving President Trump’s pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who committed so many heinous and inhumane offenses against immigrants created in your image. We pray for the Palestinian children whose schools were demolished by Israeli forces claiming they lacked the proper permits. We pray for wisdom for Prime Minister Trudeau, who is proposing changes to the system of overseeing Indigenous Affairs in Canada.

Support World Renew's Hurricane Harvey response

Your generous donations are needed today to ensure that necessary recovery services can be provided for people most affected by Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey as they try to rebuild their lives in the weeks, months, and years to come. Support World Renew’s response efforts here.


Unite in Prayer for Immigrants

We believe that immigrants are a blessing, and we want to turn to God to pray for the young immigrants we know and love, for protection, dignity, and hope. We invite you to join in a conference call in which faith leaders in the Blessing, Not Burden movement will lead prayers of lament, supplication, and hope for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program and the future of DREAMers. The call will take place Thurs., Aug. 31, at 8 p.m. EST. To learn how to join, click here.