A psalm of thanksgiving for God's love in times of trouble:
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out from their distress; he made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad because they had quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind. -Psalm 107:27-31 (NRSV)
Around the world people are watching, waiting, searching and surmising what happened to Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. Tension and frustration keeps building, bringing to surface a range of human emotions. Among other things we are seeing deeply spiraling despair, a need to make accusations, even to be callous and insensitive. We invite you, however, to take a different path, focusing your emotions, energy, and concern into the power of prayer. Will you join us?
Prayer for flight 370: O gracious and loving God, we come to you now in earnest prayer on behalf of those involved in this terrible and confusing situation. You have told us that the prayers of your people praying together are powerful. And so, as we lift our voices together in this time of need, we humbly ask that you hear our prayers and our cries for help. We thank you for being with us, that we can come to you now as we can in all times-- yet especially now as we fear for what has happened to Malaysia Flight 370 and the precious lives aboard.
Dear Lord, we ask that you help guide the helpers, the rescuers looking for the airliner and its passengers. We thank you for tireless work, sacrifice and bravery. We thank you for teamwork across cultures and national lines. We ask you to help the helpers that they may find very soon what happened, allowing persons to move ahead as they need, whether in mourning, healing, justice, recovery, repair-- even moving ahead in rejoicing should any of this situation end in good news.
We ask that you be with the passengers' loved ones. It is so hard not to know. It is so heart-wrenching to be powerless to help a loved one who is in great need. And so we humbly ask that you accompany the family members in their anguish. We ask that you be with them and all those who pray on their behalf, giving a sense of your great and powerful love-- that all-abiding love that stays with and that feels pain alongside your children in trouble and pain.
Gracious God, we pray for each life on board Flight 370. They say it's 239 men, women, and children, but we pray for others if they are aboard, too. Each is your child. We look to you, dear Lord, asking that you be where loved ones and rescuers cannot be. We thank you that your love will always make a way through to help in even the most desperate situation. We also give thanks for the amazing Spirit of love found in the world's prayers for Flight 370; may these be a mighty force for healing and wholeness in the world.
Dear Lord, our greatest fear is that all or some of the passengers have perished. If there has been terrible tragedy and loss of life, whether by accident or intent, we pray that the victims' souls may find rest and that their families will soon have the solace in knowing what happened. May the world find in you, O God of grace, the everlasting life that you promise.
If some of the passengers are alive and in danger at this moment, dear God, we ask that your presence be very real to them right now. We pray for your Spirit of comfort, grace and healing, for your call to courageous love for each other, to shine out in this moment. May it be as a light in the darkness, showing the way through. And may your light shine through to any who would seek to harm others, revealing a better way.
Loving God, if one or more persons are responsible for this situation in acting for a cause or purpose that takes or risks the lives of others, we pray for them in this moment, too. You have asked us to pray for our enemies, but it is so hard to know what to pray for. And yet we pray for our enemies and their children, families, and loved ones. We pray that they might find a sense welling up within them of the right thing to do in your sight, and that they find the courage to act on that behalf. Whatever human wills may be at work, having caused or in the process of causing wrongful actions, if any evil may be found in this situation, may your Divine will and way be stronger still.
We thank you that in times like this, people around the world can come together to pray, care, and work--as they can do in all times. We thank you that your great love at work in the world knows no human boundaries. Even in this tragedy, may we find moments of good.
Gracious and loving God, we thank you for each person praying along with us here in this moment. And in the hours and days to come, O God, whatever the circumstances are found to be, may your will for your people be our best guide forward. We pray for your continuing grace, that we might respond in love, wisdom and truth in this challenging time and always, and to ever and always give you the praise.
All this we pray O God, in your name, our Savior, redeemer, guide, and friend. Amen.