In the wake of the extensive flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey in coastal areas of Texas and Louisiana, President Trump has called for a special National Day of Prayer in the United States, today, Sunday, September 3.
The flooding has already claimed many lives and inflicted countless injuries, and the extent of property damage in the flooded area is almost incalculable. Hundreds of thousands of homes have been destroyed or damaged, and in the city of Houston alone almost a million cars have been destroyed. While it is difficult to accurately assess the cost of flood damage at this early time, it is likely that the amount will be hundreds of billions of dollars.
The President's call for national prayer is thus one of prayer for the victims of the hurricane and for the success of the national response and recovery efforts. We can pray not only for those who have lost family members and friends or who have been injured, but also for all those who are in a desperate situation having lost their homes and possessions. We should also pray for the emergency-services and medical personnel, military and all who are helping people in the affected areas.
Naturally, those of us who have not been affected by this natural disaster can also contribute financially, as we are able, to any of the relief agencies and charities that are working in the flooded areas. The existence of many scams and fraudulent email appeals for money make it wiser to contribute directly through the websites of recognized charities, such as the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army.
But even if we are unable to give physically, we can give spiritually on this day of prayer by interceding for those who need help. And we should not limit our prayers to help for those within our own nation. At this same time millions of people are suffering from massive floods that have occurred in Asia where over 1200 have been killed and some 40 million people affected by flooding in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Parts of many cities are underwater and the storm front continues to move into Pakistan, where much more damage is expected. In Sierra Leone a mudslide caused by rising storm waters killed over 1,000 people recently in the worst flooding that West African nation has faced in recent memory.
The amount of suffering caused by these and other recent storms, like the total cost of damage done, cannot be calculated and is ongoing. Government, state, and local agencies as well as charities and civilian groups are doing what can be done to help the people in need, but even if we are not involved directly, our part can be one of praying for that which cannot be accomplished humanly.
“When you pass through the waters,” the word of God tells us, “I will be with you” (Isaiah 43:2). That is a promise we should be humbly claiming today – for all those suffering from great flooding in our own nation and throughout the world.