Prayer Service for Families Coping with a Natural Disaster

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This prayer service offers families a way to come together to pray and reflect on recovering from a natural disaster.
Gathering
Come together as a family. Set aside time for reflection and discussion. Turn off the news for a few moments. Gather together in a circle. Join hands if you wish. Take a moment of silence.

Someone may want to say something like this:
"This is a time we need to connect with loved ones. This is a time we need community. This is a time we need to pray, talk, share our hearts, cry, listen, and grieve."

Sharing
Invite each family member to share their thoughts and their feelings. Make sure everyone gets a turn to talk, but anyone can "pass" if desired.

As your family gathers to discuss these tragic events, keep in mind the following:
  • Each person is entitled to his or her own feelings--from deep despair to indifference.
  • Each person is entitled to share those feelings.
  • Each person is called to be a good listener.

    Praying
    After everyone has had a chance to share, say, "Let us pray together as a family."

    Scripture
    Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . . No in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor heights, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35,37-39)

    Prayers from Teenagers
    God, we pray for ourselves, growing up in an unsteady and confusing world. Show us that following you is better than chasing after our selfish goals. Help us to take failure not as an end but as a new start. Give us strength to hold our faith in you, and to keep alive our joy in your creation. Amen.
    (Gabe Estes, Blanchet School, Salem, OR, from Life Can Be a Wild Ride, p. 72)

    I am your humble servant, God. Help me to follow Christ's footsteps so that I, too, may do your will. Amen.
    (Luis Sanchez, Saint Sebastian School, Santa Paula, CA, from Life Can Be a Wild Ride, p. 75)
    Allow time for family members to voice their prayers.

    Closing
    God, thank you for being with us in our time of confusion and sorrow. We are confident you remain present to all those whose suffering is beyond our comprehension as a result of this tragedy. Please bless them with comfort and support. Amen.
  • Acknowledgments

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