Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Praying, Helping, As God Would Have Us
Hurricane Harvey touched down on the Texas coast several days ago. Since then, catastrophic winds, wild weather, and especially flooding have overwhelmed southern Texas. And, Harvey is not done yet. By no means.
As Harvey continues to wend its way north and east, the deluge of rain continues, all up and down that part of the United States. I pray for all of those affected, and their loved ones. I pray for all first responders. I pray for all of those who are working in logistical support. And especially, I pray for all health care personnel. Those caring for physical health, yes! Also for those who care for mental, emotional, psychological and spiritual health.
I am going to interrupt my reflections on Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book Meditating on the Word, instead considering a passage from a short book Bonhoeffer wrote for and about the young men in the secret seminary in Germany, Finkenwalde. Life Together.
Let me say, first of all, that I have not seen accounts of very many people in Texas acting in the way Pastor Dietrich describes. Being so heavenly-minded they are no earthly good, so to speak.
The passage from Life Together: “We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God. God will be constantly crossing our paths and canceling our plans by sending us people with claims and petitions. We may pass them by, preoccupied with our more important tasks…” 
However, as I read this passage myself, I realized how tempting and how needed this reminder is. Not only for pastors and seminary professors, but also for Joe and Jane Christian. “It is a strange fact that Christians and even ministers frequently consider their work so important and urgent that they allow nothing to disturb them.” 
Pastor Dietrich is correct. Sometimes, I suspect many people just do not see what is in front of their noses. Therefore, Bonhoeffer felt strongly that he needed to make this warning. As I considered Hurricane Harvey and many well-meaning religious people near and far, I reflected on their tunnel vision. Yes, even these folks consider their work, their business, so important that they allow nothing to turn them from it. Even a hurricane.
The tremendous outpouring of compassion, caring and love for the people of Texas and surrounding affected areas is something we all can get behind. Yes, we can pray. Certainly! Prayer is a way of showing love and concern, of that we can be sure. In addition, we can do what Jesus did and show love with our actions—with time, talent and treasure. Please, consider donating to some worthy disaster relief ministry. (My church and I are contributing to UCC Disaster Ministries. I also know that Presbyterian Disaster Relief and Catholic Relief are also excellent choices.)
Dear Lord, we do pray for all those affected by this hurricane and its aftermath. Lord, be the refuge and strength for many, many people to run to. Thank You, dear Lord. It’s in Your mercy we all pray, amen.
Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.
 Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005), 99.