praying for Japan – who am I to speak?

It’s been a week where news from Japan has flooded our consciousness, and our living rooms. How do we pray in the face of such tragedy?

The Sanctuary - praying for the nations

I’ve been struggling for words about it all week. From the shock of last Friday morning when I logged on and first read the live google postings, to the video clips of horror that popped up everytime I opened my browser in the ensuing days.

Newspapers; televisions; radios; charities; pressure groups, Christians trying to respond in love and prayer to the narrative of ever-increasing suffering.

There have been a lot of words. And a lot of beautiful and heartfelt prayers.

Christian Aid posted this one for Japan and the surrounding countries in the pacific region. Just this morning I came across this prayer on Jimmy Orr’s (staff member at blog. And just now I read this post from 24:7 Prayer International .

These prayers have helped me frame mine.

I haven’t written new songs or prayers  for Japan this week. I haven’t been able to grasp the scale of the need, or to make sense of the cameras, hand-held mobile phone videos and words. So many words.

Many things have deeply moved me about the impact of global community as I have witnessed an outpouring of love and prayer from Japan from so many varied sources. But one of the most striking was not actually about Japan.

As I drove home up the A1 on Sunday night, programme after programme on Radio 4 merged into one in the car as I used the concentration required to listen to help me stay awake…

Somewhere near Doncaster , a story was related from 1963. It concerned the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Alabama, US, and the incredible witness of a small community in Wales who raised the money (with an imposed limit of half a crown per person so that the whole community gave, and owned the mission equally) to buy a new stained glass window for this church thousands of miles away.

We heard from one woman in Alabama nearly fifty years later. She still remembers it. She had never heard of Wales before this point, and was still overwhelmed to have witnessed such love.

I was moved to tears to hear how love truly does remain… And of course it made me think of Japan.

Today, I see on igoogle that Libya is back with the same weighting as Japan, and other news is beginning to emerge. Let us not forget Japan. Not today, not tomorrow, and not in six months when it is no longer on the news.

Let us also not forget nations such as Haiti who are still rebuilding. And let us also pray for those places the media overlooks, but our Father sees.

Our prayers make a difference. They change us. They touch and move the Father’s heart. And they encourage those who are suffering.

How can I pray for Japan? Constantly. By carrying it in my heart. 

What can we say to God when we run out of words? We can offer up our hearts, broken under the weight of the pain they imagine, and the compassion they bear. And simply say, ‘Jesus -please – have mercy’.

Eventually, over the last couple of days, words have come to me, in the form of this meditation:

It’s during weeks like this last one that I am so thankful that God is totally trustworthy – no matter how little sense the world makes, he loves us, is sovereign, is active today, and is always moving his people to extraordinary acts of prayer, service and sacrifice on behalf of others.

God bless you all as you stand with Japan,


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