After an earthquake hit Haiti last January, I wrote two prayers: one for the people and one for first responders. Here they are revised after a tsunami unleashed by Japan’s biggest recorded earthquake slammed into its eastern coast Friday. I’ve also written a new prayer for Japan to encompass the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis.
In Devastation (Prayer for the People of Japan)
G-d beyond my understanding,
The earth has turned violent,
Shaking land and sea,
Sweeping our brothers and sisters off their feet,
Crushing and drowning homes and lives,
Toppling the foundations of hope and sustenance.
A shallow breath beneath water and rubble
And wailing in the streets.
The injured, the dead, the starving.
The new widow,
The new orphan,
The newly bereft turn to You
Divine Source of abundance and grace.
G-d of justice and mercy,
We pray for the people of Japan,
All swept into chaos by earthquake and tsunami,
And the victims of any disaster,
Any violence, suffering or despair.
Grant them shelter and solace,
Comfort and consolation,
Blessing and renewal.
May a world of justice, righteousness and mercy
Come swiftly to their aid.
Grant them endurance to survive,
Strength to rebuild,
Faith to mourn,
Courage to heal,
And devotion to each other.
Hand of love and shelter,
Grant the people of Japan Your protection,
And Your peace.
Prayer For First Responders
Crisis and chaos,
Confusion and loss,
A scene of sweeping destruction,
The first responders arrive
Among the breathless and dazed,
The frenzied, driven wild with fear and grief,
The incapacitated, the dead,
The weary, the lost, the injured,
And survivors forcing themselves
Beyond their limits
To fight devastation.
G-d whose ways are secret,
Bless these first responders with endurance
To be of maximum service in this moment of immeasurable need.
Bless their limbs with strength,
Their eyes with courage,
Their hands with gentleness,
So that they become a source of hope and love.
Give them the tools they need in the days and hours ahead.
Protect them from physical harm,
Shield them from emotional pain,
And guard them from taking this trauma into themselves.
G-d of justice and mercy,
We pray for the people of Japan.
Let the world rally on their behalf.
May the deeds of the first responders
Find favor in Heaven
And bring healing on earth.
© 2011 Alden Solovy and http://www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.
Postscript: I also revised these prayers when an earthquake hit New Zealand earlier this year. This particular revision adds a few words and lines to acknowledge the tsunami. Here’s a link to a new prayer for Japan encompassing the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis.
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