Prayer for the Philippines
Intercontinental prayer in Delft
Every other week IREF-people are packed in a little room somewhere in Delft to pray together. Often three of four continents are represented! Recently we prayed for the Philippines after Haiyan, one of the most severe typhoons the world has experienced ever. The Philipino’s have called it Yolanda (indicating each typhoon with a letter of the Alphabet). On world scale we are at the ‘H’, on Philippine scale they are close to the end of the Alphabet, inconceivable how many storms they have experienced already …
Little prayer group in a sea of sorrow
What can a little prayer group mean to this sea of sorrow and pain, to demolished islands, ruined cities and torn apart families? We believe that it can mean something. But how should we pray? When we prepared for prayer several angles of incidence passed:
- It is part of God’s punishment to the world, because by sin and greed human race has exploited, despoiled and destroyed creation. Psalm 46:9 says: ‘See the desolations He has brought on the earth.’
- It is part of the brokenness of this world. This is not how God created it and how He meant it. Creation is in pain, it groans as in the pains of childbirth. The world is subjected to frustration, because of evil that became manifest in this world.
- It is an attack of Satan, God’s big opponent. He is the prince of this world and his aim is to destroy, demolish and discourage. He is the one who brings death. Regularly he can make his move.
We don’t know why and how God allowed the evil to happen. It is a mystery and we cannot solve all the problems here. Let God be God forever!
Three forms of prayer for the Philippines
In our prayer we touched three aspects:
(1) Confession and humility [CW1] before God. We all have sinned, not the Philippines in particular. We confessed our share in the world’s problems, because we belong to the human race, we cannot exclude ourselves.
(2) A cry to God. Together with the creation we cried out the pain and brokenness of it to the Creator. We may know that the Holy Spirit helps us and intercedes with groans that words cannot express (Rom. 8:26).
(3) A sincere intercession: God destroy the works of Satan and let your reign come[CW2] finally! Actually we see this prayer answered already as people from all parts of the world have donated money and helpers from across the world have come to the Philippines. An impressive global act of assistance is busy breaking the evil works and show mercy and peace.
And the Philipino’s themselves?
What do they pray? How do they look at God? I heard a radio reporter who spent a week on several stricken islands, full of astonishment. First: ‘The Philippinos don’t blame God. They call Him their only refuge and help. Their trust in Him isn’t destroyed. It has grown instead. They speak of His mercy in all their sorrow.’ Second: ’I never experienced such a welcome and hospitality. The shared the little goods and little space with me and my colleagues. It made me ashamed!’
Niek Tramper, November ‘13
[CW1]Humiliation has a connotation of it being externally-generated and deeply negative (i.e. deep embarassment), whereas humility is more of an attitude.
[CW2]The meaning is the same as the original word order, but this one makes it sound more like we are patiently waiting, and the original makes it sound like we think that God is being slow and we are impatiently waiting.