This morning my prayers and thoughts have been on my home country Australia. An area of north east Australia as large as France and Germany combined lies under water. Some are describing it as a flood of Biblical proportions. 200,000 people are impacted which in a country with a population of only 20 million is quite significant. And for the state of Queensland where most of the flood waters are has a population of only 4.5 million. Rockhampton and Bundaberg are both inundated and many smaller towns have almost totally been swept off the map.
The impact from this flood could be felt around the world. Australia is the 4th largest wheat producing country in the world and wheat futures jumped to two-year highs Monday in expectation that this severe flooding could greatly reduce global grain supplies. How many other lives, I wonder will be swept away because they can no longer afford to buy bread for their tables?
My heart aches for those who have lost homes and livelihoods in the midst of this devastation. Following a ten year drought throughout most of the country many farmers were looking forward to their first decent harvest for a decade, only to watch it wash away in the flood waters. I can imagine the horror this has caused for many farmers some of whom have decided to leave the land as a result, others have suicided, beaten down by the wreckage of their livelihoods.
Australia is a harsh country. It is the driest inhabited continent in the world, and most of its population lives in a narrow strip along the Eastern and southern coast. Australians are used to a grinding cycle of drought, flood and bushfires and have acquired a certain cynicism toward disaster as a result but this is definitely the worst flood for at least 30 years. But this does not make the situation any easier. It is hard to know how to pray at a time like this and I have adapted a couple of prayers I wrote after the earthquake in Haiti to use myself which I thought may interest others.
Have mercy on all those who suffer
Rescue the weak and the vulnerable
Protect for the stranded and the helpless
Comfort the displaced and grieving ones
Have mercy on all who are helping
God who loves
Christ who cares
Spirit who comforts
Grant peace to the victims of this flood.
God grieve with us
Christ grieve in us
Spirit grieve through us
Embrace and comfort all who suffer
God care with us
Christ care in us
Spirit care through us
Heal and renew through our hearts and hands
God love with us
Christ love in us
Spirit love through us
Transform this devastation into eternal life