Here are two prayers in response to Typhoon Haiyan. They’re revised from prayers that I originally wrote for the people of Haiti and have subsequently revised for other places hit by major storms, including Japan and New Zealand. The first is a prayer for safety, relief and healing. The second is a prayer for the well-being of first responders, including the hopes for healing in the region. The first prayer offers the option to call the storm either Typhoon Haiyan or Typhoon Yolanda, as it is known in the Philippines.
In Devastation (Prayer for the People of Philippines)
G-d beyond my understanding,
The sea has turned violent,
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 Philippines,
All who have been swept into chaos by Typhoon Haiyan/Typhoon Yolanda,
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 Philippines 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 Philippines.
Let the world rally on their behalf.
May the deeds of the first responders
Find favor in Heaven
And bring healing on earth.
© 2013 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.
Postscript: Here’s a general prayer “For First Responders,” as well as prayer for those who have died in service to others as first responders, called “Yizkor for First Responders,” which appears in my forthcoming book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing.
Photo Source: NASA via Wikipedia