Prayers these days seem so inutile in the face of all the pain and misery brought about by destruction and devastation wrought by typhoon Yolanda. We prayed mightily as a nation for God to spare us from the storm, to melt it away or at least to weaken it before it made landfall. The storm remained strong, hitting landfall several times, each one accompanied by recurring storm surges. We prayed that God spare lives and properties. Instead, thousands died; whole towns were flattened and some coastal villages simply vanished away. Duterte, the mayor of Davao, must have expressed what many felt when he cried: “God was away when Yolanda flattened Tacloban.”
Can prayers change the mind of God? Abraham argued with God to save Sodom from destruction. And God agreed. The Canaanite woman argued with Jesus to heal her daughter. And he did. Jesus prayed that the chalice pass away from Him. But it did not. So do prayers work? Can prayers change the course of nature? Christ calmed the storm at sea. And He even walked on the water.
So, what do I pray for during this time of calamities? More strength and courage for those affected by the typhoon? More love and generosity from those who were kept safe and now can help? More wisdom and dedication for our leaders to do the right things in time? More faith and hope in everyone that something good will come out of this suffering?
I pray that we will all come out better and stronger from this experience. I pray for healing for all of those who have suffered. I pray for the spirit of gratitude and humility from those who are reaching out to help. I pray for the rebirth of our people from this yet another very trying upheaval. I pray that in the face of all this destruction we may become an even more loving, a more forgiving and a more spiritual nation.
Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.