Neal Presa, Moderator of the 220th General Assembly (2012), Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, and Linda Valentine, Executive Director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, today issued a call to prayer for all those affected by the Oklahoma tornado, and share the following prayer and hymn written by Laurie Kraus, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) coordinator:
A Prayer in the wake of the May 20 tornado in Moore-Oklahoma City
O God of love, whose Spirit in creation moved over the face of chaos, bringing life: hear our prayers, as we bear witness this day to the awful power of wind, whose might raged over your people in Moore, Oklahoma, changing lives and landscapes in an instant . Even now, as first responders still labor to seek those who are lost and succor those who are bereaved and bereft, even as stories of terror and hurt are still unfolding,
WE TOUCH YOUR HAND OF MERCY
In teachers who sheltered with their bodies the children entrusted to their care, as you, O God, like a mother hen spread her wings over her people Israel:
WE SEE YOUR FACE, AND FEEL YOUR TENDER EMBRACE.
In neighbors who rallied to one another’s need, in houses of worship which opened their doors to give shelter, in volunteers who set their personal needs aside to assist those in grave danger and those awaiting a hand of compassion
WE FEEL THE HEART OF YOUR COMPASSION.
In the courageous resolve of first responders, who listen for cries in the dark, dig through the rubble, tenderly bind up wounds and comfort the bereaved,
WE EXPERIENCE THE STEADFASTNESS OF YOUR LOVE.
We are grateful for the signs of your presence in responders, neighbors, strangers and families of faith, who come together as one common body to save, support, and salve the wounds of those who suffer.
FOR ALL THESE VISIBLE SIGNS OF YOUR INVISIBLE GRACE, WE BLESS YOUR NAME
Our Rock and Redeemer, who from the bonds of death rose to resurrection life for the sake of Love, be a strong presence among those who, having survived this chaos, now face grief, uncertainty and weary days:
BE IN US AND THROUGH OUR PRAYERS AND ACTIONS A SOURCE OF HOLY COMFORT AND A CHANNEL OF HEALING GRACE.
MAY THE PEACE OF GOD MOVE THROUGH US, THE REST OF GOD ABIDE WITH THOSE WHO HAVE ENDURED TERRORS AND SORROW, AND, IN THE SEASON OF REBUILDING, MAY THE LIFE OF GOD BRING OUT OF FORMLESS CHAOS, A NEW CREATION. AMEN.
—the Rev. Dr. Laurie A. Kraus, Coordinator, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
Through Cloud and Out of Chaos: A Hymn for a Hard Season
O, God of Hosts, restore us.
Turn toward us in your grace.
Stir up your might and save us,
Teach us to seek your face.
Your people cry in pain.
Bereft, adrift, and longing:
God, make us whole again.
Come, God of present danger,
Return, and guide us home.
Speak to us, Friend and Stranger:
We trust in you alone.
We watch and work and pray,
The Spirit’s Life revealing
To wait the Coming Day.
Through cloud and out of chaos
Your people speak Your Name
In darkness, God will stay us,
In Christ, the winds are tamed
Toward hope our hearts are drawn
Your healing Life abounding,
Your Love, our steadfast song.