30 August 2019
by Bishop Paul Smith
Asking our gracious Lord of heaven and earth to send rain for the blessing of the earth and for the blessing of all people.
In a world of supermarkets with stacked shelves, we can easily drift into a place where our eyes are ‘blinkered’ from the seeing and appreciating the onslaught of the severe drought conditions in Australia, especially in our broad and often dry state of Queensland.
God’s people have always called upon the Lord in cloud and sunshine, in times of sadness and of joy. Some psalms celebrate abundance, like Psalm 65 with its poetry of “…furrows flowing with water in abundance” and then there are psalms like Psalm 13 which cry, “How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long … Consider and answer me, O Lord my God.”
So, in this time of drought, we look to the Lord and cry for help. I asked Pastor Stephen Jaensch of our Emerald Lutheran Parish to provide resources for us to bring to the Lord our yearning for drought relief. I have distributed them to our pastors, but I provide them for you, that you may pray these prayers and share them with others:
“Gracious God, Heavenly Father, please look upon our dry, suffering, parched land and our wearied, distressed and drought ravaged communities. As much as we need the gift of rain in our nation, please help us, first and foremost to desire you, the giver. Please help us to pray like your faithful servant David does in Psalm 63:1, “O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water.” (NLT)
We look to you, Heavenly Father, for you are the gracious giver and provider. Everything we have is an undeserved and generous gift from your loving hands. Gracious Father, we come clinging to your promise and invitation in Zechariah 10:1, “Ask the Lord for rain in the spring, and he will give it. It is the Lord who makes storm clouds that drop showers of rain so that every field becomes a lush pasture.” (NLT)
Almighty God, we acknowledge our total dependence and reliance on you, and look to you for the gracious gift of rain, rain to refresh the earth, rain to revive your creatures, rain to replenish the water supplies, and rain to uplift the spirits of individuals, families, and entire communities. But, we also acknowledge with wholehearted gratitude and thanks what you have already done for us, Gracious Father. We thank you for your blessed reminder to us in Hosea 13:5, “It was I who fed you in the wilderness, in the land of drought.” (NRSV)
Yes, loving Heavenly Father, even in the drought you are with us and are caring for us. We thank you for your bounty and blessing even in the dry. Please be with all who are suffering and especially with those who feel physically, emotionally and financial stretched beyond their ability to cope. Please give your hope to the despairing, your strength to the wearied and your peace to the stressed. Yes, Gracious Father, wherever people’s hopes and plans are crumbling and being blown away like the dust, please grant your showers of blessing. Please grant us the grace to support and to care for each other at this difficult time in whatever way we can. Gracious God, we look to you and we await your perfect timing. We know you will break the drought in your time, the right time. And as we wait, trusting in you, we thank you for your promise in Joel 2:23, “Rejoice, you people of Jerusalem! Rejoice in the Lord your God! For the rains he sends are an expression of his grace. Once more the autumn rains will come, as well as the rains of spring.” (NLT)
We ask this loving Father, in Jesus’ holy name. Amen.