Australia is experiencing an horrendous season of bushfire (wildfires), in a season of drought and no rains. Much forest has burned, stock and animal life has been lost, and mobile communications knocked out. A state of emergency – state of disaster has been declared for those regions experiencing the worst of the bushfires. Much evacuation has taken place.
Courtesy of our friends at Temple Beth Israel, in East St Kilda, we have A Bushfire Prayer to share. The prayer – a Universal Prayer, it is not sectarian – prays for those who fear for the safety others, for those who have been damaged, for those with trauma and nightmare memories.
The prayer goes on to include those with concerns for the stock under their care, those who are fatigued and exhausted, and for those who have generosity and have shared. There is prayer for our harsh climate, for excellence in stewardship and for faithfulness. A rare, universal prayer directly addressing our Bushfire necessities.
A Prayer for Our Times
Eternal God of life and death,
our prayers today are where our hearts and minds
have been during these last days
and where they have been drawn so early in this season;
with those communities and individuals
whose lives have been damaged
in differing ways by the bushfires.
We pray for all those who have been affected;
for the families and friends of those who have been killed.
We pray for those who are missing,
for their safety, for the fears of those who love them;
bring each one safely home, we pray.
We pray for those who have been injured and survived:
for physical and emotional trauma;
for the fear and helplessness experienced;
for the anger and frustration at the injustice
of unavoidable disaster.
We pray for those who have lost their home and property
or are facing such loss:
for those who have been forced to leave
their memories and belongings;
for the fear & disorientation of all involved;
Heal them from their nightmare memories.
We are aware of those who have lost stock,
or are watching their stock suffer
sometimes with inevitable consequences;
we are conscious of those
who are struggling to find feed and water
for the stock under their care.
We pray for all involved in fighting the fire:
for our career and volunteer fire fighters and their leadership
and all those we know and those we do not know;
we pray for courage in a place of fear;
for new strength in the face of exhaustion;
for people who have travelled distances
in order to resource those who experience fatigue.
We pray for all who offer support and care at this time:
for the various agencies, faith and community groups;
for military personal called upon to protect their neighbours;
for government services as they are activated;
for the generosity of many, in small and large ways,
towards those who are struggling.
We are mindful of the days, weeks and months ahead,
for many dangerous days yet to come,
for seasons of recovery and rebuilding,
of homes, farms, lives and communities;
we pray for strength, courage, patience and hope
as grieving continues, as frustrations rise and inevitable changes occur.
We pray, too, knowing that we are entering a harsher climate,
less predictable and more volatile;
as we care for each other, help us to care for this planet and
be worthy stewards and advocates
of all which you have made.
Eternal God of life and death,
keep us faithful and alert
in our praying and our action;
Rabbi Gersh Lazarow
Based on the writing of Rev Simon Hansford
Source: Temple Beth Israel