Natural disasters serve as glaring reminders that we are not in control of our own lives. Whatever our lives looked like before, storms have a way of shaking us awake from everyday routines.

Ted Vail

In life, we’ll continue to face literal storms such as the kind we are seeing today with Hurricane Harvey, as well as others that come in the form of things such as sickness, relational breakdown or job loss. Each is characterized by the fact that any control we think we have over our lives is illusory.                       

In the wake of devastation, turmoil and natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey, I’ll hear people shouting out, “We need to do more than pray!” I get it, and I totally agree. The only problem is, without prayer, I don’t know what God would have me do. Without His wisdom, His divine power, His direction, I risk becoming one of the Sons of Thunder (Mark 3:17) through my prayerless actions “for God.”

It’s from His presence that mission flows. As a leader, however, I’m continually tempted to action that outweighs my prayer life. A quick look at Jesus’ prayer life lets us see the priority that God places on leaders praying, and ultimately discovering secrets found only in the “secret place.”

The God of peace who lives in us isn’t solely for us; He’s meant to be shared. We have as “shoes for [our] feet ... the readiness given by the gospel of peace” (Eph. 6:15, ESV).

So, what should our response be to Hurricane Harvey? Where should we go? What should we give? How should we pray? We have an opportunity right now to link arms with our brothers and sisters to share the gospel of peace after the storm. Words of hope, which are found in the message of the gospel, and our unity in Christ all testify to the God who is our peace, hope, light and power.

So, c’mon, let’s go to the presence of the Lord this week to seek Him; His direction, wisdom, power and provision—and from there move to action. Because when we pray, we can make a difference in ways we’ll never know as God moves in the midst of the crisis.

Pray with me now:

Heavenly Father, You are Lord over all creation. Disasters such as Hurricane Harvey remind us that You alone are in control of all things. We pray for the many who are displaced, that Your light would be seen in the middle of their dark circumstances. May your Spirit open the hearts of those who do not know You; we pray for their salvation, both spiritual and physical.

Continue to deploy and give strength to Your workers. May those who encounter them be met by You, the loving God; we ask for divine appointments. May the compassion of Your people testify to Your grace and goodness in a way that will cause many to turn their faces toward You.

We lift up to You all who are suffering loss because of the hurricane. Lord, show your mercy to those especially vulnerable; cover and protect children and seniors. By Your Spirit, lead them to the freedom and hope of Your salvation. As many are grieving the loss of their homes, Father, let them find their home in You.

One final thought—oftentimes, before a Great Awakening comes a Rude Awakening. Let’s be in God’s presence so that we can be present when that time comes.