As busy people who lead rushed lives, it's often easy to forget how closely linked we are to the earth until tragedy strikes.
Times of environmental and natural disasters can cause us great emotional and physical stress. Sometimes, we lose loved ones, jobs, or homes. Other times, we aren't personally affected, but we seek ways to support those who need it instead.
No matter your situation, prayer can offer you solace. Prayer connects you to the Holy Spirit and acts as a source of wisdom and comfort during times of stress. As we understand that finding the right prayer can be difficult, we'd like to share four prayers for nature in this prayer guide.
As we know from the story of creation told in Genesis, God lovingly created the earth piece-by-piece. When a piece of that earth is hurting (no matter how small), every one of God's creatures hurts too.
Naturally, when accidents or environmental tragedies occur, it can deeply hurt our communities, families, and ourselves.
So why should we turn to prayer?
As Christians, prayer is one of the best ways we can connect with God. During tough times, God can offer us solace, peace, and hope that can carry us forward. To understand God's design for prayer, consider this verse from Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
But what else can our prayers do? When an environmental tragedy occurs, we can turn to prayer for the following reasons.
Prayer is a powerful tool that connects us with God during tough times. Often, it can feel as if we are at the mercy of the world around us. But that simply isn't true. Prayer can help us seek the strength to act.
For example, take the story of the Kuttamperoor river in India. The Kuttamperoor river is a man-made canal that stretches 12 kilometers in total.
For decades, the Kuttamperoor river irrigated local crops and provided water for homes and businesses. However, by 2005, the river had become so overused, drained, and contaminated that it was unusable. While normally, the canal spanned as wide as 100 feet, sections of the canal had shrunk to just 15 feet wide.
Although locals could have simply accepted that they'd lost the river, a team of 700 locals took action to save it. Over 70 days, they cleaned the toxic waste and algae from the river. Thankfully, they were successful, and today, the Kuttamperoor is well on the way to returning to its former glory.
When we pray for nature, we often ask for a miracle. But to simply ask for a miracle is to ignore the true power of our earth prayers. Prayer doesn't just give us a solution; it gives us the wisdom to seek a solution using the gifts God provided to care for the earth.
We can also understand part of the role we play in prayer through another story told by Professor Nazeer Ahmed about the power of rain prayers.
In the story, villagers from a small farming village gathered in the town square to pray for rain during a bad drought. Before they began to pray, a young child ran into the square and unveiled a large umbrella. When the townspeople asked the child why they had an umbrella during a drought, the child answered that they were preparing for a heavy downfall, as they were sure God would answer their prayers for rain.
Like Matthew 7:7-8 tells us, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened."
Sometimes, we cannot use God's gifts to fix a crisis alone, and we must seek help. Currently, the people of California are experiencing such a disaster, as over 88% of the state is experiencing extreme levels of drought so severe their water supply cannot support urban, wildlife, and agriculture needs.
In total, the drought affects 37.2 million Californians. But to understand the true devastation of the disaster, let's focus on just one town: Mendocino.
Mendocino only received 38% of their typical rainfall over the winter (13.5 inches compared to 39 inches). This year, water levels in Mendocino's Lake Mendocino are currently at 42% of the target supply, and the water levels in Mendocino's Lake Pillsbury are at 50% of supply. Because of the low water levels, businesses in the town need to truck in water, crops are failing, and farmers are struggling to care for their animals.
Unfortunately, there are many towns like Mendocino in California.
If you'd like to help in California's drought crisis, you could offer prayers for California, as when we praise God through our spiritual practices and prayers, we open the door to his divine plans. Alternatively, you can join us in our campaign for the California farmers and farmworkers by listening to our podcast "Pray For Rain."
When we feel hurt, discouraged, and wounded, it can be challenging to find the words to pray for the world and mother earth. So if you're experiencing times of heartache or wish to pray for California or any of God's creations, we'd like to share some prayers for nature with you.
"Oh Lord, may we ask you for the blessing of rain. Rain upon the fields cracked by drought, rain upon the rivers whose banks are becoming dry, and rain upon the cities and towns that are starved of it. May the woes of those suffering from drought come to an end, and may your beautiful earth prosper once again. In the Glory of God, we pray. Amen."
"Oh great spirit, how we love your creation. We stand in awe of the beauty of this earth, and we vow to protect it in your name. Heavenly Father, let us not forget and forsake your earth and grant us the wisdom and peace to care for it. May we sow the seeds of new life for future generations, and may we protect the world as you protect us from Heaven. We thank you, Father, for the incredible gifts of the earth. Amen."
"Oh God, grant us the wisdom and faithfulness to care for the earth as you care for us. Help us nurture the local flora and fauna you have blessed this earth with. Give us the strength to protect the beautiful creatures that walk upon your earth, and grant us the humility to give more to your earth than we take. Oh God of Creation, we thank you for blessing our earthy home. In Lord Jesus Christ's name, we pray. Amen."
"Oh God, let us give you thanks for the beauty of creation. Thank you for the rich Christian lives we are privileged to have, the living things around us, and the beautiful plants that populate your earth. Thank you for the blessing of harmony in nature, and may the earth continue to thrive under your loving presence. Oh God of new creation, we thank you. Amen."
As earth's people, we feel harm to the environment very profoundly. While we shape the world around us, we often forget its influence on us until tragedy strikes.
Whether you are experiencing an environmental disaster, a drought, or times of stress, you can always pray to our Father for strength, wisdom, and guidance.
If you'd like to learn more about the healing power of prayer, download our App from the iOS App Store or Google Play store. And if you'd like to contribute to our support and fundraising campaign for California, please listen to our "pray for rain" podcast