Congregational Prayer after a Natural Disaster

Thank you, God, for the beauty of spring;
for the sound of frogs, singing,
for the taste of rhubarb, tangy on our tongues,
for the colours of tulips…the brilliance of yellow, red, purple,
for the fragrance of hyacinths and lilacs,
and blossoms of all kinds that perfume the air.
We thank you for the soft wrinkled newness of leaves
and the vivid greening of the earth around us.
We enjoy all this under a warm sun.
We look around us and smile, and say, you are an awesome God!
And yet, and yet…this same beautiful world sprouts volcanoes,
it grows hurricanes, it spirals tornadoes out of clouds,
giant winds rush around the earth,
snow falls in heaps, avalanches sweep everything in their path,
floods engulf and waves crash against the earth.
The sun beats down and bakes and bakes,
turning the fertile ground into a dustbowl.
Fire takes away all that’s left.
This earth you created is filled with mighty forces,
that we cannot fathom, that we cannot control.
You are our God in sun and storm
in plentiful harvest and drought
you are our God when we fear for our lives and our homes.
We cry out to you and you hear us.
Thank you for the way you reach out to those caught in disaster,
your love embodied in the faces of all who see and have compassion,
in the hands of those who provide food and finances,
in the arms of volunteers who embrace, who rescue and rebuild.
Today we pray for ____________ which has experienced a natural disaster.
Forgive us for the times we have numbed ourselves to stories like these.
Give comfort to the grieving, and strength and wisdom to those who help.
We also remember people in our own congregation who are suffering
from sickness or grief, especially ________________.
Grow a loving spirit in our community,
you can make it spring up, beautiful in any season.
We pray this in the name of Jesus, Amen

New Book Coming Soon!

Carol Penner has written a devotional book for Lent that explores the challenges of repentance and forgiveness. Forty reflections and prayers to deepen your walk with God as you prepare for Easter.  

You can order it here!

About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at

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