Prayers for Japan

Prayers for Japan

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A Prayer for Times of Disaster (2011 Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan):

O God,

In the wake of such senseless suffering, we ask wisdom.

For those who have lost everything, we ask your presence,

For those who rescue and heal in the midst of death, we ask courage.

For us and for all who watch at a distance, we ask compassion.

Together, may we embody faith, hope and love in this time of terrible disaster,

In the spirit of the Crucified and Risen One, we pray. Amen.

Rev. John Gill, Pastor

Church of the Savior, UCC in Knoxville, TN

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The Rev. Dr. John Tamilio III, Ph.D.

Pilgrim United Church of Christ

Cleveland, Ohio


Psalm 46:1-3

God is our refuge and strength,

a very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear,

though the earth should change,

though the mountains shake

in the heart of the sea;

though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.

~ Psalm 46:1-3

Holy God of Earth, and Sea, and Sky,

of all that was and all that shall be —

It all seems to happen so quickly:

a rumble, a buckle in the earth, a swell.

And then, catching us unawares,

all that surrounds us is reduced to rubble.

Stone upon stone.  Ash thickening the air.

Silence.  Tears.  Even nature laments.

And in the aftermath, the ocean travels

to foreign shores bringing ominous waves,

water that will obliterate, not baptize.

This is where the world stands at the

start of this somber, Lenten season.

Earthquakes thunder and tsunamis inundate

with little warning and even less prejudice.

We lift up our prayers and our hearts for

the people of Japan and Hawaii, indeed all,

who lie in the wake of such callous catastrophes.

As death tolls rise, and warnings increase

as far afield as Canada and South America,

our feelings of helpless intensify.  Our

intercessions are with those who border

the Pacific, which is anything but placid now.

We turn our despondency over to you, O God.

We know, at the core of our being, that

you are not the cause of such travesty.

We also confess that we do not understand

why evil, be it natural or human wrought,

exists in this world you created and blessed.

For you are a God of minimum protection,

yet you are also a God of maximum support.

For this we offer you our prayers of gratitude

and we ask that your sacred presence surround

the victims of such devastation and that you

give them the strength and courage they need

as they gather with family and friends, with

relief workers and missionaries, to rebuild their

homes and communities.  Bless them, we pray.

Offer solace to the loved ones of those whose

lives were lost and to those who desperately

search for bodies that may never be found.

Indeed, we are dust and to dust we shall return.

The finitude of our earthly sojourn hits hard

during this penitential season of prayer and fasting.

Be with us through these forty days, O Holy One,

as we try to make sense of it all.  Help us be still.

We ask this, and all things, in the name of your

Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ — the One in

whose name we forever rejoice to pray.


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Prayers for the People of Japan

Offered at the Interfaith Memorial Service

Led by members of the Nikkei Interfaith Group

In Los Angeles’ “Little Tokyo”

March 17, 2011

from Christian Tradition:


Leader:        God of hopefulness

People:       Comfort your people.

Let us pray for the whole people of God, and for all those in need of God’s help and comfort:

Holy and mighty God,

you sent your Holy Spirit blowing

across the dark waters of chaos and brought forth

light, dry land, and life.

We pray for those who need the gift of your Spirit

in the face of unimagined chaos.

God of hopefulness,  Comfort your people.

Loving God, your children are hurt

by the unexpected forces around them.

Comfort those who mourn;

heal those who have been hurt and wounded;

make safe those who are yet to be found.

God of hopefulness,  Comfort your people.

We pray for our government leaders,

for presidents and prime ministers,

for legislators and parliaments.

Grant them wisdom enveloped with compassion

to respond swiftly in this ongoing tragedy.

God of hopefulness,  Comfort your people.

We pray for those who work

to save the lives of the injured.

We pray for the safety of those who work

in search and rescue,

for those who assist in law enforcement

and other rescue personnel

even as we give thanks everyday

for their courage and Your strength to uphold them.

God of hopefulness,  Comfort your people.

We pray for those who work

to heal the injured and comfort the dying.

We pray for all the nurses, doctors, paramedics

and other medical personnel.

We ask that you give them endurance, strength,

and healing compassion.

God hopefulness,  Comfort your people.

We pray for all those who have died

as a result of this earthquake and tsunami.

Hold them in your mercy, O Lord

and continue to embrace them by your love.

God of hopefulness,  Comfort your people.

We pray for all those who respond at times of disaster. Give them the gifts of compassion and hopeful hearts

as they minister in hard and difficult places.

God of hopefulness,

Comfort your people.

Into your hands, O Lord,

we commend all for whom we pray,

trusting in your mercy;

through your son, Jesus Christ our Lord.    Amen.

Adapted by the Rev. Mitchell Wung KeonYoung, Pastor of Montebello Plymouth Congregational UCC, Montebello CA

from Buddhist Tradition:

May all beings in the paths of existence,

suffering from disasters, be released from their afflictions.

May all beings in the world who receive benefits

share them.

May the state continue in peaceful prosperity

with all warlike activity stopped.

May the winds blow in time, the rain fall seasonable,

and the people live happily.

I am your left hand as you are my right,

for we are one with another, like a ring which has no end.

How can you then not be my brother, my sister?

All joy and all pain is mutually experienced—

and it is only for us to see and live out this interconnection.

Rev. Masao Kodani of Senshin Buddhist Temple, Jodo Shinshu in Los Angeles

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