Prayer for Australia's floods needed

Originally appeared on

Around the world, images of what has been described as an inland tsunami in Regional Queensland have produced shock and disbelief. Cars swept aside like toys, people rescued from their roof-tops, whole towns destroyed, and sadly, a number of lives lost as a giant tidal wave of flood water swept away all in its path. The disastrous flooding that has engulfed almost 75% of the state, has now reached Brisbane, the capital city.

Residents have been told to evacuate almost 30,000 homes and businesses in low-lying areas along the Brisbane River as it swiftly rises to an expected peak of 5.5 meters (about 18 feet)—higher than the devastating historic 1974 flood.

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As news of this massive disaster spreads across the globe, I’ve received many phone calls and e-mails from people inquiring if I am safe. The answer is yes, although I have assisted my nephew to evacuate his home and belongings. People want to help, and those who believe in the power of prayer are asking how they can pray about this flood of Biblical proportions.

As I see it, what is needed right now is prayer that affirms the presence and power of God’s love and care for all His people. God is not helpless in the face of flood waters. “The floods have lifted up, O Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves. The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea” (Ps. 93:3-4) .

Prayer needs also to insist that those who have been, and still are, in the flood-path, are not only being protected by God but are being sustained by His strength and might. Their well being remains in His powerful care. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, . . . though the waters thereof roar and be troubled” (Ps. 46:1-3).

A prayer-based conviction that those in danger will listen to the divine intuition and take action to preserve their lives is also essential. God is speaking to His people, giving them solutions that will ensure their safety. Every person can heed the leadings of divine Mind and stay secure.

In essence, our prayers have to affirm God’s control over the universe. I learned something about that control some years ago when an intense low pressure system formed off the east coast of Australia bringing with it heavy rain that fell for days. Late one night my telephone rang. The caller said, “Please help me.” She lived alongside a river, which had been rising. The water was now lapping at her doorstep. “If the rain doesn’t stop right away, my whole house will be flooded. Do something!” she pleaded.

As a Christian Science practitioner, I’m used to being called upon to pray for people in trouble. Normally I don’t hesitate to get busy praying. But this time I felt overwhelmed. So I asked God to help me. I said, “Dear Father, how do I pray about this?” Almost immediately, fragments of a sentence came to mind: “ … said to the proud wave, ‘Thus far and no farther.’” I knew exactly where they came from.

Grabbing a copy of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, I found the complete statement. “Adhesion, cohesion, and attraction are properties of Mind [God]. They belong to divine Principle, and support the equipoise of that thought-force, which launched the earth in its orbit and said to the proud wave, ‘Thus far and no farther’” (p. 124).

These words reminded me that divine Spirit had created the universe and was holding it together. God’s creation was in perfect order. The earth, sun, moon, and stars were all held in their places. The oceans – vast as they were – didn’t overflow the continents. This wasn’t just good luck. The laws of God, which governed the creation of the universe, continued to sustain, manage, and control it.

If this was true, I thought, the divine law of order could also be applied to a river out of control. So I prayed along these lines: “Dear Father, this woman isn’t at the mercy of rising river levels. Everything is under Your control. She is safe in Your care. I believe this with my whole heart.” And I did. In the morning the woman called to thank me for my prayers. She said that thirty minutes after we had talked, the rain eased and then stopped. Within the next hour the river level started going down. Not one drop of water had entered her home.

Prayer is a powerful force for good. I’ve been saved many times in life-threatening situations. I’ve experienced God’s protecting power, and I’ve learned not to see any situation as too difficult for God to solve. Even in the face of earthquakes, bushfires, hurricanes, or floods, we don’t have to feel helpless or hopeless. Prayer can and does help people remain safe.

In the weeks and months ahead as people of flood-ravaged Queensland endeavor to recover from the loss of homes, businesses and loved ones, you can help them overcome this disaster through your continued prayers.

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