Friday, January 15, 2010

Pray For Haiti In A Special And Intentional Way

This will be a short post with a big request. The situation in Haiti, as bad as it is, could get infinitely worse. The unpreventable delays in providing food and water to the massive numbers of survivors is becoming an acute situation. It has now been four days since the quake. Shock, grief, thirst, and hunger, combined with the perception that no one cares because these desperate people are not receiving help is a potential for another catastrophic situation. This is not about a couple of thousand people. It's about two million people searching for food, water, and care for their loved ones. It's about basic survival.

Various aid groups are well aware of this potential. If you are inclined towards prayer or meditation, now is the time to pray for calm. Send money by all means, but pray for calm and that the numerous bottle necks can be overcome. The situation in Haiti is not like any other catastrophe we have witnessed in this young century. There is no workable infrastructure, no government, little communication, no central authority or organization, no heavy equipment, and very limited means of moving aid from the airport. The majority of security forces will not be on the ground until Monday. It is imperative the population find some inner strength to stay calm because everything around them will work against it. It is imperative relief workers maintain their focus and not despair of the situation. They too need our intentional support. Collective prayer does work. Pray for calm. Pray for strength. Pray that hope overcomes despair.


  1. I'm praying with you Colleen. This hits me like a sledgehammer in the gut of my soul when I see how long it takes to help these people. I hear the potential dangers for despair and what that could lead to. In light of this I would like to see a UN force created specifically to deal with natural catastrophes and for preparedness for aiding our neighbors in need. A coordinated approach is necessary to prevent the outbreak of disease and famine within 24 hours of any disaster.

    CRS indicates they are delivering some food today of sardines and peanut butter. The logistics of getting this to the people is a big problem. I'm thinking that if those who can walk could get to the airport where these supplies are coming in they could be fed there and take some back to those who cannot walk.

  2. The people of Haiti are people of faith, despite the terrible conditions that they are forced to live with even before the devastation caused by the earthquake. During one news cast, I heard praying in the background. It was explained it was the Lord's Prayer in Creole. Here are the words:
    Papa nou
    Ki nan syèl la
    Se pou yo respekte non ou
    Se pou yo rekonèt se ou ki wa
    Se pou volonte'w fèt sou tè a tankou nan syèl la.
    Pen nou bezwen an
    Ba nou li jodi
    a Padone sa nou fè'w
    Tankou nou padone
    Moun ki fè, moun ki choy
    Pa kite nou pran nan pyèj
    Men delivre nou anba sa ki mal Amèn.

    I believe it is important that we not only pray FOR the Haitians, but WITH them.
    Here is a song to reflect on:

  3. Claire, you make a really important point about praying with Haitians instead of for Haitians. That point was driven home to me yesterday when I finished meditating and also turned on the TV to see the long line of Haitians praying that song. I felt a very strong connection with them, as opposed to praying for them.

    And then to drive this point home even further there was an interview with a representative of one of the less known aid agencies who said the biggest problem in Haiti was not the amount of aid it had been given but the fact that most of this aid was never used to work 'with' Haitians but given 'to' them which kept them dependent as passive recipients.

    The idea of being 'with' instead of doing 'for' seems to be a major undercurrent about this catastrophe.

    Butterfly, hopefully today will bring about a better distribution system. I suspect we will see things being set up outside the city for all kinds of reasons.

  4. I'm with you, butterfly. And honestly, I think we pray "with" Haitians if we simply allow, as you have (and I have), the sledgehammer of events thee to hit us in the gut of our soul. Simple solidarity, as painful as it may be, is a prayer. And definitely a prayer "with".