Prayers in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina,

blended with the singing of the Hymn/Prayer,

“Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life”

Sarah M. Foulger, 9-4-05 Congregational Church of Boothbay Harbor


This morning,

          we will focus all of our hopes,

                   all of our compassion,

                             all of our prayers

                   on our devastated neighbors on the Gulf Coast.

Because cities have been so direly affected,

          a particular hymn came to mind,

                   a hymn about finding God in crowded needful cities:

          “Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life.”


We will sing each of the 6 verses

          and pause between each one

                   for prayer, both spoken and silent.


With love for our neighbors

          and a desire to respond to their need,

                   let us sing verse 1 of:

                             “Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life.”


O God,

          You are present where 2 or 3 are gathered

                   and you are present where thousands cry out for help.

          Watching the situation on television,

                   race and clan and poverty are evidently factors

                             when it comes to who has been

                                      most affected by this catastrophic storm.

          Sometimes, dear God,

                   we think we have made great progress

                             in not allowing skin color or social status

                                       to affect how we treat one another

                   but it is clear that we have more work to do

                             within our culture

                                      and within our own hearts.

          Help us to see one another

                   from the inside out.

          Selfishness, too, has reared its ugly head

                   as looters have made a terrible situation

                             even worse.

          O God,

                   hear our prayers for all of our neighbors                                                                     affected by this storm.

          Help them to hear your voice above the strife.


Verse 2:

O God, you know better than we can

          how wretched this situation is

                   how great the need,

                             how dark the fears.

Surround our neighbors in New Orleans and Slidell

          and Gulfport and Biloxi

                   and so many overwhelmed communities

                             with the knowledge of your presence.

May that presence be made manifest

          in acts of kindness and generosity.

Grant that we may catch the vision of your tears

          in the tears of children and parents and grandparents

                   and neighbors.


Verse 3:

O God, as we hear of helpless children,

          grief-stricken and burdened adults,

                   enlarge our hearts.

Fill all famished souls with your mercy.

Strengthen the faith-hearted and discouraged.

Be with counselors and community leaders,

          with police officers and soldiers,

                   with doctors and nurses,

                             with drivers and rescue workers,

                                      with engineers and repair workers.

Through the din of sorrow’s stress,

          may the beating of your heart be heard,

                   your heart that has never known recoil.


verse 4


May our humble attempts to offer a cup of cool water

          to those who are so desperate for clean, cool water

                   be effective, O God.

As we join with faith communities across the country

          may our care hold something

                   of the freshness of your grace.

May our collective efforts show the sweet compassion of your face

          so longed for by multitudes of desperate neighbors.


verse 5


Send your healing, O God,

          to hearts racked with pain.

Surround the sick and the sorrowful,

          the injured and the homeless,

                   the angry, the frustrated, and the fearful

                             with your spirit of restoration and hope.

Send faith and compassion to restless and weary throngs

          and tread the battered streets of every affected city.


verse 6