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Praying for Protection During Hurricane Ian

Along with the flashlights, extra batteries, water and canned food, trust in God was key.

Hurricane Ian slams into Florida. Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images.
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Since I arrived in Florida in 2020 as an interim pastor, people have warned me about going through a hurricane. When I learned that Hurricane Ian would head up through southwest Florida, I took to heart the advice from local friends, church staff, and newscasters about preparing for the force of nature barreling toward us. I had the flashlights, extra batteries, water, and canned food to hunker down for days. Yet, what I needed most was God’s protection.

I turned to prayer asking Him for safety and protection against the elements of the hurricane as well as peace of mind. Early Tuesday, the day before Ian landed, church staff prayed together.

We lifted up the members and friends of our congregation, those in harm’s way, first responders and our families. I also began to receive texts and emails from friends and family who were concerned and praying for my wife, Elba, and me. It was reassuring to know that people cared about us but, more importantly, that they were praying for us.

On Tuesday it rained all day, but in the evening, the winds picked up—stronger, but nothing to be alarmed about. Later that night, warning alerts on my phone went off, letting me know there were tornados nearby. We kept praying and trusting God for protection, asking Him to watch over us.

Prayer along with Scripture gives me confidence in difficult times. I need Bible verses to assure me that in the midst of storms, hurricanes, and tornados, God is near. I recalled my grandmother’s favorite psalm that she read to us as kids and that gave her great comfort, Psalm 91, especially verses 1-4:

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my safety, he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

Early Wednesday the rain and strong winds were pounding outside our apartment as the hurricane came through. It was prayer and the Word that held me close to His presence and kept me strong. It was a long day, but the prayers of the people kept us safe and confident in the Lord. Our power was down so we didn’t learn the extent of its devastation until late in the night and early Thursday morning.

I don’t know how anyone can get through life with its natural disasters and tragedies without prayers and the presence of God in their lives. I can’t. Prayer and trusting Him is my spiritual resource and anchor in good and bad times.

When we finally were able to assess the damage, our church building had been spared. I learned that the storm surge reached the edge of the church’s parking lot and then began to recede.

Now my prayers turn to those impacted by Ian; they will need to rebuild their communities and homes. I believe that prayer will get them through.

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