Waking up to the news of the massive explosion that went off in Lebanon’s capital city of Beirut on Tuesday evening (local time) was really overwhelming.
As of press time, there have been more than 100 deaths and 4,000 people injured. It was also reported that the impact radius was so large that windows of homes up to 10km away from the explosion site were blown out and the tremors were felt on the neighbouring island of Cyprus.
Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab said in an official statement that the cause of the explosion was due to 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a portside warehouse that blew up. He also called for a day of mourning on Wednesday.
Reading about yet another disaster can be hard to swallow, especially when you’re not even sure how to help. But there’s something we can definitely do: pray.
As we intercede for the nation, here are six prayer pointers that you can start with.
EMERGENCY AID AND RELIEF
Pray for the thousands who are injured – that they will receive help promptly.
As an already impoverished nation where hospitals have been running beyond its capacity amid the COVID-19 pandemic, let’s pray for the provision of medical supplies, food and other pertinent needs. In particular, pray that there will be enough blood supply, which is needed urgently.
Pray that other nations will also be able to send in reinforcements and relief aid efficiently.
Like Singapore, Lebanon imports most of its food by sea. Pray for food security in the coming weeks despite the destruction of the port of Beirut.
This is especially important for a country where 1 in 4 people are refugees, and where the port is a key conduit for food aid into neighbouring Syria.
From the emergency response team and militant forces who are helping transport injured civilians to hospitals, to the doctors and nurses, pray that Beirut’s frontliners will be strengthened as they carry out their tasks on the ground.
Pray for protection for the rescue workers as they administer first aid and move debris in search of victims. Pray for the mental and physical fortitude of medical staff as they cope with the massive influx of the wounded.
It is estimated that more than 200,000 people have lost their homes. Many are still left roaming the streets as masses of residential buildings have been destroyed.
Pray that those who are displaced will be able to find shelter, and for more people in the city to be moved by compassion to reach out and give support.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun has called for an emergency cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
As the country’s leaders gather, pray that they will make wise decisions, and that their discussion will lead to effective and productive action that will benefit the people.
Pray against corruption and selfish motives, and that the focus of those in power will be to care for the nation.
There have been photos and videos of blown-out windows, torn curtains and busted doors in several church buildings, but fortunately no reports of casualties yet.
Pray that even though churches have suffered damage, the body of Christ will remain united and God’s work will not be hindered in the nation.
Pray for the local Church to be the salt and light in this time of darkness, and for the love of Jesus to truly stand out and touch hearts.
PEACE AND HOPE
Pray for peace over families who have lost a loved one to the tragedy. Many are still reported missing – pray for God’s peace to rest on those who are anxiously waiting for news of their loved ones.
Many have also lost hope, resigning to the idea that Lebanon “is gone”.
Let us press in and pray that God will dispel a sense of hopelessness, and that people will find the greater hope in Jesus amid this crisis.
If you would also like to contribute financially, here are some websites to check out:
- Lebanese Red Cross
- Disaster relief for Beirut explosion by Impact Lebanon
- Beirut Port Explosion Relief Fund by Union of Relief and Development Associations
- Disaster relief fund for Beirut explosion by World Vision
- Beirut explosions emergency fund by UNICEF
- #LoveLebanon a ground-up initiative by Singaporeans who had spent some time in Lebanon over the past few years