Yesterday I participated in a DAY OF FASTING AND PRAYER FOR HAITI.  Here are a few initial observations on "what happened" followed by a few more considered reflections on helping Haiti most.

It wasn't a convenient time for me.  That is, I had a lot on my plate and to set aside three 20-30 minute segments of the day, as I did, to stop what I was doing, what I needed to do, to refoucs on Haiti and the long list of concerns–it was incredibly intrusive.  Intrusive–well, yes!  It was a highly intrusive event–that earthquake.

And, where to begin in praying.  There are so many needs and concerns.  I found it quite overwhelming.  Overwhelming–well, yes!  It remains so overwhleming that the Haiti branch of the Family hardly knows where to turn, what to do next, so overwhelming that the mind and heart can be paralyzed.

Later in the day I began to feel a dull headache and flagging strength.  I also recognized irritability rising nearer the surface of my awareness, ready to manifest.  It just didn't feel good to have foregone food for most of 24 hours.  And what a relief when the fast was broken.

Throughout the day it was no problem to spend the time voicing concern, articulating the needs, urging Heaven to listen, and to do something.   Quite naturally the question presented itsefl: what good could or would come of "saying prayers?"  Then also, are there not other more active, or proactive things that I could do or others could do with my help?  Ultimately God must get into the action in heavy duty ways, but surely there must be a more active role for us who pray!


To help Haiti most I must get over my whining self-preoccupation.  "Instrusive?"  Try shattering and crushing.  My sense of mild intrusion could become a sign for the utter decimation of land and everything and one on the land.  To be swallowed and chewed up in the ground that was beneath you–how do you walk away and recover from that?  Why, only the powers of re-creation, only resurrection power can stand up to such "intrusion!"  So, yes, to take a place in the presence of the One who undoes death is to find the one place where hope might hold.

To help Haiti most I must let the sheer volume of need, the comprehensive nature of the brokenness shake me of any pretensions of wisdom and competenence on our human own to relieve the land and its people.  Surely we do not know how to pray about this.  We need help even to ask aright.  We need to be in tune with the One with the biggest heart now broken, with the One who weeps the most tears that can heal.  The "smallest" and most "modest" things done in partnership with this One will accomplish more good than would otherwise be possible.

To help Haiti most I must cherish the dull ache that comes from denying food for the body.  I must nail the irritability and its root of self-will to the cross of Jesus.  I must know in the deepest places that no help comes apart from willing, loving, and costly sacrifice.  I must know it and accept it and say, "Yes!"

To help Haiti most, I must embrace the Kingdom way Jesus shows us–the Kingdom way of dealing with all the brokenness of our world.  I must learn that faith-uttered pleas for God's will to be done somehow powerfully enacts that very will.  The prayer Jesus taught us to pray–Your will be done on earth …–is itself a vital part of the mechanism for making it so.  That, indeed, when Kingdom people pray they move mountains, mountains of rubble that shouldn't be where they are.  When they pray the King dispatches us, our resources and capacities in ways that bring timely help, that effect true healing.  When they pray, I am relieved to know, it doesn't all  depend on me or us.  We are joining a chorus of prayers who vocalize the vision of what God intends.  And the vocalization under the direction of the Choir-master actualizes the vision.

Let it be!

Published by David Kendall

Reverend David W. Kendall, an ordained elder in the Great Plains Conference, was elected to the office of bishop of the Free Methodist Church in May 2005. He serves as overseer of East Michigan, Gateway, Great Plains, Mid-America, North Central, North Michigan, Ohio, Southern Michigan, Wabash, African Area Annual Conferences; and Coordinator of oversight for the World Ministries Center.

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    Just a note from a pastor serving in Iowa. I was wondering how benefical for local pastors it would be to have a pastor. I am aware of the chain of command, and know that the Superintendent, Bishop and so on is the set up. Yet, I was wondering about someone who is apart from the day to day organizational duties. Someone with just the opportunity to spiritually build up, on a personal level the pastors of the churches. Take care and God bless you as you guide and provide spiritual leadership to the local churches under your responsibility. My prayers are truly with you. May the Holy Spirit strengthen and provide the knowledge of the divine to guide you in your ministry.
    Bill Long

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