"How do I say a prayer to comfort those who have lost loved ones in a tsunami?" That's a question I found typed into Google Australia by someone looking for spiritual answers in light of the tsunami that recently devastated the islands of Western Samoa, American Samoa, and Tonga.
That same question is being thought about right now in Brisbane, Australia, as the large Samoan community here holds church services to support the survivors and remember the loved ones who lost their lives. I've seen the shock and sadness etched on the faces of those who have lost as many as 13 members of a single family. The grief is palpable and overwhelming.
What kind of praying can comfort those who mourn? Every simple, sincere, heartfelt expression of love lifted to God in prayer has the potential to bless and heal. While our words may seem inadequate, the desire to help is Christly, and that desire is of itself beneficial. Words are not always the instrument of faith. God knows our thoughts and the love that motivates us to want to comfort others. Consequently, such unselfish love, even though it may be only modestly expressed, does help wipe away pain and sadness.
As I pray for the comfort of the Samoan people, I find it strengthening to uphold the understanding of eternal life that's found in the Bible and "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy. These two great sources of comfort and healing tell me over and over that God is Life and that He has given each of us eternal life. Our essence, our very being, is thus immortal, ongoing. It doesn't come to an abrupt end.
This spiritual understanding may be challenged in the face of tragedy. It may seem hard to pray for God's comforting presence to be felt. Yet each prayer that holds firmly to the true, undying, nature of each individual – right in the face of disaster and loss – does bring hope and consolation. Why? Because eternal life is the message of truth that Christ Jesus showed us in his resurrection and ascension. Jesus taught us that life is spiritual, undying. Life is eternal, unceasing. It goes on. Because of this we can have confidence in the immortal nature of life.
Affirming that life is immortal and that divine Love has given us eternal life leads us to praying for healing of sorrow and loss. In my prayers I am declaring the great spiritual fact that God is the divine deliverer. His great love wipes away all tears. Why? Each man, woman, and child is precious to Him. No one is lost to divine Love. Each child of God is not only immortal, but forever safe in God's tender, loving care. The identity of each individual is preserved intact. The beautiful qualities of God that each expresses do go on.
I learned this when my mother unexpectedly passed away. I was devastated. I had no grandparents, no father, and now no mother. I missed my mother's daily company and her wisdom, love, and caring. I felt these were gone because she wasn't with me.
One day as I prayed for comfort, I realized that God was and is my Parent, my Father-Mother. I had His care, companionship, and protection always. My mother had expressed God's parent-love. So her wise counsel and caring were still with me because they were undying, perpetual qualities of God. As I accepted these truths, I was comforted and healed of loss and grief.
These same truths of the immortal, eternal nature of each life are helping me pray for the comfort and healing of the Samoan people. I am sure that God's great love and truth are right now bringing comfort and healing to them.