Posted by: NCC Poverty Initiative Director | March 22, 2011

Sending “Prayer-waves” to Japan

Officials checked for signs of radiation on children from the evacuation area near the Fukushima Daini nuclear plant in Koriyama.

In this season of Lent, our reflections have been on Eco-Justice as Community. This tri-fold disaster in Japan (earthquake/tsunami/nuclear), and all its implications for God’s people and God’s Creation, has challenged me to think more about how prayer is a significant part of participating in a global community.

I have never been to Japan, but the pictures, videos, and news stories have been heart-breaking. The advice I have received has been to pray for the people and God’s Creation there. “The damage and loss of life is almost impossible to comprehend,” said our NCC general secretary Michael Kinnamon. “It’s natural to feel helpless in situations as overwhelming as this. But prayer is an important first step — prayer that asks God to be with the families of the dead, the injured, the homeless, and the responders at every level.”

My spiritual director once told me, “Prayers are like radio or television waves – you don’t know they’re at work until you tune in to hear and see them. If you send the prayer waves out, God helps nudge whoever or whatever you are praying for to tune in.” This concept has stuck with me and enriched my prayer life.

It is hard to pray for people and a place I have never seen. I do not have words for what has happened. Given the threat of nuclear radiation, the visualization of healing airwaves of prayer has been especially helpful. I picture my prayer-waves wrapping around the babies, children, and adults who could become exposed. I see my prayers hovering over fields protecting crops and over God’s creatures, warding off sickness. I hope that my prayer-waves might offer a bit of the encouragement required for resilience in the people  of Japan. Perhaps somehow, God will see to it that someone will be helped by tuning in. What I know for sure is, praying has helped me tune in to become a more compassionate and aware human being. It has deepened my desire to take any actions I can to help. In this way, practicing faith builds the global community.

I invite you to join me and the church community in sending “prayer-waves” to Japan. Click here to read more about the NCC member communions’ response to the earthquake/tsunami in Japan, and click here to learn how you can support Church World Service relief efforts.


This is the fourth entry in a Lenten Blog series based on our 2011 Earth Day Sunday resource “Where Two or More are Gathered: Eco-Justice as Community.”

If you want to keep following our blog and other happenings with the NCC Eco-Justice programs, “like” us on facebook.


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