My friends, as I write this, its being reported that at least 51 people died, including 20 children, in the devastating tornado that hit Moore, OK yesterday. Its also reported that over 100 people are missing - including children. And of course, I'm sure those numbers will continue to rise. Its also being reported by many meteorologists that the tornado was an F5 , that is, winds of 200 mph or greater.
First and foremost, my friends, and contrary to what the unbelievers may say, those devastated by this tornado -with more expected through tomorrow - need our collective and sincere prayers. The power of prayer is demonstrated throughout the Bible. Psalm 55:22 tells us; "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved."
The power of prayer is, quite simply, the power of God, who hears and answers prayer. God Almighty hears the prayers of His children. He commands us to pray, and He promises to listen when we do. "In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears." (Psalm 18:6).
Another popular idea is that the amount of faith we have determines whether or not God will answer our prayers. However, sometimes the Lord answers our prayers in spite of our own lack of faith. In Acts 12, the church prays for Peter’s release from prison (v. 5), and God answers their prayer (vss. 7-11). Peter goes to the door of the prayer meeting and knocks, but those who are praying refuse at first to believe that it is really Peter. They prayed he would be released, but they failed to expect an answer to their prayers.
The power of prayer does not flow from us; it is not special words we say or the special way we say them or even how often we say them. The power of prayer is not based on a certain direction we face or a certain position of our bodies. The power of prayer does not come from the use of artifacts or icons or candles or beads. The power of prayer comes from the omnipotent One who hears our prayers and answers them. Prayer places us in contact with Almighty God, and we should expect almighty results, whether or not He chooses to grant our petitions or deny our requests. Whatever the answer to our prayers, the God to whom we pray is the source of the power of prayer, and He can and will answer us, according to His perfect will and timing.
That said, we, as Christians should provide financial support as well to those victims. However, we should be sure to give to only those organizations, churches, and individuals who we know and trust will use the money for its intended purposes - the victims. Sadly, there are many who will use Jesus' name in attempts to deceive well-meaning givers. Personally, I give online directly to the Red Cross, which has earmarked a fund specifically to help those tornado victims. To ensure you give to legitimate organizations, I highly recommend you go to KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City for the various ones, as I did. They have dedicated a page at: http://kfor.com/2013/05/20/how-to-help-okla-tornado-victims/ on how we can all help the tornado victims.
For those who live in and around the OKC areas, I appeal to them to see what they can do to help the victims in other ways. Perhaps you may have some clothes and other items you can donate. Call the local OKC authorities and see if they have a drop off point where you may be able to donate various food items, as well as other items such as baby formula, diapers, hygiene items, blankets, etc. Ask them what it is they are in most need of.
It will no doubt be a long recovery process for these tornado victims who have literally had their lives changed in an instant. But, one thing that must never be lost or destroyed, as one victim stated on tv last night, "This tornado took our home and our possessions, but it could not take our faith in God." God bless that person, as well as all those torn apart by this tragedy.
So, again, please, lets all do whatever we can to support and aid these victims. Remember, "There but for the grace of God, go I."
May God bless and keep you all -