It was life as usual on Tuesday evening in Lebanon’s capital city when a massive explosion ripped through the city—overturning cars, throwing people across the room, shattering windows and doors for miles around. One hundred and thirty-five people were found dead, while thousands more were injured and hundreds of thousands were left homeless.
We would soon learn the cause—2,750 tons of highly explosive materials caught fire at the city’s port. We would also learn about the ongoing negligence of officials to safely dispose of or export these explosives before a tragedy like this occurred.
You may have heard that the Lebanese people are angry and raging at the government. And it’s true that some are. But as I walked into the scene of the tragedy today, I saw a different story all around me. Hundreds of citizens have picked up shovels and brooms and showed up to help. A teenage girl offered me bottled water, a stranger extended his afternoon snack, an older man insisted I take a sack of bread, and a church group burst into worship together as they took a break from shoveling glass out of a hospital.
I found myself thinking that there are always stories of redemption if you get close enough to the tragedy to see them. The Lord has not abandoned us. These moments lift my spirits and lift my eyes to Lord, for all of our help comes from him.
In light of the Lord’s heart for redemption and restoration, here are three ways to pray for Lebanon right now.
Pray for daily bread
This catastrophe happened as Lebanon is already on the brink of economic collapse. Due to mismanagement of finances, the country has been experiencing daily power cuts, a lack of safe drinking water, and limited public healthcare. These, among other things, led to a nationwide revolution starting last October and continuing until today. COVID-19 shutdowns then put the struggling economy on its knees. Since October, the Lebanese pound has lost 75% in value and the unemployment rates are soaring.
In short, we were preparing for famine before this happened. Now this blast has taken out the port, which was the main import source of food for the country. Collateral damage was 85% of Lebanon’s grain silos, making things like bread and pasta even scarcer.
Pray for peace
Lebanon has been a chessboard for proxy wars since its inception and is also no stranger to civil war. Tensions are high right now within the country and without. Blame has been cast, accusations have been vehemently denied, and rumors are swirling around. The threat of war stands at the door.
Pray for wise council and wise decisions made by leaders. Pray that the voices of peace will be louder than the voices of dissension. Pray that the plans of wicked men would be thwarted. Pray that love would be stronger than vengeance.
Pray that the gospel would bring hope
As I watched people working together to rebuild today, I wondered if more was being rebuilt than brick and mortar. I wonder if God could use this tragedy to bind people together in unity. There are many Christians here, willing to be boots on the ground, to stand in the heat and hand out water bottles and pray with people; willing to shovel glass and sweep sidewalks; willing to share the hope of a God who has not abandoned us.
Pray that we will have wisdom to see what God is doing and join him. Pray for supernatural hope and joy to continue to bubble up in our own hearts. And pray that the Spirit will move in this land again and reveal Jesus to weary hearts and minds.
Editor’s note: For the safety of this author, we cannot include a name.