As well as some original words, much of this is adapted and adopted from the following sources, acknowledged with gratitude: a prayer by Bishop Mark Burton, Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne, A Prayer Book for Australia, p.205, liturgical resources of the Uniting Church in Australia, National Assembly, including prayers by the Revd Dorothy McRea-McMahon.
O Lord, in mercy hear our prayers for the people and the land scorched by fire.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
In your mercy, restore your creation and heal our land.
Protect the firefighters, and those who care for them.
Guard those who are still threatened by fire.
Grant wisdom to government and authorities, that they may respond well to the present emergency and learn from it.
Look now on our fragility and hear the cries of a scorched and wounded land:
to those whose pain and grief are beyond our imagining, give comfort beyond measure;
to those whose lives and dreams have turned to ashes, give the hope of new beginnings;
to those burned and injured in great pain, grant healing, – skill to those who care for them,
to those whose weariness is deeper than their bones, give new resolve and strength;
to those who offer the embrace of human compassion, give new depths of love.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer
O God, help us to understand. Our hearts cry out the hard questions. Why?" we ask. "Why should this happen to the people and the land?"
How can we answer others who ask, "Where is God?"
How can we interpret these awful events?
We saddened and grieved. Our faith is challenged.
Help us to know deeply that you do not wish fire and destruction on us.
Nuture our faith and the faith of those touched by fire.
Help us to live confidently and respectfully with the awesome freedom of your creation.
We praise you that the bush will spring green again, restoring its beauty to us as a gift,
that seeds broken open by the fire are the beginning of new life.
O God, hear the groaning of your creation and renew the earth;
O God, who through your son knows what it is to be truly human, feel and hear the pain of your people.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.