Jesus called us to be the salt and light of the world. Jesus said in Matthew 5:13-16 that we should never let our saltiness be lost, nor hide our light under the basket. Instead, we are to let them shine before others so that they may see our good works and give glory to our Father, who is in heaven. We allow our light to shine, not to make ourselves look good, but to point people toward Christ, which is the ultimate display of the glory of God. One of the ways that we do that is through good works. They mainly used salt during the time of Jesus to make food taste better and preserve food, such as meat. From that context, it means that being the salt to the world consists of preserving what is good and making the world a better place through our good works. Being the light to others means helping people in the dark and pointing them to the real light of the world, who can bring them from darkness to light, Christ. That is why, if there are natural disasters, as Christians, we should be the salt and light to the victims. Just as we preach the Gospel to them, we should also demonstrate it through our good works.
13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
How can I help someone after a natural disaster?
Natural disaster victims have physical, emotional, and mental needs they must meet. While it is important to minister to them spiritually, it is also essential to help them physically. This could mean blessing them with food provisions, temporary housing, clothes, and other needs they have due to the natural disaster. We can’t just go in and preach the Gospel to them and pray for them while ignoring their needs. In times of natural disasters, the church is expected to be the salt and light and demonstrate the Gospel by tending to the needs of natural disaster victims.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
While helping natural disaster victims with their needs is essential, preaching the Gospel to them is even more important. The food, clothes, housing, and other necessities that you provide for them are all temporary. They will decay and do not really do anything with matters of eternity. Hope is not found in humanitarian aid, but in Christ alone. In the end, the main goal of every church initiative to help natural disaster victims is to preach the Gospel to them. Only by hearing, repenting, and believing the Gospel of Christ can those lost souls find hope. In Christ, it is a hope that is not hinged on something temporary but something eternal. Also, if they are in Christ, they can have joy. That joy is not dependent on their circumstances, but merely the existence of Christ. They can still be joyful, even if they lost a lot of things from the natural disaster. When those victims get to know Christ and delight in Him as the greatest treasure of their hearts, no matter what hardships they go through, they are content and satisfied in Him, knowing the unsearchable riches that can be found in Christ alone. Even amid difficulties, they can live a victorious and dynamic life through Christ, who strengthens them. Most of all, they are saved from God’s wrath, having been forgiven in Christ Jesus. That is why the ultimate help we can offer them is preaching the Gospel to them.
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
As you interact with natural disaster victims and help them with their needs, one of the things you can do is pray for them. You can approach the natural disaster victims and ask them how they are doing. Having someone listen to them would likely mean a lot to them. You can then encourage them and minister to them, during which you can preach the Gospel and pray for them. Even if they are unbelievers, almost everyone will accept being prayed upon. Also, it would be an excellent opportunity to preach the Gospel. As you help out natural disaster victims, we need to consider why we are doing it. We are doing it for the glory of God and out of love. We also should do it out of mercy and compassion towards those who are suffering.
Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
How do you pray for natural disaster victims?
There are two ways that you can pray for natural disaster victims. Suppose you are personally helping out the natural disaster victims in a relief operation. In that case, you can ask if you can pray for the natural disaster victims to whom you are giving relief goods, checking up on, or helping in any way. As mentioned, they will often say “yes”. There are many things that you can pray for in such a moment. One of them is praying for grace and strength as they go through such tough times. Here is an example of praying for grace and strength upon the victims:
God of grace, you make the sun shine for both the just and unjust. I pray that You will show mercy and grace towards [name of the person] and their family and that You will give them the strength that they need as they go through this tough season in their lives. I pray that even in this dark season, they will get to know Your Son, Jesus, in whom they will find the grace that enables them to persevere, no matter what difficulties they encounter. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
There are many other things you can pray for related to natural disaster victims. You can observe their needs or what aspect they need to have ministered. It could be that they lost a loved one and need comfort, or perhaps they lost their house and everything they own, and they don’t know where to start, or it could be that they simply feel hopeless and depressed after everything that has happened. Whatever their concerns are, you can address them in the prayer you offer. However, as shown at the end of the prayer sample above, we must direct the prayer towards Christ. It is crucial to point the natural disaster victims to Christ, their ultimate hope, no matter what need or concern you are praying for. You can even pray for the Holy Spirit to open their eyes and soften their hearts, such that they will repent and believe in the person and work of Christ and that they shall commit to following Him. However, it is essential to remember that directing the victims to Christ in your prayer is not enough. You must preach the Gospel to them.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
1 Timothy 2:1
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
It could be that you are from somewhere far away from where the natural disaster occurred, and you can’t possibly go there in person to help the victims. One thing you can do apart from giving a donation is to remember them in prayers. You can pray for natural disaster victims generally or for specific people, if you know they are somewhere affected by the natural disaster. To understand how to pray for natural disaster victims, you should have a renewed mind. A mind is renewed by the Holy Spirit as we read and meditate on God’s word. Only then can we know what is acceptable, pleasing, and right in the eyes of God, and can then pray for those things. We pray for the natural disaster victims to hear the Gospel and repent, for grace upon them as they go through tough times, and much more because we know that those things are acceptable and pleasing in the eyes of God. Another key here is to pray according to God’s will. We pray and intercede for natural disaster victims because God commanded us to make prayers, intercessions, and supplications for all people, including the victims.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
If there are fellow Christians affected by the natural disaster, you should definitely continue to pray for them. You can find out their prayer requests and pray with them or pray what you want to pray for them by understanding what is acceptable and pleasing to pray based on God’s will. The Bible commands us to make supplications for all the saints, and says that we should weep with those who weep and bear one another’s burdens. When you pray for your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, you pray as if their problems are also your problems. We are to pray for them whether we are there helping out in relief operations or if we are simply remembering them in our devotions. Here is an example of a prayer that you can pray for a fellow Christian who is a natural disaster victim:
God of mercy, Your mercy and goodness follow us all the days of our lives. I pray for my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who were affected by the natural disaster that You would give them the grace and strength to persevere in these tough times. Remind them of the hope that they have in Christ and that despite everything they lost, they didn’t lose anything, because Christ is their everything, their greatest treasure. May they continue to have a heart of gratitude and always abound in thanksgiving. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
As Christians, we are to show compassion to those victims devastated by natural disasters. We should never forget them in prayers and, if we can, we should directly get our hands dirty and help out in relief operations so that we may demonstrate the Gospel to them, pray for them, and minister to them.