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Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arms does bind the restless wave,
Who bids the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

For the past four Sundays we have reflected on some of the reasons people are being forcibly displaced from their homes at a rate of 1 person every 2 seconds. Today I would like for us to reflect on the dangers and perils people who are fleeing their homes encounter.

I ask you to join me in prayer for:
• Those whose life circumstances are forcing them to flee their homes today;
• Those who are scraping enough money together to pay for their voyage;
• Those who are being extorted by human traffickers and smugglers;
• Those who, in the midst of their migration journey, have been separated from loved ones;

O Savior, whose almighty word
The winds and waves submissive heard,
Who walked upon the foaming deep,
And calm amid the rage did sleep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

I ask you to join me in prayer for:
• Those who are experiencing physical and sexual violence on their journey towards refuge;
• Those who are facing the harsh elements as they cross the desert or the sea;
• Those who have suffered wounds or have medical issues but have no access to healthcare;
• Those who are in labor or are giving birth on their migration journey;
• Those who have died during their migration journey, and for those who have journeyed with them and survived, now to live with the trauma of seeing death so close;

O Holy Spirit, who did brood
Upon the waters dark and rude,
And bid their angry tumult cease,
And give for wild confusion peace;
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

I ask you to join me in prayer for:
• Those who have reached a border on their journey to plead for protection only to find a barbed-wire fence, or a wall, or people dressed in uniforms pointing guns at them;
• Those who ask for protection and are imprisoned for doing so;
• Those who cross a man-made border to find a better life for their children, only to have those children taken from their arms;
• Those who live in refugee camps—often for years or even decades—without proper sanitation, security, food, water, education and job opportunities;
• Those who live lives “suspended” as their legal cases for protection are processed, not knowing what the outcome will be;
• Those who are granted protection and begin to build their lives again, only to have that protection later removed by the hosting country;
• Those who are giving permission to live in another country, but will never be given the dignity of being treated as one of “us”.

O Trinity of love and pow’r,
Your children shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire, and foe,
Protect them where-so-e’er they go;
Thus, evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

JJ Ten Clay

JJ TenClay spent four years in Italy as a missionary for the Reformed Church in America (RCA) working with migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. She returned to the United States in July 2018 and is now the Refugee Ministries Coordinator for RCA Global Missions. She is thankful to have seen the image of God reflected so diversely in the faces of those to whom--and with whom--she served abroad, and is excited to continue serving the RCA as it continues to develop a faithful response to the ongoing global refugee crisis.


  • Dale Hulst says:

    Good Sunday morning prayer, thank you.

  • Thomas Boogaart says:

    Thank you for your meditations each Sunday. They have raised our awareness and touched our hearts.


  • Ruth Boven says:

    JJ, thanks for inviting us to pray for those “in danger’s hour.” O Lord, hear our prayer.

  • Carol Westphal says:

    A powerful way to hear, sing, and pray this familiar hymn. Thank you!

    • JJ TenClay says:

      Thank you. The way I experience this hymn (and the faces of the people I see as I sing it) will be forever changed.

  • Marge Vander Wagen says:

    Those of us who have heard the stories and seen the saddened faces cannot remain silent.

  • Susan Hoekema says:

    Thank you for this song and the prayers. This morning we attended Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson where, for Migrant Sunday, the congregation honored and mourned those whose remains were found in the Arizona desert in the past year. The names of those whose remains were identified were named and we prayed for their families. Then we prayed for the unknown families of the 110 persons whose remains have not yet been identified. It was moving and horrifying to face in such a concrete way the impact of our government’s program of deterrence through death.

    • JJ TenClay says:

      Thank you, Susan, and thank you to Southside PCUSA for honoring–and mourning–the lives of those who perished in the desert. So often our world speaks of those seeking refuge in such inhuman terms….as waves, droves, an invasion, etc….it is important to change that narrative and remind everyone that those seeking refuge are people, with names, families, hopes and dreams, and that each and every one is made in the image of God.

  • Helen P says:

    Yes and yes. I watch and listen to the news with horror these days as I see my country go against everything for which it once proudly stood.
    We now only pay lip service to “Christian” values.
    If our treatment of “the other” is an example of what it means to be Christian, it’s small wonder people are leaving the faith in droves.

    • JJ TenClay says:

      Thank you for reading and for your message, Helen. I hear your concern, and my prayer for you today is that you experience a glimmer of hope that, indeed, there are some amazing Christ followers walking this earth that are living lives that are filled with love for others. Grace and peace.

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