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There have been specific prophetic warnings a year and more ago that the Lord would change our weather patterns as part of the whole way in which we have allowed a flood of unrighteousness to prevail in our society. That is of no comfort to those directly affected by the encroaching waters, but it is something for us to bear in mind behind the scenes. There is every reason why the Lord’s patience should be running very thin with us. References in the secular press this week to floods of biblical proportions refer purely to their size – not to the reasons behind it.

I am not one of those who play down the impact of global warming. Those who argue that there is not much evidence in the past few years of temperature increases might like to consider this article seriously.

Mind you, it is no coincidence that the word Somerset means ‘the peoples of the Summer Lands.’  And the island of Muchelney that has featured so much for being cut off derives means ‘the increasingly great island’ from the Saxon word ‘michlin’ (Shetland ‘muckle) meaning ‘big’ and Norsk ‘ey’ ‘island’ – in other words, a place regularly cut off by floods.

Our friends Simon and Jayne Taylor, who live in Somerset, sent us these important points for prayer, which is it is easy to adapt for residents along the Thames and Severn:

They live about five hundred metres by road from the floodwaters but only about one hundred and fifty from them across the fields, which yesterday look like a three metre deep sea with white horses breaking for three miles in front of us where it’s normally grazing land.

They have sent us these prayer pointers, which they prepared for the Farming Communities Network (FCN) – a great Christian ministry – in advance of the visit by Prince Charles this week. They provide a brief overview of what these floods mean for people, and will help intercessors to get inside the issues with the Holy Spirit’s help.

Prayer pointers

• Emotional and physical wellbeing of all who are affected by the floods.
• Feelings of abandonment by authorities and decision makers.
• Patchy local, official leadership to bring about relief.
• Need of strong support nationally and locally.
• Long term mental, spiritual and emotional health implications. Severe economic hardship for families and businesses (For example, in a 1.5 mile stretch of road we have about 12 businesses – some self-employed single handers through to bigger enterprises).
• Major, adverse long term impact on agriculture, the soil health and productivity, livestock welfare and land values.
• Heavenly wisdom and compassion from Somerset Community Foundation and other grant making bodies in grant allocation.
• Energy and compassion amongst emergency services, local authority workers, Environment Agency, military and volunteers.
• Stamina and perseverance of those having to continue to work in these conditions, especially those caring for their animals.
• Communities being strengthened in affected areas – neighbours helping each other.
• Agricultural supply companies, who have been offering financial help and the farmers who are offering their time to go and work on affected farms to give those under pressure a bit of breathing space.
• Those with deep worries about adverse impact on house values affecting reselling and insurance hikes.
• For courage and stamina to continue work with livestock in such difficult conditions, when mundane tasks can become so exhausting.
• Immediate financial support to replace ruined animal feed, both stored and in the ground; for the recent promises of the government agencies to be delivered.
• Survival of young and vulnerable livestock, particularly lambs. It’s lambing and the prospect of turning out young lambs is daunting.
• For fresh fruit and vegetables and the need for weekly basic supplies.
• To give thanks for the sense of community and generosity within the villages, and the visible witness of the church.
• For all those who do not wish to leave their homes for fear of looting.
• Need for effective local and national advocacy by informed, empathetic voices. Pray such people may rise up.
• For hope in the future, and in farming this land, when many are more than downhearted.

Finally . . . For those who seek to minister the love of God to their neighbours and friends through practical help and concern that they may stay authentic, reliant on the Holy Spirit and not grow jaded.

A prayer for our corporate intercessions:

Lord, let Your power and presence come on all who are in any way afflicted or distressed, in mind, body or situation; we especially remember those enduring the flooding and its aftermath as well as those in any way seeking to alleviate their suffering. Give them patience in their sufferings and hardships, and please bring good out of all their afflictions. In Jesus’ name. Amen.