When listening to my local N.P.R. radio station (WUSF) on last Friday or Saturday I heard the words of an apparently very nice and sincere woman in Tampa, FL.
In the face of Tropical Storm Isaac she said that “she was praying that it would not hit Tampa, and that she was keeping her fingers crossed."
I heard this as an odd juxtaposition of words.
(A) Believers pray.
(B) Non-believers (superstition-prone folks) keep their fingers crossed.
I am not sure that it matters either way. Tropical Storms and Hurricanes have a “mind of their own”, unyielding to all manner of prayers or superstitions.
So, how do I, as a believer, pray in the face of Tropical Storms and Hurricanes?
1. I do not pray that my locality will be spared.That would be a selfish prayer, for if the storm avoids my home it will most certainly bring devastation to other areas.
2. I can pray that my loved ones will be kept safe. That is a natural prayer in the face of any and all imminent tragedies. It is a personal prayer of the heart.
3. Mostly I will pray (and give thanks) for the “first responders” who rush into places of devastation. I will give thanks to G-d for the police, fire-fighters, red-cross and salvation army volunteers, national guard military members, and the “million and one” blessed ordinary folk who do their best in the face of adversity.
That’s the best I can do, apart from being a volunteer in the midst of crisis.