Suffering Servants: A Call to Prayer for Holy Week

 In All Church of God, CHOG, Disaster Relief, Disaster Relief, Global Strategy, Global Strategy, MOVE

“If one part suffers, every part suffers with it…” —1 Corinthians 12:26

Lord, have mercy! One headline after another, each one another difficult pill to swallow. Amid the sheer number and frequency of disasters striking various places and people across the globe, it’s easy to become numb to the pain, ignore the need, and allow our compassion to turn cold. In contrast, the ultimate Suffering Servant, upon whom we reflect with increased intensity during Holy Week, has set the standard of unconditional love not dependent, by definition, upon media coverage, empathy reserves, or personal circumstance. This week, as we remember the suffering of our Lord, let us also consider the suffering of our sisters and brothers struggling through disasters of unimaginable proportions in various places internationally. Let us then approach our limitless Father in heaven with intercession through the name of the One who died for us. We’ve designed a seven-day prayer resource to focus our intercession on behalf of carefully selected people and places especially on our hearts this season for their courageous endurance through crisis.* In this manner, we come alongside the Church of God around the world already engaged in fervent prayer for disaster relief and restoration.


And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius). So the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers and sisters living in Judea.” —Acts 11:28–29 ESV

Prayer Focus: Ukraine—On February 24, 2022, Russian armed forces crossed the border into Ukraine, initiating deadly warfare, widespread devastation to structures and livelihoods, and resulting in mass displacement of Ukrainians from their homes and churches. The Church of God in Ukraine, Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, the United States and Canada, and other locations around the world have partnered to care for internally displaced peoples (IPDs) and refugees; funds are being utilized to assist in relief, resettlement, and ultimately long-term reconstruction and restoration of homes, churches, and communities.

Prayer Starter: Heavenly Father, there is no one like you. Your splendor and power are unmatched. We see your glory reflected in the beauty and magnificence of all creation; indeed, you are the creator and sustainer of life. We confess that we are troubled deeply by those whose hands seek to take away life—life from those made in your image. We know that the affairs of this world, including governments and authorities, are ultimately under your control. Therefore, we appeal to you—in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace—to bring a swift end to the violence; that you would bind up the brokenhearted; that you would protect your people; that you would mobilize your church to bring the help and hope so urgently needed in Ukraine. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain…” —Isaiah 53:3

Prayer Focus: Syria (and Turkey)—A 7.8-magnitude earthquake, combined with numerous aftershocks, struck Turkey and Syria on February 6, 2023. As of early March, the death toll had tragically surpassed 50,000. Millions are homeless and seeking refuge. The earthquake struck a region in Syria already reeling due to layers of disaster and trauma stemming from ongoing civil war between the government and multiple rebel armies; humanitarian aid is, therefore, especially critical, yet also incredibly difficult to distribute.

Prayer Starter: Heavenly Father, we acknowledge you as God over all, in all, and through all. You have always existed, and you will forever be the same. In these truths we take comfort and derive great confidence that you can answer our humble pleas on behalf of a hurting people and land. Every life lost in the aftermath of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria was a precious life to you—may our hearts always break for that which breaks yours. In that spirit, we urge you to continue to work through your people in this battered region of the world to relieve the hurting, restore hope, revitalize communities, and revive your church. We know you’re intimately acquainted with suffering; therefore, in your compassion, you know just what to do as relief efforts continue in Turkey and Syria. We pray for everyone who needs help to receive it; we ask for safety for those distributing supplies in dangerous territory; we pray for peace and a rallying together for the common good. May you be glorified in all! In Jesus’ name, Amen.


And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” —Ephesians 6:18

Prayer Focus: Malawi—Beginning with Tropical Cyclone Ana in January 2022, and made far worse by Tropical Cyclone Freddy this year, high winds and historic flooding have caused hundreds of casualties and massive devastation in communities that were already vulnerable to the storms. Homes, roads, and other infrastructures, churches, sanitation systems, and agriculture have been greatly damaged and destroyed. Over half a million people, including thousands in our Church of God family, are displaced from their homes and sheltering in temporary displacement camps. Emergency relief and basic supplies have been provided to thousands of Church of God families for shelter, emergency nutrition, and sanitation services. Additional funds will be needed to support long-term reconstruction of numerous Church of God buildings and the restoration of agriculture and communities.

Prayer Starter: Heavenly Father, what a privilege it is to approach your throne of grace in prayer! Thank you for the opportunity extended to us to be priests and intercessors, to pray for one another and believe that you will accomplish what concerns us today. Today, the declining situation on the ground in Malawi concerns us greatly. We grieve with our sisters and brothers in this part of the world, though our souls are soothed by the ever-present awareness that you are not surprised, nor caught off-guard by the terrible developments there. Thank you for the work that you’re already doing there. Thank you for the work that you will continue to do on behalf of your people. We ask for your merciful and mighty hand to connect those in need with those who have the power to meet the need. We plead with you to act swiftly and deliberately on behalf of your church in bringing relief in both tangible and intangible ways. We pray for families split apart by the merciless hand of death; may every widow, widower, orphan, and grieving loved one feel your divine comfort. We pray for safety, health, and hope of everyone providing and receiving the relief efforts. We thank you in advance for your generous response to our petitions today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people…” —1 Timothy 2:1

Prayer Focus: Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)—Escalating conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has forced many individuals—including hundreds of Church of God families—to flee their homes and seek refuge in other parts of the country and abroad. Local leadership has reported that there are also Church of God congregations in other parts of the country receiving many of these internally displaced families. In the midst of the horrific violence, Church of God leadership in the DRC is utilizing relief funds to purchase and distribute packages of food, water, and basic necessities to nearly 2,000 extremely vulnerable families.

Prayer Starter: Heavenly Father, on this Maundy Thursday, we cannot help but be reminded of the posture of a servant you exemplified for us in Jesus. We are utterly astonished by your capacity to love, heal, and restore. Soften our hearts today, Lord, for the hurting, the hopeless, the oppressed, the weak, the sick, and the lowly. Help us to see from heaven’s perspective that we might pray with conviction and follow up our prayers with faith made alive in action. There’s so much we cannot accomplish on behalf of your people in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but we know that you can work a miracle there. Therefore, we boldly approach your throne of grace and beg you to intervene in the escalating conflict. We ask that you would replace violence with peace; substitute fear with faith; trade persecution for prosperity; and usher in a new season of flourishing for the people of the land. May your church be a light in the midst of the madness, and may your love be ever on display as your people are filled with courage to carry out all that you’ve called them to do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” —James 5:16

Prayer Focus: Peru—High temperatures, strong winds, and heavy downpours in the wake of Cyclone Yaku have left thousands of Peruvians suffering from catastrophic flooding and landslides. Church of God national leadership in Peru carried out a needs assessment and identified 102 families and 9 churches in great need of assistance. Church of God Ministries Disaster Relief is partnering with Peruvian believers to purchase and distribute tents, blankets, clothes, medicine, and basic provisions to those most in need. Assistance will also support the implementation of new water drainage systems and the reconstruction of roofs and walls for several homes, churches, and schools. Additional funding is requested for meeting long-term restoration goals that involve livelihood recovery and more extensive reconstruction efforts.

Prayer Starter: Heavenly Father, what an awesome God you are! We come to you in prayer because we need you and because we’re desperate for your activity in our lives. We know prayer is powerful and effective not because of our words or even who we are, but because of who you are. We certainly seek your generous hand, but not before we seek your radiant face. You are worthy of our worship, and you are a benevolent God. We recognize that you beckon us to bring our needs to you because you know we are dependent upon you—after all, apart from you, we can do nothing. But with you, and in the name of the One who was crucified, all things are possible—even the rescue and rehabilitation of a nation so adversely affected by disaster. Today we lift Peru and all its people up to you in prayer. We ask that you relieve the suffering of the thousands of Peruvians reeling from Cyclone Yaku and its aftermath. We ask that restoration of all that was lost might be swift and complete. Now we leave this matter in your very capable nail-scarred hands. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” —Ephesians 3:20–21

Prayer Focus: Myanmar—Following a military coup in early 2021, the people of Myanmar have been suffering under the brutal regime of junta violence, the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses, and economic inflation. Assistance was requested by Church of God national leadership to help meet the basic needs of Church of God leaders and their families, as well as their communities. Disaster Relief funds have served as a stipend for church leaders’ income and to equip them to purchase rice, cooking oil, medicine, and other basic provisions for their families. In June 2022, severe rainfall destroyed the wall surrounding the Church of God compound (where several families are currently living). Disaster Relief partnered with local leadership to rebuild the wall and restore this place of refuge.

Prayer Starter: Heavenly Father, we praise you for who you are and we thank you for all you have done. Words cannot adequately express the adoration we have for you nor the worship you deserve; yet, we humbly attempt to offer you all we can, on our knees, as we confess our need for your intentional involvement in our lives, and in the lives of our suffering sisters and brothers around the world. Particularly today, we intercede for your church in Myanmar. We think of the Church of God leaders and families facing financial hardships and fearing the impact of widespread violence. We request that you act decisively as a shield about them, just as you did for David in days of old. May your grace fuel your intervention in the ongoing national crisis in Myanmar and usher in a new day of light and life. Encourage your people there today and dispel all fear and doubt. We anticipate a good report! In Jesus’ name, Amen.


I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” —Philippians 3:10

Prayer Focus: Haiti—Since the assassination of Haiti’s president on July 7, 2021, the nation has experienced incredible socioeconomic and political instability, resulting in a state of anarchy controlled by various rival gangs. High degrees of violence and widespread economic fallout has resulted in a dire humanitarian crisis, leaving millions in desperate need of relief. Then, in August 2021, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake in southern Haiti damaged homes, churches, and communities (after never fully recovering from the catastrophic 2010 quake). The 2021 quake completely destroyed at least two Church of God buildings. Church of God Disaster Relief continues to walk alongside the two congregations reconstructing their buildings and celebrates their near completion. Additionally, relief funds enabling partnership with the St. Ard hospital to reduce malnutrition and increase access to much-needed medical care amid these trying times.

Prayer Starter: Heavenly Father, all power and victory is yours! To you be all the glory and honor every day, and especially today as we celebrate your triumph over death, hell, and the grave. With that same power unleashed to raise Christ from the dead, would you push back the forces of evil that have been ravaging Haiti for far too long? With resurrection power, would you thwart the advances of the enemy who only seeks to steal, kill, and destroy, and instead advance your kingdom in Haiti? Would you, our Living God, protect your people, illuminate the darkness, and welcome a new era of peace there? Please, God who cannot be stopped by death, quell the bad and disseminate only the good for the people of Haiti. Relieve the physical and spiritual pain, supply the necessary goods and services required for complete restoration, and may everyone see your hand clearly at work hereafter and always. In the name of the risen Jesus our Lord, our Prince of Peace, and the ultimate Restorer of all that disaster unjustly claims, Amen!

*To financially come alongside the local church in response to these disasters, and others, donations can be made to Church of God Ministries Disaster Relief. 100 percent of your donation goes to assist Church of God communities affected by, and responding to, disasters globally. For a complete list and more thorough explanation of ongoing disaster response coordinated through Church of God Ministries, visit .

All Scripture excerpted from the New International Version unless otherwise indicated.

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