As a weakened Michael makes its way across the Carolinas after leaving a trail of destruction throughout the Florida Panhandle, stories are surfacing about how many turned to prayer ahead of the storm’s onslaught.
One of the most remarkable moments came when local law enforcement turned to God in face of the horrific storm.
The Leon County Sheriff’s Office called for prayer just before the then-Category 4 hurricane struck the Panhandle with powerful 155 mile-an-hour winds.
The amazing image is going viral, showing dozens of officers bowing their heads together as they prepare to face the danger.
“If you don’t mind, say a prayer for all of the men and women working to keep our community safe,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a post that was shared over 6,000 times in the space of a day.
Meanwhile, numerous churches in the area were posting their prayers, too. After closing its pastoral center earlier this week in anticipation of Michael’s arrival, the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee posted the following prayer on Facebook.
“Defend us in battle; be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil,” the heavenly petition reads. “May God rebuke him, we humbly pray… by the power of God, cast down to hell Satan and the other evil spirits, who prowl through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.”
Likewise, the Diocese of Venice, which is located along the western coast of Florida, posted its own “Hurricane Prayer” on its website.
“O God, master of this passing world, hear the humble voices of your children,” the prayer reads. “The Sea of Galilee obeyed your order and returned to its former quietude. You are still the Master of land and sea.”
“We live in the shadow of a danger over which we have no control: the Gulf, like a provoked and angry giant, can awake from its seeming lethargy, overstep its conventional boundaries, invade our land, and spread chaos and disaster. During this hurricane season we turn to you, O loving Father,” it continues. “Spare us from past tragedies whose memories are still so vivid and whose wounds seem to refuse to heal with passing of time.”
And Joanna Hipp, who bills herself as a “free-range pastor” in the Presbytery of Charlotte, also posted a divine petition for those in the path of Michael.
It reads in part, “We pray that the storms calm, but realize the reality of the situation. In this time of uncertainty of the impact of the storm, be ever present O Great God of us all. Bless the officials making the difficult calls. Bless those figuring out how they will respond once the hurricane has passed. Bless the many servants who daily remind us of your love and care.”
“Be with all those in the path of Hurricane Michael. May you calm the stormy seas in their hearts. May we know your steadfast love and protection is with us all always. Amen,” she wrote.
Churches in the area are now picking up the pieces and looking for ways to reach out to help their communities. Operation Blessing is joining that effort.