By Natacha Clesca-Charlemagne
Before President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated on Jul. 7, no one would have imagined that political rivalry would stoop so low as to prompt the murder of a sitting President — not in 2021. We’ve experienced the overthrow of a government by coup d’etats in Haiti, but never could we have imagined this level of callousness and disregard for stability and humanity.
In recent years, the country has plunged into deep and abject chaos. Gangs are taking over communities and committing atrocities, kidnappings are rampant, and the violence is unfathomable. The social, economic and political structures have seen a degradation never seen before, the rate of inflation is unbearable, and food is scarce.
Plus, Haiti has yet to rebuild its infrastructure from the devastation of the 2010 Earthquake, Hurricane Mathew in 20016 countless other disasters that left scars on the country. Now, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake has slammed the country.
What all of this really demonstrates is a lack of leadership.
Why prayer is the answer
I’ve heard people say, “It doesn’t seem like Haiti can catch a break.” I agree with that and, as a Christian, I support the Christian community’s deep sense of responsibility to pray for the country.
To us Christians, prayer is the best weapon to fight against all the pain and suffering Haiti faces. Christians feel an overwhelming conviction that prayer is the key that will unlock solutions to the country’s ills. We hold on to several passages in Scripture, one of the most significant being 2 Chronicles 7 verse 14.
That is why some community leaders in Essex County, New Jersey, including me, are holding the “Haiti Needs Your Prayers” vigil. The idea was birthed out of a Holy Spirit-led urge to form a coalition, by Christians who would be deliberate, focused, specific, expectant and purposeful prayer gathering.
On Wednesday, Aug. 25, three organizations – NJ Women for Haiti, West Orange Human Relations Commission and Haitian Diaspora United for Haiti – will come together with various clergy denominations to praise and pray at 66 Main Street in West Orange, NJ, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET.
We are not so clueless as to think that praying alone will solve all of Haiti’s problems. As a matter of fact, the Bible tells us that prayer without works is dead. We know there is much to be done to bring Haiti’s social, political, economic and agricultural status to a functional and prosperous level.
Our resolute conviction to pray for the country does not negate the basic needs. We see prayer as a means to an end, a key that will unlock the propagation of our repeated suffering and ills and stop the madness.
Praying with focus and attention
Some argue that we’ve been praying for a long time, and it has not gotten us anywhere. This notice can be challenged by asking such key questions as: Have we really been praying with focus and attention? Have we really prayed to one sovereign God? Have we really said we agree that prayer will unlock the ills of the country?
I would answer a resounding “no” to each question. Based on the repeated or recurring problems the country faces, when we pray, we ought to:
- Pray for the suffering to stop
- Pray for favor as it relates to disaster
- Pray for fertile land
- Pray for abundance so that God may provide for the people of Haiti
- Pray for the children, elderly, and vulnerable that God may provide extra protection
- Pray for leadership because there is a huge void when it comes to leaders that truly have the country’s best interest at heart
The Bible is clear as to how we are to pray. When one prays, the prayer must be specific, focused and expectant.
We are specific when we clearly identify what we are praying for, such as the protection of children from predators. We are focused when we pray incessantly for what we are seeking from God. For example, asking that leaders have an awakening of consciousness that would enable them to use the power entrusted to them for the greater good of the country and its people.
We are expectant when we know God’s promises. God promises peace. God promises “to prosper us and not to harm us.”
So when Christians say they are praying, these are some of the things that must be inferred. Christianity does not believe that manna will fall from the sky, and so we know and understand that with prayer comes deeds. That’s why Church and para-Church organizations deploy missionaries and mission projects to countries like Haiti.
Natacha Clesca-Charlemagne is a Chief Financial Officer with a non-profit religious organization.