Top 10 Prayers For Seafarers

by Rev Leon Rasser, Port Chaplain, Amsterdam

During my shipboard visits, Filipino crew members would sometimes ask me to pray for them in a church building. At one point, I came up with the idea of taking a picture of my prayers that I sent to the seafarer via Facebook Messenger. This gesture was always appreciated.

During the pandemic, I began posting videos of prayers for seafarers. To my surprise, one was viewed more than 350 thousand times! This prompted me to start a Facebook channel called Seafarers Church Amsterdam. A new prayer for seafarers can now be seen there every day, and it has garnered over twenty thousand followers. The prayer intentions come from seafarers and their families. By far, the most requests for intercessions come from the Philippines, but there are also requests from people from India, Greece, Indonesia, Ukraine, Nigeria, and the Netherlands. Regularly, a prayer request serves as a starting point for online spiritual counseling.

Now that the channel has been around for more than a year, it appears that some videos are much more popular than others. They provide insight into what often resonates with those on board. The ten videos with the most likes, shares, and views are as follows:

Signing Contract (25 thousand views)
Seafarers on temporary duty are always tense about whether they will be able to sail again after their unpaid vacation. The hope that it will happen again is expressed in many ways. Signing a contract is one way of expressing it.

Blessed Voyage (25 thousand views)
A blessed voyage is a variation of “safe journey.” Videos praying for protection are usually viewed thousands of times. There is often a request to light a candle for a particular ship.

Peaceful Time on Board (35 thousand views)
For many seafarers, it is always a matter of waiting to see which ship they end up on and who their colleagues are. The differences are staggering, and it is always a matter of prayer and hope that things will be a bit pleasant and working hours will be respected.

Getting Back on Board (36 thousand views)
This is a similar request to number 10 but articulated differently.

Missing Seafarer (42 thousand views)
Going missing is a threat hanging over the heads of many seafarers as well as their families. By praying for their souls by name, they still seem to get something of a funeral. In this context, it was touching to receive a request for intercessory prayer from a teenage girl whose father is missing. This video was viewed 21 thousand times.

Soon Back on Board (53 thousand views)
A variation of 10 and 7.

New Contract/New Ship (69 thousand views)
A variation of 10, 7, and 5.

Seafarers in Kalaw Manila (473 thousand views)
This prayer is another variation of 10, 7, and 5. The Kalaw district of Manila is home to crew offices. Many would-be seafarers go here on the off chance a job can be found. The demand for work in the lower ranks is a lot greater than the supply of jobs. Many seafarers are looking for a better shipping company. The penetrating image of the streets and squares full of desperate fortune seekers is clear in many people’s minds.

Seafarers from the Philippines (924 thousand views)
Shipping and nationalism still go hand in hand. When the Netherlands was still a great seafaring nation, there was talk of Dutch glory. Sailing and the Christian faith also go well together. Not for nothing did Jesus want some of his disciples to be fishermen.

Other Prayers
Prayers to pass the medical exam just missed the top 10. Concerns that everything is going well with visas and certificates are also a concern. Furthermore, many thoughts go out to the families. There was a lot of interest in a video for the crew of the hijacked ship “Galaxy Leader” as well as for the seafarers who lost their lives off the German Coast late last year on the coastal ship Verity.

And, the Top video? Seafarers Sailing through the Red Sea (1.4 million views). No explanation is necessary.

Finally, a word of thanks to Nico Oussoren, who records the prayers with his camera. Without him, I would never have been able to give comfort to so many seafarers and their families.


NAMMA members receive a print copy of The MARE Report, NAMMA’s annual magazines for seafarer’s welfare professionals