Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
 

32 posts categorized "Bread Rising"

Join Us: Pray to End Hunger

14427922423_e18be7f1eb_o
Prayer at Bread for the World's 2015 National Gathering, Washington, D.C.  Rick Reinhard for Bread for the World.

By Bishop José García

At Bread for the World, we believe that prayer is foundational to achieving Bread’s goal of helping to end hunger and extreme poverty by 2030. Will you join us in asking God to move our government’s officials to enact laws and policies aligned with God’s Kingdom values and to make ending hunger and poverty a major priority by 2017?

When you commit to joining in praying for the end of hunger, we will email you twice a month with specific prayer requests and sample prayers.

Commit-to-prayThe church season of Lent began last week. Some Christians use Lent to live more simply, fast, and pray more fervently in order to grow closer to God. Many give something up or take something on as a new discipline. Adding prayers for the end of hunger is a good foundation for these faith practices.

Philippians 4:6 tells us to “let your requests be made known to God.” Prayer is the vehicle through which we advocate before God. When we call upon God’s promises, the Scripture assures us that our prayers are being heard (Psalms 10:17) and will be answered (Isaiah 58:9).

Join us in this movement to gather 100,000 people praying faithfully for an end to hunger and poverty.

You can make this prayer part of your regular prayer life. Whenever you pray Give us this day our daily bread, include people who are hungry in our country and around the world in your petition.

At Bread for the World, we envision a world by 2030 in which everybody has enough to eat. We need Congress and the president to do their parts, but nothing happens without God. You can invite your friends to pray too. Let us know, and we’ll send you a card that you can share with them.

Bishop José García is the director of church relations at Bread for the World.

What Comes After the Millennium Development Goals?

15604208918_e1f4ed0599_o
Women’s empowerment is the focus of this year’s Hunger Report, When Women Flourish…We Can End Hunger.  Stephan Bachenheimer/World Bank.


By Robin Stephenson

In 2000, governments across the globe agreed to make ending hunger a priority. They established measurable goals and a common framework that would drive policy decisions and ultimately cut extreme poverty in half by 2015.

Like me, you may have first heard about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) through your church.

In 2008, as part of its Offering of Letters workshop, my church’s advocacy committee set up eight stations in our sanctuary to teach us about the hunger-reducing goals. After learning about each MDG, our task was to write our members of Congress and urge them to act.

The first station was a pedestal with a bowl of rice on it. As I let the individual grains sift through my fingers, I reflected on a question written there: Can we cut extreme poverty in half?

I’ll admit that I was more of a skeptic than an optimist. Extreme poverty means living on $1.25 a day. In 1990, that was the wage that 43 percent of the world earned each day. The question seemed overwhelming and the solution impossible.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

By 2010, the number of people who lived on $1.25 a day dropped to roughly 21 percent. In other words, we achieved the first goal and cut extreme poverty in half five years before the 2015 deadline!

Still, nearly 1 billion people continue to live on $1.25 a day. There is more work to do, but the MDGs expire in a little over 300 days.

Overall, the strategy was a success, and we have learned some surprising things. The world can and will galvanize around a plan to end hunger. We increase our impact when we have a shared strategy. By defining measurable goals, we now have data–even missing data–that can better inform a path forward.

Even when results were less than stellar, we gained valuable information. For example, women’s empowerment has been slow and uneven. In areas where the MDG framework helped empower women, progress against hunger is accelerated.

Fouzia Abdikadir Dahir, a Mandela Washington Fellow and native of Kenya, is one of those empowered leaders transforming her community.

Dahir founded the Northwestern Organization for Social Empowerment in her country. She contributed to this year’s Hunger Report, When Women Flourish…We Can End Hunger. “Being a pastoral woman from this region who has made it this far,” she writes, “I plan to use every opportunity to advocate for the rights of these women and girls.”

Now the question is what happens next. After another round of consultations with the world’s governments, the answer is coming in the form of a new framework: Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The SDGs, expected to be adopted at a summit this coming September in New York, will set international development priorities through 2030. The suggested 17 goals aim to do more than halve extreme poverty – but end it.

Can we end hunger by 2030? After seeing what the world did in 15 short years, my answer is an emphatic yes!

In 2015, Bread invites you to learn about hunger and to join us in our effort to end hunger by 2030.

Robin Stephenson is the national lead for social media and a senior regional organizer at Bread for the World.

Jesus said, "Give Me to Drink"

15791408712_5d03b9c06b_oBy Rev. Dr. Angelique Walker-Smith  

This week marks the 2015 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It is a time for Christians around the world to give thanks for the unity we already have as followers of the one Christ and for us to pray that we would make that unity visible among ourselves. Congregations and parishes often exchange preachers or arrange special ecumenical celebrations and prayer services during this week.

This year’s theme, “Jesus said to her: ‘Give me to drink’” (John 4:7), centers around the importance of water.  Some may immediately think of their own baptism as one of most popular images of water - a symbol of life and divine affirmation of God with us. In John 4:7, we see an illustration of this in a conversation Jesus had with a Samaritan woman about the difference between good drinking water and living water.

After being tired from his journey and sending the disciples to get food, Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at a historic well called Jacob’s well in a place called Sychar. This place, which was near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph, was known for having good water that nourished the community. Jesus breaks the cultural taboo of asking a Samaritan to share with a Jew by requesting a drink of water from her. The Samaritan woman responds to Jesus by saying, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?”  Jesus responds with a surprising statement that moves the conversation to one that seeks to bridge their cultural and gender identities when he states: “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink’, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”

It is important to point out that although Jesus didn’t need to ask the Samaritan woman for a drink, he did. He put the Samaritan woman in the position of being the giver and hospitable host despite the ethnic and gender differences between them.

This story invites all of us to be givers and hospitable hosts. At Bread, one way we can give is to lend our voice to helping our nation’s children receive the meals they need by supporting the reauthorization of the child nutrition bill. The bill is set to expire this fall. The bill funds five major programs:  National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Summer Food Service Program, Child and Adult Care food Program and WIC Program.

This year’s Offering of Letters focuses on the importance of nutrition among children, who are especially vulnerable to the effects of malnutrition during their early years of development. Bread is urging Congress to pass a child nutrition bill that protects these nutrition programs and gives more hungry children access to the meals they need to thrive and to ensure such programs are not paid for by cuts to other vital safety-net programs.

During this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Bread for the World gives thanks for the support it receives and the partnerships it has with a wide variety of denominations and faith communities—for the ecumenical nature of the mission it carries out. American Christianity has many faces and worships in so many different ways, but there is one thing we can agree on: God calls us to end hunger. Our denominations may not look unified, but we come together in places like Bread for the World because of our mandate from the same Jesus, who set the highest example of caring for people’s bodily needs.

In 2015, Bread invites you to learn about hunger and to join us in our effort to end hunger by 2030. It’s only with persistence and prayer that we can build the political will to end hunger here and abroad.

Rev. Dr. Angelique Walker-Smith is the associate for national African-American church engagement at Bread for the World.

Photo: In rural areas of developing countries, women and girls are responsible for retrieving water used in cooking, drinking, cleaning, and washing. Richard Lord for Bread for the World.

 

World Prayers for Jan. 18-24: Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Western Sahara, and Tunisia

Typical street in old city at sunset
Marrakech, Morocco is known as the Rose City because of the exterior color of many of its buildings. Pictured here are rose-colored buildings in the old city against a rose-colored sky at sunset. Stephen H. Padre/Bread for the World.

This is a weekly prayer series that appears each Friday on the Bread Blog.

One aspect of Bread for the World’s new Bread Rising campaign is prayer. The campaign is asking Bread members to pray more, act more, and give more. In this blog series, we will provide a prayer for a different group of countries each week and their efforts to end hunger.

This prayer series will follow the Ecumenical Prayer Cycle, a list compiled by the World Council of Churches that enables Christians around the world to journey in prayer through every region of the world, affirming our solidarity with Christians all over the world, brothers and sisters living in diverse situations, experiencing their challenges and sharing their gifts.

We will especially be lifting up in prayer the challenges related to hunger and poverty that the people of each week’s countries face. In prayer, God’s story and our own story connect—and we and the world are transformed. In a prayer common to all of us—the Lord’s Prayer/the Our Father—we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” This line from this prayer can also be a prayer for the end of hunger.

We invite you to join Bread in our prayers for the world’s countries to end hunger. And we encourage you to share with us your prayers for the featured countries of the week or for the end of hunger in general.

For the week of January 18-24: Algeria, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia

O God, the countries we pray for this week are characterized by the desert and its harsh beauty. Like the desert, Christians in these countries are sparse, but we thank you for the witness of this tiny minority of faithful Christians who live their lives full of love and witness. You, Lord, know their despairs and their joys. We pray for an end to armed attacks and clashes in Libya and for an openness that recognizes and values differences, especially among religious faiths. We pray for peace across all of these countries as some emerge from the Arab Spring of several years ago.

We also pray for the well-being of children and youth, who comprise more than half the population of these countries, and also those who must live the presence and impact of landmines, particularly in Libya. We also lift up those who risk their lives to cross the sea for entry into Europe in hopes of a better life. We pray for deliverance from the bondage of hunger and poverty for all in these places who yearn for a better life. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

(This week also is the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, during which we pray for the coming together of Christians around the world. We also celebrate and strive for the work of Christians together in the healing of the world, especially for the liberation of all people from hunger and poverty.)

Percentage of the population of these countries living below the national poverty line (2014 figures):

Algeria: Not available
Libya: Not available
Morocco: Not available
Western Sahara: Not available
Tunisia: 15.5

Source: World Bank World Development Indicators as found in the new 2015 Hunger Report.

A Prayer for the 114th Congress

United_States_Capitol_(Winter)
A snowy Capitol Hill. Wikimedia Commons.

The 114th Congress officially begins its work today—the results of November’s mid-term elections go into effect. Bread achieved a lot of legislative wins last year toward its goal of ending hunger by 2030. We hope to build on those achievements in 2015.

Here at Bread, we offer a prayer for the new Congress:

Almighty God, we lift before you all who govern this nation, especially the 114th Congress as it begins its work today. May those who hold power understand that it is a trust from you to be used, not for personal glory or profit, but for the service of the people. Drive from us cynicism, selfishness, and corruption; grant in your mercy just and honest government; and give us grace to live together in unity and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Evangelical Lutheran Worship, page 77).

Make sure to read Bread Blog to stay current on hunger and poverty issues. Let’s work together this year to ensure that people here and abroad don’t go hungry.

World Prayers for Dec. 27-Jan. 2: Stateless People and Migrants

Line of jerry cans waiting for time at water pointThis is a weekly prayer series that appears each Friday on the Bread Blog.

One aspect of Bread for the World’s new Bread Rising campaign is prayer. The campaign is asking Bread members to pray, act, and give. In this blog series, we will provide a prayer for a different group of countries each week and their efforts to end hunger.

This prayer series will follow the Ecumenical Prayer Cycle, a list compiled by the World Council of Churches that enables Christians around the world to journey in prayer through every region of the world, affirming our solidarity with Christians all over the world, brothers and sisters living in diverse situations, experiencing their challenges and sharing their gifts.

We will especially be lifting up in prayer the challenges related to hunger and poverty that the people of each week’s countries face. In prayer, God’s story and our own story connect—and we and the world are transformed. In a prayer common to all of us—the Lord’s Prayer/the Our Father—we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” This line from this prayer can also be a prayer for the end of hunger.

We invite you to join Bread in our prayers for the world’s countries to end hunger. And we encourage you to share with us your prayers for the featured countries of the week or for the end of hunger in general.

For the week of December 27-January 2, we pray for stateless people and migrants:

God our redeemer, in this season when we celebrate the birth of your son, we remember that he, too, was a refugee, born under an occupying government and into a family that fled its homeland under threat of death. This week we lift up in prayer the millions of people in your world who live under similar circumstances. We also lift up in prayer migrants—people who often have no permanent home or who are far from family and friends most of the time.

Be with refugees and internally displaced people as they flee from their homes because of war, conflict, oppressive governments, famine, natural disaster, or other emergencies. Grant them safety, and provide for their needs as they leave behind their houses, family members, friends, belongings, livelihoods, and their very countries and identities. Bring stability and peace to their homes so they can return to their lives and land. We especially remember refugees from Syria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Colombia, Mali, Pakistan, Lebanon, Turkey, Palestine, and Iraq. Strengthen the agencies that work to assist refugees, especially the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, and other church and private organizations. We pray for the day that nobody is forced from their home, when all will have a government that will protect them.

We also pray for migrants. We thank you for the work that many of them do that benefits us—for the hands that pick our fruits and vegetables and bring us nourishment year-round. We pray for fair and just treatment for them—for a living wage. Help migrants who are in their situation involuntarily to find peace and security for their lives.

As we enter a new year, shower us all with your blessings and providence. Thank you for coming to be with us, for being our Emmanuel. Amen.

In 2013, there were 16.7 million refugees and an estimated 10 million stateless people around the world, according to the UN Refugee Agency.

Photo: A group of women fill up their water jugs at a water point in Kakuma Refugee Camp in northwestern Kenya. Stephen H. Padre/Bread for the World.

What We Are Thankful For

14221138950_575752f53c_h
(Bread for the World)

By Rev. David Beckmann

We have a lot to be thankful for this year at Bread for the World, and you're at the top of the list. I thank God for you.

Here are just a few examples of the incredible work you have helped accomplish this year:

We won reforms that have allowed U.S. food assistance to reach 1.5 million more hungry people. Humanitarian crises in South Sudan and Syria along with the terrifying spread of Ebola in West Africa have dramatically increased the need for food aid, so our successful campaign to increase the reach of U.S. food aid could not have come at a more critical time.

As unaccompanied children crossed the U.S. border, fleeing violence at home and often deplorable treatment in detention centers, you opened your heart. You sent more than 10,000 personalized emails to your members of Congress urging them to protect these vulnerable children while addressing the root causes of their plight in the long term. A bill has been introduced into the House (H.R. 5368) to address these concerns.

On Monday, Bread for the World Institute launched its 2015 Hunger Report: When Women Flourish ... We Can End Hunger. Because of their leading role in farming, caregiving, and child nutrition, women are the primary agents the world relies on to fight hunger.  Your support makes this research and analysis possible.

And in June, we celebrated 40 years of your faithful advocacy and victories from earlier decades. We also launched Bread Rising: A Campaign to End Hunger, the most ambitious campaign in Bread's history. More to come on this campaign in the new year.

Through your dedication and through God's amazing work, we have accomplished so much. But our work isn't finished yet. As you gather around your Thanksgiving table, I ask you to pray for people who are hungry. And to pray harder for our nation and our leaders — that we might realize the political will to end hunger.

Are you asking yourself, "What more can I do?" If you have just five minutes, please help with this urgent opportunity to make a difference for people who are hungry around the world right now: email your members of Congress, and urge them to co-sponsor the Global Food Security Act (H.R. 5656 and S. 2909), which will boost agricultural development and address malnutrition. It passed out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee last week and will be voted upon next in the full House.

Rev. David Beckmann is the president of Bread for the World.

World Prayers for Nov. 23-29: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger

Mauritania
A
 Mauritanian meal – lamb stuffed with rice; French-fried potatoes; bread; and dates with a cream cheese-like dip. It is eaten while seated on the floor. Stephen H. Padre/Bread for the World

This is a weekly prayer series that appears each Friday on the Bread Blog.

One aspect of Bread for the World’s new Bread Rising campaign is prayer. The campaign is asking Bread members to pray, act, and give. In this blog series, we will be providing a prayer for a different group of countries each week and their efforts to end hunger.

This prayer series will follow the Ecumenical Prayer Cycle, a list compiled by the World Council of Churches that enables Christians around the world to journey in prayer through every region of the world, affirming our solidarity with Christians all over the world, brothers and sisters living in diverse situations, experiencing their challenges and sharing their gifts.

We will especially be lifting up in prayer the challenges related to hunger and poverty that the people of each week’s countries face. In prayer, God’s story and our own story connect—and we and the world are transformed. In a prayer common to all of us—the Lord’s Prayer/the Our Father—we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” This line from this prayer can also be a prayer for the end of hunger.

We invite you to join Bread in our prayers for the world’s countries to end hunger. And we encourage you to share with us your prayers for the featured countries of the week or for the end of hunger in general.

For the week of November 23-29, we pray for Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger:

O God, your love is as deep as the ocean, and your mercies are greater than the sands of the desert. This week we lift up in prayer to you countries in West Africa by the ocean or desert. We pray for the peoples of these countries and the challenges they face—the ever-encroaching desert, political and economic instability, poverty, and others. Sustain the people in these places who struggle to get enough water and food in desert conditions. Bless the work of Christians and church-related organizations that work in these places, especially where Muslims are predominant. We pray for peace among people of different religions and ethnicities in these places. All these things we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Percentage of the population of these countries living below the national poverty line (2014 figures):

Burkina Faso: 46.7
Chad: 46.7
Mali: 43.6
Mauritania: 42.0 (2011)
Niger: Not available

Source: World Bank World Development Indicators as found in the new 2015 Hunger Report

 

 

 

World Prayers for Nov. 16-22: Cameroon, Central African Republic, and Equatorial Guinea

Cameroune
Fried shrimp - Cameroon style - and white rice. Photo by Coco lago from Wikimedia Commons

This is a weekly prayer series that appears each Friday on the Bread Blog.

One aspect of Bread for the World’s new Bread Rising campaign is prayer. The campaign is asking Bread members to pray, act, and give. In this blog series, we will be providing a prayer for a different group of countries each week and their efforts to end hunger.
 
This prayer series will follow the Ecumenical Prayer Cycle, a list compiled by the World Council of Churches that enables Christians around the world to journey in prayer through every region of the world, affirming our solidarity with Christians all over the world, brothers and sisters living in diverse situations, experiencing their challenges and sharing their gifts.
 
We will especially be lifting up in prayer the challenges related to hunger and poverty that the people of each week’s countries face. In prayer, God’s story and our own story connect—and we and the world are transformed. In a prayer common to all of us—the Lord’s Prayer/the Our Father—we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” This line from this prayer can also be a prayer for the end of hunger.
 
We invite you to join Bread in our prayers for the world’s countries to end hunger. And we encourage you to share with us your prayers for the featured countries of the week or for the end of hunger in general.

For the week of November 16-22, we pray for Cameroon, Central African Republic, and Equatorial Guinea:

Triune God, we pray for relief and for peace among our brothers and sisters in Central and West Africa. God, the world’s great powers turn a blind eye, yet you see your children in Central African Republic starving, unsafe, displaced, and cut off from vital resources. Influence global leaders to put a stake in ending the crisis of conflict, violence, and displacement in that country. Enable bold U.N., UNICEF, and other relief workers to reach the poorest and most vulnerable with vital supplies to sustain life. Lord, not only do we ask for peace and relief but also for shalom, a true flourishing among people oppressed by cycles of poverty, hunger, and violence in C.A.R., Equitorial Guinea, and Cameroon. We pray for an end to attacks of the Boko Haram in Cameroon and that the people may flourish. Lord, you have made these places rich with resources to sustain the people; in Equitorial Guinea, oil is abundant, yet people still suffer from hunger and poverty. Guide their leaders to make unselfish decisions over resources management, that the people may prosper and live well, to your glory, in Equitorial Guinea. Spirit, renew the minds and hearts of rebels, politicians, and all the people of your church in these places. We pray for shalom. Amen.

Percentage of the population of these countries living below the national poverty line (2014 figures):

Cameroon: not available
Central African Republic:
62.0 (2011)
Equatorial Guinea:
not available

 Source: World Bank World Development Indicators as found in the upcoming 2015 Hunger Report

World Prayers for Nov. 9-15: Republic of Congo, Gabon, and Sao Tome and Principe

Churchgabon
Saint Michel of Nkembo Church, Libreville, Gabon. Photo by Vincent.vaquin from Wikimedia Commons

This is a weekly prayer series that appears each Friday on the Bread Blog.

One aspect of Bread for the World’s new Bread Rising campaign is prayer. The campaign is asking Bread members to pray, act, and give. In this blog series, we will be providing a prayer for a different group of countries each week and their efforts to end hunger.
 
This prayer series will follow the Ecumenical Prayer Cycle, a list compiled by the World Council of Churches that enables Christians around the world to journey in prayer through every region of the world, affirming our solidarity with Christians all over the world, brothers and sisters living in diverse situations, experiencing their challenges and sharing their gifts.
 
We will especially be lifting up in prayer the challenges related to hunger and poverty that the people of each week’s countries face. In prayer, God’s story and our own story connect—and we and the world are transformed. In a prayer common to all of us—the Lord’s Prayer/the Our Father—we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” This line from this prayer can also be a prayer for the end of hunger.
 
We invite you to join Bread in our prayers for the world’s countries to end hunger. And we encourage you to share with us your prayers for the featured countries of the week or for the end of hunger in general.

For the week of November 9-15, we pray for: Republic of Congo, Gabon, and Sao Tome and Principe:

God our creator, you created the Earth in all of its vastness. There are places that are often unknown to us but known to you, and there are needs that are unknown to us but known to you. This week we pray for far-away places from our home in the United States: Republic of Congo, Gabon, and Sao Tome and Principe.

We give thanks for Christians in these countries and people who are fighting the causes of hunger, such as HIV and AIDS and violence. We pray for an end of the suffering that hunger and these things cause. We lift up people who are involved in subsistence agriculture, that their crops may be plentiful and they have enough food to eat and clean water to drink. We pray that the leaders of these countries will use their power justly in service to all people and refrain from corrupt practices. And we pray for the just sharing of these countries’ natural resources, particularly oil, so that all the people may reap the benefits of what you have given and not just those in power or international corporations. All these things we ask in the name of Jesus, amen.

Percentage of the population of these countries living below the national poverty line (2014 figures):

Republic of Congo: 46.5
Gabon:
not available
Sao Tome and Principe:
61.7

Source: World Bank World Development Indicators as found in the upcoming 2015 Hunger Report

Stay Connected

Bread for the World