Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
 

47 posts categorized "Prayer"

Strength to Serve our Neighbors

By Bishop José García

This weekend, we celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection because the Passion forms the basis for everything we do as Christians. As advocates, we serve our neighbors, local and global, by working to end hunger. But Jesus did something before he served us by going to the cross. 14407747355_2bebecf966_o

He prayed.

Before he endured the cross “for the sake of the joy that was set before him” (Hebrews 12:2), Jesus took his disciples into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray: “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want” (Mark 14:36).

Jesus knew what he had to do. He asked God to spare him from it if possible. Sometimes our advocacy can seem heavy and difficult, but we draw strength from the same place Jesus did—prayer.

Prayer both sustains our advocacy and calls for God’s continued action in this world. Will you join us and commit to pray for an end to hunger?

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-pray twitter

Together, we can work toward an end to hunger and poverty around the world. Let’s follow Christ’s example and put prayer first.

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

 

World Prayers for March 29-April 4: Brunei, Malaysia, and Singapore

Kelongs_forming_part_of_the_Songs_of_the_Sea,_Sentosa,_Singapore_-_20101201
A row of wooden kelongs (fishermen's huts on stilts), which forms the backdrop for the Songs of the Sea musical fountain at Sentosa, Singapore. 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 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 March 29-April 4: Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore

Lord, we give profound thanks for the richness of the people and amazing diversity of life in the countries of Brunei, Malaysia, and Singapore. There are many species of plants and animals which are found in these countries and nowhere else. May the people of these countries find peace and happiness even during difficult times.

We pray for the religious groups that are oppressed despite official freedom of religion, and also for the protection and encouragement of religious freedom. May many of the ethnic groups of these countries finally find long-lasting peace and that political reforms and democratization come to fruition in Malaysia.

We especially lift up Chinese inhabitants of Brunei who have been denied citizenship and face discrimination, and also the poor of Brunei, that they gain access to the means necessary to sustain and nourish themselves. During Women’s History Month, we raise up the many women of these countries, some who are treated as second-class citizens.

And most of all, we pray for people who suffer from hunger and poverty in these countries, where there is also great wealth and materialism in some parts. May the priorities and policies of these governments give consideration to people who are marginalized in an economic sense and provide assistance so that all people may live lives of dignity.

We ask these things in the power of your spirit, and in the name of your son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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

Brunei: Not available
Malaysia: 1.7 percent
Singapore: Not available

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

Prayer is a central part of Bread for the World’s work. To learn more about how you can get involved with prayer at Bread, please go here

World Prayers for March 22-28: China, Hong Kong, and Macau

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Temple of Confucius in Beijing, China. 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 March 22-28: China, Hong Kong, and Macau

God Almighty, we gives thanks for the watchful eye you keep over persecuted Christians and Christian churches in China, Hong Kong, and Macau. These are deeply faithful people who continue to struggle for human rights against great odds.

We pray for people who have faced atrocities and indignities such as those forced to work in labor camps, miners who face hazardous working conditions, and those suffering from forced sterilizations, abortions, and infanticide. We ask you to comfort them in their time of need, always knowing that you are not far from them in mind and spirit.

We lift up women and children who do not have equal status or opportunity, marginalized groups such as the aged, disabled, single parent families, and migrant workers, and those who are unemployed in cities and also those who are unable to find housing.

Lord, we in the United States share this earth with China, the world's most populous nation and biggest economy. We lift up to you the struggles China has to care for so many people as it becomes more modern and urban. Help our two nations as enormous consumers of resources and all nations on this same planet find ways to work together so that all in our countries can be fed and live a life of dignity while respecting natural resources and your creation.

We ask all these things in the name of your glorious son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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

China: 13.4 (2011)
Hong Kong: Not available
Macau: Not available

Source: The CIA World Fact Book

Transformative Conversations on Faith and Race in Florida

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Clergy at the Symposium on Faith and Race in Orlando, Fla. Blair Hall for Bread for the World.

By Dan DeBevoise

I’ve been in conversation for a while with a friend and community organizer about the possibility of gathering people from our local community to talk about race relations. We talked about having honest, intimate conversations. We talked about sharing in the context of our faith.

I had no idea how important, inspiring, and transformational such an event would be until we actually did it. I thank God that Bread for the World and Faith in Florida provided the opportunity by sponsoring the Symposium on Faith and Race in Orlando, Fla., earlier this month. 

Sometimes it seems that the most significant leap is the one from talking to taking action. Bread and Faith in Florida made it possible for us to take that big, sometimes intimidating step. 

Rev. Alvin Herring, deputy director for Faith and Formation at PICO National Network, opened the event by teaching two Zulu phrases: a greeting, “Sawu Bona,” which means “I see you,” and the response, “Sikhona,” which means, “I am here.”  This set the tone for our work together. We learned anew the power and affirmation of deeply acknowledging the presence of another person’s full humanity – “I see you.”  And we were asked to experience the freedom of being present in the fullness of our humanity – “I am here.”  

We did the risky work of sitting down with another person different from ourselves and asking, “Can I share a story of something important that happened to me that I want you to know?”  And we did the hard work of listening to one another in ways that opened us to the truth of whom they are and whom we are. 

We sought the truth about our communities and society. We listened to panelists describe the circumstances and challenges they face every day: youth, single women, people of color, people who know poverty and have struggled with hunger and feeding their families. 

Throughout the event, we listened to each other, we pushed each other, we embraced each other, we encouraged each other, we challenged each other, and we walked with each other (literally on a march in downtown Orlando,) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Selma march.

Then, to conclude, Rev. Dr. James Forbes led us in worship. Forbes shared the powerful proclamation that God is in the business of erasing the boundaries and barriers that we set up to protect ourselves from each other. We were given in worship the gift of unity that comes by the love of God for all people: praising, praying, singing, proclaiming God’s word of reconciliation and justice. We were in that moment a part of the beloved community.    

In the big picture, it may look like a small step, but for me, it was a big step. And definitely a step in the right direction.   

Dan DeBevoise is a co-pastor at Park Lake Presbyterian Church in Orlando, Fla.

 

World Prayers for March 8-14: Myanmar and Thailand

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Ginger. imke.stahlmann/Creative 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 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 March 8-14: Myanmar and Thailand

Good and gracious God, we thank you for the gifts of the peoples of Myanmar and Thailand to the world—for foods we enjoy, for hospitality, and for gentle spirits. We pray for the people of these countries and the many hardships they have endured, including oppressive and unstable governments, natural disaster, and poverty. Comfort and strengthen them as they work to overcome these hardships and rebuild their lives after crises. Give those who serve in their governments compassion for all people and a desire to help all find opportunity and abundance. We especially lift up refugees who live in these countries as well as children who are exploited in the sex trade. And for those who are hungry in these places, we pray that they would have enough to eat. Strengthen governments, nonprofit organizations, churches, and families that are working hard to ensure that all in Myanmar and Thailand are fed and have their daily needs met. All these things we ask in the name of Jesus our savior. Amen.

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

Myanmar: Not available
Thailand: 13.2

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

 

Join Us: Pray to End Hunger

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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.

World Prayers for March 1-7: Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Andorra, Monaco, and San Marino

View from Gimmelwald
Picturesque view of Gimmelwald, a tiny, mountaintop village in Switzerland. 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 March 1-7: Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Andorra, Monaco, and San Marino

God of all nations, we thank you for the majestic and tranquil beauty of these countries—for snow-capped mountains and idyllic green valleys. We thank you for the leaders in the Church that Switzerland has produced, both in centuries past and today. Strengthen the work of the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, and other church organizations, the YMCA and YWCA, all with offices in Geneva. We thank you for the witness to peace, diplomacy, and humanitarian work that Switzerland also has provided for decades. We ask you to also strengthen the work of international secular organizations that work in these areas—especially the United Nations and its many agencies and the Red Cross in Geneva. May that city and its residents from around the world continue to foster peace among nations and peoples as they continue to host to formal and informal peace talks. May the annual World Economic Forum that takes place annual in Switzerland remember people around the world who are hungry and poor, and may the people who speak at the event, those who have tremendous power and influence in our world, work more for a world in which the marginalized are at the table.

O Lord, we know that these countries enjoy great wealth but that not everybody enjoys that wealth. We pray for people who struggle with poverty, particularly immigrants, workers in the tourist industry, and expatriates. We pray that governments and private corporations will use this wealth wisely for the benefit of all peoples, both in their own countries and around the world. We pray that the common resources will be used toward the end of hunger and poverty in our world. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Percentage of the population of these countries living below the national poverty rate (below 50 percent of median income):

Austria: 9.0 (2011)
Liechtenstein: Not available
Switzerland: 10.3 (2011)
Andorra: Not available
Monaco: Not available
San Marino: Not available

Source: Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development.

 

Lent Devotions: Luke 22:21-23

LENT2015-Blog-Banner

Editor’s note: This Lenten season, Bread Blog is running a series of devotionals from the Little Black Book, which was first created by Bishop Ken Untener of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, Mich. The devotionals are in the prayer tradition of Lectio Divina to help people pray the Passion of Our Lord.

“And yet behold, the hand of the one who is to betray me is with me on the table; for the Son of Man indeed goes as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed.” And they began to debate among themselves who among them would do such a deed. (Luke 22:21-23)

Jesus makes a startling revelation: One of those who just shared in the bread and the cup was going to betray him. The disciples’ reaction reflects the horror of Christians ever since: “Who would do such a thing?”

While they’re saying this, Judas is sitting there holding inside what he had done a few days earlier: “Judas went to the chief priests . . . to discuss a plan for handing Jesus over to them. They were pleased and agreed to pay him money.” Good Lord, how it must have felt to have that awful truth twisting inside his stomach as Judas tried to look normal.

Too bad he didn’t know he was normal. He was a sinner, as I am. But there was still time. He could confess theawful truth. Why didn’t he? Telling even an awful truth is better than living a lie.

Maybe Judas lost his nerve, or didn’t know how to say it, or to whom to say it. So he lived the lie that killed him.

Perhaps I’ve had things inside me I didn’t know how or whom to tell. The sacrament of reconciliation began as a kind provision to enable sinners to tell the truth and find peace.

That’s still what it is.

World Prayers for Feb. 22-28: Germany and France

Scene in Bavaria of Austrian Alps
Bavarian Alps in Germany. 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 February 22-28: Germany and France

Our God, thank you for the nations of Germany and France, and for the witness of reconciliation that their close histories offer the world today.

Lord, as we consider these celebrated democracies, words like stability and prosperity often come to mind first. But help us to remember that all countries came from poverty and oppression, and that even today none are free of them.
 
Today we recall how for most of Western Europe, widespread hunger and poverty are historically recent memories. We know that even in the last 100 years, these countries saw difficult times. Parents struggled in vain to meet their family’s basic needs. Children were denied basic nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life, or kept from school to work and support their families. Whole generations of young people were lost to war. Many were driven to migrate in search of economic stability.
 
God of peace, we know how greed, poor governance, and conflict can undo social progress and instigate hunger. These vices know no boundaries and discriminate against no people group -and their damage is staunch. Even today, wealth disparity lingers between east and west Germany, and tensions persist across racial, religious, and cultural lines in both countries, while new migrants are ostracized. We pray that your church would be a light that exposes this injustice and illuminates the path to wholeness.
 
We thank you, the healer, for the virtuous restoration of France and Germany in the decades of peace since the World Wars. Thank you that these nations are today among the leading development assistance donors who push countries like the United States to be more generous. We ask, God, that Germany, France and other donor countries would not only share their money, but also their experiences and empathy with other countries that today struggle where they once did.
 
God, remind us that we have what we have and are who we are solely because you have willed it. Give us your servant’s heart and sacrificial love for the world. We pray for a final exodus from hunger, within developed countries like France and Germany, and across the world. Help us see hunger as our problem, and all of your world as our world. Amen.

Percentage of the population of these countries living below the national poverty rate (below 50 percent of median income):

Germany: 8.7 (2011)
France: 8.0 (2011)

Source: Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development.

 

Lent Devotions: Luke 22:19-20

LENT2015-Blog-Banner

Editor’s note: This Lenten season, Bread Blog is running a series of devotionals from the Little Black Book, which was first created by Bishop Ken Untener of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, Mich. The devotionals are in the prayer tradition of Lectio Divina to help people pray the Passion of Our Lord. 

Then Jesus took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.” (Luke 22:19-20)

The family member presiding at Passover would take the bread and say, “This is the bread of affliction which our ancestors had to eat as they came out of Egypt.” But Jesus, instead of identifying it as the bread of affliction, says, “This is my body which will be given for you.”

Jesus also gives new meaning to the wine. It becomes his blood-of-the-covenant, and now seals a bond between God and the human race.

I’m familiar with “covenant” – that’s what marriage vows are. I can catch the implications of the eucharistic covenant if I picture God speaking vows to me:

“I, God, take you, [your name], to be my own, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse [this includes sin], for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. . . and when you die, my Son will walk with you through death and bring you safely home, to peace and joy and life. . . forever.”

Remember. A covenant involves both parties. We have to speak our part.

“I, [your name], take you, God, to be my own . . .”

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