Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
 

63 posts categorized "Prayer"

Remembering Fallen Heroes

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Austin Knox/U.S. Department of Defense via Wikimedia Commons.

Today, on Memorial Day, Bread for the World remembers the men and women who have died while serving in our country's armed services.

We honor them with this prayer: 

Lord God today we remember all those who have served our country, especially those who have given their lives in our defense. Preserve those who serve this day. Strengthen them in their trials. Grant also to our political and military leaders the wisdom and will to tirelessly seek peaceful resolution to all conflicts that we may live quite lives in your service.

Almighty God we pray for veterans who this day face hunger, homelessness, disability, and mental illness. Comfort and heal them in the midst of disease. Teach us to meet them in their need that we might demonstrate the love which you have showed to us in sending your Son our Lord, Jesus Christ. Give wisdom to all those who seek to serve our veterans and stir up our leaders to prioritize ending hunger amongst those who have served the country.

We pray all these things in the powerful name of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Amen.

World Prayers for May 24-30: Botswana and Zimbabwe

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. Zimcross

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 May 24-30: Botswana and Zimbabwe

In December 1998, the World Council of Churches held its Eighth Assembly in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital city. Christians from around the world gathered to celebrate their unity and make it more visible. The following was a vision and prayer for the assembly:

We long for the visible oneness of the body of Christ,
affirming the gifts of all,
young and old, women and men, lay and ordained.

We expect the healing of human community,
the wholeness of God's entire creation.

We trust in the liberating power of forgiveness,
transforming enmity into friendship
and breaking the spiral of violence.

We are challenged by the vision of a church
that will reach out to everyone,
sharing, caring, proclaiming the good news of God's redemption,
a sign of the kingdom and a servant of the world.

We are challenged by the vision of a church,
the people of God on the way together,
confronting all divisions of race, gender, age or culture,
striving to realize justice and peace,
upholding the integrity of creation.

We journey together as a people with resurrection faith.
In the midst of exclusion and despair,
we embrace, in joy and hope, the promise of life in all its fullness.

We journey together as a people of prayer.
In the midst of confusion and loss of identity,
we discern signs of God's purpose being fulfilled
and expect the coming of God's reign.

And a simple prayer for Zimbabwe and Botswana as we enter the season of Pentecost, taken from a traditional Zimbabwean hymn:

If you believe and I believe
And we together pray,
The Holy Spirit must come down
And set God’s people free,
And set God’s people free,
And set God’s people free;
The Holy Spirit must come down
And set God’s people free.

Together we pray that God's people will be set free from hunger. Amen.

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

Botswana: 19.3
Zimbabwe: 72.3

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

Photo inset: Large wooden cross, carved by David Mutasa from Harare, shows Africa at the intersection of the beams. The cross stood at the center of the assembly’s worship tent. Chris Black/World Council of Churches.

 

World Prayers for May 17-23: Malawi and Zambia

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A woman in Lusaka, Zambia, carries water from a well to her house. Margaret W. Nea for 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 May 17-23: Malawi and Zambia

Almighty God, we give thanks for the Democratic multiparty politics in Malawi and Zambia, which have led to the peaceful transitions of leadership in these countries. For rich agricultural land and environment, the growth of the church, and Christians who stand by the poor and hungry.

Although the people of Malawi and Zambia have much to celebrate, there are those who still face daily hardships. We lift up those who are suffering from AIDS; victims of floods and drought, that food production may again flourish; the increasing numbers of school dropouts, street youth and delinquents, that they may find hope and meaning in their lives, and those affected by inflation and unemployment, that they may find work and be able to feed their families.

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):

Malawi: 50.7
Zambia: 60.5

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

Bread for the World’s annual Lobby Day is June 9. Join us to make some real changes in Washington, D.C., when it comes to feeding our children. You don’t need to be a policy expert to participate. You just need to care. 

Registration is free but space is limited. Register today to reserve your spot!

World Prayers for May 10-16: Kenya and Tanzania

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A Kenyan woman and boy struggle with the dusty wind while searching for water. Jervis Sundays/Kenya Red Cross Society.

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 May 10-16: Kenya and Tanzania

Loving God, often times we focus on what we lack, and forget to count the richness of life and the beauty that abounds around us. We thank you for the richness of life and beauty of the land of Kenya—its diversity, its culture, its glorious landscape, but most importantly, its people. We give you thanks for the great spirit of hospitality and generosity, especially toward their neighboring nations.

In a special way, we pray for all those who have sought and found refuge in Kenya’s embracing and loving arms. May you foster peace, understanding, and wisdom that your children may continue to co-exist as they have always done. We pray for the healing of hearts that recently experienced the senseless loss of loved ones in the Garissa terror attack. Protect all who still live in fear and guide those who plan such horrific acts against their brothers and sisters.

Grant wisdom and vision to the leaders of this great country, that they may lead your people selflessly. Bind the broken, heal the wounded and enrich its land that it may bear much more fruit to sufficiently nourish its people. 

We ask this through Christ our Risen Lord, Amen

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

Kenya: Not available
Tanzania: 28.2

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.

 

National Day of Prayer: 'Break The Strongholds of Evil...'

By Bread Staff

Today is the National Day of Prayer. The day of observance was enacted into law by Congress in 1952 and is celebrated by many faiths across the country.

We call on all of our Bread for the World members to observe the day with a special focus on injustice in our country. Last week, we saw the effects of lasting systemic injustice played out on the streets of Baltimore. Bread staff and advocates responded with pastoral care, called for peace, and spoke out about the needed reforms in our criminal justice system. 14406614634_1c1484f3cf_o

Today, over a week later, we take time to pause and pray for:

  • The city of Baltimore, that there would be healing and restoration, especially through the church.
  • Those unfairly punished by our criminal justice system, that they would be restored to full participation in society quickly.
  • For our nation and its leaders, that they would seek justice and peace.

Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched your arms out on the Cross for our salvation, ending once and for all the reign of death. But Lord, today we feel the weight of sin and death in our world. Racism, poverty, and systemic injustice continue to deface your image bearers. We cry out to you, oh Lord! We ask for justice, reconciliation, and the flourishing of all people

Gracious God we know you care for each of your children. Give us eyes to see others as you do: with love and compassion. Break the strongholds of evil in our hearts, our communities, and this nation. Give fortitude, wisdom, and discretion to our leaders that they might seek the common good and serve the claims of justice.

We ask all of these things in the name of your Son, our savior, Jesus Christ.

Amen.

World Prayers for May 3-9: Sudan, South Sudan, and Uganda

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. 14384701106_74125ec5a9_o

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 May 3-9: Sudan, South Sudan, and Uganda

God of peace and justice, we pray for these countries, especially Sudan and South Sudan, which have been wracked by war for so long. We pray that their peoples will turn their swords into plowshares so that they can live lives in peace and establish economies and communities that can provide for their members. We pray also for peace in Uganda, which has also been torn apart by conflict internally and with its neighbors in the past several decades. May the conflict end so that the hunger and suffering it has brought will cease.

O God, often all we know about these countries is that they are places of war and conflict. Forgive us when we have been complicit in this, and open our eyes to the people there, who are also your children. Lead our hands and feet to ways we can walk with them in their joys and struggles and with their gifts and cultures as countries and people. Help us to move our own government to do what is right and just for the people of these countries.

We thank you for the aid workers, agencies, and churches that are working in these places to alleviate hunger and poverty. Strengthen and sustain them in their difficult work, and keep them safe from harm.

And we pray to you with the words of a person from Sudan:

Visit us, we are despairing.

Our faith is wavering, O Lord, come visit us.

The hardness of the world weighs heavily on us.

Sin keeps us away from your path.

We are forsaken, forsaken, forsaken.

Do not forsake these countries, O God. Amen.

(Prayer in italics from Sudan. Prières pour le monde 2004, © Fédération protestante de France, Paris, France. English transl. Terry MacArthur © 2005 WCC.)

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

Sudan: 46.5
South Sudan: 50.6
Uganda: 24.5

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

Photo inset: Dabora Nyibol, a returned refugee in South Sudan, prepares sorghum, a staple in her country. Photo by Stephen H. Padre/Bread for the World.

World Prayers for April 26-May 2: Eritrea and Ethiopia

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A typical Afar hut under construction in Ethiopia. Once finished, it will be covered completely except for a small entrance. Sebastian Morales/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 April 26-May 2: Eritrea and Ethiopia

O God, we thank you for the beautiful people of Eritrea and Ethiopia who have suffered much hunger and poverty through the years. Nevertheless, they enrich the world through their unique cuisine such as Injera (Ethiopian bread) and wat (a sauce for meat and vegetables).

We thank you for the faithful witness of Ethiopian and Eritrean Christians, ancient traditions, and new possibilities for proclaiming the faith of the risen Christ, and those who serve the poor and hungry.

We pray for tranquility in these countries. That hostile governments may soon be marked by long-lasting peace and justice, and that border disputes are settled through diplomatic means rather than through violent measures

We lift up refugees and those who have been displaced from their homes and villages, as well as those suffering from AIDS, tuberculosis and other diseases, and have no access to medical care in order to get treatment. 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):

Eritrea: Not available
Ethiopia: 29.6

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

 

Scriptural Manna: Walking Humbly With God and Incarcerated Women

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Editor's note: Bread Blog is running a year-long series exploring passages from The Poverty & Justice Bible published by the American Bible Society (Contemporary English Version). The intent is a theological exploration at the intersection of social justice and religion. The blog posts will be written by members of the church relations staff at Bread for the World.

"The Lord God has told us what is right and what he demands: See that justice is done, let mercy be your first concern, and humbly obey your God.” (Micah 6:8)

When I began my chaplaincy at Indiana Women’s Prison, I was assigned to the Disciplinary, Administrative Segregation, and Death Row units that included solitary confinement.

My prior ministry experience with at-risk populations was useful, but I quickly learned that it was not enough. My chaplaincy would require a different approach. A ministry of mercy meant moving from being a presenter of Scripture and prayer to a facilitator of inviting the Lord to hear the cries of the women. A ministry of justice meant becoming more of an active listener who could help the women articulate their inner longings of how they wanted to walk more closely with the Lord. This all led to deeper reflections about the systemic issues that led to their incarceration.

This was the beginning of my understanding that mass incarceration is a major concern. The fact that an increasing number of women are being incarcerated, especially younger women and a disproportionate numbers of African-American women, is worrisome.

Unfortunately, once these women leave prison, their incarceration becomes a scarlet letter – one that is hard to shake.  People with felony convictions are at risk of hunger and poverty because employers often don't want to hire someone with a criminal record. Licensing prohibitions can bar certain individuals from working in certain fields. Even when ex-offenders do get jobs, they earn much less than they did before going to prison. Studies show that a prison record reduces yearly earnings by 40 percent.

Worse, laws ban individuals with felony convictions from getting government assistance. Many can’t receive SNAP (formerly food stamps), TANF (welfare), or housing assistance. With no job, no shelter, and no help, many people in these situations are denied a second chance.

During my chaplaincy, I answered Micah’s question of what was required of me by also exercising more humility. The result was presenting less of myself and inviting more presence and leadership from the women. This created a sacred space where matters for potential advocacy could be shared from the women.

Justice, mercy, humility. These were the ways that I found to obey and do right for God during my ministry in the prison. This formula for faithfulness came from Micah, a prophet who spoke to Israel. In his book in the Old Testament, Micah preaches about social justice and defends the rights of the poor against the rich and powerful. Is that not what our ministry of advocating for a world without hunger is all about?

Learn more: Hunger and Mass Incarceration.

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

REV. DR. ANGELIQUE WALKER-SMITH is Bread for the World’s national senior associate for African-American and African church engagement.

 

 

 

Mass Incarceration: 'Spitting in the Face of God'

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Brother Mike Murphy, on left, founder of the HELP program, a re-entry program for ex-offenders in Cincinnati, Ohio, prays with program participants.

By Bread Staff

Over the weekend, Bishop Jose Garcia, the director of church relations at Bread for the World, gave the keynote sermon at Ecumenical Advocacy Days.

The conference’s theme was “Breaking the Chains: Mass Incarceration and Systems of Exploitation.” At Bread, mass incarceration is an issue we are following legislatively, especially as it intersects with hunger and poverty.

Here is an excerpt from Garcia’s sermon:

“Every day and every hour, the systems of unjust detention of our nation are spitting in the face of God.

When men, women, children, and families are treated as assets to fill quotas that will fatten the dividends of the shareholders whose greed has no regard for the dignity of those created in God’s image, the systems of unjust detention of our nation are spitting in the face of God.

When the formerly incarcerated, who supposedly have paid their debt to society, are denied food, employment, health, job opportunities, adequate housing and education, the systems of unjust detention of our nation are spitting in the face of God.

When women and children, who are facing hunger, extreme poverty, domestic violence, human trafficking, oppression and gang violence, are placed in family detention centers that are pits that trample over these vulnerable ones, the systems of unjust detention of our nation are spitting in the face of God.

This offends God, and offends the church.”

Bread plans to continue its own work around the issue of incarceration – highlighting whenever possible its impact on hunger and poverty.  Keep following Bread Blog for updates and actions you can take.

Prayers to End Hunger: Food Matters to Children

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Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World.

Editor's note: Bread for the World has launched a Pray to End Hunger campaign. Please commit to pray with us to end hunger. 

By Bread Staff

Food matters to children. In fact, it’s more critical to them than to adults. Proper nutrition in a child’s earliest years is essential for well-being as he or she grows. Well-fed children are healthier, have fewer behavioral problems, and learn more easily. Yet nearly 16 million children in the United States–one in five–live in households that struggle to put food on the table.

We know intuitively that children need our collective protection. Jesus told us to embrace children, “for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs” (Matthew 19:14). In this season of Easter, let’s pray for the children of the world as well as those who care for them.

Join us as we pray for: 

  1. Children around the world, that they would have the food they need for healthy development. 
  2. Those who care for children, that they would have access to the resources necessary to provide for those under their care. 
  3. Our leaders, that they would support children and their caregivers in the decisions that they make for this country.

God’s heart is given to all, with a special place for our children. We must work together for a world in which everyone has enough food. Thanks for taking the time to pray for children and those who care for them. 

When you commit to joining in praying for an end to hunger, we will email you twice a month with specific prayer requests and sample prayers. To learn more about how you can get involved with prayer at Bread, please go here

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