Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
 

42 posts categorized "Prayer"

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 . . .”

Lent Devotions: Ash Wednesday

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.  

When the hour came, Jesus took his place at table with the apostles. He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, for, I tell you, I shall not eat it again until there is fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 22:14-16)

When the sun set on Thursday evening, the great feast of Passover began for the Jewish people. Its centerpiece was a meal at which the paschal lamb was eaten.

At this meal Jesus looked to the past – the night when the Israelites escaped from slavery in Egypt. But he also looked to the future – the great banquet in heaven.

Lent also looks two ways. I look to my mixed past – joys and sorrows, successes and failures, good deeds and sins. But I also look to my future – the great feast of Easter and the assured victory of life over all forms of death.

The ashes on my forehead are not a gloomy symbol. They express my belief that through death I find life. Dying to old ways of sin brings the peace I’ve always wanted.

No Lenten penance dead ends in pain. Beneath true penance is always the experience of God’s loving presence. Plus the sense that I’m moving in a good direction.

I can spend a lot of time on my past, maybe too much. Maybe I should talk to the Lord about my future. For starters, talk about these next 40 days. Don’t drift halfheartedly
into Lent. Plunge into it.

World Prayers for Feb. 15-21: Italy, Malta, Portugal, and Spain

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Sevilla, Spain. Derek Schwabe/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 15-21: Italy, Malta, Portugal, and Spain

Lord, we are thankful for the early Christian monuments in Italy, Malta, Portugal, and Spain that drew pilgrims from around the world to deepen their faith and heal their spirit. We are thankful for the early history of Christianity that inspires millions each year to renew their faith and their call to serve you.

We pray for an end to violence and for peaceful resolutions to conflicts such as those found in the Basque region of Spain. We pray for your wisdom and guidance in dealing with immigration issues, ensuring that the sanctity of every life is never forgotten and that animosity towards foreigners is pacified by your love. 

We also pray for your help in the fight against not just physical poverty but a poverty of the soul. We know that that power of the spirit is not revealed in the thunder of the gale nor in the dread of the earthquake but through a small voice. We pray to be that voice that renews the spirit of the church amid an increasingly secular society. Amen

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

Italy: 12.6 (2011)
Malta: Not available
Portugal: 11.9 (2011)
Spain: 15.1 (2011)

Source: Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development.

 

Prayerful Response to Mass Incarceration

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Photo: Rick Reinhard for Bread for the World.

By Krisanne Vaillancourt-Murphy

Mass incarceration is a hunger issue. Our country’s imprisonment of its citizens at record high levels traps the incarcerated, their families, and whole communities in a cycle of hunger and poverty.

On Thursday, Christians across the United States will participate in a national prayer vigil called #LockedinSolidarity, which is focused on mass incarceration. Bread for the Worlds partner, the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA), is spearheading the nationwide prayer vigil. The CCDA is a national network of Christians committed to seeing people and communities holistically restored.   

The prayer vigils are a “time of lament, hope and stories as we seek the Lord regarding a Christian response to mass incarceration” said Michelle Warren, CCDA’s advocacy & policy engagement director.  The purpose of the prayer vigils is to raise awareness about mass incarceration, to acknowledge its effect on communities and the nation as a whole, to hear stories from families and community members affected by mass incarceration, and to pray in solidarity with the millions of people who are incarcerated.   

At 11 a.m. on Thursday, Bread staff will participate in #LockedinSolidarity at its Washington, D.C., office. The CCDA has made available a map of nationwide prayer vigil locations. More  details can be found on Facebook.

Bread has taken an interest in the issue of mass incarceration as it relates to hunger. Returning citizens are more likely to experience hunger and live in food-insecure households due to significant barriers to work, social services, and federal benefits. Bread is tracking several pieces of legislation expected to move through Congress this year, which could ease some of these barriers.

                                                              

Prayer on Mass Incarceration

Almighty and ever-present God, we come before you moved by your claim on our lives. Yet we are disturbed to see how our brothers and sisters labor and struggle in prison. We see how our brothers and sisters are challenged, their futures placed at risk, and dignity trampled by the system of mass incarceration.

Still, we have hope, as we incline our hearts and minds to your love and instruction.

We pray for your wisdom and power as we re-commit to being instruments that seek to be restorers of brokenness.  Use us as instruments to restore broken hearts, broken families and broken communities, and the broken incarceration system of our nation.

We offer special prayers for the millions of our children in the United States who have family members, related kindred who are incarcerated. We pray for our families who are separated, who are filled with tiring anxieties, depleting financial resources, and lack food to feed their families. For this is often the reality of those caught in the web of incarceration.

 All-powerful and merciful God, we recognize that you are at work calling us anew to lead our nation from this destructive path.

 May your Holy Spirit open our hearts, minds, and actions to defend the dignity of our families from the life-long trauma that mass incarceration presents to each of us
and the communities will live in.

May you continue to walk with us and lead our steps.

Amen.

 

Krisanne Vaillancourt-Murphy leads national evangelical church relations at Bread for the World.

World Prayers for Feb. 8-14: Belgium, Luxembourg, and Netherlands

Delft-main churchThis 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 8-14: Belgium, Luxembourg, and Netherlands

Lord, we give thanks for churches and Christians in the Netherlands. May they continue to serve as a witness toward the visible unity of the church. We especially give thanks for the contributions and service of the church's members and its agencies to the alleviation of suffering from disasters and poverty around the world. We thank you for the contributions of the Dutch to justice and peace. Strengthen all in the Netherlands who work toward making this world a less hostile place.

We pray for tolerance and mutual respect between the Flemings and Walloons in Belgium. We look to you, God, to provide comfort to those who are confronting challenges: substance abusers; asylum seekers at the border, who are turned back to where they came from without exception, and deported without any hope of a better future; and young people who cannot find a job after finishing their education.

We pray that the church’s vitality kindles the hearts of those who have lost interest in the faith. That a healthy and open discussion can emerge between those who believe and those who don’t and between those born in these countries and those who came later, so that people don’t let themselves be tempted to develop racial prejudices. We also pray that neighbors live in peace with one another instead of treating each other with indifference and suspicion and that people respect each other’s identity. Amen.

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

Belgium: 9.5 (2010)
Luxembourg: 8.1 (2011)
Netherlands: 7.8 (2012)

Source: Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development.

Photo: The Nieuwe Kerk, a Protestant church, in the city of  Delft in the Netherlands. Stephen H. Padre/Bread for the World.

 

 

Hunger in the News: Climate Change, Catholic Charities, and Poverty

BlogphotoA regular, non-comprehensive roundup of current news links on hunger and poverty issues from around the Web.

Iowa View: Climate change affects global challenges,” (Editorial) by Rev. Susan Guy, Special to the Des Moines Register. “When I was ordained more than 21 years ago, climate change was not an issue that was even remotely on my mind. Throughout my years of ministry in local churches and as an organizer, there was one key issue that occupied my heart and mind, and which led me to specific acts of charity and justice. That issue was hunger.”

Head of Catholic Charities USA leaves knowing talk on poverty shifting,” by Dennis Sadowski, Catholic News Service. “After a decade as president of Catholic Charities USA, Father Larry Snyder planned to step down Jan. 31 and return to his beloved Minnesota.”

12 Days, 12 Things You Can Do to Fight Poverty” by Greg Kaufmann, Moyers & Company. “BillMoyers.com is proud to collaborate with TalkPoverty.org as we focus on poverty coverage over the next two weeks. Every day, visit BillMoyers.com to discover a new action you can take to help turn the tide in the fight against poverty.”

Let’s Address the State of Food,” (Commentary) by Mark Bittman. New York Times. “The state of the union, food-wise, is not good. The best evidence is that more than 46.5 million Americans are receiving SNAP benefits – formerly food stamps – a number that has not changed much since 2013, when it reached its highest level ever.”

Poverty stems from unjust economic system, not big families, pope says,” by Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service. “Families who have lots of children do not cause poverty, Pope Francis said. The main culprit is "an economic system that has removed the human person from its focus and has placed the god of money" as its priority instead, he said Jan. 21.”

Destiny’s story: 'Once you get in poverty, it’s kind of hard to get out,'” by Jenny Brundin, Colorado Public Radio. “Destiny Carney, 18, grew up in poverty and was often homeless but now leads classes at Project Voyce. The program helped Carney turn her life around.” 

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