Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
 

57 posts categorized "Prayer"

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

World Prayers for April 19-25: Djibouti and Somalia

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For the past 24 years, Somalia has been wracked by an on and off civil war. The conditions are so severe there that many of its citizens cannot survive in their own country and have fled south as refugees to Kenya. Hundreds of thousands are housed at the Dadaab Refugee Camp in northeastern Kenya. The camp, which is the largest refugee camp in Africa, is managed by The Lutheran World Federation and houses 350,000 Somali refugees. Here a boy stands amid temporary refugee shelters provided by the U.N.'s refugee agency. Photo courtesy of The Lutheran World Federation

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 19-25: Djibouti and Somalia

Lord, we give thanks for those who continue to serve others during times of great turmoil and difficulty, especially the many Christian aid agencies working in these countries. Even though they are frequently exposed to great danger, these brothers and sisters in Christ have not given up on Somalia. Each small sign of progress made in Somalia goes toward reestablishing it as a stable and prosperous country.

We pray for peace in Somalia and that clan and military leaders would repent of the devastation they have caused to the land and its people, and also the gruesome massacre of Christians at Garissa University College committed by the Somali militant group Shabab.

We lift up the hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees all over the world, and refugees from Eritrea and Ethiopia who have fled to Djibouti. Those who suffer from malnutrition and face starvation, who live without clean water to drink, and suffer with otherwise preventable diseases and infections. We ask all these things in the power of your spirit, and in the name of your son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Note: These countries are so entrenched in conflict that poverty statistics are not available.

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 April 12-18: Japan, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan

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Nakasatsunai Art Village in Hokkaido, Japan. 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 12-18: Japan, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan

Almighty God, we give thanks for the glorious people of these countries, especially for Christians living in Japan and Taiwan who serve Christ even though they comprise a small minority in their respective countries. We give special thanks for the culinary contributions of these countries, such as Kimchi, sushi, and tea, and all the wonders from the sea.

Many of these people have known extreme hardship. We especially pray for the people of North Korea who are still experiencing residual effects following the great famine of the 1990s. Between 600,000 and 2.5 million people were reported to have died of hunger during the famine.

Today, periods of food shortage are not uncommon, and malnutrition is widespread in North Korea. We pray that their despair will one day dissipate and be replaced with hope, joy, and prosperity.

We pray for peace in this region of frequent tension and misunderstanding, for greater protection of human rights and a decrease in political corruption, and an end to political unrest, border disputes and nuclear weapons.

We lift up those who continue to be affected by the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, families torn apart by the separation of North and South Korea, the indigenous people in Taiwan, and those rebuilding their lives after powerful earthquakes and nuclear devastation.

We ask all 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 rate (below 50 percent of median income):

Japan: 16.0 (2009)
North Korea: Not available
South Korea: Not available
Taiwan: Not available

Source: Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development

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: Are You Ready?

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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’s Spirit has come to me, because he has chosen me to tell the good news to the poor. The Lord has sent me to announce freedom for prisoners, to give sight to the blind, to free everyone who suffers, and to say, ‘This is the year the Lord has chosen.’” (Luke 4:18-19)

God is a God of history, constantly transforming our broken world. When we tune in through prayer and scripture reflection, we can see evidence of God’s hand shaping our world and surprising us even in the midst of our uncertainty. 

What’s broken in our world?  How about the 1.2 billion people who still live in extreme poverty — on less than $1.25 per day -- and the 2.6 million children who die of hunger-related causes each year?

Where is evidence of God’s transformative work? The number of hungry people has dropped significantly over the past two decades. And since 1990, there has been a 34 percent reduction in global hunger.

He is Risen indeed!

We are called to submit to God’s plan to end hunger for all creation.​

In Luke 4 as found in Isiah 61, scripture shows us a God who hears the cry of enslaved people and delivers them, releasing captives and setting oppressed people free. Surely God lives! Thousands of years ago, God used Moses to appeal to the Egyptian government to release the enslaved Hebrew people. This began the long journey of the Israelites’ great exodus from Egypt. “Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today ….’” (Exodus 14:13)

As followers of Christ, we see signposts of God’s saving power and path to freedom in yesterday and today. But seeing isn’t our only task.  We aren’t called to be bystanders or onlookers of God’s transformative work.  As Pope Francis said recently, “I see the Church as a field hospital after a battle.” 

As members of the body of Christ, we are a transformed people empowered to partner in God’s work. And as citizens of the United States and stewards of God’s creation, we have a unique calling. For Christian advocates, that often means addressing root causes that keep people impoverished, hungry, and suffering. In order to change this, we need to engage governments and policies for the common good, for the flourishing of society.

God also uses enlightened rulers as agents of deliverance. In Psalm 72, King David offers prayerful instruction for his son Solomon, who will become the ruler of a nation. David’s expression of devotion and care for his people, near and far, is a foreshadowing of the righteous reign of Christ and his promise and covenant. “For he delivers the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper. … From oppression and violence he redeems their life .…” The good and faithful governor Nehemiah rebuilds a community, giving life and restoring dignity to the people, with the support of the God-inspired benevolence of King Cyrus of Persia. (Nehemiah 5:1-6)

God is raising up modern-day Nehemiahs and calling us to get about the business of new creation.

Are you ready?

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

KRISANNE VAILLANCOURT MURPHY leads national evangelical church relations at Bread for the World.

 

Rev. David Beckmann Receives Anti-Poverty Champion Award


_E0A0457By Bread Staff

The National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NaLEC) has given Rev. David Beckmann, Bread's president, its Anti-Poverty Champion Award for his leadership in advocacy efforts to end hunger in the United States and globally.

The award was presented at the coalition's annual conference of leaders on March 27 in Orlando, Fla. Beckmann was one of the keynote speakers at the awards dinner.

NaLEC brings together Latino evangelical leaders and seeks to be a voice on public policy for the rapidly growing Latino population in the U.S. NaLEC educates its constituencies on and advocates in the areas of poverty, immigration, education, health care, and criminal justice reform.

NaLEC has a strong connection to Bread. NaLEC's president, Rev. Gabriel Salguero, served two terms on Bread's board of directors until 2013. Bishop Jose Garcia, Bread's director of church relations, is NaLEC's vice president.

Also receiving awards with Beckmann were Rev. Joel Hunter, senior pastor of Northland Church in Longwood, Fla., who also serves as a spiritual adviser to President Barack Obama; and Rev. Luis Palau, author, radio show host, and Latino evangelist.

Photo: Rev. David Beckmann speaking at a USAID conference last year about the Feed the Future initiative. Bread for the World.

World Prayers for April 5-11: Timor-Leste, Indonesia, and Philippines

Dumaguete Sunrise 2013 (Photo by Vey Telmo)
Sunrise in Dumaguete, Philippines. Vey Telmo 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 April 5-11: Timor-Leste, Indonesia, and Philippines

Amahan namo. Bapi kami. Our Father. Pai Nosso.

We thank you for the peoples of the Philippines, Indonesia, and Timor-Leste.

We thank you for helping Filipinos, Indonesians, and Timorese meet the continuing challenges that confront them:

For Timor-Leste, one of the world’s youngest republics, as it recovers from the devastation of the tsunami of 2004;

For the Philippines, Asia’s first republic, as it rebuilds from the of fury Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest hurricane on record;

For Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, as it strives to keep the peace between Muslims and Christians.

We especially thank you for ensuring that hungry people are fed and clothed in this vast Southeast Asian archipelago. We give you thanks for development, church, and other workers who are striving to pull people out of hunger and poverty. We give you thanks for the centers and programs that train them to be self-sufficient.

For the rice farmers that grow grain. For the fisher folks that harvest the bounties of the seas. For small herders. For those who live in the slums. For those who give sacrificially so that their neighbors can eat. 

Let your gentle breezes of blessings flow all over them. Give them hope. Give them strength. Give them love.

Amen. Amin. Amem.

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

Timor-Leste: Not available
Indonesia: 11.4
Philippines: 25.2

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

A Season of Preparation

By Jared Noetzel

I don't work at Bread for the World because of its public policy or advocacy mission. Policy matters, and advocacy shapes policy, but in the end that's not what I'm all about. I work at Bread because of my commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because through his death and resurrection we have the opportunity to participate in the reconciliation of the world to God. Part of that reconciliation extends to the ways we choose to order our society. In other words, it extends to politics. The problem is, I forget that order of things too easily. African children

We're nearing the finale of one of my favorite times of the church year. In Lent, we're called to remember our dependence on God through contrition and repentance. By prayer, fasting, and giving we recognize that God has ultimate control over our lives. Through the adoption of new disciplines, we tangibly remind ourselves to both submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and remember who gave us our salvation. That's how we don't forget to love our neighbors and care for people who are marginalized. That's how we don't forget to love our enemies, even when they target people who are hungry.

Advocacy and politics can be toxic to our souls. We can easily get caught up in the short-term wins and "gotcha" moments. The season of Lent calls us as followers of Christ to a time set apart to dig into our own failures and seek God's grace and mercy.

The disciplines of Lent steel us against the corroding influences of the sometimes brutal political world. As James 1:27 puts it: "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." At Bread for the World, we care a lot about orphans and widows — and all others on the margins of society. We can't and we won't stop advocating with them — ever.

But we must not forget the other part of James' warning. Lent opens a space for us to take stock of how the world has corrupted us, to ask for mercy, and then seek restoration.

The point of Lent isn't to remain in an introspective posture. Rather, it's about preparation and being ready for Christ's resurrection. As we look forward to celebrating Easter, take time to ask God to ferret out the places the world has corrupted you. Then, turn your heart to Christ, and get ready to celebrate his resurrection and the power of reconciliation.

As we engage our hearts and minds with the story of God's redemptive work in the world, we declare that ultimate authority lies with God. That's why, at Bread for the World, we value prayer right alongside activism (see Let Us Pray to End Hunger).

In the work of advocacy, we can forget to acknowledge that all authority, including the authority to govern, stems from God. Prayer helps us stay grounded in God's love and undergirds all of our advocacy efforts.

The work of advocacy doesn't stop because of Lent, but Lent does make us better advocates. We write, call, and meet with elected officials not because good policy is an end in and of itself. We do these things because God has called us to love all the people made in God's image. Lent helps us remember that.

Jared Noetzel is a project coordinator at Bread for the World's church relations department.

Photo: A Ugandan family shares a meal together. Kendra Rinas for Bread for the World.

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