Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
 

76 posts categorized "Prayer"

Prayers on the Fourth of July

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Wikimedia Commons.

Glorious Lord, on this day, we celebrate our nation’s birth and the symbol of freedom it represents to many. We acknowledge that you have been the author of this nation and that it is your great faithfulness that has brought us this far.  We continue to trust that your hand will guide her into her purpose and destiny.

Right now, we take this time to thank you for the many freedoms and blessings that we have been given:

     We thank you for the freedom we have to worship you and share the Gospel without fear of death.

     We thank you for the opportunity to work, study, and play.

     We thank you for food to eat, clothes to wear, and a roof above our heads.

     We thank you for men and women who have sacrificed their lives on the battlefield to secure the freedoms and blessings that we now enjoy.

     We thank you for teachers who work tirelessly to educate the next generation of our nations’ citizens and leaders.

     We thank you for friendships that enrich our lives and for families and loved ones who love us unconditionally.

Most of all, we thank you for freedom from sin and for the grace and power to live for you.

As we celebrate the Fourth of July, we continue to remember the millions of people in our nation and around the world who live in poverty and suffer from hunger. You care for them always. May we never forget to continue to think of, pray for, and love them as ourselves.

In Jesus’ glorious name we pray. Amen. 

World Prayers for July 5-11: Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela

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A view of Cuenca, Ecuador situated in the highlands of Ecuador. 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 July 5 – 11: Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela

Loving God, we ask for your hand of grace over and for your will to be done in Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela.

Specifically, we lift up Colombia to you right now. It has been a nation that has experienced much violence and turmoil in the past, which had led to economic instability and government corruption within its borders. This has been due to the pervasive drug trafficking industry as groups of drug traffickers have waged violence as a means to achieve their ends, creating national instability. We, as your people, pray for an end to this drug trafficking industry in Colombia and the violence that comes with it. We ask that there will be a greater number of other means for provision. We also ask for protection over those who are especially vulnerable – the children, women, and those in poverty. We thank you for the recent improvements in the economy and government, and we continue to pray for justice in the government system and for polices that will lead to positive and sustainable changes, including the reduction of hunger and poverty rates.

We also lift up Venezuela to you. Like Colombia, this nation has suffered great violence and turmoil. We need your divine intervention in this nation, as the conditions have worsened in recent years. We pray for a reform in the government system and for an end to drug trafficking that is also prevalent here. We ask for a change in the hearts of the drug traffickers and all those involved in the violence, and for your peace to cover the people. We also plead your protection, especially over the hungry and destitute, and for daily provision for them. We ask for your Spirit to move on each heart that will lead to an outward change and create a safer environment for the people to live there.

We also lift up Ecuador to you. We thank you for the improvements in the economy and the reduction of poverty rates in this nation over the years. We continue to pray for stability and fairness in its economy and for daily provisions for those who suffer from food insecurity. We ask that you will continue to have your way in its government system and pray for wisdom and guidance for the leaders of this nation to make decisions that will positively affect all those living in this nation.

We ask these things in the Almighty Name of Jesus, Amen. 

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

Colombia: 32.7
Ecuador: 25.6
Venezuela: 25.4

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 June 28-July 4: Bolivia, Chile, and Peru

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A crafts market in Valdivia, Chile. Jose Parros/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 June 28-July 4: Bolivia, Chile, and Peru

Loving God, we thank you for your grace and for the joy and hope we have in you. Thank you Jesus, for your sacrifice, so we can experience your life every day and be with you for eternity.

We take this time right now to pray for the people of Bolivia, Chile, and Peru. They are precious in your sight and loved by you.  We lift them up to you because you are good and are able to meet all of their needs.

Specifically, we pray for the rights of each person, especially the indigenous, those of mixed race, and the poor and impoverished in these nations, to be protected. We ask for an end to violence and injustice that have been present in their respective histories. You alone are able to change the hearts of men, and we ask for your love to soften and open their hearts to you. We also pray for your healing oil to wash over and a restoration of hope be administered to each person, who has suffered from the other end of violence and injustice. May you reveal the value of a life to each person and may your love cover each heart.

In addition, we pray for a reform in the economic and political systems as you guide the leaders of these nations to create and pass policies that will be in alignment with your principles and to change or remove laws that perpetuate the cycle of poverty and injustice. We pray that through these changes, a greater number of people would be able to gain access to education, find jobs, and have an option to provide for themselves outside the drug trafficking industry and other less ideal alternatives.

Lastly, we pray for the strengthening of the body of Christ in this region. We thank you for what you are already doing here and ask that your people will shine brightly as your vessels of love and hope like “a city on a hill that cannot be hidden.” We also pray for more workers to be sent into these nations as they gain your vision and heart for Bolivia, Chile, and Peru.

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

Lord, we also pray for the nine victims of the Charleston shooting and the families left behind after such a tragic loss. May these families find comfort in your love and grace in the days and weeks ahead. In Jesus' Name, we pray. Amen. 

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

Bolivia: 45.0
Chile: 14.4
Peru: 23.9

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.

 

 

 

 

Deliver Us From Evil...

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An overflow crowd gathers outside Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., during a memorial service following the shooting of nine congregants. Wikimedia Commons.

By Jose Garcia

As I was watching the news about the senseless murder of our brothers and sisters at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, the camera showed a young woman with a sign that read WHY? This is a question that troubled many.

My answer may sound simplistic to some, but in truth, the root of the problem is - because evil exists. As sure as there is a sovereign, loving, kind, and merciful God, there is evil. It stains humanity and all of God’s creation. It leads to hate, bigotry, racism, oppression, abuse of power, envy, murder, lies, rebellion, and many other manifestations that are contrary to God’s perfect will.

However, in the midst of pain and sorrow we have an opportunity to be an extension of God’s arms of love and consolation to a community that is in mourning. We are reminded by the Apostle Peter to “not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called—that you might inherit a blessing… For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer…” (1 Peter 3:9, 12)

God's love has compelled many to different demonstrations of love and care for our AME family and the city of Charleston. One of our own, Rev. Nancy Neal, a native of Charleston and Bread’s deputy director of church relations, traveled this weekend to Charleston, in solidarity and love, toward a community that she feels a closer connection with.

Many local congregations are lifting up prayers for the families of the victims and the community. Let us not forget that Jesus taught us to pray: “rescue us from the evil one.”

Jose Garcia is a bishop in the Church of God of Prophecy and the director of the church relations department at Bread for the World.

World Prayers for June 21-27: Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay

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Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay. It is one of the oldest towns in Uruguay and capital of the Colonia Department. 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 June 21-27: Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay

Almighty God, we lift up the nations of Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. We thank you for what you have already done in these nations.

Specifically, we pray for the families and friends of those in Uruguay and Argentina who were murdered or have been missing. We ask for hope and comfort to fill their hearts and for justice to be done. Let your light and love infiltrate the darkness and break the cycle of hatred and strife, and may your law be written in their hearts. Additionally, we ask for protection over those who are especially vulnerable and for your plan for this nation to continue to go forth.

We also pray for justice and integrity in the government system of Paraguay. There has been a history of corruption in the government of this nation, and we need your transforming work. We ask for wisdom and guidance for the current leaders and pray for future elections of those who will guide this nation into its destiny as part of your grand plan to draw men, women, and children to you, Jesus.

Lastly, we ask for your provisions of daily bread spiritually and physically for Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay and for opening of eyes to your goodness and love. Would you reveal yourself as their Provider in whatever way it will look for each individual and family in these nations?

We thank you that you hear our prayers, and we ask these things in the name of Jesus, Amen.

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

Argentina: Not available
Paraguay: 23.8
Uruguay: 11.5

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

Weeping for Charleston

Statement from Bread for the World on the Charleston Tragedy

Bread for the World mourns the senseless loss of nine brothers and sisters at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. We are deeply saddened by this tragedy and offer our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, members of the Mother Emanuel congregation, and the entire AME church. We mourn for ourselves and our country. We witness acts of violence and are too complacent with hate. Yet we are reminded that those who mourn will be comforted (Matthew 5:4).

America’s ugly history of racism is something that we must challenge ourselves to continually address in order to truly see a sacred vision of the “Beloved Community” advanced by people like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Bread for the World stands shoulder-to-shoulder with our friends in the Charleston and wider South Carolina faith community as well as historic African-American church communities, and we will continue to do so in this time of great tragedy. 

While no words can lessen the pain and sadness this violence has wrought, we are praying that God brings upon you peace, justice, and most of all, healing. We pray that we will all turn our faith into action and that God will use us so that this world may be transformed.

 Rev. David Beckmann, President
Bread for the World

Scriptural Manna: Justice for the Poor

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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.

You people are in for trouble! You have made cruel and unfair laws that let you cheat the poor and needy and rob widows and orphans. (Isaiah 10:1-2)

The prophet Isaiah made this statement following the announcement of the coming of the Messiah, which promised a kingdom of peace and righteousness. However, it is obvious that at the time of this prophecy, through their decrees and statutes, the leaders and people of Israel were being unfair and abusing their powers by preying on the poor, widows, and the marginalized among them.

As a result, they were setting themselves for judgement. This in spite of the fact that the shema (Deuteronomy 6:4), which is considered the statement of faith of God’s people, clearly reveals that in acknowledging Jehovah God as their only God, God’s commandments and precepts would govern their norms of everyday life. Yet Isaiah is addressing Israel’s failure to govern all of their citizens with righteousness. Jesus addressed clearly how God intends to deal with nations that do not care for the “least of these” (Matthew 25:31-46) .

In the last few years, nations around the world have adopted laws such as those advancing human rights and women’s empowerment that have led to improvements in people’s quality of life, health, job opportunities, housing, education, and also moved people from extreme poverty and hunger. However, some people in government authority have proposed laws (such as anti-immigration regulations) that while addressing the socio-economic challenges of the country, are contrary to heart of God as outlined in the Bible.

A survey conducted by the Barna Group shows that about 9 percent of Americans have a biblical worldview. That is a lifestyle that complies with the values and virtues of the kingdom of God. That is a lifestyle that calls for us to respect the intrinsic dignity of every human being by loving our neighbor as Jesus loved us, through acts of kindness, compassion, service, and making their well-being a priority in our relationship with one another.

Just as we observed during the time of the prophet Isaiah, today some of the proposals being considered by Congress, such as budget cuts that would decrease WIC (the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) benefits, are not aligned with the principles and values of the Christian faith. Yet, over 90 percent of our members of Congress identify as Catholic or Protestants. The Bible verse under study calls for a prophetic voice to remind our government officials of their profession of faith, and how it should translate into laws that can positively impact hungry and poor people in the nation.

Sadly, the end of chapter 10 of Isaiah pronounces a judgement for Israel’s unfair decrees towards the poor and marginalized. Again, this judgment is confirmed by Jesus when speaking about the treatment to the “least of these.” Therefore, the church needs a prophetic voice that can speak up for those who are being denied the choices and opportunities that can help lift them out of hopelessness, hunger, and poverty.  

BISHOP JOSE GARCIA is the church relations director at Bread for the World. He is a bishop in the Church of God of Prophecy, a worldwide Pentecostal denomination with thousands of churches.

World Prayers for June 14-20: Brazil

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Christ the Redeemer atop the Corcovado mountain over looking the city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. 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 June 14:20: Brazil

A Eucharistic Prayer
(Adapted from a Brazilian hymn by Flavio Irala; words adapted from a poem by Elsa Tamaz, Costa Rica; English translation by Terry MacArthur)

Come for celebrating the supper of the Lord.
Together we will bake an enormous loaf of bread.
We make wine that overflows like in Cana long ago.
Surely the women won’t forget the salt, and the men will gladly bring the yeast.

Let’s send out many invitations to the blind, the wounded, the outcast, the poor.

So this very day we celebrate.
Jesus meets us face to face.
Now as Christ’s own body we commit our lives to God’s kingdom.

No more will a child be hungry.
No more will a man be hungry.
No more will a woman be hungry.
No more.
No more.

* * * * * * * * * *

God, travelling with us on the way,
sustaining life, source of life,
you are not a God travelling only ahead of us,
like a general, like a hero,
nor do you give prizes to those
who boldly run, full of energy.
I have heard your voice on the way,
encouraging us not to stop,
persuading us to continue on our way.
You are a God everywhere present.
You are to be found in all places.
You are ahead and behind us,
when the road is long
and weariness at its greatest.
You are not only the God of the strongest,
of those whose lives are prosperous.
When our strength falters and fails,
you give us the strength to keep on going forward.
With you, we joyfully continue on our way,
a gentle breeze impels us on,
our steps become lighter,
and we are even able to sing.

(Prayer by Simei Monteiro, a Brazilian church musician)

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

Brazil: 9.0

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.

 

Lobby Day 2015: A Great Day of Advocacy

By Jennifer Gonzalez

Over 250 Bread for the World activists descended on Capitol Hill on Tuesday in the summer heat of Washington to ensure that members of Congress support child nutrition in the U.S. and abroad, and also aid small-scale farmers around the globe. Bread activists specifically asked members of Congress to support the Summer Meals Act of 2015 and the Global Food Security Act of 2015.

The day was a success as activist after activist, young and old alike, met with senators and representatives (or their staffers). Some meetings were small, with just a handful of activists around a table, sharing their thoughts, while others were quite large.

About 15 members from the Reformed Church of Highland Park in New Jersey met with staffers of Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D-N.J.) office. The group later met with staffers from Sen. Cory Booker’s (D-N.J.) office and got a surprise when the senator unexpectedly showed up and spoke to them. The group was not scheduled to meet with Booker, but instead, only with a couple of staffers.

Here are some highlights from Lobby Day 2015:

The morning got off to a great start with some inspiring words from Amelia Kegan, Bread’s deputy director of government relations. She spoke at Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church, where activists took part in a worship service combined with a legislative briefing by staff members of Bread’s government relations department.

Activists spent the afternoon meeting with various members of Congress. A small group of Iowans met with Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa). They were accompanied by Rev. David Beckmann, Bread’s president, and Christine Melendez Ashley, a senior policy analyst at Bread.

Maria Rose Belding, a former intern at the Alliance to End Hunger (Bread’s sister organization), who now works at a nonprofit emergency food pantry system, stressed the need for Ernst to support the Summer Meals Act of 2015. “For every seven children who receive a free school lunch, only one gets a summer meal,” she said.

A handful of Bread activists from Alabama met with a staffer in Rep. Terri Sewell’s (D-07) office. Suzanne Martin spoke about the need for members of Congress, such as Sewell, to cosponsor the Global Food Security Act. The bill would make permanent Feed the Future, which has helped more than 7 million small-scale farmers increase crop production and has provided nutritious food to more than 12.5 million children in 2013 alone.

“What I love about this bill is that creates resiliency and sustainability,” Martin said. “I hope she (Sewell) becomes a big champion of this bill.”

The day ended with a reception and worship service at the Cannon House Office Building. Four members of Congress were honored as “hunger champions” during the reception: U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), U.S. Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.-37), U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.-01), and U.S. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, (D-Calif.-40).

Lobby Day ended with activists relaying personal stories from their day on Capitol Hill. Thanks to all who participated in this year’s Lobby Day. We can’t end hunger by 2030 without your continued strong voice!

World Prayers for June 7-13: Angola and Mozambique

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A Mozambique farmer working in a maize field. Kate Raisz 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 June 7-13: Angola and Mozambique

God of love and compassion, we approach you full of grief and shame, because we just cannot understand how it is that you love us so much. We feel that we are living under the shadow of death. We find it difficult to understand that you have already brought us out from there and that you hope to see in us signs showing our faith and trust in the eternal life promised us by Jesus.  

Do not forsake us. Rather, guide us in ways of hope that one day Africa will know and live in peace, health and prosperity, through the grace and mercy given us by your Son, Jesus Christ, and by the Holy Spirit. Amen.

(Felicidade N. Cherinda, Mozambique. In: AfricaPraying – A Handbook on HIV/AIDS Sensitive Sermon Guidelines and Liturgy)

We sincerely thank you, O God,
or your powerful gift of hope
in the face of seemingly hopeless situations.
We thank you for your peace
in the hearts and minds of men and women
in this part of Africa
who believe you are the living God,
quick to save in time of danger.
You reign above all,
directing the course and destiny of the universe.

(Joao Makondekwa, Bible Society of Angola. WAGP p. 337)

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

Angola: 36.6
Mozambique: 54.7

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

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