Praying for Children at Risk

by Viva Network Staff

World Wide Day of Prayer on June 2

World Wide Day of Prayer on June 2

When we consider the range of problems which vulnerable children face, our response is to cry out to God for his intervention. But sometimes the extent of the problems means that all we feel able to issue is a squeak of ‘Help!'

It is easier to pray when we have more information. If we pray about specific problems and the solutions being employed to tackle them, our prayers can make a difference to individual children's lives. Here are some suggestions of what to pray about issues facing children in the world today:

Poverty

Those who live in poverty have little access to health care, clean water or education. Children who grow up in poverty are at risk from lifelong poverty, disease, homelessness, exploitation, family breakdown. Many Christian groups run child sponsorship programs which help children in ways which benefit whole communities.

Exploitative Child Labor

Many children work to support themselves or their families or because they are forced to be slaves. Children are often illegal and poorly-informed workers, so employers can easily evade their responsibilities towards them. Lobbying is a crucial part of the work to end exploitation.

War

Children in war-torn countries may be kidnapped and conscripted into armed forces; may be injured, raped or killed; may be orphaned; may become refugees. The vast majority of war casualties today are not soldiers, but civilians, many of them women and children. Trauma counseling is one way of helping children affected by war.

Street Life

The pressure of poverty often sends children onto the streets to work. It also erodes family life so that the children often end up living on the streets. Street children are vulnerable to police abuse, molestation, crime, drugs and glue-sniffing, not to mention hunger and cold. Christian groups are helping children through projects such as drop-in centers and half-way houses.

AIDS

Where no obvious support structure exists, AIDS orphans may end up on the streets or be exploited. Children may also be born or become infected with the HIV virus. Those who survive may grow up in countries where there are few opportunities. Education on AIDS prevention and outreach to orphans are two ways of tackling this problem.

Planning an event for June 2 may seem a daunting task, but all you need to start is the firm conviction that prayer does make a difference. Since the World Wide Day of Prayer for Children at Risk (WWDP) started in 1996, amazing results have been seen in the weeks immediately following. For example, after the event last year, one Argentine prayer partner reported that a local baby selling ring was busted and that, not much further away, a child prostitution ring was also uncovered.

When it comes to organizing an event on the day, there are no rules. A prayer event could involve any number of people-from just yourself in the privacy of your own daily devotions to a whole church service involving hundreds. It could be part of a regular meeting, or a special event laid on for the purpose of praying specifically for children. A WWDP information pack is available containing plenty of information and pointers to help you run your event, publicity materials, and activity sheets for children.

The prayer pack covers the needs of children across the world, but you might also find it useful to ask any children's projects local to you if they would like to join in or contribute to your event in any way. Those who join in the WWDP often find that once they start praying for children at risk, they don't want to stop. The prayer pack also contains information on how you can update your prayers the rest of the year.

For a copy of the prayer pack contact Viva Network PO Box 633, Oxford OX2 OXZ, UK; tel: 00 44 1865 450 800

Or print it off from www.viva.org/Icanpray/wdp