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Covering the world in prayer: Central America

Chris Huber
Mar 27, 2013
©2012 Heidi Isaza/World Vision
This alley in El Salvador is home to many families and is heavily controlled by the Mara Salvatrucha gang, as evidenced by the mass amounts of graffiti tags throughout.

Join us throughout the month of April in praying for World Vision’s work in the Central American countries of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. In many areas of Central America, gang violence, drug trafficking, and the lasting effects of past wars make life especially difficult for children and their families.

Suggested prayer points

Pray for leadership in Guatemala.

Guatemala has the highest murder rate in Latin America. The residual effects of 36 years of civil war combine with a high prevalence of drug trafficking and organized crime to create a dangerous and unstable situation for many Guatemalan children. About 72 percent of the population is younger than 30. Left without social support structures and positive family relationship models, thousands of children and youth resort to drugs, gangs, the sex industry, or exploitative labor. World Vision helps form community youth groups to provide leadership training and esteem-building activities. Pray for healed relationships and economic opportunity among poor and struggling families. Pray for integrity among Guatemala’s leaders, so that they can lead their nation toward a more hopeful future.

Heavenly Father, Proverbs 11:3 tells us that, "The integrity of the upright guides them" May the leaders of Guatemala seek Your guidance to make difficult decisions with integrity. Raise up vibrant leaders from the emerging generation of youth who will seek justice and work to bring stability and hope to their nation.

Pray for healing in El Salvador.

Many of El Salvador’s youth have grown up without their fathers, many of whom fled the country during the brutal civil war from 1981 to 1992. More than 20 years removed from the conflict, violence and fear still grip communities controlled by ruthless gangs. Today’s youth are coming of age in a culture of hate, suspicion, and violence. Up to 70 percent of El Salvador’s youth are thought to be involved in a gang. As the country becomes increasingly urban, children are more vulnerable to poverty, violence, and exploitation.

World Vision staff members work in the thick of it, supporting children and families to promote peace and reconciliation and opening up opportunities for teens who wouldn’t otherwise have a chance in life. Pray for peace, and pray that God would use the various youth empowerment and reconciliation movements to build up a generation torn down by war and fear. Ask God to protect workers who risk their safety to bring hope to crippled communities.

Lord, Psalm 147:3 says that You bind up and heal broken hearts. We pray that this generation of young Salvadorans, which knows so much brokenness, will seek You for answers. Bring peace to the nation struggling to mend. Watch over those working in the most difficult settings, and instill confidence that their good deeds will not be in vain.

Pray for clean water and improved livelihoods in Honduras.

Poverty and food scarcity are particularly severe in rural Honduras, where one in five people lacks access to safe water, and the average annual income totals not quite $1,900. Nearly 25 percent of people struggle with malnutrition. World Vision water, sanitation, and hygiene initiatives bring communities access to safe drinking water to improve health conditions. Our staff members also work with farming families to develop new agricultural techniques to diversify crops for better nutrition. Pray for improved access to markets, where families can sell their crops and increase their income. Pray also for continued progress in the nationwide effort to drill wells and train communities on improved hygiene practices.  

Lord, You gave Your people water to drink during their wilderness wanderings. Please bring new life to communities that have struggled with health issues due to lack of clean water or adequate sanitation facilities. Raise up community leaders who can help isolated, rural farmers learn new cultivation methods and innovative means, so that they may better provide for their families’ needs.

Pray for opportunity in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica has enjoyed a long history of stability and peace. The nation often has a stabilizing influence in the conflicts of neighboring countries, and its economy is generally strong, thanks to growing tech and tourism industries. However, the sex tourism industry remains a problem, as many poor women and girls resort to selling sex for survival. World Vision is caring for and rehabilitating children who live on the streets, offering educational opportunities and medical assistance. Pray for opportunity for homeless children and families, and pray for the 24 percent of Costa Ricans who live at or below the poverty line.

Lord, we know Your heart for the poor. We ask You to protect those who are homeless in Costa Rica. Bring compassionate people into their lives to offer them assistance, opportunity, and hope for the future. Especially bless the children, so that they can grow up with a sense of Your love and provision. May women and girls trapped in the sex trade discover Your light in the midst of their darkness. 

Pray for homeless children in Costa Rica.

In many cultures, women and girls are responsible for collecting water for drinking and cooking. They must often walk hours every day to complete this task, keeping girls from going to school and robbing mothers of time with their children. When wells are drilled in rural villages, women and girls no longer have to spend hours each day accessing water. Ask God to protect women and girls during these long daily walks and help them connect with organizations like World Vision that help bring clean water closer to their homes.  

Dear Lord, as millions of women and girls continue to walk every day to collect water, please walk beside them and keep them from harm. Bless the work of organizations that provide clean water so that more women and girls can leave this task behind to lead more productive and meaningful lives.

Pray for emergency responders in the region.

Over the past few decades, each Central American country has been deeply affected by natural disasters. Costa Rica has been identified as one of the most earthquake-prone and volcanically active countries in the world. Guatemala is situated on top of three tectonic plates and is considered to have the fifth-highest economic risk from hazards like earthquakes, hurricanes, and volcanic activity. Nicaragua is considered a leader in Central America because its legal framework is conducive to effective disaster response and risk reduction. World Vision partners with government leaders, firefighters, police, military, and nongovernmental organizations to train youth and community leaders as emergency first-responders. Since the program launched in 2012, nearly 3,000 youth throughout Central America have returned to their communities better prepared to help when disaster strikes. Pray for strength and focus among program leaders. Pray for humility and courage for trainees who desire to serve their communities.  

Father, we know disasters and emergencies arise for reasons often unknown to us. Use these events to bring people closer to You. Please give first-responders the courage to help when called upon. Guide World Vision’s leaders in Central America as they develop relationships with government and civil service leaders, in order to serve communities more effectively in disaster situations. Preserve recent trainees’ skills and knowledge, so they are able to pass them on to others in their communities.

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Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
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