Hunger is a problem that has plagued humanity for millennia, and it continues to haunt us. According to the World Food Program, hunger is the world's leading health risk, killing more people every year than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. And every 15 seconds, a child dies of hunger-related causes.
But just because the problem has persisted doesn't mean it has escaped God's notice: "God always keeps his word. He gives justice to the poor and food to the hungry" — Psalm 146:6-7, CEV.
His expectations of His people haven't changed, either: "Jesus answered, 'You give them something to eat'" — Luke 9:13, CEV.
What's different now from perhaps any other time in history is that the problem of hunger can be solved. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the world can produce enough to feed everyone it holds. Yet people remain hungry because they don't have access to that food.
We can do what Jesus commanded in that instance and give everyone on the planet "something to eat." Join us this month in praying for those who are hungry and those working to feed them.
SUGGESTED PRAYER POINTS
Pray for the millions of people struggling to recover from famine.
Famine is the most lethal kind of hunger situation. A severe drought in the Horn of Africa killed tens of thousands of children in Somalia and pushed millions of families to the brink of starvation. World Vision has provided food, clean water, and medical care to more than 620,000 people in the past few months, but many remain vulnerable. Ask God to begin healing this battered area of the world.
Dear Lord, in Isaiah 41:17, You promise to rescue the poor and needy who cannot find water. Lord, we claim this promise for our brothers and sisters in the Horn of Africa.
Pray that world food prices stabilize.
In 2008, food prices soared by 57 percent, sparking a global food crisis. Maize, wheat, and rice — staple foods in many countries — have been priced out of reach for millions of hungry children and families. After dropping significantly, food prices once again spiked in 2010 and have stayed at levels higher than the 2008 crisis. Pray for God's intervention in the conditions that led to the crisis, including high fuel prices, political turmoil, natural disasters such as droughts and floods, protectionist trade policies, and panic hoarding.
Dear Lord, nothing is beyond Your power or out of Your control. Ease the suffering of people who are poor by making food affordable for them.
Pray for children impacted by acute and chronic malnutrition.
Worldwide, one in four children does not get the nutrition they need. Hunger affects everything from a child's intellectual development to her physical growth and her ability to fight off illness. Without proper nutrition, a child's heart literally shrinks. In cases of acute hunger, the liver, kidneys, and intestines begin breaking down. Ask God to intervene in this crisis.
Dear Lord, we don't have words to express how much this breaks our hearts. Have mercy on these children.
Pray that children are no longer forced into sex trafficking.
Human trafficking is modern-day slavery. Today, an estimated 2 million children — most of them girls — are enslaved and abused in the global commercial sex trade. Many children are sold into prostitution to pay off family debts or abducted from the streets and forced to work in brothels. Children who escape or are rescued face a difficult physical and emotional recovery process.
Dear God, there are times when it is right — and righteous — to be angry. It is right to be angry about people who sexually exploit children. Let that righteous anger fuel action, Lord. Don't let it fade into complacency.
Pray for the safety of those working to get food to the hungry.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the three groups at highest risk of being hungry are the rural poor, the urban poor, and victims of catastrophes. It can be extremely difficult to reach the rural poor and disaster victims, as well as those who are victims of sectarian violence and political instability. Ask God to protect the aid workers who put their own lives at risk to save others.
Dear Lord, You are our refuge. Be a fortress against danger for those who work in Your name to feed the hungry.
Thank God for the success stories.
Despite the tragedies, progress is being made. The number of hungry people has been declining in a host of countries, including Armenia, Brazil, Vietnam, and Nigeria, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization. World Vision, the largest distributor of World Food Program food aid, continues to be on the forefront of feeding millions of hungry families. Thank God for the precious lives that have been saved, and ask Him to encourage those who work tirelessly to end hunger.
Dear Lord, Isaiah 58:10 tells us that if we give ourselves on behalf of the hungry, then our light will shine in the dark. Thank You for those who are shining lights, and please call forth others to join in making a difference.