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Wrapping children in prayer: Girls

By Chris Huber
Jan 27, 2014
©2013 Ammala Thomisith/World Vision
Chanhsy is no longer afraid and can enjoy the basic freedoms that were cruelly denied to her in Thailand. In 2010, Chanhsy decided to get married and she and her husband set up a small business growing beans with help from World Vision who provided them with a water machine for the plants.

Chanhsy* was 13 when she was sold into slavery. Stuck in the grind of poverty in rural Laos, she wanted her family to have a better life. She quit school and soon fell victim to a “broker” who came to her village, promising a good job at a home in Bangkok.

She spent the next three years serving an abusive family without pay.

“I worked from morning to midnight,” Chanhsy says. “I couldn’t leave; they installed cameras to watch me.”

Chanhsy finally managed to escape and regained stability through counseling and skill training at World Vision’s center for trafficking survivors. She is now back in her home village, working as a gardener.

Millions of girls around the world don’t experience such happy endings. They are trafficked, exploited, and affected by harmful cultural practices,missing out on education, economic opportunity, and life-giving relationships.

Please pray for these girls.

Suggested prayer points 

Pray for girls trapped in sexual exploitation and forced labor.

Worldwide, 11.3 million girls ages 5 to 17 work as domestic laborers, the International Labor Organization says. Unsuspecting children like Chanhsy often are forced into child labor or the sex trade. The full extent of the problem is unknown, but governments and organizations, including World Vision, have made progress in recent years to prosecute traffickers and identify and rehabilitate survivors of the crime.

Jesus, we come to You humbled by the struggles many girls face every day. Restore them to trusting relationships and self-confidence. Inspire leaders to create policies that address the causes of sexual exploitation and forced labor.

Pray for girls affected by female genital mutilation (FGM).

In Somalia, Fatih Mohamed is one of at least 125 million women and girls in 29 countries living with the results of the traditional practice of removing part or all of the female’s genitalia. This can lead to pelvic infections, pregnancy and birth complications, and long-term emotional scars, according to UNICEF. World Vision educates and empowers girls and their communities to end female genital mutilation. Fatih says, “My daughters have not had FGM, and they will not — my experience was so bad, I am determined. When we show the problem, people will change.”

Lord God, help families that practice FGM see its damaging effects on girls and young women. Motivate these families to turn away from damaging practices, and protect their female children from all forms of harm, including FGM.

Pray for educational opportunities for girls.

In Laos, Chanhsy’s home country, just 77 percent of girls attend primary school. Only 32 percent continue on to high school. World Vision helps build infrastructure, provides school materials for students and teachers, and empowers parents to invest in their children’s education, in Laos and dozens of other countries.

Lord, as Solomon asked for wisdom and knowledge to lead Israel (2 Chron. 1), may You fulfill many girls’ longing for wisdom and a better life. Bless them with a quality education, school supplies, and a family that supports their scholastic goals. 

Pray for economic opportunity for girls’ families living in poverty.

Girls everywhere are vulnerable to exploitation when their families are extremely poor. In Bolivia, 1.6 million people earn less than $1.25 per day. Sisters Leonarda, 14, Justina, 10, and Tania, 6, now have opportunities their parents didn’t, thanks to  the gift of pigs from World Vision donors and training to care for and breed them. It was what the family needed to rise above “just getting by.”

Heavenly Father, You are good. You delight in us when we honor You in our work. For parents who just eke out a daily pittance, bring opportunities for employment or business that fulfills their desire to make life better for their children.

Pray for efforts to prevent early marriage.

One out of three girls in Bangladesh is married before age 15, often due to financial hardship or social pressure. Forced early marriage is prevalent throughout Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Akhi Akter of Bangladesh is 15. Her mother was married at 11 and gave birth to Akhi at age 12. But Akhi is a World Vision sponsored child, which helps protect her from early marriage. Yet too many girls still live with the threat of early marriage, which often prevents them from reaching their potential. 

Jesus, show Your compassion to the multitudes of girls and women who endure the damaging physical and relational effects of forced early marriage. Holy Spirit, help their husbands love them. Reveal alternatives to parents or change the hearts of those who consider giving up their daughters for social status or financial gain.

*Name changed to protect identity

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I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made … .
Psalm 139:14 (NIV)