Father, we ask that You would help all people to see the sun. There are so many who struggle each month with their finances, who have chronic and rare conditions. They don’t get the help they need. Many of them decide each month about the medications and treatments they can afford and those they will have to do without. Friends and family do what they can, but they alone can’t carry that immense and ongoing responsibility.
I know many, Father, with skills that with forward thinking employers, they would be off of disability permanently. Grant us all the sight to see where we can open that one door of opportunity for those who need it.
World governments need to take a look at their policies. Are they fair? Do they provide the means by which people can lift themselves out of poverty? Do those policies give the strong arm up people need?
Lord, so many people need to see the sun again. They need to know that there lies beyond their darkness of today a far brighter tomorrow filled with hope and the joy of seeing an end to their struggle with soul-crushing, spirit-killing and joy-stealing poverty.
The mother on welfare who gives up meals so her child can eat needs to hope again. The mother who prays for Your mercy to let her child die, so she no longer sees her child’s bulging eyes and body that is nothing but skin and bones from malnutrition, needs to hope again. That man on disability who sells his books of spiritual prose to survive, needs to hope again. That person who is on disability and has a degree and can’t get work, needs to hope again. That child digging through a garbage dump in Thailand for a piece of rotting meat to survive, needs to hope again. That young man in Kenya who wants to get a university degree in business and help lift many in his country out of poverty, needs to hope again. The prostitute who sells her body to survive needs to hope again. That child sold into sexual slavery or slave labour, so the remaining members of their family can survive, needs to hope again. The father working two and even three jobs to support his family, needs to hope again. That single mother going to university or college, working and looking after her children, needs to hope again. That university student who faces a crushing load of student loans to pay off, needs to hope again. That man or woman who spends many hours networking and applying for jobs to support their family, needs to hope again. All people who have given up on life or are about to need to have a reason to hope again.
Government and community need to get together to work out solutions to the problem of poverty, poverty of hope and poverty of opportunity.
We cannot and we must not remain silent about the things that matter. People matter. You call us to care for those in distress. You tell us that it is our personal and collective responsibility to care.
Help us, oh God, to do what we can being that outstretched hand of love to those who need us. Give us the strength and the stamina of being more than mere arm-chair critics. Make our voices count in community and government, to say one person living in poverty is one too many.
Father, give encouragement to the afflicted and those who work with them, that hope is not lost. For those who work on the front lines of social service waging a war against the myriad of injustices done to those they care for, give them a time of renewal, a time to rest, to regain their strength to fight another day for those they serve. For those who go seeking help with faces of dejection and sadness, we ask that on the other side of that desk, they would see a counsellor, social worker and pastor filled with Your love. Give them the ability to give those they work with the tools to escape their poverty.
Lord, so many caseworkers I have spoken with say if we could just be given more authority to help our clients we would. Their hands are tied by government legislation that fails to give them the power to change the plight of their clients. Father, I ask that you speak to the hearts of those who can change this injustice to do so. Ask those in government why they are not doing enough to change hopelessness into hope, why they give so many reasons they can’t help, why they say other issues are more important?
How can those who can and do have the power to change things, look into the eyes of the many despairing and worn faces of poverty and say we can’t help?
We can do something. We can write e-mails and phone our local political representatives and say we want to help them, to bring ideas to the table that will lead to real solutions, that will give people their hope back again. We can pray for our government that You give them the wisdom to lead not with excuses, not merely criticizing their political opponents. It is time to end the political division that causes legislation to die, that would give people hope for that job and education that will lift them out of poverty. We need to tell our politicians to work together in a spirit of cooperation.
I know I wouldn’t want to face You and offer You excuses why I couldn’t help those I am called to. Your Word tells us we will all face You, that all of us will be called to give an account of our life. You will ask us all questions like these. What did you do for that hurting soul I put in front of your eyes? Did you help that person see the sun or did you let that person sink into the dark abyss of the death of their hope?
Lord, send us out-of-the-box thinkers who can help propose and then advocate to carry out solutions to poverty, to give the help people need to see the sun blaze where there has only been darkness or some light.
Give us more compassionate hearts and the vision to see solutions, so all people will see the sun.
Help us all to remember that if each of us changed one life, together we would change the world.