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In times of recession, many silently suffer from poverty and the shame commonly
associated with it. The following prayers — prayer for the hungry, blessing to find
employment, prayer for children in poverty, multi-family home blessing, and prayer
for a better life — invite God into the struggle with poverty for those of faith.
Melissa M. Roberts is a freelance writer, spiritual director, and teacher. Melissa
has a BA in History from Baker University in Baldwin City, KS, graduate coursework
in Medieval History from the University of Kansas, Lawrence, a Masters in Theological
Study from Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Va, and nine units Clinical
Pastoral Education, interfaith ministry and relationship training, from the Association
of Clinical Pastoral Education in Peachtree, Georgia.
A former hospital and hospice chaplain, Melissa now teaches meditation, world religions,
history, and violin. She offers stress management workshops, facilitates spiritual
retreats, and offers spiritual direction via phone, email, or in person within an
hour of Parsons, Kansas U.S.A.
A former hospital and hospice chaplain, Melissa now teaches meditation, world religions, history, and violin. She offers stress management workshops, facilitates spiritual retreats, and offers spiritual direction via phone, email, or in person within an hour of Parsons, Kansas U.S.A.
Nothing is worse than going hungry due to lack of funds. Many families struggle
at the end of the month, and some even sacrifice their own food so that children
and the elderly family members may eat. The following prayer implores God to fill
the hungry with good things, according to God's promise:
"God of love, no amount of love can fill a hungry belly. Please bring bread, real
bread, to feed your hungry children [insert names of loved ones or others struggling
with getting enough to eat]. Let others be Your hands in the world, that no one may
cry out for food and remain empty, in Your name. Amen."
This prayer might be offered on behalf of those in general struggling with hunger
or for particular family members or friends worried about feeding themselves and
their children this month. In addition to prayer, the concerned may adopt a needy
family at the holidays or donate food to a local food pantry.
Blessing to Find Employment
Lack of steady and sustaining employment contributes to poverty. For those who
have lost their jobs and find themselves losing homes, vehicles, and independence,
the job search takes on a passionate desperation. The following prayer asks God to
grant patience and strength in the search for employment:
"God of power, be with [insert name of unemployed or underemployed] as he/she seeks
ways to earn income and provide for basic needs. Help [insert job seeker's name]
to be confidant and positive, despite the fear of rejection and desperation of dwindling
funds. Open the hearts of those reviewing [insert job seeker's credentials], that
they may see his/her gifts and talents and not his/her hard times and fears of the
future. Be with [insert unemployed] every step of the way, and guide him/her into
security once more. Amen."
Before a job interview, this prayer or a similar one might comfort and strengthen
the job seeker. Repeating the line "let me be confidant and positive, God, as I trust
in You" could also calm anxiety and fear during the job search and interview process.
Prayer for Children in Poverty
Images of starving children in non-Western countries bombard television and
the media, yet children in the U.S.A. and Europe suffer from lack of healthy, nutritious
food as well. The following prayer asks God to bless and care for children living
without the luxuries many enjoy:
"God, your Son promised to bring the little children unto him. As [insert names of
specific children living in poverty] struggle with [insert reasons family is impoverished,
such as lack of income for adults or abusive parents], hold them close to You. Remind
them that they are Your beloved children, with whom You are well pleased. Feed them
if they're hungry. Protect them if they're bullied, and strengthen them in Your love
to see beauty rather than despair in their lives. Amen."
Rather than simply pray for a child in trouble, a caring adult may consider
mentoring the child, join an agency such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters that supports
the child's social development, or in extreme cases explore becoming a foster parent.
New Multi-Family Home Blessing
The loss of income can thrust hard-working individuals into debt and despair.
Many working class families or individuals must rely on the kindness of others after
they lose the means to provide shelter for themselves. After the independence of
one's own home, sharing a home with family or friends holds special challenges. The
following prayer asks God's mediation in the midst of combining households:
"God of infinite patience, as we share space together, be in this place. Fill us
with the light of Your love, that we may consider each other with compassion and
mutual respect. Inspire everyone to listen to each other, honor individual boundaries,
and communicate efficiently and effectively. Bless this home, that this new family
formed from hardship may draw closer in love of You. Amen."
This prayer may be appropriate before a family meeting, dinner, or other event
marking the blending of the new impoverished family with the one adopting it until
Prayer for a Better Life and Freedom from Poverty
No one wants to be down on the luck, but for many poverty is a hard and unwanted
reality. It is easy, in the midst of so much stress, to sink into depression and
pessimism. The following prayer asks God to strengthen and encourage the poor and
struggling, that they may see themselves through God's eyes of love:
"You know, O Lord, how hard it is to lose independence and a sense of self. Now that
I've lost [insert losses contributing to financial instability, such as unemployment,
mental illness, or divorce], I struggle with who I am and how to meet my needs. Guide
me during this nightmare. Let me not sink into the darkness of hopelessness and despair,
but light my path with people and opportunities to grant me financial stability and
security again. Do not leave me, and help me stop feeling forsaken while I wait for
new financial life. Amen."
Those struggling with poverty experience shame and a sense of helplessness. With
prayer, the faithful can rely on God as an additional source of support, in addition
to social services and the generosity of family and friends