Prayers and Resources for the Current Humanitarian Crisis

Monday, March 13, 2017

Prayers and Resources for the Current Humanitarian Crisis

Hunger in South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, Yemen—the United Nations says the world is facing the largest humanitarian crisis since 1945. More than four million people across four countries are facing starvation and famine. Meanwhile, the needs in Syria continue.

Faced with these needs, we can be easily overwhelmed. What can we do? And how can we pray? Below find prayers and other resources you can use as a church, individual or family to remember those who are facing hunger in these countries today.

1. Prayer for Those Facing Extreme Hunger in the World Today

In Yemen, two-thirds of the population millions of people are in desperate need of assistance. More than seven million people are hungry and have little access to food. Conflict is contributing to the crisis, and people are fleeing their homes to escape the violence.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

There are people in South Sudan, the world’s newest country, who are starving, their hunger brought on by the ongoing civil war. More than 7.5 million people need immediate assistance. Over three million people have fled the country, with more leaving each day.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

In Somalia, people are walking for weeks, looking for food and water. Right now, over six million people need humanitarian assistance and protection.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

And in northeast Nigeria, the ongoing uprising by Boko Haram has killed more than 20,000 people and driven more than two million people from their homes. There are stories of hunger making some adults too weak to walk.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

2. Prayer for those in desperate need

God of all grace,
who in Jesus cried, ‘I thirst,’
Hold the people of [Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, Northeast Nigeria]
in your infinite love.

Be with those for whom the earth’s resources have run dry;
Be with those who must walk for miles to find their daily bread;
Be with those for whom survival is a fragile hope.

And be with us,
as we read the stories of those who bear such acute suffering;
Give us hearts of compassion to respond in your service,
So that together we may see restoration where there is pain,
And all may rejoice in your goodness. Amen

From the Christian Aid website. Also found on the worship resources section of this website.

3. Prayer for those in crisis

Loving God,
we bring before You the people of [Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, Northeast Nigeria]
who are currently experiencing famine and personal hardship.
We do not know them personally,
but we share a common bond as human beings, created in Your image.

Our hearts go out to them,
as many find themselves in desperate circumstances—
without food, without shelter, without hope.

There seems to be so little that we can do for them.
The pictures on the news are difficult to watch,
and we’d often rather look away.
But you have called us to be your hands and feet in our world;
to speak and act for those who cannot speak and act for themselves.

So we pray that Your Holy Spirit would prompt us to action.
Give us generous hearts,
to share freely with those who have nothing.
Give us courage to speak on their behalf
to those who are shaping our country’s response.
Give us perseverance,
to continue to pray fervently for their welfare.

Grant us Your mercy, God,
as we seek to live out our calling as Your disciples.
We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Christine Longhurst on behalf of Canadian Foodgrains Bank. Originally posted on the worship resources section of this website.

4. Prayer Litany for those in crisis

When did we ever see You…?
(based on Matthew 25:31-46)

One: When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit on his glorious throne,
with all the nations will be gathered before him.
And he will separate the people
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

And he will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father,
inherit the Kingdom prepared for you
from the creation of the world.
For I was hungry, and you fed me.
I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink.
I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.
I was naked, and you gave me clothing.
I was sick, and you cared for me.
I was in prison, and you visited me.’

And the righteous will reply,
‘Lord, when did we ever see you…?’

Two: Today, across African and Yemen, close to 20 million people
are in desperate need of emergency food assistance
as the area suffers the largest humanitarian crisis since 1945.
In South Sudan alone, more than 7.5 million people need immediate assistance.
One million children are acutely malnourished;
270,000 of them face imminent death
if assistance does not reach them in time.

One: Lord, when did we ever see you?

Two: In Somalia, people are walking for weeks,
desperately searching for food and water.
Right now, more than six million people need humanitarian assistance,
including 2.9 million who need immediate food aid.

One: Lord, when did we ever see you?

Two: In Northeast Nigeria, the ongoing uprising by Boko Haram
has killed more than 20,000 people
and driven 2.6 million from their homes.
Malnutrition has made some adults too weak to even walk.

One: Lord, when did we ever see you?

Two: In Yemen, two-thirds of the population
are in desperate need of assistance.
Conflict is contributing to the crisis:
in the last two months alone, more than 48,000 people
have had to leave their homes to escape the violence.

One: Lord, when did we ever see you?

Two: Food, water, shelter, medical care—
there’s simply not enough to go around.
Officials warn that unless emergency aid arrives very soon,
hundreds of thousands will die.

One: Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you?
Or thirsty and give you something to drink?
Or a stranger and show you hospitality?
Or naked and give you clothing?
When did we ever see you sick and visit you?’

And he will answer,
‘I tell you the truth,
when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,
you were doing it to me.’

Christine Longhurst/Canadian Foodgrains Bank. Originally posted on the worship resources section of this website.

Other prayers for those who are hungry and caught in desperate situations:

Prayer for those with nothing to eat

Prayer of Intercession in a time of famine

Prayer for Children

Prayer: Open our eyes

Offering Prayer: Multiply our gifts