We believe prayer is foundational to our work. It sensitizes us to the needs around us and acknowledges God’s provision and help in all we do. Join us in prayer for the needs of children and families in West Africa impacted by the deepening drought and food crisis.
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Pray that children and families will survive an escalating drought.
Poor rains have led to poor harvests across the region, affecting as many as 15 million people in six countries -- Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Senegal, Chad, and Burkina Faso. While food shortages are chronic in this part of the world, the current crisis is occurring precariously close to the drought of 2009-2010. Affected populations have exhausted their traditional means of coping, and families have already reported cutting back on the number of meals they eat every day.
Father, we pray that children and families living in West Africa will survive these lean months ahead. Your Word says that You alone “…satisfy a desolate wasteland and make it sprout with grass” (Job 38:27). So, we rely on Your help and provision for those whose families are trying to survive this drought. Give them courage and resourcefulness to make it through the months ahead. Come to their aid. We look to You, O God, our strength.
Pray for the return of life-giving rain.
The next rainy season is expected to start in July. Even with sufficient rainfall, there will be no harvest until October. Most parents believe their food will not last until then.
Father, we ask that You will bring plentiful rain again to this drought-prone land. We ask that they will see You make “…grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate -- bringing forth food from the earth” (Psalm 104:14). When rain comes, give the people knowledge to retain and use the water efficiently. And bring an abundant harvest from the rain-soaked ground so there will be no food gap next year. We look to You, O God, our strength.
In the affected region, about 645,000 children die each year; 35 percent of these deaths are linked to malnutrition. (Photo: Justin Douglass/World Vision)
Pray that children will have the nutritious food they need.
In the affected region, about 645,000 children die each year; 35 percent of these deaths are linked to malnutrition. Currently, 2 million children are moderately malnourished, and 1 million are severely malnourished.
Lord, it’s hard to see children suffer, especially from hunger. We ask you to give them daily bread today (Matthew 6:11) and throughout the coming months. Provide the food they need to grow and thrive. We look to You, O God, our strength.
Pray for vulnerable children.
In drought situations, children are more vulnerable to disease. They must walk longer distances to find water -- making them targets of attack by wild animals and human predators. When food resources are threatened, families will migrate, hoping for better opportunities elsewhere. And sometimes children seek work to help support their families. This means that children drop out of school, or, if they remain in their classes, they find it difficult to concentrate on lessons due to hunger.
Lord, we ask that You will be “…a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble” (Psalm 9:9) for the children of West Africa. Protect them from dangers in the wild and from people who would take advantage of their vulnerability. Keep them from disease; help their families and communities find the resources necessary to feed them so they can thrive. Help girls and boys to stay in school so they will enjoy the full life You have for them. We look to You, O God, our strength.
Pray for humanitarian aid workers, governments, and partners.
World Vision works with various partners to bring relief to suffering children and families in West Africa. (Photo: Amadou Baraze/World Vision)
World Vision is part of a coalition (including CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Mercy Corps, Oxfam, Plan International, and Save the Children) advocating for early intervention to help struggling communities survive. World Vision works in five of the affected countries -- Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Senegal, and Chad.
We are also cooperating with churches, UN aid agencies, our coalition colleagues, the affected governments, donor governments, and other partners to bring effective emergency relief to families.
Your Word says, “He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for what he has done” (Proverbs 19:17). Please bless all those who are working to help those suffering from drought. Give us energy and grace as we go about our activities. Keep us from danger. Guard our hearts and minds from fatigue and hopelessness. Help us serve others with kindness and compassion. We look to You, O God, our strength.
Pray for stability in the region.
The food scarcity is compounded by violence in Mali and returnees from Libya. Fighting between government forces and Taureg rebels in Mali have compelled tens of thousands of refugees to flee to Niger, Mauritania, and Burkina Faso. Food supplies have also been further strained by about 90,000 mostly young men who have returned following the rebellion that toppled Muammar Gaddafi in Libya.
Lord, we believe those suffering in this region would agree with the psalmist: “Too long have I lived among those who hate peace” (Psalm 120:6). Children and families long for stability in their communities. Help those who are at war come to agree with one another. Bring peacemakers to the region who will help bring reconciliation and justice. We look to You, O God, our strength.
Pray for World Vision’s child sponsorship communities.
Sponsorship not only helps individual children, but also supports emergency interventions during times of crisis, like the current food crisis in Niger. (Photo: World Vision)
World Vision serves 3.5 million people in sponsorship communities across the region. Many of these communities are becoming severely strained as refugees arrive in search of food and other life basics.
"Poor villages have been overwhelmed with people, some expanding seven-fold in just a few months, with refugees forced to live in overcrowded homes and makeshift shacks," says Chris Palusky, World Vision's food crisis response manager for Mali and Niger. "Time is running out to support host families before they themselves reach breaking point. A large and speedy response will not only save lives but strengthen communities who are already bearing the brunt of this disaster."
Lord, You’ve allowed World Vision the privilege of demonstrating Your love in these countries through the monthly gifts of caring sponsors. We pray that our ministry in sponsorship communities will bear good fruit (Colossians 1:10). We ask Your hand to help us support families and villages hosting refugees, so they themselves can survive along with their guests. We look to You, O God, our strength.
Read more of our ongoing coverage of the West Africa food crisis here on the World Vision Blog.
Also, consider making a one-time gift to help provide life-saving food and care for children affected by hunger. Your donation will help deliver interventions like emergency food, agricultural support, nutritional training, clean water, and more.