National Day of Prayer: Pray to end the West Africa hunger crisis

Today is National Day of Prayer, a chance for Christians across the United States to come together around the belief that we serve a God who hears us when we pray.

Join us today in lifting up families affected by the food crisis in West Africa. Failed 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. Many families have exhausted their traditional means of coping and are cutting back on the number of meals they eat every day.

Without access to basic nutrition, growing children may suffer developmental issues that can last a lifetime. Your prayers for these families already affected by poverty are urgently needed.

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Pray that children will have the nutritious food they need.

These children are staying at a makeshift camp in Niamey, the capital city of Niger. Here, there are more than 150 tents that shelter people who have fled their homes to find work to buy food in the midst of the hunger crisis. (Photo: Lauren Fisher/World Vision)

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 the return of life-giving rain.

The next rainy season is expected to begin in July. Even with sufficient rainfall, there will be no harvest until October. Most parents believe the little food they have 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.

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 children drop out of school, or, if they remain in their classes, 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, keep them from disease, help their families and communities find the resources 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.

In Chad, a World Vision worker measures a child's middle-upper arm circumference, which is used to determine whether the child is malnourished. (Photo: Djimte Salomon/World Vision)

World Vision is part of a coalition advocating for early intervention to help struggling communities survive. We are 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, and help us serve others with kindness and compassion. We look to You, O God, our strength.

Pray for stability in the region.

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 surrounding countries. 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). 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.

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. Time is running out to support host families before they themselves reach a breaking point. A large and speedy response will not only save lives but strengthen communities that are bearing the brunt of this disaster.

Lord, 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.

We are grateful to have you join us on National Day of Prayer. To receive monthly updates on how you can be praying for children and families World Vision works with, sign up for our Hope Prayer Team newsletter.

Make a one-time donation to help provide life-saving food and care to children suffering from hunger and malnutrition in places like West Africa. Your gift will help deliver interventions like emergency food aid, clean water, nutritional training, agricultural support, and more.

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