Prayers, Lent, and Justice

There are two different threads I have been thinking about in the past few days.

One is concerning prayer and Ukraine. We pray for the people of Ukraine. We pray for the million plus refugees. How do we pray for Putin. There are some guidelines in Scripture.

From Tish Harrison Warren:

As I discussed recently with David French and Curtis Chang, I find myself turning again and again to the imprecatory psalms. Each morning I’m praying Psalm 7:14–16 with Vladimir Putin in mind: “Behold, the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies. He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole that he has made. His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own skull his violence descends” (ESV).

She writes more HERE.

The discussion with David French is HERE.

Another thread is how to pray more practically out of Isaiah 58 and then to ask the Spirit for what are some action to take. In praying out of Isaiah 58, I think again of the purpose of the fast:

Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin? (Isa. 58:6,7)

I need to understand poverty and what it means for those right around me. The Matthew 25 Initiative is offering daily thoughts for prayer during Lent and they write this:

For those of us not living in poverty, it’s easy to assume that it doesn’t impact many people. This simply isn’t true and, unfortunately, poverty is affecting even more individuals and families in North America, largely in part to the pandemic.

Here are some statistics on poverty according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Stats Canada, and CONEVAL, Mexico:

  • In 2020, there were 37.2 million US Americans in poverty, approximately 3.3 million more than in 2019
  • Over 3M Canadians, including over 560,000 children, live in poverty
  • At the end of 2020, about 44 percent of the Mexican population fell below the poverty line.

For my wife and I, our focus in this Lenten period has been almsgiving. Thus far we have given extra offerings to a relief fund helping Ukrainian refugees and to the Matthew 25 Initiative who has a fund they utilize in the form of grants given out to ministries working among the least of these in the U.S.

We pray. We give. We live and work in the spirit of shalom. We want to restore and make whole again.

This the fast to which we are called.

Photo Credit: Connor Hall, Unsplash

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