A season for prayer and advocacy


By Angelique Walker-Smith

Did you know that severe drought and civil conflict have pushed millions of people into near-famine condition in Africa and the Middle East? Are you prepared to advocate for elected leadership that will stand in solidarity with those most affected by hunger and poverty?

If so, Bread for the World Sunday on Oct. 21 is the perfect opportunity to get engaged and to live out God’s vision of a world without hunger.

“In the weeks ahead, voters and our elected officials will make decisions that will affect the 1 in 8 U.S. families who struggle to get enough to eat. People of African descent are disproportionately affected by these decisions and issues of hunger and poverty.”

“In addition to our prayers — following the example of Nehemiah, who used letters from the king to support his efforts to rebuild Jerusalem — we can use our letters to Congress to advocate for the well-being of all people.”

These timely excerpts, written by faith writers of African descent for this year’s Bread for the World Sunday, convey the importance of your prayerful servant heart and advocacy with and for those affected by hunger and poverty, especially in our Pan-African communities.

Bishop Don Williams says in his sermon note reflection: “Jesus had to remind them that those who desire to be great must be a servant of all.”

Dr. Kathleen Dorsey Bellow reminds us that we are not alone in our prayers of a servant heart. Her responsive litany of prayer entitled, “O God, Help Us to Follow Your Will,” invites individuals, churches, and groups to pray and act collectively. She tells us that God already knows who you are and what your needs are. Still, we should know that God is waiting for us to take up our role as disciples of Christ. She states that when we do this, “we will recognize God as the source of all power and perceive ourselves — no matter our age, situation or station in life — as empowered by God to work for righteousness and join with others to uphold the common good.”

This year’s resource materials also include contributions from a young adult Pan-African faith leader. Rev. Jonathon D. Counts offers a responsive prayer, which serves as a litany for reminding us that “God’s Gracious Hand is upon us!”

His prayer petitions God to lead, guide, and direct us to help us center and refocus our work.

Angelique Walker-Smith is senior associate for Pan-African and Orthodox Church Engagement at Bread for the World.

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