AUDACIOUS PRAYER CENTERED ON THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS TO END EXTREME POVERTY
- Why The -
DEVELOPMENT GOALS? In 2000, the nations of the world, including the United States, adopted eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) aimed at the alleviation of extreme poverty. The target for meeting the goals was set for 2015. In 2013, after remarkable improvement in many of the MDGs, the nations of the world met once again to discuss new goals for seeing an end to extreme poverty. Using information gathered over the MDG years as well as advice from practitioners and organizations working on the ground, twelve new goals were created and will be reviewed for the next two years before they are officially adopted in 2015. These new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are not yet finalized. Over the course of the next two years, the United Nations will gather information, monitor and test the new goals, and settle upon a new development program that will carry us into 2030. It is all the more important to be praying for our leaders and practitioners as these programs are implemented and we seek continued improvement in the lives of people all over the world.
- Why Prayer? -
Prayer needs to be an important part of our efforts to overcome extreme poverty.
We pray for the SDGs because prayer: Brings our hearts closer to the heart of God, especially as it concerns the impoverished. Godâ€™s grace inspires us to strive for justice when we pray. Helps us remember that real people are behind every staggering poverty statistic. Sustains us in the struggle as we seek to overcome the injustice of global poverty. Empowers us to be powerful agents of social change. As we continue to understand the importance of prayer, we should also teach ourselves to pray with our actions. Living justly in a world where unjust actions are easy, commonplace, and commended is what we as Christians have been called to do. Let us not only quietly pray in our rooms for a change in the world, but loudly pray with our daily lives as we actively seek out that change. This guide is designed to encourage Christians across the country to engage in prayer for people around the world. By praying to accomplish the development goals our world leaders have set out to achieve, we are working to bring our hearts closer to God and His understanding of justice and grace. At the end of this guide, youâ€™ll find interactive prayer activities for each of the goals listed. They are intended to invite participants to take time to reflect and engage with issues of global poverty, bringing them to God in prayer. Each activity includes brief instructions as well as materials required.
Goal 1: End Poverty 700 million fewer people are living in extreme poverty now than in 1990, but 1.2 billion people in the world are still living on less than $1.25 a day. People living in this extreme form of poverty are faced with multitudes of issues from chronic and preventable illnesses to increased vulnerability and inability to recover from natural disasters.
Target for Goal Bring the number of people living on less than $1.25 a day to zero and build resilience within impoverished populations to recover quickly from situations such as natural disasters, loss of jobs, and illnesses
Pray Pray for justice for the most impoverished nations, and that people would be given opportunities to earn a better income and reach a point where they would thrive. Pray for our leaders. Pray that they would be filled with a passion to see an end to extreme poverty and that God would give them wisdom and guidance to see that passion come to fruition.
Meditation from Scripture Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, â€œGo, I wish you well; keep warm and well fedâ€?, but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:15-17
Goal 2: Empower Girls and Women and Achieve Gender Equality At fourteen, Phally was working two jobs while her brothers went to school. Now, with the help of a small loan and some training, she runs a successful grocery business in Cambodia, employs her brothers, and can send her own daughter to school. Empowering women is essential.
Target for Goal Prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, end child marriage, and improve healthcare and employment for women.
Pray Pray for the 15 million girls between the ages of 10-14 who have been married in the last decade and pray that girls will be able to choose the time of their own marriage. Pray for equality for women at all levels: the ability to own and inherit property, the ability to sign a contract, the ability to open a bank account, improved job security, and better representation in elected positions in the government.
Meditation from Scripture There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28
Goal 3: Provide Quality Education and Lifelong Learning There are around 800,000 children working in Bolivia, many of them living on the streets. Most of these young people are illiterate and often get involved in criminal groups. In rural areas, nine out of ten girls drop out of school.
Target for Goal Ensure every child, regardless of circumstance, completes primary education with the ability to read, write and count well enough to meet minimum learning standards and has access to lower secondary education.
Pray Pray that parents in impoverished countries will not be forced to choose between sending their children to school or sending them to work to enable the family to survive. Pray that girlsâ€™ education will be valued just as greatly as boysâ€™ education.
Meditation from Scripture And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. Luke 2:52
Goal 4: Ensure Healthy Lives The Indian Government describes the Malto tribe from North East India as â€œa primitive tribal group.â€? For generations they have been poor and exploited, with their people ravaged by TB, cholera and other results of poverty. Child mortality is up to 5 times higher here than in more developed parts of India.
Target for Goal End preventable deaths among infants and children under five, and decrease the maternal mortality rate. Increase the proportion of vaccinations among at-risk peoples as well as decrease the deaths from preventable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.
Pray Pray for Swaziland, where nearly 26% of the population between the ages of 15 and 49 is living with HIV, and that those who need antiretroviral medication receive the lifesaving medication. Pray for an increase in the number of people trained as midwives and traditional birthing attendants.
Meditation from Scripture Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. Matthew 25:36
Goal 5: Ensure Food Security Today, 870 million people in the world do not have enough to eat. People are considered food secure when they have all-time access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life.
Target for Goal End hunger and reduce stunting, wasting, and anemia for children under five while adopting sustainable agriculture and fishery practices.
Pray Pray for the 209 million children who did not received the proper nutrition within their first 1,000 days of life, resulting in stunting, and that this irreversible and detrimental nutritional deficiency among children ends. Pray for the adoption of sustainable practices within the agriculture and fishing industries, so that we can ensure enough food for future generations Pray for justice for the hungry, and a hunger for justice for those who have more than enough food.
Meditation from Scripture Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.” 2 Corinthians 8:13-15
Goal 6: Achieve Universal Access to Water and Sanitation Every day Mame collects water for her family in Senegal. Sheâ€™s lucky enough to live near a borehole. The average distance to travel for water in Africa is 6km. Some children spend up to six hours per day on this task, and women worldwide spend 200 million hours a day collecting water.
Target for Goal Provide universal access to safe drinking water at home and in schools, health centers, and refugee camps. Also, ensure universal access to sanitation at school and work as well as increased access to sanitation at home.
Pray Pray that sanitation projects continue to increase and that the 2.6 billion people who lack access to adequate sanitation would no longer have to fear sickness and death that accompany this issue. Pray that everyone in the world would be granted access to safe water, and for improved water resource management so that continual access to clean water can be ensured for all.
Meditation from Scripture The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the Lord will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of waters, and the parched ground into springs. Isaiah 41: 17-18
Goal 7: Secure Sustainable Energy Sustainable energy affects all aspects of human development and is essential in improving agricultural productivity, access to clean water, adequate sanitation, education, and overall health within communities.
Target for Goal Ensure universal access to modern energy services while doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency and phasing out inefficient fossil fuels.
Pray Pray for universal access to electricity and that electricity networks become more reliable so that schools, health clinics, water and sanitation facilities among other institutions will be given greater opportunities to have an impact for the better. Pray for wisdom and guidance as new innovations in environmental sustainability are created and used.
Meditation from Scripture Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. Genesis 2:15
Goal 8:Create Jobs, Sustainable Livelihoods, and Equitable Growth Between 2015 and 2030, 470 million more people will be entering the global labor force. This increase and the growth in population worldwide will require significant changes and adaptations to sustain and expand the economy and improve livelihoods.
Target for Goal Increase the number of good and decent jobs while providing improved education and training opportunities for young people. Also, improve infrastructure and financial services to meet the growing demand of the increasing population.
Pray Pray for wisdom and transparency among leaders and decision makers as they look to improve infrastructure and access to financial services and they would be spurred into action. Pray for the continued job creation worldwide and increased opportunities for people to continue their education and training. Pray that those who become wealthy by taking advantage of workers would be brought to justice.
Meditation from Scripture Do not take advantage of a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether that worker is a fellow Israelite or a foreigner residing in one of your towns. Deuteronomy 24:14
Goal 9: Manage Natural Resources Sustainably Every year, 12 million hectares (1 hectare equals approximately 2.5 acres) of land become degraded â€“ half the size of the United Kingdom â€“ losing opportunities to grow 20 million tons of food. Natural resources today are often used as if they have no economic value and without consideration to future generations. However, natural resources are becoming scarce in certain parts of the world and damage can oftentimes be irreversible.
Target for Goal Reduce deforestation, improve soil quality and reduce soil erosion, and safeguard ecosystems, species, and genetic diversity.
Pray Pray for the 1 billion people living in rural areas relying upon forest resources for their livelihood. Pray that they would be able to maintain livelihoods without causing a negative impact on the forest, and that institutions and corporations adopt sustainable methods within the forest industry. Pray that natural resources be managed transparently and effectively, ensuring access as well as maintaining and improving the livelihood for future generations. Pray that Godâ€™s people would become champions for His creation.
Meditation from Scripture Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather in their yield; but in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of complete rest for the land, a sabbath for the LORD: you shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. You shall not reap the aftergrowth of your harvest or gather the grapes of your unpruned vine: it shall be a year of complete rest for the land. Leviticus 25: 3-5
Goal 10: Ensure Good Governance and Effective Institutions North Korea, Somalia, and Afghanistan were perceived to be the most corrupt nations in the world in 2012. Lack of transparency and corruption within governmental institutions as well as corporations affects quality of life and development on every level. Further, ineffective governance and a dearth of institutional capacity can allow for individuals and groups in dire need of assistance to fall through the cracks of social assistance. Money that could be used to provide food, healthcare, education or develop infrastructure is stolen. Corruption is perhaps the largest barrier to overcoming extreme poverty.
Target for Goal Free and universal legal identity, an increase in public participation in political processes, and a reduction in bribery and corruption ensuring that officials can be held accountable.
Pray Every year, approximately 50 million births are not registered anywhere. This leaves millions of children without any legal identity or protection. Pray that all children be recognized by governments, preventing statelessness and the lack of protection and safeguards that come with having no legal identity. Pray for openness and accountability among institutions and corporations, allowing them to work properly and fairly at all levels. Pray that Godâ€™s people would engage in ethical business practice, and stand up to corruption.
Meditation from Scripture A poor manâ€™s field may produce abundant food, but injustice sweeps it away. Proverbs 13:23
Goal 11: Ensure Stable and Peaceful Societies It is projected that by 2015, 50 percent of those in extreme poverty will reside in places affected by conflict and chronic violence. Conflict and violence exacerbate and cause extreme poverty.
Target for Goal Stem the external stressors that lead to conflict, enhance the capacity, professionalism, and accountability of the security forces, police, and judiciary, and ensure justice institutions are accessible, independent, well-resourced, and respect due-process rights.
Pray Pray for children who are especially vulnerable in situations of armed conflict and sometimes actively recruited and forced to participate in the violence. Pray for wisdom among world leaders as they work to decrease the number of violent deaths and reduce the stressors that lead to conflict. Pray for impoverished women who often become victims of sexual violence in the midst of conflict. Pray for protection over them.
Meditation from Scripture Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Matthew 5:9
Goal 12: Create a Global Enabling Environment and Catalyze Long-Term Finance Long-term growth requires stable financial systems, a global trading system aimed at sustainable development, crackdown on corruption within governments and multinational corporations, and transparent and effective data collection which is paramount in accountability.
Target for Goal Promote collaboration and access to science, technology, innovation, and development data. Implement reforms to ensure stability of the global financial system, and encourage stable, long-term private foreign investment while maintaining transparency and accountability.
Pray Pray for a willingness to share information and work together among governments, civil society, and the private sector. Pray for new partnerships to grow and thrive and that new innovations and technologies would be disseminated around the globe.
Meditation from Scripture For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, â€˜This man began to build and was not able to finish.â€™ Luke 14:28-30
Prayer Stations Guide This guide will help you set up the Sustainable Development Goals prayer station activities for group use. The activities become prayerful meditative actions for participants to engage, and learn about our world. Participants will be invited to reflect on the stations at their own pace, with the freedom to interact with as many of the activities as they wish. Place copies of the goal, information, prayers, and scripture at each station.
Goal 1: End Poverty
Use the materials provided to build a house. It can be any shape or size. As you build it, think about the people who canâ€™t afford a home or live in difficult or dangerous housing situations Preparation: blocks, Legos, etc. â€“ something with which one could build
Goal 2: Empower Girls and Women and Achieve Gender Equality
Cover your mouth and try to have a conversation with another person as a prayer symbolizing the lack of voice women and girls have around the world. Discuss how that made you feel. Preparation: no supplies necessary
Goal 3: Provide Quality Education and Lifelong Learning
Think about how education has empowered you. On one page, write or draw something you have learned in past year. On another page, write or draw a prayer for children who have not had the opportunity to finish, or even begin, primary school Preparation: a notebook (or more depending on the number of people), pens or pencils
Goal 4: Ensure Health Lives
Take a piece of gauze and write a preventable disease on it (e.g. HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis). Say a prayer over the disease and place it in the water as a symbol of cleansing. Preparation: Gauze, pens, scissors, and a bowl with water in it.
Goal 5: Ensure Food Security
Each night around the world, one person in every eight will go to bed hungry, so take a piece of paper and start writing down the names of loved ones. When you reach number eight, stop and think about how you would feel if that person was suffering from hunger. Preparation: Paper and pens
Goal 6: Achieve Universal Access to Water and Sanitation
Take some soil and put it into the pitcher of water. As more people add soil, think about the human contribution to the unsafe water. Preparation: Soil and clear pitcher full of water
Goal 7: Secure Sustainable Energy
Commit to take an action to save energy this week: replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lights, wash a couple loads of laundry in cold water instead of warm, shorten your shower, etc. Write down the action and take it with you as reminder to keep you accountable to this change. Preparation: paper and pens
Goal 8: Create Jobs, Sustainable Livelihoods, and Equitable Growth Take a piece of string and make a knot in it for the different kinds of jobs
youâ€™ve had in your life. Go back and for each knot you have made, say a pray for improved infrastructure and an increase in educational, training, and employment opportunities around the world. Preparation: string cut into strips
Goal 9: Manage Natural Resources Sustainably
Take a seed and plant it in the bowl of dirt as a prayer and reminder to care for the earth. Preparation: Seeds, bowl, and soil
Goal 10: Ensure Good Governance and Effective Institutions
Take a moment to create something: words, picture, model, take the materials and make something. When you’re done, destroy it. Rip it up, smash it, color over it – and then throw it away. Take a moment to experience what it’s like to have your hard work go to waste. Preparation: Art materials of all sorts (pens, crayons/paint, paper, scissors, etc.) and a trash can
Goal 11: Ensure Stable and Peaceful Societies Look through the newspaper and cut out words that relate to violence and peace, or cut out letters to create a word. Paste the words to two separate poster-boards. Take some time to ponder the difference between the two boards as more people add their words. Preparation: newspaper and/or magazines, scissors, glue, 2 poster-boards
Goal 12: Create a Global Enabling Environment and Catalyze Long-Term Finance Add your fingerprint to the tree as a leaf. Think about how when we work
together to create something, the product is more unique and effective than when we work alone. Preparation: picture of a tree with no leaves (make it smaller or larger depending upon the number of people you anticipate), green ink, and something to clean the ink off fingers.