On January 15, we set aside time to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the influence he had on the Civil Rights Movement and his opposition to poverty. Before his assassination 50 years ago, Dr. King was organizing a march on Washington called the Poor People’s Campaign that would fight for economic justice and equality for the poor in the United States. Half-a-century later and there’s still work to be done as we pursue justice and equality for the poor across the world.
Here are 6 ways to pray as we approach Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
American religious and Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr (1929 – 1968) leads a prayer in a church before the second Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights march, also known as ‘Turnaround Tuesday’, Selma, Alabama, 9th March 1965. (Photo by Frank Dandridge/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
1. Pray for Unity
Refugees from South Sudan pray with an FH staff member at their settlement in Northern Uganda. To learn more about what FH is doing in Northern Uganda, click here.
“If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” – Mark 3:24-25.
In order for poverty to be defeated and equality to be achieved, we need to be united as a whole. We need to support and empower the “least of these.” On MLK Day, I will be praying for unity within the United States and also around the world.
2. Pray for Justice
“But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” – Amos 5:24
This passage is a harrowing one about the importance of justice especially to the poor and the righteous. Justice is near and dear to God’s heart. It is His character to be just. This is an important time to continually pray for justice for the poor and wronged. God wants to restore His people, let’s pray for that time to come.
3. Pray for Wisdom
A FH staff member prays with a mother leader in Peru. To learn more about Care Groups, click here.
“The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” – Proverbs 4:7
Issues of poverty and justice are complicated. I must pray for wisdom in this time to know how to respond, what is righteous, and how to pursue justice. As we know from Scripture, Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, so I’ll couple my prayer for wisdom with prayer for reverence. I must understand that the Lord’s ways are not my ways, and to accept his truth as my own. This is the true meaning of wisdom.
4. Pray for Compassion
A young girl in Peru prays for her meal.
“The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.” – Psalm 145:9
In order to respond to issues of injustice and poverty, I must have compassion for those who are suffering. Pray with me that God would break our hearts for what breaks His.
5. Pray for Our Leaders
A student prays at her school in Haiti. To learn more about FH’s work in education, click here.
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” – 1 Timothy 2:1-2
Just as we pray for wisdom for ourselves, we ought also to pray for wisdom for our leaders. As they make decisions that drive government spending, laws, foreign relations, etc., they are in a special place of needing guidance and wisdom from God. I pray that our leaders make decisions that reflect the heart of the Lord.
6. Pray for Opportunity
“Therefore, whenever we have opportunity, let us do good toward all–especially those who belong to the household of faith.” – Galatians 6:10
Pray for opportunity to do good and to exercise compassion and justice. Let us keep our eyes open for opportunities to serve the Lord by serving the least of these. Let us pray for chances to stand up for what’s right, and for the boldness to do it when the opportunity arises.
Dr. King was a Christian believer and felt that poverty should be eliminated for all of God’s children. We at Food for the Hungry agree. To find how how we are working to end poverty all across the globe, click here.