Ever tried to pray for your sponsored child, but wondered if your prayers were hitting the mark?
If you’re a Food for the Hungry (FH) sponsor like me, you’ve received at least one photo of your sponsored child in the mail. And like me, you probably took a moment to say a prayer for the boy or girl in the photo. In this season, let’s pray that our sponsored children and their families come to know the Jesus born at Christmas, on a deeper level this year.
But as the year goes on, how else can we pray for the children? Here are some ideas to keep your prayers for your sponsored child fresh all year long.
#1 Pray for Health
Your sponsored child may live in areas where malaria, dengue, typhoid, and other serious diseases are prevalent. Please be praying for children to stay healthy from disease. But beyond illness, be prayerful about children’s safety. In vulnerable communities, accidents and injury are also risks to children’s health and safety. Pray against car or motorcycle accidents, against serious falls or injuries from fetching water, against drowning while swimming, against harm caused by natural disasters.
Also pray for mental health issues as well, which are even more prevalent with COVID-19. Some children are experiencing more family fights and even outright family violence, as the pandemic stretches parents to the breaking point. Please pray for children and their families to experience the peace and kindness of Christ.
#2 Pray for Their Schools
Pray for teachers like this one in Uganda — who is actually a former FH sponsored child!
I sponsor two teenaged girls, one in Mozambique and one in Bangladesh, and when I see their photo on my refrigerator I frequently send up an arrow prayer, “Stay in school, stay in school.” Perhaps the more frequent trips to the refrigerator, resulting in my COVID-19 weight gain, have not been in vain! So far both girls have stayed in school well into their teens.
So many opportunities open up for girls (and boys) who get beyond basic reading and math skills. But we sponsors can pray for the schools in general, too. Pray for dedicated teachers. Pray for the administrator in the isolated, rural school who not only has to employ teachers, but often is responsible for their room and board as well. Pray for adequate desks so kids aren’t sitting on the floor. Pray for actual textbooks, that the teachers have chalk for the blackboard, that there’s a place where the kids can wash their hands before lunch so they all stay healthy. Your sponsorship helps communities provide these things, but it can be a journey that needs prayer to get there!
#3 Pray for Daily Bread and Water
Even with FH’s support, parents often struggle to provide nutritious food for their children day after day. Pray for protection from drought and floods, and that fields are free from pests and disease. Pray for parents’ health so they can continue to farm and earn income to put food on the table. Pray for peace and stability in your sponsored child’s country — war and discord can block food supplies to homes and markets. Pray that they family continues to have clean water that is so important for good health and hygiene.
#4 Pray for Discipleship and Those Who Disciple
In those countries where FH can share the gospel in traditional ways, pray for those who are leading children in their faith. Keep each child’s parents in your prayers, that they themselves would have a faith in Christ. Remember to pray for local pastors, who often work full time in non-pastoral jobs to put food on their own tables. Pray for the availability of the Word of God in your child’s heart language (Bibles, audio files, videos, whatever is needed).
Pray for loving family relationships for your sponsored child.
#5 Pray for Parents and Other Caregivers
I’ll note here for a moment I’ve been writing as if all children live with parents, plural. In reality many sponsored children live with single parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, or even older siblings because they are orphans. Many sponsored children’s families care for other youngsters they’ve taken in due to death, illness, or the need for parents to migrate for work. Pray that the caregivers feel supported and stay engaged with meeting the day-to-day needs of the children. Help FH show them ways to discipline that avoid physical and emotional harm.
A Sponsor’s Prayer
If you are not already a child sponsor, I invite you to pray about becoming a sponsor. And for those of you who sponsor a child, we’ve added a prayer here that you can lift up. Say it out loud and insert your child’s name; read it quietly to yourself; say it together with your children or grandchildren.
Father God, Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit,
Place your hedge of protection around this precious child.
Keep him healthy in mind and body.
Protect him from hopelessness and depression.
Ignite a love for learning in her.
Make school a safe place to learn.
Be with her school leaders and teachers as they work in tough environments.
Give him food that helps him grow, every day, and clean water to drink.
Help him rest knowing that he won’t go to bed hungry anymore.
Lead someone into her life who will be Jesus to her, so she grasps the Gospel in her inmost being.
Put people in her daily walk who keep her on the narrow path.
Give wisdom to those adults who care for him every day.
Lead them in Your paths. Keep violence out of their home.
Lord, help me stay faithful to praying for my sponsored child.