Tuesday, May 8, 2007

A Prayer for the Poor

National Day of Prayer
May 3, 2007
Jim Taylor

Much can be said about a Nation by what it does with its poor.

Proverbs 29:7 declares,

"The righteous care about justice for the poor,
but the wicked have no such concern."

Father, we stand here together knowing what Your intention is toward the poor. We know so much and we have so much, "What should we do with our knowledge & resources?"

We know that the poor are a class of people where basic human needs go unmet. Needs required to adequately sustain life free of disease, hunger, suffering, pain, misery, fear and hopelessness. We know that these people are defenseless against suffering that comes from structural injustices as well. We know the poor are the ones who can be overlooked because they don't have the knowledge, the clout, the influence, or the resources to put their concerns on the table nor do they have the power to make the rest of us take them seriously.

We know God, that You are especially concerned about the relational impact of poverty. We know that poverty creates individuals and a class of people who are outcasts, ascribed little or no value by others, they are people who are depersonalized and shunned by their neighbors, who plead uselessly for mercy, and are sometimes even avoided by us--the religious elite.

We are reminded today of Micah’s prophetic warning that all religious sacrifices are useless if God’s people don’t do justice and love mercy and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:6-8).

Our prayer, Father, is a prayer for us. Perhaps, if our hearts are changed and brought into alignment with Yours, the misery of the poor will be alleviated.

We pray, therefore, that we will take up the cause of those who have little. That we will share our resources and our very lives with them. We pray that we will feed those who are hungry. May we provide clean water to those who are thirsty. May we give shelter to those who are homeless. May we advocate for decent pay for decent work. May we join in the cause to overcome extreme poverty.

For we do know, Father, that every dried out stomach, like every parched soul, leaves us all impoverished. May we share . . . May we share!

In the name of Jesus Christ, the One who Advocates for us all; and especially the poor, Amen.