Millions of people in West Africa need your prayers. The region has been struggling with increasingly frequent and severe droughts, political turmoil, and extremist violence as well as refugee crises in Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, and Niger. Many families have exhausted their traditional means of coping and are cutting back on the number of meals they eat every day.
Without access to basics like water, food, and shelter, growing children may suffer developmental issues that can last a lifetime. Your prayers are urgently needed.
Pray for maternal and child health in Sierra Leone.
In Sierra Leone, 120 of every 1,000 children die before they turn 5 — among the highest rate in the world. About 38 percent of children younger than 5 suffer from stunting — being short for their age due to inadequate nutrition. It’s also risky to be a mom there — about 1,360 women die for every 100,000 births, according to UNICEF.
Dear Lord, restore the health of children suffering from the effects of lack of access to nutritious food and health services. Give strength and determination to people working to improve the health of mothers and pregnant women. Help women deliver their babies safely.
Pray for consistent harvests and stable food markets.
Millions of people in West Africa are affected by increasingly frequent and more severe droughts. Poor harvests lead to high food prices and eventually to food insecurity and malnutrition among children and families who struggle to earn enough to make ends meet. World Vision has provided emergency relief like food vouchers and nutrition training to many communities where sponsored children live.
Lord, You are merciful, and we ask You to bring rain to the parched land. As families across West Africa seek economic and nutritional stability, help them to afford to buy enough food or to store enough of their crops to make it through to the next harvest. Bring stability to markets so children will not go hungry.
Pray for resilience.
In the face of increasingly frequent and worsening severe weather events across the region, fewer families can withstand the resulting economic shocks. They lose their ability to adapt to shocks like grain prices doubling or their crops dying. Countries like Mali and Niger have experienced particularly severe shocks every couple of years since 2005. With little recovery time, millions of families cannot withstand rising food prices and insufficient rains.
Safety-net programs help in the short term, but governments and development organizations are focused on working with communities to help create systemic changes that will help the most vulnerable families become more resilient. Pray for effective collaboration among communities, governments, and development organizations to produce tangible outcomes.
Lord, we acknowledge how difficult solving systemic problems can be. We pray for genuine, patient collaboration among leaders. Give them wisdom to influence decision-makers in business, government, and community circles. Bless the most vulnerable families with opportunities to improve their livelihoods and feed their children.
Pray for vulnerable children.
During droughts, children are more vulnerable to disease. They must walk long distances to find water — making them vulnerable to attacks by wild animals and human predators. When food resources are threatened, families will migrate, hoping for better opportunities elsewhere. And sometimes children must seek work to help support their families. This means children drop out of school or, if they remain in their classes, find it difficult to concentrate on lessons due to hunger.
Lord, we ask that You will be “… a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble” (Psalm 9:9) for the children of West Africa. Protect them from dangers, keep them from disease, and help their families and communities find the resources to feed them so they can thrive. Help girls and boys to stay in school so they will enjoy the full life You have for them.
Pray for World Vision’s child sponsorship communities.
World Vision serves millions of people in sponsorship communities across the region. In some areas, residents have taken in hundreds or thousands of families displaced by violence, drought, or political instability. These communities are severely strained. In places like the Lake Chad Basin, World Vision is helping displaced people and host communities with basic necessities. This not only saves lives but strengthens communities that are bearing a heavy burden.
Lord, we pray that our ministry in sponsorship communities will bear good fruit (Colossians 1:10). We ask Your hand to help us support families and villages hosting refugees, so they themselves can survive along with their guests.