Matthew 25: Prayer for U.S. children and families in need

Lucy from Junior, West Virginia has fostered and adopted eight children. Lucy’s church and World Vision helped make her space ready by providing furniture and supplies.

We can find desperate need not only across the ocean but also in our own neighborhoods. One in seven children in the United States live in poverty. That’s why World Vision works not only in the U. S. but also worldwide. From helping families in distressed and underserved communities in the U.S. to responding to domestic disasters, let’s answer Jesus’ call to love our closest neighbors.

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’—Matthew 25:40, NIV

After Jesus was resurrected, He returned to His disciples to teach them more about the kingdom of God. He promised they would be empowered by the Holy Spirit to be His witnesses — first to their neighbors in Jerusalem, then to the surrounding region, and finally to the entire world. The apostles’ initial ministry happened because they saw the need among their neighbors.

Likewise, World Vision cares for children living in poverty worldwide and here at home in the U.S. Parents in more than 35 million households have difficulty providing enough food for their families, reports the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Join us as we pray for U.S. children and families living in poverty.

Pray for people who are homeless.

The 2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reports that the number of unsheltered people in families with children increased for the first time since data collection began.

The report states that in 2020, just under 172,000 people in families with children experienced homelessness. About 90% of families with children stayed in sheltered locations, but the number of unsheltered people in families increased by 13%.

Children who are homeless are more likely to suffer from hunger, educational problems, stress, and illness. They’re also at risk for violence and abuse. In prayer, ask God to surround people experiencing homelessness with His protection.

Dear Lord, Your Word often talks about people in need finding safety. We pray today for homeless people, that children and families in need with no place to call home will be guided to places of peace and security.

Pray for single mothers and fathers.

Raising children with two parents is challenging enough. According to a recent Pew Research report, the United States has the highest rate of children living in single-parent households in the world. In 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the poverty rate for single-mother families is 31%, which is nearly five times greater than the poverty rate for married couplesmore than double the rate of the rest of the U.S. population. Only a third of single mothers receive child support. Ask God to sustain single moms and dads with His strength and raise up godly people to minister to them.

Dear Lord, You are an ever-present help in time of trouble. Be a source of hope and encouragement to families with single mothers and fathers. Let them see Your love in both word and deed from the Christ followers in their lives.

Pray for children who don’t have enough to eat.

In 2019, the USDA reported that one in nine people in the United States faced food insecurity. Many children living in poverty depend on school meals for the bulk of their nutrition. When most schools shut down in the 2020-2021 school year because of COVID-19 shelter-in-place restrictions, many more children faced year-round hunger. Ask God to make a way for all U.S. children who lack nutritious meals to receive the healthy food they need year-round.

Dear Lord, Scripture tells us so many times that people who believe in You are to be kind to the poor and make sure they have enough to eat. We pray that You don’t let us forget Your command to support children and families in need.

Pray for teachers in low-income neighborhoods.

Teachers at schools in low-income neighborhoods face a host of challenges that go beyond spelling and math scores. Students may miss school because their family has been evicted or lack basic learning tools because their parents can’t afford school supplies. In 2020, teachers shifted to online learning when COVID-19 caused in-person learning to close down. But World Vision provided school supplies to families and teachers during this time to help learning continue. As schools reopened, they also provided signage encouraging physical distancing and handwashing to help keep students healthy.

Though forced to temporarily close their doors in 2020, World Vision’s Teacher Resource Centers recently welcomed teachers again in person. This resource provides new school supplies to educators who teach in low-income neighborhoods. Ask God to provide our nation’s teachers with the resources and skills they need to equip all children for a bright future.

Dear Lord, You know how important teaching is and how challenging it can be. As our children sit in classrooms, renew teachers in their passion to help students enjoy the adventure of learning. Give educators creative ideas and resources to solve their most challenging situations.

Pray for families in need who are recovering from devastating natural disasters like Hurricanes Laura and Ida.

In 2020 and 2021, two Category 4 hurricanes slammed into the Louisiana Gulf Coast. Hurricane Ida’s high winds were only 7 mph shy of a Category 5 hurricane. People already hit hard by the economic impact of COVID-19 now face the additional financial burden of repairing and rebuilding their homes. Ask God to provide resources to families and to use this trying time to bring them closer to Him.

Dear Lord, we know You love us, even when storms blow through and take away some of what we hold dear. Use this time of recovery and rebuilding to help families draw closer to You and see what’s most important in life. For people who don’t have the resources to rebuild, supply what they need to re-establish their lives and begin to thrive again.


Laura Reinhardt of World Vision’s U.S. staff contributed to this article.

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