As Christians, we know God creates each person with equal worth, and He calls us to help the marginalized. In communities where all people aren’t afforded the same dignity, World Vision works to help overcome discriminatory beliefs and to end harmful practices like prenatal sex selection and gender-based violence. Together, we’re helping everyone see that all are made in the image of God, and we are grateful for your prayers for women and girls.
God sees His daughters as beautiful, strong, and worthy of respect. Around the world, however, many millions of women and girls are not respected. Nearly two-thirds of the world’s 775 million adults without literacy skills are women. Rural women number almost 500 million farmers and landless workers, and 603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not yet considered a crime.
In his book, “The Hole in Our Gospel,” World Vision U.S. President Emeritus Rich Stearns wrote, “In my opinion, the single most significant thing that can be done to cure extreme poverty is this: Protect, educate, and nurture girls and women and provide them with equal rights and opportunities — educationally, economically, and socially.”
Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.—Matthew 25:40, NIV
Mursheda Akter’s dad left the family, and her mother works far away in Chittagong, Bangladesh, and hasn’t been home to see her in three years.
The 11-year-old’s grandma, Shurju Begum, raises her, and they struggle to make ends meet. Mursheda wishes she could be in school and dreams of becoming a teacher, but until then, she works in another family’s home doing their housework.
Millions of girls around the world are in similar or worse situations. They are trafficked, exploited, and affected by harmful cultural practices, missing out on education, economic opportunities, and life-giving relationships.
Although we specifically pray for women on International Women’s Day (March 8) and pray for girls on International Day of the Girl Child (Oct. 11), they deserve our prayers every day of the year. Join us as we pray for women and girls everywhere that they may live the abundant lives God intends for them.
Pray for the safety of unborn and infant girls.
Girls face dangers before they are even born. In some cultures like Armenia’s, a preference for sons puts pressure on women to terminate their pregnancy if they expecting a girl. Girls who survive until birth may be neglected, abandoned, or even killed. Seen as less valuable than boys, girls are less likely to be sent to school and may be the last to receive food or medical care. Ask God to protect young girls from people who fail to see their true value.
Dear Lord, touch the lives of girls even before they are born. Let them be born healthy and whole, and let their parents love and cherish them as much as You do.
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous …” —Psalm 139:13-14 (NLT)
Pray for educational opportunities for girls.
In Bangladesh, Mursheda’s home country, 93% of girls attend primary school. But not quite two-thirds of girls — 60% — continue to secondary school. In Bangladesh and dozens of other countries, World Vision helps build educational infrastructure, provides school materials for students and teachers, and empowers parents to invest in their children’s education. When she has free time, Mursheda loves jumping rope. She hopes that by attending the World Vision Child-Friendly Learning and Recreation Center, she will be able to learn and it will help her become a teacher.
Lord, may You fulfill many girls’ longing for wisdom and a better life. Bless them with a quality education, school supplies, and a family that supports their scholastic goals.
“Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.” —Proverbs 3:13-14 (NIV)
Pray for girls and women affected by female genital mutilation.
In Somalia, Fatih Mohamed is 1 of 200 million girls and women in 30 countries living with the results of female genital mutilation (FGM/C), also known as cutting, the traditional practice of removing part or all of a female’s genitalia. This can lead to pelvic infections, pregnancy and birth complications, and long-term emotional scars, according to UNICEF. World Vision educates and empowers girls and their communities to end FGM. Fatih says, “My daughters have not had FGM, and they will not — my experience was so bad; I am determined. When we show the problem, people will change.”
Lord God, help families that practice FGM see its damaging effects on girls and young women. Motivate families to turn away from damaging practices and protect their female children from all forms of harm, including FGM.
“So God made mankind in his own image … male and female he created them.” —Genesis 1:27 (NIV)
Pray for efforts to prevent child marriage.
In Bangladesh, 1 of every 3 girls is married before age 15, often due to financial hardship or social pressure. Forced child marriage is prevalent throughout Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Akhi Akter of Bangladesh is 15. Her mother was married at 11 and gave birth to Akhi at age 12. But Akhi is a World Vision sponsored child, which helps protect her from child marriage. Yet too many girls still live with the threat of child marriage, which often prevents them from reaching their potential.
Jesus, show Your compassion to the multitudes of girls and women who endure the damaging physical and relational effects of child marriage. Holy Spirit, help their husbands love them. Reveal alternatives to parents or change the hearts of those who consider giving up their daughters for social status or financial gain.
“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.” —Psalm 103:13
Pray for economic opportunities for women and girls living in poverty.
Girls everywhere are vulnerable to exploitation when their families are extremely poor. World Vision is helping millions of women in poor communities around the world learn to operate small businesses, such as tailoring, mat weaving, or selling vegetables they grow. As women gain confidence in operating these businesses, they are able to positively influence family decision-making on important issues such as food choice, children’s education, healthcare, and child marriage.
Heavenly Father, You are good. You delight in us when we honor You in our work. Bring opportunities for employment or business that fulfills parents’ desire to make life better for their children. Thank You for organizations that provide small-business loans to women. Bless these ventures so their families can live healthier, more secure lives.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.” —Colossians 3:23 (NIV)
Pray for access to clean, safe drinking water.
An estimated 33 million girls work more than 21 hours per week doing household chores at home. In many cultures, this includes collecting water for drinking, bathing, and cooking, a task they share with their moms. They must often walk hours every day to complete it, keeping them from going to school, and robbing mothers of time with their children. When wells are drilled in rural villages, women and girls no longer have to spend hours each day accessing water.
Dear Lord, as millions of women and girls continue to walk every day to collect water, walk beside them and keep them from harm. We pray for You to bless the work of organizations like World Vision that provide clean water so more women and girls can leave this task behind to lead more productive and meaningful lives.
“They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water.” —Isaiah 49:10 (NIV)
Pray for girls trapped in sexual exploitation and forced labor.
Worldwide, 11.9 million girls ages 5 to 17 work as domestic laborers, according to the International Labor Organization. Unsuspecting children are often forced into child labor or the sex trade. The full extent of the problem is unknown, but governments and organizations, including World Vision, have made progress in recent years to prosecute traffickers and identify and rehabilitate survivors of the crime.
Jesus, we come to You humbled by the struggles many girls face every day. Restore them to trusting relationships and self-confidence. Inspire leaders to create policies that address the causes of sexual exploitation and forced labor.
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” —Proverbs 31:8-9 (NLT)