Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Praying for the end of global poverty

From Christian Post -

LONDON – Christians in the United Kingdom will unite this week with fellow believers around the world in praying for an end to global poverty.

As part of Tearfund’s Global Poverty Prayer Week, Feb. 23-March 1, churches are calling out with one voice for God’s intervention in areas affected by poor sanitation and lack of clean water, climate change, and high rates of HIV among other challenges.

"Whichever way you look at it, God has invited us to be part of restoring this fallen, broken, beautiful world. He has given us the privilege of partnership. And we know that he answers prayer."

Prayer requests have been received from Cambodia, Uganda, Haiti, Myanmar and Darfur, among other countries.

"The impact of the world recession is a thread that links many of them," according to a recent Tearfund statement.

Frost pointed to a recent prayer effort which saw thousands of Tearfund supporters joining with others around the world in prayer for people living in the Democratic Republic of Congo under the regime of rebel leader General Nkunda.

“For me the excitement is in getting hundreds of young people up and down the country in prayer rooms for a week talking to God about justice. They can’t not be changed as a result,” she said.

“I don’t think you can come before God and ask him how he feels about the injustices of this world and not be changed because it is something that burns so passionately in his heart and we see throughout the Bible that God is for the poor the oppressed and the marginalized.”

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Matthew 9:36-38
But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

When I read the story from the Christian Post I immediately thought of the above Scripture.

Throughout the whole story I didn't find one mention of someone praying that these people would also have the gospel preached to them.

I saw the words oppressed, marginalized, suffering, justice, fair, chaos, etc.

I read about ending global inequality and building a low carbon future. I read about how excited the youth were to venture into this prayer time to talk to God about justice. Justice?

Where do these youth think all these different people groups are going when they die without a Savior?

Should Christians be helping the poor and correcting conditions that lead to poverty in our land and around the world? Sure, I think Christians are the world leaders in that area.

But is it not more Scriptural to be praying for the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest than to be praying for social injustice?

The harvest is truly ripe and the laborers are few.

Paul Washer said that there should be only two kinds of Christians when it comes to missionary work- Those who go down into the well and those who hold the rope for those who go down into the well.

If you can't go down into the well (the harvest field), please support (prayers or financially) someone who can.







5 comments:

ExPatMatt said...

I wonder what they'll do when 'Prayer Week' ends and there are still millions of people living in abject poverty?

Probably continue with their lives, secure in the knowledge that they did their bit.

Even as an atheist I'd rather see missionaries going out there than people joining hands and praying - at least they'd be DOING something, even if it's just providing hope and a caring word for people in need.

It seems like the organizers are more concerned with increasing their numbers than doing the right thing.

Sad.

ExPatMatt said...

Wayne,

I also left a reply on your 'End Times' post.

Cheers,

Social Gospel is No Gospel at All said...

Wayne,

When I read that piece I thought about exactly what you did.

What about the poverty of the lost? What about the gospel?

That is the true bread that brings authentic life.

Jesus said it Himself, "You will always have the poor with you."

Is it wrong to feed the poor and to pray for the poor? Heavens NO!

Of course we do and we encourage others to do so as well.

But that is not job#1. That is job #2.

Job#2 ought never take precedence over job#1. Ever.

You want to know how God feels about the injustices of the world?

Look to the cross. That's how He feels about it. HE DIED FOR IT.

Jonathan said...

ExPatMatt,
Your dead on when you say, "Probably continue with their lives, secure in the knowledge that they did their bit." It's a sad truth that most of the corporate Christian church worldwide lives according to this philosophy. I would argue that most "Christians" (possibly above 75% of them) are not really Christians at all, but are moralists who try to earn their way to heaven by being good people. Going to church every week doesn't get you into heaven any more than feeding a hungry person does.

The only way that any good work is pleasing to God is when it comes from our heart responding the Gospel. This goes for any sort of self-denial, fasting, abstinence, or spiritual discipline. The minute that we think that "God owes" us a blessing, or that he is impressed with our works
(filthy rags), we have become a moralist again.

But, aside from all of our negative commentary on such a "good" act, I think it's great that they at least took the time to do what they could. Not every one is in a position to become Mother Teresa.

Wayne Dawg said...

Good points Jonathan - I was probably a little too hard on them myself.

While we are in these types of countries spreading the gospel, we should also be praying for and helping feed them as well.