Children in poverty face impossible obstacles every day. Some are big – disasters, abuse and sickness. But the small ones can feel just as hard to overcome – loneliness, fear and sadness. Below you will find 10 specific ways to help pray children in poverty through these trials and to give them a hope for a future without poverty.
In the darkness of poverty, faith can easily be lost. How can a child learn to pray, to hope, to believe when they see only brokenness and corruption?
Pray that children in poverty will see the Light — that they will turn to God in prayer and find a faith that will sustain them.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. — Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
What does hope look like for children in poverty? How do they hope for the future when the present tries to consume them?
Pray that God will infuse these children with hope that defies their current circumstances. That they will be surrounded by loving, caring people who can remind them daily, hourly even, that God has a plan and a purpose for each of their lives.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” — Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Many children in poverty never hear the words “I love you.” Parents consumed with survival can grow hard. And children can be neglected, or even abused. Many seek love in other, dark places, not knowing that true love can only come from the Father.
Pray that the void in these children’s lives will be filled with the love of God, and that it will spread through their families and communities.
We love because he first loved us. — 1 John 4:19 (NIV)
When you don’t know where your next meal will come from, it’s hard to believe that God will provide. Children in the world's poorest countries, who have gone without for their entire lives, have a hard time trusting in long-term provision.
Pray that, through Compassion and the hands of His people, these children will learn to trust that God wants to provide for their every need. That they would be awed by God’s faithfulness and that they would be provided with food, education, jobs and a path out of poverty.
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:19 (NIV)
Picture a child fighting to be courageous. Looking straight into fear with her fists clenched and her back straight. This is the posture of so many children in poverty. Around every corner is danger, and courage is the only way to survive.
Pray that these children will not be overcome by fear, but will instead rely on God’s strength as their source of courage.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. – Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)
Unforgiveness is like poison. And for children in poverty around the world, there are so many opportunities for unforgiveness to creep in. It is hard to forgive those who hurt or take advantage of you.
Pray, though, that these children will find forgiveness in their hearts to free them from bitterness. Give them wisdom and discernment as they say “I forgive you.”
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. – Colossians 3:13 (NIV)
Every day, children in poverty encounter evil. There are those who seek to harm them, abuse them, even exploit them. There are no safety nets in poverty, and these most vulnerable victims cannot protect themselves.
Pray, then, for protection. That they will be hidden under the wings of the Father as He surrounds them with people who will love, cherish and protect them.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. – Psalm 46:1 (NIV)
Children should not fear sickness. It should be a simple part of childhood, forgotten as soon as the fever is gone. But children in poverty are surrounded by sickness that leads to death. They say goodbye to their friends with alarming frequency.
Pray that the Great Physician will heal these children through the care of loving doctors and nurses, and show them that He is more powerful than sickness and disease.
Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. – Psalm 30:2 (NIV)
Poverty can be isolating. When children only focus on survival, on where their next meal will come from, or choosing between an education and work, there is little time for socializing and making friends. But a childhood without laughter and friendship is one in which a child never learns how to make relationships and trust others.
Pray that these children will be surrounded by pastors and mentors who they can trust, confide in, and who will help them navigate their dreams, fears and challenges as they grow into godly adults who know how to love and be loved.
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. — 1 John 4:11 (NIV)
A child’s default emotion should be joy. Imagine a child running, arms stretched at her sides, and you are picturing joy. But poverty brings a heaviness to a child’s world. Running with outstretched arms becomes shuffling with stooped shoulders. Yet joy is resilient.
Pray that children in poverty will find their joy in the Lord. That He will renew their strength and make them soar like eagles. Full of joy.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! — Philippians 4:4 (NIV)
If you're interested in more prayers for children, Bob Hostetler developed a daily prayer list containing 31 more prayers for children, one for each day of the month. Each topic is based on Scripture and includes a supporting Bible verse.