In my ongoing personal effort tothe Day of Prayer and Fasting for the millions affected by the global food crisis and get on with life, I have committed to doing a few things that maybe some of you would like to try too!
- First of all, I have been trying to remember to pray at each meal for those who are hungry. I thank God for what He has provided for me, and then I acknowledge that there are many who will not eat a meal today, or will not eat enough to fill them. I ask God to tenderly care for them in whatever way He chooses to do that –- even if that means leading me to do something for one or more of them (like specifically my sponsored children –- perhaps sending them a monetary family gift to help with their expenses).
- Secondly, I have been trying to get rid of phrases from my vocabulary that are just not true. For example, I came home from work yesterday, and I was hungry. I had eaten a bagel with peanut butter for lunch, but it truly didn’t stick with me, and by 6:30 PM I was ready for dinner. I even had a headache. I walked into the house and started to say to my husband, “I’m starving!” This is a typical thing that I say every time I am really hungry. But it’s just not true –- obviously, not even close to being true. And it shows my disrespect or lack of appreciation of what it means to starve, truly starve.
- Another phrase I am trying to get rid of is “There is nothing to eat in this house!” I think we all say that when we don’t like or don’t feel like eating what is in our refrigerators, cupboards, and canisters. Other than when I have moved into a new place and haven’t yet unpacked the moving boxes, I don’t think I have even had a moment in any house I have lived in where there is truly nothing at all to eat. When I look in the cupboards and feel tempted to complain, I am trying to instead utter a quick word of thanksgiving for what God has graciously provided for me.
- Finally, I am trying to gather together with others on a regular basis to pray for those who are hungry, and to help keep the awareness of this issue in front of my neighbors and friends. It is easy for all of us to get on with our lives and forget this silent tsunami. I want to help keep it in the forefront of people’s minds and hearts so they can be open to acting as God leads them.
On the Day of Fasting and Prayer for the Global Food Crisis, I ended my day with a gathering at my house after work. I had announced an open invitation the previous Sunday at my church, inviting anyone who wanted to come. I emailed friends, co-workers, and neighbors about it. Thirteen people showed up.
We prayed from 6:00 to 7:00 PM, and then we broke our 24-hour fast with a simple meal of rice and beans, water and unsweetened iced tea. No dessert, no fancy beverages. No veggies or meat in the rice. We had seasoned salt and a can of Creole seasoning though, and most of us used a lot of that!
The evening was a powerful time of prayer and a wonderful time of community. It had the feel of doing something important, something meaningful. Even though it was really very, very simple.
One lady brought her two sons, ages 5 and 7. She had prepared them for the day through a great learning experience that I am sure they will long remember. She took them to Denver the previous day for a typical summer, American kid fun day out. They ate lunch at a fast food restaurant, they got ice cream, they went to the museum, they played in a park. But there was a catch. They kept a log of what they ate and how much they spent.
The next morning, the day of prayer, they watched an online movie produced by the Washington Post (Beckyand linked to the video two weeks ago) about two families in Mauritania and what they had to do to provide food for their families given the current increase in prices. In the movie, the mother made rice pudding for her family — rice, with sugar and some oil and water. That was what they had to eat. That was all.
So, my friend Lisa made rice pudding with her boys according to the recipe used by the lady in Mauritania. They each ate a half cup of it for breakfast, a half cup for lunch and then came to my house for rice and beans for dinner. Afterward, Lisa took time to talk through with her boys about how they felt. She helped them consider the differences in the quantity and variety of foods they ate on Tuesday in Denver when they ate like “normal Americans” and then on Wednesday as they ate like a lot of the rest of the world. They discussed the amount spent and how much less the large amount they spent on Tuesday was for their family’s income versus how much the small amount spent on Wednesday would have been for the family in Mauritania.
Perhaps you will want to try this or something similar with your children or your niece or next door neighbor’s child (assuming their parents approve!) Children can be taught at an early age to be compassionate and caring for those in need. Lessons like this one can set a firm foundation upon which a life of reaching out and being sensitive and responsive to the needs of others can be built.
As soon as I finish this post, I am going to send out an e-mail to my friends, neighbors and church family to report on our day of prayer gathering and to ask folks to do it again next week.
- I hope others come.
- I hope we get repeat participants.
- I hope we get too big to fit in my house and have to spill out onto my deck!
- I hope some more little kids come so their parents can help form their little hearts to love like Jesus loves!
Stay posted and I’ll let you know how it goes. Or better yet, try your own event and let us know how yours went!