Prayer 30: The Beginning and The End

Over the last 6 weeks we have shared some pretty grim statistics and stories: 163 MILLION orphans; hundreds of thousands of which will never be adopted, children left to eat out of garbage dumps, sold into sex slavery, millions of children left on their own because of AIDS, children turning to crime and prostitution as a way of life because they have no other way.

It’s overwhelming.

We’ve also offered some glimpse of redemption, love and compassion in the people and organizations we believe are walking out the call of Isaiah 1:17 – The Loux Family, Sister Valeriana Garcia Martin, The Shepherd’s Crook, Back2Back Ministries, Focus on Youth, and many many more.

But, if we are honest with ourselves, all their efforts and all of your efforts and all our efforts alone cannot save 163 Million and counting.

So where do we find hope?  We find hope in the Beginning and the End.

The Bible opens with the story of a family. God created family. It is his desire for children to have mothers and fathers. So, we must continue to advocate for the orphan in ways that bring attention to their suffering and draw couples and families into the call of adoption (or foster care or respite care or orphan care). But no matter how much we advocate, no matter how many children we personally adopt or foster, there will always be more. We are human and we cannot fix this problem without God.

At the end of the Bible, God gives us His promise that He can fix this…and will.

Revelation 21:1-7 reads: Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.

Prayer: Father, we believe that you are the Beginning and the End. We believe that one day we will realize the beauty of your just rule and reign fully. We know that we see glimpses of it now. We know that you call us to be a part of bringing your kingdom here and now when and where we can. We believe that you set the lonely in families; that it is your desire to see orphans loved and cared for in family. Jesus, show us our part in that. We will continue to pray and act with the persistence of the widow for the fatherless. We will seek justice. We will take up the cause of the fatherless. Show us what’s next. We pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thanks so much for participating in the 30 prayers with us. It doesn’t stop here. Please continue praying for orphans. Come back to the prayers and use them again. Share them with others. As for our next steps with One17, we are looking to God for guidance. We know we’d love to use this blog and the Facebook page to share more prayers, but also stories (your stories if you’re willing to share them with us), and happenings in adoption and orphan care. Please email us if we can be of help to you in your next steps with orphans – or if you just want to talk about what you’re thinking or hear more of our story. Much love! – Aaron and Brooke Wright

Prayer 29: An Old Prayer

“There are people out there getting by with murder—stealing and lying and cheating.
They steal from the orphan and exploit the unfortunate, push the helpless into the ditch, bully the weak so that they fear for their lives.
The poor, like stray dogs and cats, scavenge for food in back alleys.
They sort through the garbage of the rich, eke out survival on handouts.
Homeless, they shiver through cold nights on the street; they’ve no place to lay their heads.
Exposed to the weather, wet and frozen, they huddle in makeshift shelters.
Nursing mothers have their babies snatched from them; the infants of the poor are kidnapped and sold.
They go about patched and threadbare; even the hard workers go hungry.
No matter how backbreaking their labor, they can never make ends meet.
People are dying right and left, groaning in torment.” – Job 24:2-11

Job is the oldest book in the Bible. Clearly injustice against the orphan has been a perplexing problem for a long time. Today when we look at the numbers – 163,000,000 orphans in the world – it can be a little overwhelming and hard to take in. Yet we pray and hope for justice for each one. We pray and hope for more adoptions and more holistic care. We pray and hope for more people to take up the cause of the fatherless.

The quote in Job ends basically by saying, “but God doesn’t do anything about this injustice.”

Frederick Douglass said this about his prayers for justice, “I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.” 

Or as another often used anonymous quote says,

“Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it.”

“Well, why don’t you ask Him?”

“Because I’m afraid He would ask me the same question.”

We believe prayer changes things. We believe your prayers over the last 6 weeks have made a difference. But we’ve heard from many of you, that the biggest difference it’s making is in you; that you are being called to some action. Not everyone is called to adopt, foster, volunteer in an orphanage or as a CASA. But we are all called to the orphan in some way; be it to pray, to give, to encourage an adoptive or foster family, to serve… How will you ‘pray with your legs?’

Prayer: Father, thank you for this experience of praying for the orphan. Thank you for what you’re teaching us about your heart for all of your children. God, we trust that you are moving in response to our prayers. We also open ourselves to how you want to move in us. Guide us to action. We will follow you and do only what we see you doing. Give us strength and courage, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

We have one more prayer coming tomorrow. We’d love to hear your experience and what God is doing in you.  We’d also ask you to please let us know how we can serve you in whatever step you feel called to take next. Comment or shoot us an email.  

Prayer 28: Jesus was Adopted

This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.  As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.  And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus,  for he will save his people from their sins.”  When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus. – Matthew 1:18-25 NLT

Jesus lived the most vulnerable childhood. He was born poor and amidst the scandal of a young mother who was found to be pregnant before marriage. As an infant, he was displaced by violence. Thank God Joseph was a “good man” who listened to God and raised Jesus as his own. Joseph was a provider and a protector (later we read that God warned him to flee to Egypt so that Jesus would not be killed by Herod). Joseph was a father to the fatherless.

God could have chosen any situation, any time, any place and any family to be born into. He chose this one. In that choice he shows a piece of his heart and character. He called Joseph to father Jesus as his own; in essence to ‘adopt’ him. Today let’s pray God keeps calling good men to step up and father the fatherless.

Prayer: God, you are our example and our hope. Thank you for the example of Joseph. Jesus, thank you for consistently choosing the position of weakness and vulnerability over power and privilege in order to show us more of how you work. God we pray that you call more “good men” like Joseph to become fathers of the fatherless; to have your heart for the orphan. Jesus, give them the strength and courage to step into this role of father. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.  

Prayer 27: The One

A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.

She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”

The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied,

“Well, I made a difference to that one!”

The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved. – adapted from the Star Thrower by Loren C. Eiseley

With 163 million orphans in the world, the idea of change can seem overwhelming. It’s true that you can’t change the whole world. But as fans of adoption are prone to say, “you can change one child’s whole world.” Every adoption is a radical act of love that changes everything for that child. Just like the starfish, it makes all the difference for “that one.”

Mother Teresa’s famous quote is worth repeating here, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

Jesus also taught us never to lose sight of the one in need of rescue.

“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders.” – Luke 15:4-5

Adoption makes all the difference to the one.

Prayer: Father, thank you that you care about each one of us. That you would have sent Jesus on His rescue mission to bring home just one of us. God, we ask for your heart for our “one.” We ask for more people to be called to adopt one child. Lord, let us not lose sight of how huge of a change that is. Let us not be overwhelmed trying to change the whole world. Father, thank you for all those “ones” who have been welcomed into loving families through adoption. We pray for more. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Prayer 26: Adoption is Redemption

This week we turn our focus to adoption.  Many people have questions and thoughts about adoption: It’s expensive, right? Doesn’t it take a long time? Isn’t it hard to adopt? Can we handle the changes it will bring to our lives?

The answers to those questions vary, but one of our favorite quotes on adoption is from Derek Loux:

“My friends, adoption is redemption. It’s costly, exhausting, expensive, and outrageous.  Buying back lives costs so much.  When God set out to redeem us, it killed Him.”

Adoption is a God thing. It’s what God does. He adopts us. He calls us to participate in His work of adopting others – spiritually and literally.

His name is the Lord—rejoice in his presence! Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families. – Psalm 68:4-6


Prayer: Father, thank you for adopting us. Thank you for sparing no cost when it came to buying our freedom and welcoming us into your family. God, today we pray for more adoptions. We pray that you will call more of your people to welcome an orphan into their homes.  We pray for all those who are in the process of adopting – that you would provide every need. We pray for those who have never thought of adopting; that some of them would be called and respond. Father, for those who aren’t called to adopt, Lord show them how to support and pray for those who are.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

Prayer 25: Holistic Care

We’ve talked a lot this week about Holistic Orphan Care.  But what does that mean exactly?  And how does it really make a difference? Back2Back Ministries uses this graphic to show their approach to holistic orphan care. 

It seems pretty basic, right? Looking at your own life, you likely received most if not all of the pieces of the pie in some form as a child and never thought twice about that being the norm.  But there are hundreds of thousands of orphans worldwide who only get one or two pieces of that pie for their entire childhood.  There are children who receive shelter in an orphanage and a meal or two a day. That’s it; for their entire childhood.  Then they “age out of the system” and are somehow expected not only to survive on their own but become responsible, productive citizens of their country.

The Holistic approach sets out not only to care for the immediate physical needs of the orphan but aims at complete restoration of the whole person – spiritually, emotionally, physically. It’s a bigger task for sure. But one every child deserves.

Today, let’s pray for the people in the field who are going that extra mile to provide complete, holistic care of orphans the world over.

Father, thank you for the heart of your people. Thank you for calling forward an army of servants dedicated to the care of orphans in this broken world.  We pray for an extra dose of strength and patience and love for those working in the field today with broken and troubled children. Would you encourage each of them today as they do your work.  Would you remind them that their calling is high and their work is not in vain despite difficulties and frustrations they may face. And would you provide more opportunities for orphans to receive holistic care. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen. 

Prayer 24: A Burden for Orphan Care

Globally, the number of orphans can sound overwhelming; 163,000,000 orphans.  If they were all together, they’d be the 8th largest nation in the world.  Adoption is an option for some. Many more need holistic orphan care and will not be adopted. Many countries do not allow international adoption (or at least it’s incredibly difficult), so there’s a huge need for local orphan care movements.

But many cultures have stigmas attached to orphans and caring for orphans. Just this week Christian Alliance for Orphans released this video from a pastor in Kenya who shares his burden for orphans as well as the cultural stigma that must be broken in order for an orphan care movement to take root.

Today let’s pray for more people globally to have a “burden” from God for the orphan, and for the stigma of the orphan to be broken.

Prayer: God, we know that your heart is burdened for the orphan. Give that piece of your heart to your people around the globe. We ask that more people of influence – especially pastors and leaders – have their hearts broken for orphans. We ask for more adoptions and more passion for orphan care. God, we know that a move of your Holy Spirit can change people’s hearts and change culture. We ask that the stigma of the orphan be broken in places where orphan care is needed most. God, you are the Father to the fatherless. Let more people get that piece of your character and walk in your ways. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Prayer 23: Lifting Up Orphans

A decade ago I had the privilege of spending a life-changing week in the garbage dumps of Mexico City. For me, it was a growth experience. For the children we were offering eye and medical exams to, it was life. Finding food and items that can be sold for food amidst the garbage others throw away is a reality for the poor in many parts of the world. And it’s the reality that orphans without care in those places must navigate alone.

One of the champions of holistic orphan care is Beth Guckenberger, author and founder of Back2Back Ministries. She puts faces to this reality in her book “Tales of the Not Forgotten” when she writes:

Seraphina was awake. She lay there staring at the makeshift cardboard roof of their tent, and her mind began to spin. “Is that rain again?” She pictured how muddy the dump would be. “What will I find for us to eat today? Jesus, can you hear me? Do you see us? Have you forgotten us?” ‘Us’ meant Seraphina and her five-year-old twin sisters.  ‘Us’ used to include their mother, but on another rainy day a couple of years ago, not long after Seraphina’s seventh birthday, she left for her job in the rice fields and never came back.  Seraphina once worried about her a lot, but not much anymore. She had other things to worry about now.

When I read that recently, I was taken back to my experience in the dumps of Mexico City and the children I met who were making their way in life with garbage. Today, I want us to pray about this piece of what is true about God:

He lifts the poor from the dust
    and the needy from the garbage dump.
He sets them among princes,
    even the princes of his own people! – Psalm 113:7-8. 

Prayer: Father, you are good. You lift the poor from the dumps and set them among the princes of your people. God, we ask for your providence for orphans making their way in poverty, especially those living off what we throw away. Jesus, forgive us when we consume more than we need, when we waste and when we aren’t grateful for all that we have. Father we pray for all those working to offer care for orphans in poverty. We pray for Back2Back and other ministries like them. Meet their needs, encourage them, and give them strength. Call more people into this work. God, let your kingdom come in every garbage dump where orphans live. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

If you want to help offer holistic orphan care, we strongly endorse Back2Back and their efforts.  We also highly recommend getting your own copy of Tales of the Not Forgotten.  

Prayer 22: Why Orphan Care Matters

Yesterday we started praying for the orphans who won’t be adopted. There are millions of them globally. Their care must come through other forms. Unfortunately, when holistic orphan care isn’t offered, the alternatives aren’t great for those left behind.

Today’s post has been delayed because I’ve been at a loss for words.  So I’ve borrowed some from Jane Aronson CEO and Founder of Worldwide Orphans Foundation who wrote an article about this issue for CNN.  She says,

“What happens to the children left behind? Some are institutionalized, and others are forced to live on the street or in refugee camps or as slaves to other families: for example, restaveks in Haiti. Children are bought and sold as prostitutes or forced into a life of crime, drug dealing and alcoholism, and many are child laborers making up a large part of the major work force of countries abroad. Still others become child soldiers fighting ethnic wars in tyrant-run countries.”

The rest of this week, we’ll look at and pray for some specific scenarios, workers, and efforts in holistic orphan care.  But today, let’s pray God’s protection over the children who will be “left behind” by the world, but not forgotten by our Father.

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.  Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. – Luke 12:6-7

Prayer:  God, we understand that the world is broken. Again, we acknowledge our part in it’s brokenness and ask for your forgiveness.  Father, we know that it isn’t your will that any child be left behind, sold into servitude, sex slavery, or war. But God we also know these are realities for many orphans. Father protect them. Send more workers who will offer holistic care to the most vulnerable of your children and more resources to those who are doing this important work. Show us if we have a part to play in that. In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

Prayer 21: Global Orphan Care

This week we focus our attention toward orphan care.  Not every orphan is available for adoption.  In the United States about 500,000 children are in foster care, but only about 120,000 of them are eligible for adoption (and most of those are over 10 years of age and/or sibling groups).

Globally orphan statistics vary, but there are roughly 163,000,000 “orphans” in the world.  Of that huge number, less than a third are available for adoption.

So while adoption is an amazing option for many, there are many more whose care will come in a different form. Over and over in scripture we read of God’s love and concern for the orphan and his call for us to care for them as he would:

For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. - Deuteronomy 10:17-20

Prayer: Father, today we acknowledge that you are the great God, mighty and awesome. You love orphans far more than we ever could. Give us your heart for the orphans of the world. Father, we pray that you give them food and clothing and meet their needs this day. You administer justice. You alone are the true Father of the fatherless. We pray for all the orphans who we will never know and who will not be adopted. God empower those who care for them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

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