When a child is sick, parents will go to great lengths to ensure their son or daughter recovers. The Gospels share several stories of parents who asked Jesus to heal their children, including a royal official — a man who likely spent his days giving orders — who begged Jesus to heal his son (see John 4:46-54). Luke 8:41-42 tells the story of Jairus, a synagogue leader, who “fell at Jesus’ feet” pleading on behalf of his dying daughter.
Today, we still live in a world where parents agonize over the health of their children — and millions each year watch helplessly as their children die because the family lacks the most basic necessities: prenatal care, adequate food, clean water, vaccinations, medicine, and more.
Every five seconds, a child younger than 5 dies. Most of these deaths are from preventable causes such as pneumonia, malaria, and diarrhea.
As part of the Beyond 5 movement, we invite you join in praying for the health of all of the world’s children.
Pray for Families to Have Access to Adequate Nutrition
Lack of nutrition (also known as “malnutrition” or “undernutrition”) is a global problem, contributing to the deaths of more than 2.4 million children a year. Nutrition for a child’s first 1,000 days — from conception to age 2 — is vital for lifelong health. Ask God to connect families that don’t have enough food with agencies that can provide them with emergency food and the resources to ensure they can grow or buy their own food in the future.
Dear Lord, Scripture tells us that You understand our physical needs. In the Gospels, You fed thousands because You knew they couldn’t get food on their own. Help hungry families to access the food resources they need to survive.
Pray that Expectant and Birthing Mothers will have the Care They Need
Worldwide, a woman dies every minute of causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. In developing countries, a woman’s risk of dying from treatable or preventable complications during pregnancy or childbirth is 1 in 150, compared to 1 in 3,800 in developed countries. Ask God to protect expectant mothers and their babies before, during, and after delivery.
Dear Lord, the psalmist writes that You know us in our mother’s womb. Be with pregnant women everywhere as they prepare to give birth. Give them a safe delivery and a healthy baby.
Pray for the End of Malaria
About half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria. Every 56 seconds, a child younger than 5 dies from malaria. World Vision is joining with other international humanitarian organizations to protect communities from malaria through distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets. Because of interventions like this, global malaria death rates have fallen by more than 25 percent since 2000 — and are expected to continue to decline. Thank God for the work that is being done to eliminate this devastating disease, and ask Him for His healing touch on those who are infected.
Dear Lord, we see Your hand in the work to end malaria. Lift the spirits of all individuals who devote themselves to this effort, and help their work to achieve even greater results. Be with those who are ill from malaria, and help them to make a full recovery.
Pray for a Continued Reduction in Child Mortality Rates
The 6.9 million children younger than 5 who die every year is staggering, but it’s a number that is moving in the right direction. Fifty years ago, approximately 20 million children were dying every year. As communities within developing nations are equipped with essential resources and knowledge, families have access to the basics they need to remain healthy. Thank God for the advances that have been made, and ask Him to continue to be at work in life-saving efforts on behalf of so many children around the world.
Dear Lord, every child is precious to You. We rejoice in the millions of lives that have been saved through the work of organizations such as World Vision. Please continue to equip developing nations with the funding, personnel, and extra help they need to provide services that promote healthy families.
Pray for a Global will to End the Suffering of Children
U.S. funding for child survival and other global health programs has helped save millions of lives and reduced the toll taken by several diseases over the past three decades. Many other countries also work to help ensure children in developing nations have a chance to grow up healthy. Pray that these nations’ financial commitments to care for the world’s most vulnerable children will continue.
Dear Lord, You know every child by name, and You care about each one’s past, present, and future. Please guide the nations to continue to care about Your little ones by investing in the gift of health for all children.
Photo: © 2013 World Vision/ photo by Simon Peter Esaku