Robert Chambers describes poverty as living in a cluster of disadvantages, including:
1. Material Poverty: having little or no access to essential assets (e.g. shelter / house; utilities such as water, warmth, sanitation, energy; land and or livestock)
Lord, we know there are many thousands who struggle to survive because they have no access to water, to shelter, to adequate heating. May we join our strengths and resources together in 2013 to reach out to these families and advocate and support shelter and adequate warmth for all. We pray for access to clean water to be prioritised in our response to vulnerable communities.
2. Physical Weakness: have a lack of strength due to poor health and or inadequate nutrition.
On the news this week there is a report that almost half of all food is wasted! Some of this waste is because of linked to poor engineering and agricultural practices and limited transport and storage services. However, a large percentage is because supermarkets demands cosmetically perfect looking food stuffs. There is also in some countries a push to convince consumers to over by (e.g. buy one get one free), packing pushing up costs and unfair trade practices.
Lord, we pray for good stewardship of our food resources and the sharing of food with those in need. As we start this New Year Lord, may we actively choose to buy sensibly and to seek ways to share with those in need. Lord we pray for improved agricultural practices, the logistics of getting produce to markets and fair trade practices that give greater access to food for all.
As the recession affects more and more families who in turn need food support – Lord help our churches to lead the way in service provision.
We continue to pray for health access especially for family providers.
3. Isolation: have limited to no access to information and community services. This could be because of remote locations, but could also be because of marginalisation, oppression and exploitation, as well incarceration.
Lord, help us to be aware that sometimes the greatest aid we can bring is information and linking people up to services. May we always be conscious of the important of sharing information and helping others to link into the services and community activities around. God, for all who are lonely and separated from loved ones, we pray that we would be able to connect, visit and support and be a bridge for them. Thank you Jesus for being our bridge from isolation from God and one another.
4. Vulnerability: people who have no buffer or reserve to cope with disasters or life struggles, people who have no choices or options to cope with meeting essential needs.
Lord we are conscious that whether through natural or man-made disasters, many families are vulnerable to the struggles of life. We pray for families caught up in:
• The Syria civil war
• The families affected by the fires in Australia
• The civil unrest in Mali
• The high unemployment in Greece
• The families still recovering in Haiti post the earthquake and storms.
• The community recovering from the shooting at the Newton school in the USA
• For those who have been forced into roles (e.g. criminal, prostitution) in order to survive
• For young people who cannot access training, education or find jobs.
5. Powerlessness: limited or no ability to influence life and decisions around themselves and their community, (e.g. the social systems restricts them, no freedom to vote or to have a say in their life)
Lord, thank you for the social reaction to the rape of the student in Delhi – the protests and the raising awareness of the role and treatment of women in India. We pray for her family as they mourn for her and ask that the government and activists would use this devastating tragedy to transform society. That women would be able to move towards grater equality and respect in this society.
6. Spiritual Poverty: whether through a lack of knowledge, through oppression and lack of freedom or through rebellion, for all who have no relationship or a dysfunctional relationship with God.
Lord, we know that you so loved the world that you sent Jesus to restore our broken relationship with you, with one another and with creation. Thank you for this gift of new life. May our lives reflect this as we share your truth with one another. May it impact every part of our life. Lord my we move into 2013 inspired and motivated to seek holistic transformation in all aspects of life.