Invitation to Prayer, Tomorrow
Thank you for joining me in prayer for the children of the world. If you can, we'd love to have you pray together with us this Wednesday at 11:30 a.m., in the gym conference room at First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas, followed by lunch together.
Also, Faces of Children is now on Facebook ! I invite you to like our page so that you can see regular stories, prayer needs, and updates from partner ministries.
All the best,
I write these emails the week before you receive them, and last week when I was preparing the email, I didn't realize MLK Day was coming up so quickly. So this week I'm sharing something I meant to share last week -- a little belated MLK Day Celebration, if you will. It's a story I heard on a This American Life episode entitled "Kid Logic" on NPR the other week... and it stunned me with its beautiful "childish" simplicity. We have so much to learn from the child-like faith of our youngest brothers and sisters. Especially, I think, in the way they can sometimes so clearly see matters of justice and compassion and empathy and friendship and intuitively understand some of Jesus' most socially-upending messages.
"Well, it all began at Christmas two years ago when my daughter was four-years-old. And it was the first time that she had ever asked about what did this holiday mean. And so I explained to her that this was celebrating the birth of Jesus. And she want to know more about that, and we went out and bought a kid's Bible and had these readings at night. She loved them-- wanted to know everything about Jesus.
So we read a lot about his birth and about his teaching. And she would ask constantly what that phrase was. And I would explain to her that it was, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And we would talk about those old words and what that all meant.
And then one day we were driving past a big church, and out front was an enormous crucifix. She said, who is that? And I guess I'd never really told that part of the story, so I had to sort of, yeah, well, that's Jesus, and I forgot to tell you the ending. Yeah. Well, you know, he ran afoul of the Roman government. This message that he had was so radical and unnerving to the prevailing authorities of the time that they had to kill him. They came to the conclusion that he would have to die. That message was too troublesome.
It was about a month later after that Christmas. We'd gone through the whole story of what Christmas meant. It was mid-January, and her preschool celebrates the same holidays as the local schools, so Martin Luther King Day was off. So I knocked off work that day and I decided we'd play, and I take her out to lunch. And we were sitting in there and right on the table where we happened to plop down was the art section of the local newspaper.
And there, big his life, was a huge drawing by like a 10-year-old kid from the local schools of Martin Luther King. And she said, who's that? And I said, well, as it happens, that's Martin Luther King, and he's why you're not in school today. So we're celebrating his birthday. This is the day we celebrate his life. And she said, so who was he? I said, well, he was a preacher. And she looks up at me and goes, for Jesus? And I said yeah. Yeah, actually he was, but there was another thing that he was really famous for, which is that he had a message.
And you're trying to say this to a four-year-old. This is the first time they ever hear anything so you're just very careful about how you phrase everything. So I said, well, yeah, he was a preacher and he had a message. She said, what was his message? And I said, he said that you should treat everybody the same no matter what they look like. She thought about that for a minute, and she said, well, that's what Jesus said.
And I said, yeah, I guess it is. You know, I never thought of it that way, but yeah. And that is sort of like do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And she thought for a minute and looked at me and said, did they kill him, too?"
This week, please join me in praying for the following matters:
Getty Images Photo
This Saturday, January 17 is the Women's March in Washington and in at least 57 other countries. While the phrase "women's rights" can be a contentious and hot-button phrase, there are many issues that we can all agree are wrong. Take the practice of 'Chhaupadi' in Nepal. Literally translated as "untouchable being," this outlawed practice still happens in rural areas with some estimates saying nearly 95 percent of women in certain rural areas practice it. Menstruating girls and women are shunned and forced to live in sheds during their period, unable to eat normal food, attend school, interact with other family members, or have access to the household. Last month, a 15-year-old girl died due to suffocation after she lit a fire in a poorly ventilated shed to stay warm while she went to sleep.
Please pray for this practice to become socially unacceptable. Pray for brave women and families to stand up against it, challenging the status quo and changing the social traditions. And for the women and girls who continue to practice this, please pray for their safety and protection.
• Read more here ...
STORY OF HOPE
USA // Notorious Sex Trafficking Website Shuts Down its 'Adult Services' Section
In what is being seen as a major victory by anti-sex trafficking advocates, the notorious website backpage.com has officially shut down it's adult services ads. The Ringer recently called the site "a breeding ground for child rape" and for years, lawmakers and law enforcement agencies have been attempting to close it and go after the people who run it. Backpage is essentially a Craigslist-like online classifies site, but its critics say that its "adult services" allowed users to essentially solicit prostitution through thinly veiled ads all while the site made millions." According to the New York Times, the site "is implicated in almost three-quarters of the reports of child trafficking" in the country. After years of avoiding legal action, the pressure finally worked and this method for abusing children has been stopped. Praise God for this victory!
Please pray the legal action holds and that another alternative doesn't immediate spring up in its absence. And while this is a major anti-trafficking victory, there are still thousands of victims caught in trafficking rings. Please pray for their safety, freedom, restoration, and healing.
• Read more here ...
DISPLACED NOT MISPLACED
MYANMAR // Rohingya Tell of Rape, Fire and Death in Myanmar
Pray for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her government to take notice and stop the mistreatment. The winner of a Nobel Peace Prize and long-time critic of Myanmar's brutality towards its many ethnic groups, she has been largely silent on the treatment of the Rohingya, much to the surprise of many supporters. Pray for the other nations of the world to know how to respond and turn these friendless people into supported people. Finally pray that in the midst of the abuse and mistreatment, the Rohingya do not become easy targets for radicalization.
• Read more here ...
Praying with you,
Carrie J. McKean
Faces of Children Director
First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas
(432) 684-7821 x153
* This is a phrase we have borrowed, with permission, from our friends at Partner's Relief and Development.
If you have prayer requests about children, those who care for them, those who have authority over them, or those who harm them (the really hard prayers to say sometimes), please send them to email@example.com