By Jon Hirst with Randy Rosso
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27
This past Sunday was not only the first day of the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, but also Orphan Sunday. As we pray for the parentless and reflect on ways to help, a great resource can be found in GMI’s Seeing Your World. Written by Andy Butcher, this book is a collection of research and information by experts on “10 key global shifts that will change the way you serve.” Chapter 2, “Women and Children,” sheds light on orphans around the world with impactful research by Pushpa Waghmare.
As stated above, we as Christians are instructed to care for orphans and widows, yet this is not always carried out.
Orphans are extremely vulnerable and at great risk to child labor, sex trafficking, lack of education, malnourishment, disease, and even death itself. What’s more, these children never receive the love that we all so desperately need. Not having an adult, family, or community to look after a young one can end up disastrous. “The global number of street children has been estimated at more than 100 million,” says Waghmare (16).
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:40
Jesus told us that when we help those in need, like orphans, we are truly doing it for Him. In that spirit, shouldn’t helping and praying for the fatherless be one of the top priorities for the Global Church? Yes, it should; we need to pray that families stay together, that children are kept off the street, that they go to bed with a full stomach, that they feel loved, that fellow believers and community members will open their homes to children in need.
These prayers should be the bare minimum in response to the huge number of orphans worldwide, estimated to be around 153 million today.
The goal of Orphan Sunday is, “that God’s great love for the orphan will find echo in our lives as well,” and that we can answer God’s call to care for these children.
What is your response going to be?
There are so many ways to help, whether it be prayer, financial support of a ministry, or even just learning more so you can help raise awareness. We encourage you to pray about how you might respond to the call.
For more information, please visit http://orphansunday.org/, or to purchase our book Seeing Your World click here.