Christian groups begin global prayer and fasting ‘For Such a Time’




A Nigerian woman receives a bag of food at one of the distributions of aid made through the Nigeria Crisis Response. This distribution was organized by the Center for Caring, Empowerment, and Peace Initiatives, one of the Nigerian nonprofits that partner in the Nigeria Crisis Response that is a joint effort of the Church of the Brethren and Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).
Photo by Donna Parcell

A Nigerian woman receives a bag of food at one of the distributions of aid made through the Nigeria Crisis Response. This distribution was organized by the Center for Caring, Empowerment, and Peace Initiatives, one of the Nigerian nonprofits that partner in the Nigeria Crisis Response that is a joint effort of the Church of the Brethren and Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).

In a concerted effort identifying the need to work on hunger and famine relief, a number of Christian groups in the US and internationally have announced a season of prayer and fasting that began on Sunday, May 21. According to the United Nations and other experts, 20 million people are at risk of starvation in four regions--northeastern Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen--and millions more are suffering from drought and food shortages.

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Bread for the World is joining with Christian denominations and other ecumenical and faith groups in the United States in the initiative “For Such a Time as This: A Call to Prayer, Fasting, and Advocacy.” The effort is in response to the push by the US administration and members of Congress for “deep cuts to programs vital to people struggling with hunger and poverty,” said a Bread release.

The initiative began with a three-day fast starting Sunday, May 21, on the Global Day of Prayer called by the World Council of Churches and the All Africa Conference of Churches. This initial fast continues through Tuesday, May 23.

Thereafter, the initiative continues with a day of prayer and fasting on the 21st of each month “because that is the day when most individuals and families run out of SNAP [food stamp] benefits,” the release said.

Scriptural inspiration is found in the book of Esther, the story of the queen “who risked her life to ask the Persian king to save the Jewish people--her people--from genocide,” the release noted. “In the days leading up to her meeting with the king, she called for a time of national prayer and fasting. During these unsettled times, we need everyone to get involved to ensure that people struggling with hunger and poverty receive the help they need. Take inspiration from Esther and join the fast.”

The webpage www.bread.org/call-to-prayer-fasting-advocacy offers a fasting guide, a link to register as a fasting participant, and other resources. Participation in the fast also may be registered by texting FAST to 738-674.

The Church of the Brethren Global Mission and Service recommends a video call to prayer and fasting from the Episcopal Church, which is found at www.episcopalchurch.org/library/video/such-time-call-prayer-fasting-and-advocacy .

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