BROKEN families will be prayed for by hundreds of thousands of
people in more than 40 countries this weekend.
The World Weekend of Prayer, organised by the international
charity for children Viva, is held every year over the first
weekend of June. This year, Christians are encouraged to pray for
"children whose families are struggling, whose families are broken,
or whose families are absent".
Resources for churches highlight that half of all those living
in refugee camps around the world are children; that 132 million
children are on record as "orphans"; and that, every day, 39,000
girls become "child brides".
Last year, 87,000 children, and 800 churches around the world,
took part in the prayer event, and prayer marches were held in some
"It's very much a global event," the communications manager at
Viva, Andrew Dubock, said this month. "Prayers take place even in
places where it is tricky to be a Christian, like Pakistan." In the
community in which they lived, "it is a beacon. Children at risk in
countries are praying for other children in other countries. It's
not 'us and them', but 'them and them'."
Viva was founded in 1996 by Patrick McDonald. Its mission is to
co-ordinate collective action in cities around the world, based on
the belief that "a network of churches and community organisations,
locally focused and united in purpose, is the best possible vehicle
for bringing lasting change for children".
The charity works in 21 different countries, supporting
thousands of projects that work with children at risk in 35
city-wide networks. Each network links together small and large
NGOs, enabling them to share resources and expertise.
Mr McDonald was inspired to set up the charity after a visit to
Paraguay as a 17-year-old, when he discovered four different
churches providing food for street children in a park on Mondays.
None of the churches was aware of the work of the others, so the
children feasted on Mondays, and starved the rest of the week.
For resources for the World Weekend of Prayer, visit www.viva.org/world-weekend-of-prayer.aspx.