30 Days of Prayer for the Voiceless
(Addressing Global Issues of Gender-Based Injustice)
This is not an easy book to read; the meditations are not easy either, but well worth the effort. The topics are heavy, difficult and clearly make you uncomfortable. I twice attempted to read it before I was able to finish. But what I experienced over 30 days was an incredible feeling of God’s presence in my life and repeated examples of God answering prayer.
This is a devotional book—for each day you learn about issues that range from refugees and teenage mothers to rape and female genital mutilation. Then you read an account of how one of these abuses could play out in real life. Then scripture teaches about God’s goodness and adoration of His creation, or His fairness and redemption. Afterwards the reader is invited to pray over three thoughts and an action point.
The editors acknowledge the reader may get upset and angry. They suggest God shares these emotions. The goal of the publication is to mobilize 100,000 Christians to pray and take action over 30 days. They hope to create a powerful prayer movement. I find this very encouraging and empowering and believe our loving God will honour these prayers.
I love to read the paper with my morning coffee; and as I read this book I was amazed at what started to happen. The first topic was on child prostitution. One of the prayer points was that God would arise and defend the little ones. Three days later an international child prostitution ring was busted. The topic for day two was AIDS and that very day in the newspaper was an editorial letter calling on governments to intervene more swiftly against this epidemic. Then there was the Shafia family honour killings horror; the issue was in the devotional. It seemed to me that almost every day God was responding to the prayers associated with this text. Was this just coincidence? I don’t think so. I believe God was acting justly on a global scale and with the power of prayer I was a participant in God’s plan.
Going through the exercise of the book a second time, I found my awakenings deepen. For example, there is a chapter on purdah, which is the practice of secluding women from public observation by covering their bodies from head to toe. It also can include social isolation by keeping women confined to their homes. The action point was to create a log for 48 hours, recording every time you left home and what you did. Reflect on how different your life would be if you were confined to your home. I was sitting in a lodge surrounded by the majestic Rocky Mountains on summer vacation, after spending the day in Banff and going out for dinner. I thanked God for the freedom I enjoy on a daily basis and asked Him to break the bonds of segregation that still exist in our society.
Psalm 12:5 says, “‘Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise,’ says the Lord.” I feel strongly that I witnessed God’s active presence in my life through action and awareness over the last two summers. I challenge you to become aware of these unjust issues and pray about them.