How many children in your community know how to balance a checkbook? How many adults do?
Financial illiteracy adds challenges to already difficult situations. If someone is struggling with poverty, not only does that person need employment opportunities and training. He or she also needs life skills to sustain that employment and provide for his or her family.
Many community organizations put volutneers to work, sharing and teaching life skills. Poverty is not the only stumbling block to learning life skills. In my own community, we have children living practically homeless, often without adult supervision; grandparents, aunts, and uncles trying to raise more children than they can care for; parents in jail; extreme levels of addiction in the population; and few corporate jobs or work-training programs.
Fortunately, our community has responded to these challenges with many organizations fueled by volunteers. As prayer warriors, it is important that we get to know the volunteer programs in our community, and not only join one that’s appropriate for us, but also pray for one or two others. Each of us can ask the Lord: “Where should I volunteer to help my community? And please show me one or two organizations You would have me pray for.” It’s important not to overextend, but to hear strategically from the Lord. One person can’t be everywhere or pray for everyone. But the Lord can orchestrate many willing hearts, so that everything is covered, and we are praying in unity.
To gain some experience in praying for a volunteer organization, let’s look at one that made a difference to me when I was a teenager: Junior Achievement. When I was in high school, I learned life skills, entrepreneurship, and how to serve as a corporate officer through my JA company. I received a sense of self-worth by the fact that several corporate employees gave up one night a week to mentor us. And the life skills and financial literacy I was taught by my parents were reaffirmed and put to work in our JA company.
Recently, I was thrilled to learn from a teacher-friend that JA still exists, and has revamped for the young population of today. They provide weekly entrepreneurial and financial literacy training at learning centers, as well as “JA days” in the classroom. What a great opportunity for children K-12, as well as for the adults who volunteer.
I would encourage you to take a look at the JA website and see what they are offering. How might we pray strategically together for JA, or for other organizations like them?
Here are a few suggested prayer points:
- Pray that the children will discover their God-given identities and a sense of self-worth.
- Pray for hope to spread through the communities this organization is serving.
- Pray that the children will discover God has provided this opportunity for them (James 1:17).
- Pray that the volunteers will not overextend or grow weary in doing good (Galatians 6:9).
- Pray for the Fruits of the Spirit to be exhibited by volunteers (Galatians 5:22-23).
- Pray that as the children are helped, whole families and neighborhoods will be impacted.
- Pray for creative ideas for teaching life and work skills to each child.
- Pray that the organization has sufficient volunteers, funds, and resources, and invests these wisely into the lives of the children and communities.
- Pray for protection for the children and volunteers, and that the organization effectively screens out individuals who intend to harm the children.
- Pray that the body of Christ will learn, through organizations like this, how to make a difference in the lives of the people in the community where God has planted them.
Let’s each take a few minutes and pray through these points together for the JA nearest you. Your prayers right at this moment will make a difference for JA and those children today. They will feel your prayers, they will experience breakthroughs by God’s power, and they will have an amazing day. How awesome is that! As we pray together, there is strength in our combined prayers.
What are other ways you would pray for Junior Achievement and organizations like it? Which organizations are doing similar work in your community?