Blessed are the Children: A Prayer for Orphan Sunday

Dawn Davenport


What can we do to aid the orphan crisis?

What can we do to aid the orphan crisis?

This Sunday is Orphan Sunday. Why dedicate a Sunday to orphans? There is so much need in our world, so many valuable and good causes which claim our attention, it’s easy for even the best of causes to fall through the cracks. Hard to believe something as large and urgent as the orphan crisis could be overlooked, but it happens and is happening.

What You Can Do

This Sunday is our chance to focus the attention of our churches on the parentless children in the world.  Why not call your church or place of worship and ask if you can share a few facts and a prayer.   I’ve done the work for you on pulling the facts together and even wrote a prayer.

  • Fact: Nearly 145 million children throughout the world have lost one or both parents.
  • Fact: There are 107,000 children in the US Foster Care system waiting to be adopted.
  • Fact: Every day 5,760 more children in the world become orphans.
  • Fact: Every 2 seconds, an orphan dies from malnutrition.
  • Fact: Around the world, 17 million children have been orphaned by the AIDS crisis. If all these children held hands, they would stretch half way across the globe.
  • Fact: 6,000 children are orphaned by AIDS every day. That is one newly orphaned child every 14 seconds.
  • Fact: In sub-Saharan Africa alone, more than 18 million children – more than all the children in the United Kingdom–have lost at least one parent to AIDS.  This number equates to 12% of all the children in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Fact: 20% of the adult population in sub-Saharan Africa has been impacted by AIDS; therefore, orphaned children not only lose their parents, but also aunts, uncles, grandparents, teachers, health workers and civil servants. Remaining extended family members are often overwhelmed with caring for the many children of dead relatives.
  • Fact: For every 3 months in an orphanage a child loses one month of growth and development.
  • Fact: By 2015 it is projected that there will be 400 million orphaned children worldwide.

A Prayer for Orphan Sunday

James 1:27 tells us that the religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is to look after orphans and widows in their distress. The need is great, but so is our God.

Dear God, thank you for the blessing of children. Thank you for their noise, their silliness, their innocence.  We need more noise, silliness and innocence in our world.  But there are millions of children who have precious little opportunity for noisiness and silliness, and who don’t have the luxury of innocence.

You tell us that the meek shall inherit the earth, and surely parentless children are the meekest of all your creations.  Indeed these children, as all children, will inherit the earth.  These children, as all children, need food to grow, shelter to survive, education to reach their potential, and love to become emotionally stable human beings.  Usually, providing this food, shelter, education and love is the duty and joy of parents, but when there are no parents, you tell us it is our responsibility.

Help us Oh God to fulfill this responsibility.  Help us to understand how best to care for your children when their parents can’t.  Help us to spread our energy and money in ways to benefit the most.

Sometimes I’m overwhelmed with the enormity of the task.  It seems that there are so many of them near and far, and so few of us and so little money.   Fortunately, your love is greater than the task.  Please God, help us to create a world where all children can be noisy, silly, and innocent, and where all children can grow up to reach the potential for which they were created.

Thanks God, Amen.

Image credit: H?ITRÌNH

01/11/2011 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog | 11 Comments

11 Responses to Blessed are the Children: A Prayer for Orphan Sunday

  1. Avatar Dawn says:

    Oh Cathy, thanks so much for the link! And good suggestion for changing the language for when secular language is more appropriate.

  2. Avatar B.B. says:

    I gave the prayer at our church and so many people were touched. Thank you for what you do to make us aware of orphans.

  3. Avatar Didi says:

    I did it. I called our church and asked if I could read a prayer and give some facts for Orphans Sunday and they said sure. Our church has never celebrated orphan Sunday before. I read your prayer and facts and they were really well received. Next step–an orphans ministry???!!! Thanks for doing the work for me.

  4. Avatar Sadye says:

    Bless you.

  5. Avatar Karen says:

    Thank you, Dawn, for sharing these hard-hitting facts with us all. I often read your blog but today, for some reason, felt particularly inclined to leave a comment. I’m writing to you from Italy, where the adoption bureaucracy is enough to put anyone off. I sometimes come in from a long hard day and wonder whether I’ve got the strength to keep at it. After reading this now I thought to myself, I know I’ll just find the strength somehow.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Karen, I think those of us in the US sometimes don’t realize that while our system is not perfect, it is easier for us than for others in many countries. Hang in there!! And thanks for commenting! I love comments. 🙂

  6. Avatar Jamie says:

    Oh, Dawn, that was beautiful. The enormity of the need so easily overwhelms… but that’s when I’m seeing with my own eyes, not God’s.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Jamie, I know what you mean. I choose to focus on the many people coming together to help solve the problem. I guess “solve” isn’t the right word…perhaps I should say, to make a dent in it.

  7. Avatar MamaBev says:

    God Bless all the people who are involved in caring for the children, those who are caregivers, adoptive parents and who support the workers with their prayers and gifts.

  8. Avatar Baby Hopes says:

    I love this coming Sunday. To me, our son and daughter, whom we are still waiting for to come home, are not orphans… nor have they ever been. They have always been our children, just under the care of others until we could come together as a family.

    But for adoptive parents and families, I think this Sunday reminds us that there are children who are still without their families. They may have families on the way, or they may not. To me, James 1:27 is never applicable to one’s own children. But it is a stark reminder that we always have a commitment to care for children without families. I personally don’t feel adoption is a response to James 1:27 – it’s a response to one’s own children. Our response to James 1:27 should be to always contribute to organizations and individuals caring for orphans… whether we personally adopt of not.

    I fear that if and when parents adopt out of some missional or savior complex, they set up for children to feel indebted or never really a “true” or “full” part of the family. I do think adoption is a blessing in that it teaches us in a new way how God can and does loves us so deeply as His own and adopted children. But I worry for the children of parents that adopt out of some sort of obligation or “because James 1:27 says so” rather than out of a true, deep, and loving response to God calling families together.

    All said, Orphan Sunday is a beautiful reminder for us to always, always look after and care for the orphans.

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