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How to pray for the East Africa hunger crisis

A guide to help you pray for people affected by the crisis in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Somalia.

Rachael Adams | 10 Jun 2022

Woman holding her baby while sitting beside a road

A woman sits by the side of the road with her young baby in Marsabit County, Kenya. Across parts of Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Somalia, communities are facing a deadly hunger crisis | Image credit: Will Swanson/Tearfund

People across East Africa are facing starvation. A series of crises have combined to leave more than 18 million people desperately short of food. Praying for such a vast crisis can feel overwhelming, but prayer is powerful and can be part of the solution.

The worst drought in 40 years has led to harvests withering away; the invasion of Ukraine has caused the price of food imports to skyrocket; local conflicts have forced millions of people from their homes; and flash floods have been washing away what little is left.

This prayer guide for East Africa is divided into two sections: the first giving suggestions on what to pray for, and the second providing different creative prayer ideas for you and your church, group or family to use.

A boy looking into the distance

Lucia* from Uganda was forced to drop out of school to help her mother feed her family. | Image credit: Stewart Muchapera/Tearfund

What to pray for…

There are five areas we can focus our prayers on: for people affected by hunger and water shortages; for those in leadership positions; for God’s provision and love to be revealed through the church; for vulnerable adults and children; and for peace.

Pray for people affected by hunger and water shortages

Pray for world leaders and politicians

Pray for the church

Pray for vulnerable children and adults

Pray for peace

A woman in a blue shawl

A map of East Africa | Image credit: Joseph Cobb/Tearfund

Ways to pray…

Go on a prayer walk

Getting outside and going for a walk can give you a new perspective, and the things you come across during your walk can also prompt and guide your prayers. If you or anyone in your group struggles with walking, you may want to choose a location, such as a park, that has benches so that everyone can join in.

Stop and spend some time enjoying the nature around you. If you brought a camera with you, try to find something new or unusual to capture. Praise God for his wonderful creation. Focus on the weather, plants and the conditions they need to grow and flourish. If you can, listen to a worship song as you do this.

Lament for the ways in which we have destroyed and damaged our world instead of protecting it, and the impact that is having on some of the world’s poorest people – such as those in East Africa. Pray for people who are suffering due to the effects of the climate crisis. Ask God what you can do to make a difference.

Pray using a map

Using our map above, invite the Holy Spirit to reveal a particular location to you. This could be a particular town or country in East Africa.

Once you have chosen somewhere, lay your hand above it on the map. Pray for that location and the people there. Ask God to reveal specific things you can pray for, or use prayer points in this guide to help.

If doing this activity as a group, you could take it in turns to choose a location to pray over.

You can right click on the image of the map, save it to your computer and print it off. You can then keep it up as a reminder to pray for East Africa during your week.

Write a psalm

The Psalms are full of prayers and songs of lament: of pain and hurt. Of crying out to God in the dark of the night, wondering if the sun will ever rise again. They can help us to verbalise our disappointment, desperation and anger at the world around us – such as the injustice that so many people are going hungry right now in East Africa. David, who wrote many of the Psalms, even voiced his anger at God himself (Psalm 13, Psalm 79).

Begin by reading some of the Psalms to help you find the words to bring to God (Psalm 130). Then, write your own psalm of lament to God over this crisis. Ask God to move in power to help end this crisis.

‘I had twenty camels. Now I have one camel,  because of the drought,’ Chaltu*, from Ethiopia, tells us. ‘We have been faced with a lot of problems.’ Chaltu has beens struggling to find food and water for ten months – please be praying for people like her | Image credit: Leonilo Endoso/Tearfund

Thank you

Thank you for joining us in prayer for East Africa. Let’s continue to pray and act together on behalf of people suffering from hunger.

*Names changed to protect identities

  Rachael Adams

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