Women of Hope Blog
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Jul26FriJuly 26, 2019 the TWR Women of Hope Ministry Team
Praying for Those Affected by Child Marriages
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- TWR Women of Hope Prayer Calendar
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Marriage is God’s idea: one man and one woman joined together before God and pledging love and respect for each other.
How this picture is in stark contrast to the marriages of the 650 million girls and women in our world today who were married as mere children, often against their wishes! Sadly, it is a problem of true global proportions that affects every country, culture, ethnicity and religion. Child marriage involves any marriage or union where one or both individuals are under 18. It may also be a forced marriage that takes place without the full consent of one or both individuals.
For thousands of years, child marriage has been practiced around the world. Cultural traditions, the belief that girls are inferior to boys and economic hardships that threaten families have all played parts in keeping this dangerous custom alive.
Child marriage is devastating to girls, their children and culture in general. As children, girls are not ready physically or emotionally to become wives or mothers. With underdeveloped bodies, they risk complications in pregnancy such as fistulas (vaginal and anal ruptures) which may lead to long-term health issues, shame and isolation. These brides often find themselves subject to physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Their vulnerable state also leaves them open to traffickers and others with violent intent.
Fortunately, the fact that societies appear to be increasingly respecting and valuing women is leading to major changes in this area. May we be committed as Christians to pray for marriages that please and honour God.Please pray for ...
1. The 650 million girls and women who got married as children. Ask the Lord to show them that he loves them and desires to be their Saviour, redeemer and protector. (Ps. 36:7)
2. Changed minds and hearts of those who view women as inferior to and of less value than men. God created both man and woman in his image, and our value is defined through him. (Gen 1:27)
3. Local and national governments to support girls and women by providing education, health services, life skills and economic opportunities.
4. Girls who have been raped and then forced to marry the rapist to protect the family honour.
5. Child brides to find support and training needed to raise healthy children. Many nations now have initiatives that include life skills and educational support for married children.
6. Protection and places of refuge for girls who run away from home to avoid forced marriage. Ask the Lord to protect them from sex traffickers and all who would harm them. (Ps. 99:9-10)
7. Safety and protection for refugee girls and those in humanitarian crises who are at risk of physical and sexual assault.
8. The 2 million girls and women suffering from obstetric fistulas (vaginal and rectal ruptures) occurring during obstructed labour.
9. Changed minds and hearts in cultures where child brides are used to pay debts, manage disputes or settle social, economic and political alliances.
10. Child brides to find comfort and truth in God’s Word. (2 Cor. 1:3-4)
11. Every nation to set 18 as the legal minimum age of marriage. Pray for safeguards to ensure that parental consent or other exceptions would not be used to force girls into marriage.
12. Children who are born to adolescent mothers and therefore face greater health and nutritional risks. Child marriage is linked with increased risk of death to both mother and child.
13. Child brides to learn of God’s heart for them: “For your Maker is your husband. …The LORD will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit — a wife who married young, only to be rejected, says your God” (Isa. 54:5-6).
14. Child marriage to not be used as a tool of manipulation. In some cultures, a bride price is welcome income for a poor family, and a groom will receive a smaller dowry if the bride is young.
15. Husbands who have married child brides to love them and treat them with dignity and respect. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25-27).
16. God to move in the hearts and minds of communities and cultures to change their beliefs and practices regarding child marriage.
17. Child brides to have access to Women of Hope programs to encourage them spiritually and provide practical wisdom in raising their families.
18. The continuing cooperation of global, regional, national and local governmental agencies to work toward the elimination of child, early and forced marriages. (Dan. 2:21)
19. Women who married as children and have been abandoned, divorced or widowed. Pray for their provision, support and encouragement as they raise their young families.
20. Girls from poor households and rural areas who are at greater risk of becoming child brides. Many of these brides have little or no education.
21. Child brides suffering from domestic violence. Many find themselves victims of physical, sexual, verbal and emotional abuse. (Ps. 140:1)
22. The continuing decline of child marriage around the world. In the last 10 years, the number of child brides has dropped from 25% to 21% globally.
23. God’s view of marriage — as between one man and one woman — to be embraced. Pray that abstinence education will be taught and lived out in cultures around the world. (Heb. 13:4)
24. The protection of child brides. “But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you” (Ps. 5:11).
25. An end to female genital mutilation as a rite of passage to womanhood. It is usually followed by child marriage. We praise God for the progress made in Ethiopia to end these practices.
26. The creation and enforcement of laws addressing child marriage and for the removal of legal loopholes and exceptions. (Deut. 11:1)
27. Child brides to have the freedom to continue their education. A multigenerational cycle of poverty continues if girls lose this opportunity.
28. An end of child brides being forced into human trafficking, which places them at greater risk of contracting HIV infection. (Ps. 38:21-22)
29. Teachers and community leaders to teach girls that they can refuse forced marriage and to protect these girls if their parents will not listen.
30. The strengthening of child brides. “Do not be fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you up with my righteous right hand” (Isa. 41:10).
31. Fathers to love their daughters, treat them with dignity, encourage their education and defend them from harmful cultural practices. (1 Cor 13:6-7)
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