Unrelenting Provision

The coronavirus is having downstream effects on efforts to combat hunger and support at-risk youth.
In this episode…
  • Marian serves as the Executive Director of Father's Heart Ministries in New York City. Father's Heart offers a wide range of neighborhood programs and services helping people move from dependency to dignity and from poverty to prosperity.

  • Rick Barry is Executive Director of Center for Christian Civics, where he helps ministry leaders and faith communities develop missional approaches to their local public squares. He has worked on campaigns for local, state and federal office, is a former writer and editor for Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and oversaw communications for the Grace DC church network. He and his wife live in Washington, DC.

  • Background (0:19)
  • Interview (3:50)
  • Prayer (16:48)

Since the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 hit the US, most of the other issues that normally take up our attention in the public square have fallen from the headlines—but those stories still exist, and the coronavirus is re-shaping them in significant ways.

We continue our mini-series of mini-episodes exploring the downstream effects of the COVID-19 pandemic by interviewing Marian Hutchins of Father’s Heart Ministries. Marian shares how their hunger-prevention programs and programming for children and teens have been disrupted by emergency measures, how they are getting creative about maintaining their connection to their guests, and how we can think about continuing to serve our neighbors in the midst of a pandemic. 

IDENTIFY YOUR GIFTS

“By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me is not without effect.”

It’s easy to feel helpless during a public health crisis, but God equips his people to make his grace felt. Spend some time in prayer and in conversation with people who know you well asking what you’re good at—what gifts and skills God has given you—and think about how organizations serving your neighbors may be able to benefit from those skills. Consider calling organizations that are still offering services and offer a way to help.

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Prayer

Almighty God, we hurt to see our neighbors suffer from a lack of food, especially vulnerable women, children and the homeless. We see and internalize the praise you offer in Matthew 25:35, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.” We ask that you sustain ministries like Father’s Heart Ministries in New York City as they feed people daily and offer them comfort.

Pour out your grace on hungry families, especially desperate parents, sick with anxiety about feeding their children, or for those children who found school to be a safe place, one that met their most basic needs. Open our eyes to those who are at the greatest risk of going unseen. And as Psalm 107:9 reminds us, “You fill the hungry with good things.”

Merciful provider, as you rained down manna on the Israelites, we pray for unexpected assistance to those struggling for food security in our own cities and around the world. Create conditions for not just survival, but thriving. We know you offer both restoration and generosity.

Holy Spirit, help us find words on behalf of those who live fragile lives. Give us a perspective that all gifts and blessings come from you. Soften their worry and pain on normal days and offer the balm of your everlasting promises during extraordinary times. We ask for your protection of their bodies as a virus wrecks your creation. You did not design this world for chaos and suffering.

For ministries facing immense needs, suround them with additional voices to pray, donors to give and eager volunteers to serve. In Isaiah 58:10, the promise stands, “If you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness and your night will become like the new day.”

This is a time when lives will truly be saved or lost. Give discernment and wisdom to those fighting hunger. They know the current need is severe, but the recovery will come in unrelenting waves. Anchor them in your final triumph over hunger and death. Guide their steps as they act out your mercy. We ask these things because the hungry and hurt are part of your kingdom.

May the church advance this mission boldly because the gospel unites and satisfies souls. Let all saints look forward to the meals we will have together in heaven, but also meet the needs of our neighbors in the present. We ask this in your name,

Amen.

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