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Praying and Learning about Haiti

The horrific news from Haiti has filled your living room. News reports a unimaginable death toll between 100,000 to 200,000 people. 3 million people were affected. Nearly the entire capital city of Port-au-Prince is devastated and covered in rubble. Is it too late to help? The initial media-enthusiasm is waning, yet millions of people in Haiti remain desperately in need.

As Christian families, what can we do?

As headlines begin to focus on other matters, how can you remember Haiti? In your homeschooling, how can you continue to share this situation with your children? Is it too late to give in a way that could genuinely make a difference? And yes, you know you could “pray” with you kids about this situation and need . . . but do you realize that PRAYER, especially as a family, is not a little thing!

PRAYER IS NEEDED. It’s something that your family can do. It’s something BIG.

Does PRAYER really make a difference?

We all know, at least in our heads, that prayer is important. Yet how many of us honestly believe that our prayers, the simple prayers of our far-from-perfect family, can really make a difference? If we could comprehend, deep down in our spirits, the true power of prayer, we would all pray more-and the difference would radically impact our lives and the lives of everyone around us.

James 5:16 tells us, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” We want our prayers to be effective, but what does it mean to stand “righteous” before God?

As a family, we’re very aware of our differences and our faults. We’ve all sinned, and we need to acknowledge that no one of earth can stand blameless before our perfect, holy, and awesome God. No matter how good we try to be, our own works are nothing but filthy rags in His sight (see Isaiah 64:6). To pray effectively as a family, we need to grasp the importance of the “fear of the Lord.” We don’t need to be “afraid” of God in a fearful sense of the word, but we need to realize how powerful and mighty He is.

IDEAS TO HELP YOUR FAMILY PRAY for HAITI:

LOOK AT PHOTOS:
Find pictures of the needs in Haiti, and talk with your kids about specific ways your family can pray. Encourage your kids to PRAY for both those who are hurting & those who are helping. Here are photos from the DAY of the EARTHQUAKE in HAITI, and also encouraging photos from SAMARITANS PURSE of the RESCUE EFFORT.

READ ABOUT HAITI:
For example, read pages about “HAITI – A LAND FREED BY SLAVES” – from children’s world mission book, WINDOW ON THE WORLD, the children’s version of Operation World, published by Authentic/Paternoster.

Other Helpful Links for Teaching about Haiti:

Caribbean Geography Quiz :
http://www.lizardpoint.com/fun/geoquiz/caribquiz.html

Facts about Haiti for Kids:
http://www.thejuliaproject.com/facts-about-haiti.html

Operation World – Praying for Haiti:
http://www.operationworld.org/country/hait/owtext.html

Missions Atlas Project – For World Missions:
http://worldmap.org/

Kids Around the World – Links to Learn about Haiti:
http://www.katw.org/pages/sitepage.cfm?id=154

40-Day Mission-Minded FAMILY CHALLENGE:
8 weeks to become a more effective family, for eternity. Daily 4-5 minute videos.
http://harvestministry.org/challenge

MAKE A POSTER:
Have your children print out pictures of children and people in Haiti. Put the photo up on your fridge, or on your kitchen wall.

USE A MAP:
Put a small map of Haiti on your refrigerator, and use this area to display current international news updates from the Haiti situation. Pray as a family, perhaps around the dinner table, for specific needs in Haiti, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

LEARN ABOUT FASTING:
WATCH a VIDEO with your CHILDREN about PRAYER & FASTING for KIDS. Consider taking a day, or a few days, to pray, and even to FAST for HAITI. Perhaps they could “fast” just one meal, or eat only fruit and vegetables. Many children in Haiti are deperately in need of food and water. As we fast, it can help us to remember those who are hungry, both physically and spiritually. They need prayer!!!

GIVE SOMETHING!
Your kids need to know that as a family, you care. My dad often said, “A little bit of somethin’ is better than a whole lot of nothin’!” In Luke 21:2, Jesus commended the widow who gave only two small coins!!! Our family knows a national minister in India who receives only $100 a month, and he chose to give $50 of his support to help the needs in Haiti, through Samaritan’s Purse. (And by the way, if your family has ever participated in “Operation Christmas Child” by filling shoeboxes, it’s wonderful to show your children that the ministry of Samaritan’s Purse is far-reaching in many other areas).

PRAY for ORPHANS of HAITI!!!
Even before the earthquake, there were many orphans in the country of Haiti. Now the need is even greater. PRAY HARD for these orphan children. Pray that Christian families around the world would feel God’s love for these children and want to open their homes to ADOPT a child from HAITI. PRAY for orphan children to be brought to a safe place (many orphanages were destroyed, and many orphans are now sleeping outside, with little food or water). Read James 1:27. God has a HUGE heart for orphan children. Do you?

TEACH YOUR KIDS ABOUT PRAYER, WITH FILTHY RAGS:
The next time you come across an extremely dirty rag in your house, use it an opportunity to share an important lesson with your kids. We may think our own self-efforts help us earn “Brownie points” with God. But, to Him, our human works are as worthless as stinky rags. If we try to earn favor with God-instead of trusting in Jesus-it’s like collecting yucky rags. The more they pile up, the more they stink and mildew.

In prayer, each of us must come to God in an attitude of total surrender and humility, keeping our hearts clean and open before Him. Through the cleansing sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, every mom and dad, and boy and girl, can pray as a “righteous man” before God. Because of Christ’s forgiveness and righteousness, even your family can come before God with boldness and authority to effectively intercede on behalf of others.

Do something BIG for HAITI, as a FAMILY.

PRAY.

Ann Dunagan and her husband Jon have ministered worldwide with Harvest Ministry.