A congregation in Kentucky gathered hundreds of handwritten prayers for children suffering abuse as part of its “1,000 Prayers for Children" project during Advent to raise awareness about the crisis.
According to a report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau, Kentucky has the highest rate of child abuse per capita in the nation.
Shelah Woodruff, director of Outreach at Christ Church United Methodist of Louisville, which collected the handwritten prayers from Dec. 1 through Dec. 24, told The Christian Post that they centered their awareness efforts on prayer because “we believe that God transforms lives and situations through prayer.”
“Through prayer, we believe God can change the lives of children suffering from abuse, the lives of their abusers, the lives of their caseworkers, and even our own lives. Prayer shapes who we are as God calls to us and we respond,” Woodruff said.
“We chose advent as this is the time in the Christian Church when we celebrate Christ’s birth and the light He brings into the world. As John tells us, ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.’”
Woodruff explained that many members of Christ Church work either as volunteers or professionally with children who have experienced abuse.
“We have a number of partner organizations who work specifically with abused and neglected children, and as a congregation we believe that blessing children — meeting their needs for food, shelter, education, hope and love — is essential to our vision as a church and as the body of Christ,” she continued.
The display included over 350 handwritten prayers written by members of the church.
“We recognize this takes time. We also recognize that we have a long way to go,” Woodruff added. “We don’t know where this will lead us. We are taking this first step in faith, trusting that God will open our hearts and reveal how we might respond with our individual gifts and graces, and as a church.”