Micah Challenge Prayer, Friday 19 September 2008

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Thank you for sharing and praying with the worldwide Micah Challenge community. We hope this email is challenging, inspiring and spurs us on!

Apologies to everyone who received the Prayer email last week several times. This was due to technical difficulties- and bit of human error.


How can a poor community hold their elected Member of Parliament accountable who hasn’t visited them for the whole 5-year period of office? And what were the outcomes when a community managed to engage their local politicians?

This week’s reflection is a follow-up article on the Mapalo community’s ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ in Zambia’s Copperbelt.

Since the elections in 2006

· The government has agreed to fund a new middle school;

· The government funded 13 churches to carry out HIV prevention work;

· A water company has constructed outlets for people to buy safe drinking water;

· An essential bridge, that becomes difficult to pass each rainy season, has been assessed so that sustainable improvements can be made;

· The government has promised to up-grade the community from an illegal settlement to a ‘site and service community’.

In Exodus 18:1-27 we read of the first structural division of responsibility in governance.
Moses ‘chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves.’(Exodus 19:25+26)


Let us pray:

· For our local and provincial political leaders, that they may govern wisely and with dedication to the people who have elected them.

You may want to pray for them by name.

· For Micah Challenge Portugal. João Pedro Martins, the facilitator for MC Portugal writes:

‘We are preparing various exciting activities in Portugal in the next weeks and would be very grateful for your prayers.
Micah Challenge Portugal will be “on the road” from October 12 to 19. The campaign theme is “8 days to change the world” - (8 MDGs, 8 bible passages about poverty);

I also beg your prayers for an open letter against poverty which is promoted by Micah Challenge Portugal but also subscribed to by Catholic and Non-Christian organizations. At the moment we are collecting signatures to publish the letter in the main national newspaper.

· Reflecting on the brief excerpt from the recent WHO report below:

Lord, we long for more equity in our world and today pray particularly that governments’ social and economic policies will increasingly have an impact on poor people’s access to health systems.

We pray that every boy and girl in this world can grow up and develop to its full potential and live a flourishing life.

Meditate on the Statistics

As you spend time in prayer and reflection, you may like to take a moment to silently understand with your heart the focus statistic we include each week (see below). Our hope is that you will find this series of statistics a useful resource in preparing presentations.

Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
Goal 5: Improve maternal health
Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

‘Social justice is a matter of life and death. It affects the way people live, their consequent chance of illness, and their risk of premature death. We watch in wonder as life expectancy and good health continue to increase in parts of the world and in alarm as they fail to improve in others. A girl born today can expect to live for more than 80 years if she is born in some countries – but less than 45 years if she is born in others. Within countries there are dramatic differences in health that are closely linked with degrees of social disadvantage. Differences of this magnitude, within and between countries, simply should never happen.

These inequities in health, avoidable health inequalities, arise because of the circumstances in which people grow, live, work, and age, and the systems put in place to deal with illness. The conditions in which people live and die are, in turn, shaped by political, social, and economic forces.

Social and economic policies have a determining impact on whether a child can grow and develop to its full potential and live a flourishing life, or whether its life will be blighted. Increasingly the nature of the health problems rich and poor countries have to solve are converging. The development of a society, rich or poor, can be judged by the quality of its population’s health, how fairly health is distributed across the social spectrum, and the degree of protection provided from disadvantage as a result of ill-health…

Social injustice is killing people on a grand scale.’
Source: Closing the gap in a generation: health equity through action on the social determinants of health, WHO, September 2008
Executive Summary:http://whqlibdoc.who.int/hq/2008/CACHE_DUVIE=531a0ddc500b476beb5bd4e16a99a3fd/WHO_IER_CSDH_08.1_eng.pdf

Yours in Christ,
Regine and MC team

Please view all the Friday Prayer statistics we’ve used to date at Index of Millennium Development Goal Statistics.xls
Please see Index of Reflections on Integral Mission.xls
This email is also available in French and Spanish. Please contact Regine if you, or someone you know, would like to receive one of these versions ([email protected]).