A renewal…

…For the season of Lent.

I’ll jump on the bandwagon. It’s the season of lent and as liturgical seasons go this is the marathon one. 40 days is a long stretch to sustain a focus on our creator, our relationship to one another, and the renewal of our faith. Like most people I fancy myself a solid runner in the lent race and yet I’m usually sitting on the curb by day three. I’m not admonishing anyone or myself for that matter. I am the world’s worst at saying I’m going to give something up or take something on for lent and subsequently bailing on that effort. In fact, in the last few years I’ve really been a fair weather fan. I don’t really want to even try the whole “give something up” unless I have a realistic expectation that I’m going to be able to succeed. What does that say about my approach to renewal and salvation? Pretty lame, right?

This year I took the marathon approach. I started after lent ended last spring. I decided to train up. I started asking myself the question, “What did I do for the food insecure of the world today?” There were days I forgot to ask myself the question. There were weeks that went by where I asked myself the question and didn’t have an answer other than, “I guess I’ll pray for those without enough to eat.” At first it was unsettling. I prayed 10 fold more than I was physically or financially doing. I felt guilty for not DOING more. I felt like I was shortchanging the people I wanted so badly to help. When in reality I was doing 10 times more than I was doing before I started to pray about it. Then I realized, “DUH!” that prayer was the underpinning of the entire FastPrayGive.org plan. I was so interested in going the extra mile I had forgotten the basics. What at first felt like I was short changing the suffering by not acting in some physical way every day was a false guilt. Prayer is actually doing the modicum that has to be done. We can have all the money in the world and all the physical volunteers in the world standing by to help the hungry and if we don’t have prayer how else will God know we need his help?

Now I’m NOT giving you an excuse here to just think praying for those without food is enough. However, I will say that if you took on the act of praying every day for someone with no idea where their next meal will come from you’d have a good plan for lent. Maybe you can throw in a word or two for the Holy Spirit to strengthen those in the fight to save lives from malnutrition and starvation. Maybe in addition you could pray for God to help you see how it is you can act to end hunger beyond this prayer. We need you to act in a meaningful way, but realize that if you’re not darkening the door of a soup kitchen every day that’s okay. We’d love it if you signed up to fast a meal once per week and give what you would have spent on that meal to FastPrayGive.org. We’ll take it and use it to tell others about our global movement to end world while we package meals. Try this on for size:

God- help those who seek food. Help those who seek to feed. Help me to seek how to feed others. Amen.

May God give you peace and be gracious unto you this season of renewal.

Andy Morris – executive director, fastpraygive.org

Meal Packaging Program

What Is Meal Packaging?

It is an immensely fun, hands-on and rewarding experience for anyone of any age. A group of 40 to 50 volunteers can package 10,000 meals in just two hours. FastPrayGive funds these packaging events with our partner Rise Against Hunger (formerly Stop Hunger Now). We take these packaging events into churches and settings where we can introduce people to the movement to end world hunger.

How Does This Help?

Rise Against Hunger (formerly Stop Hunger Now) meals are nutritiously sound. Every dehydrated rice/soy meal is fortified with 23 essential vitamins and nutrients. Research has shown that one in three people in developing countries are adversely affected by vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Addressing the problem of hunger is the single point where we can leverage relief for all humanitarian issues.

With your support, relief organizations such as Rise Against Hunger (formerly Stop Hunger Now) have the means to deliver to ongoing school feeding programs that sustain lifelong change. Providing a hot meal during school gives parents an incentive to send their children to school. Through receiving a primary school education, the cycle of poverty can begin to be broken by leveraging change in many other issues including education, maternal health, childhood mortality, gender equality and combating HIV/AIDS.

About Rise Against Hunger (formerly Stop Hunger Now):

Rise Against Hunger (formerly Stop Hunger Now) gets food and life-saving aid to the world’s most vulnerable people, and works to end global hunger in our lifetime. Established in 1998, they have provided over 225 million meals in 74 countries. They are based in Raleigh, N.C., and operate throughout the U.S. and through affiliates in developing countries across six continents. Rise Against Hunger (formerly Stop Hunger Now) has earned an 87.9 rating from Charity Navigator and we are proud to have them as our primary partner.