Thanks to Vernita Kennen of Incarnation Lutheran Church for sharing this Great Idea via the St Paul Area Synod’s (ELCA) News & Events letter.

After participating in an ELCA World Hunger webinar on ‘Hunger and Conflict’, Vernita Kennen vowed to have a world map next to her when she reads the paper. Her blog begins:

‘I’m going to locate the conflict area mentioned in the newspaper, be it in Africa (South Sudan), the Middle East (Yemen), or the Americas (Haiti). I’ll pay attention to the neighboring countries and to the distance and relationships with our United States of America.”

Inspired by concrete knowledge of location and proximity, Kennen then will pray for the country, their government, those in power, and ‘those living in hunger and fear’.

This would be a beautiful spiritual exercise for individuals and an entire congregation. A commitment to truly know where events are happening deepens both compassion and empathy as we learn to relate more closely and fully with the suffering – and oppressive actions – of others.

Additionally, children and young people love maps. This could be a fantastic interactive gathering – a way to open or close regular Wednesday evening or Sunday morning activities. It could also be a part of regular Sunday morning worship intercessory prayers.

Encourage the practice at home by inviting all ages to listen to or read the news together as a household, choose one particular news item that sparked interest or particular concern, share that in the congregational setting, then map and pray for those collected areas of concern.

In worship, let the young people introduce the prayer concerns and locate those areas on a large map, globe, or projection.

Could prayer time then lead to action? Individuals might make a proposal for congregational action intervention, then let the group decide how best to use the passion and resources available. How might your congregation grow in global awareness, prayer time, family bonding over shared concerns, and individual or congregational action? This seems like a great starting point.