Christians Against Poverty is bringing hope to those that a struggling in poverty and the cost of living crisis. Find out how you can pray…
Hope. This four-letter word can mean so much. It can be the glimmer of light in a dark time. The reason to keep going when all seems lost. The joy breaking through the misery.
But, as the cost of living crisis worsens, people across the UK are struggling to see any hope in their situation. Rising costs mean people are desperately struggling to afford the basic essentials, with 7.9 million people in the UK going without any heating or electricity and 8.5 million skipping meals.
Right now, across the UK and right here in your community, there are people living in the middle of very real poverty – neighbours with empty cupboards, fridges and stomachs; a father unable to heat his cold and damp home; a mother for whom basic sanitary products are out of reach. These harsh realities are being faced by people like Holly, who felt like there was nowhere to turn.
Holly is a mother of a three-year-old who lives in Scotland. This is her experience of her dark time in debt and poverty.
‘Poverty can leave you feeling like there’s nowhere to turn. There’s no refuge from it. It takes over your life and invades your home, one letter at a time. The rattle of the letter box isn’t a Christmas card – it’s another debt letter. The knock at the door isn’t carol singers – it’s a debt collector. As the cost of living rises, I know more people are feeling panicked, hopeless and afraid.’
It’s difficult to hear these statistics and stories, and even more difficult when you remember that these numbers are the realities of people who are made and loved by God.
But there is always hope. The Christian faith teaches of the power of hope in our all-knowing and all-powerful God.
The Old and New Testaments highlight that God is committed to mending and restoring people’s lives, relationships and communities to bring freedom and flourishing. Jesus surrounded himself with, and lived among, the socially, politically and economically powerless and excluded. He wants to invite all to a place of hope and abundant life.
God has particular compassion for the poor, and wants his people to have the same heart and mind (Psalm 82; Galatians 2:10, Proverbs 31:8-9; Matthew 25:37-46). The charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is rooted in this very foundation.
Through practical support offered by Christians across the UK, people like Holly have been offered a light in the darkness.
‘Imagine being in a room that’s pitch black. The doors are shut. The curtains are closed. Then, someone opens the door and there’s a light. There’s a way out of that darkness. That was Irene (CAP Debt Coach, Kirkintilloch). She brought an emergency support package to take some of the financial strain off me, while we worked on a plan to clear the debts. There were daily essentials, but also special Christmas things. It was such a relief.’
The provision of support is essential and every glimmer of hope is valuable. However, more than this, CAP has a vision of transformed lives, thriving churches, and an end to UK poverty, where everyone experiences equal dignity, freedom and opportunity. To reach this goal there will also need to be changes to wider systems and structures that currently push people into financial hardship, and keep them trapped there. As Christians, we know that we cannot achieve this alone. We need to come together practically, and also in prayer.
This is where your prayers come in. God is needed. And thankfully, God is in the business of restoration. He intervenes to break the cycle of decline and despair. Whether you’re familiar with praying, or if this is the first time that you’ve had a conversation with God, we welcome you to join us in prayer. Here is a prayer to get you started:
We ask for strength through the testing times ahead, and that we may keep our eyes open to those who are struggling in our communities, moving our hearts into action to do your will.
We ask that those who follow Jesus will bring about your kingdom through acts of love and compassion and that the Church will be bold and empowered to bring the endless love of Jesus to those in need.
We pray that those tormented by doubt and worry may be guided by your light to courageously step forward and seek support from charities such as Christians Against Poverty, and begin their journey to hope.
In Jesus’ name.
Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is a Christian charity tackling UK poverty. CAP equips UK churches to serve their community, empowering them to provide financial education and support through award-winning debt help and community groups. CAP works hand-in-hand with hundreds of local churches to tackle UK poverty by delivering free debt help, money management education, job clubs and life skills groups.
For more information on CAP’s free debt help and other free services, visit capuk.org.