Pray for Trafficking Victims: Do Something

Jesus had been teaching this large crowd of people for three days. They were out in the wilderness away from any towns or food carts (hey, I’m sure they had hipsters back then too). His team was worried about everyone making it home on empty bellies which led to this exchange (Mark 6.35-37):

Late in the afternoon his disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the nearby farms and villages and buy something to eat.” But Jesus said, “You feed them.”

You do it. That’s what Jesus said. Kind of sounds like that old Army foxhole saying, “Get out there and do something because you’re going to die anyway.” But hang on, this is a prayer devotion, not a whip up volunteerism post. And there’s a bit more to the story. The disciples immediately pushed back on Jesus (Mark 6.38-41):

“With what?” they asked. “We’d have to work for months to earn enough money to buy food for all these people!”
“How much bread do you have?” he asked. “Go and find out.”
They came back and reported, “We have five loaves of bread and two fish.”
Then Jesus told the disciples to have the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of fifty or a hundred. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them.

Even Jesus prayed. There is no replacement for doing good stuff like feeding hungry people or helping trafficking victims but doing stuff. And there’s no replacement for praying for help. The two go together. Especially when faced with problems that seem insurmountable. If it’s on your heart to help trafficking victims, you should do that. And you should pray for direction in how to do that and for the help you need to actually do that.

One thing that helps in praying and finding ways to plug in to work already being done to end trafficking is to know who is already doing that work in your area. A great tool for that is, “The ENGAGE TOGETHER  virtual community for justice advocates is an active and relational network of organizations, professionals, and volunteers working to eradicate human trafficking and to address those issues that lead to the existence of such evil in our world today.” Or, you can talk to your local Salvation Army, police department, or crisis pregnancy center (who come across trafficking victims in their work) and find out who is doing work.

When you find out, pray for those people and organizations and specifically pray about how you can join in and do something. Pray something like this:

Lord, I feel like the disciples did when you fed the 5000. Like the trafficking problem is too big. Like I don’t even know where to start. Thank you for setting the example that the starting point is prayer and the source of the power to help isn’t limited to me but comes from you. Thank you for all the people around me who also have a heart to help trafficking victims. Thank you for the work they are doing. Please bless them with the resources they need, especially the help they need from people like me. Help me find my place and be one of those people. [Mention some specific organizations here that you found on Engage Together or elsewhere.] Make them as successful in what they do as you were in feeding all those people with everyone full and leftovers and everything. Like those baskets of leftovers, may we be full of compassion, wisdom, and ongoing strength in this work to put an end to human trafficking.

Pray for Trafficking Victims: 7000 teammates

Elijah faced a crisis. People were turning away from God and worshipping idols, to the point that over 800 priests had been appointed to facilitate Baal and Asherah worship. And by facilitate, I mean killing children in the name of those gods. You probably remember the story of the Mt. Carmel showdown. All those false priests on one side and Elijah alone on the other, so many who represented injustice and violence with one lone champion of justice and mercy to oppose them. Elijah won the day on Mt. Carmel in dramatic fashion. What else can you say when God provides the pyrotechnics?
But those false priests had the favor of the king and queen, who were not pleased at all with Elijah’s victory. So just after God showed up in a spectacular way, Elijah had to run for his life and hide in a cave. He nearly despaired because he felt all alone. He thought the Carmel moment was an accurate picture of the whole thing, that the whole world had gone over to evil. How could such victories as Carmel be anything but fleeting in the face of so much turning away?
But Elijah was wrong in his thinking. He wasn’t alone at all. God was with him. And God let him know there were 7000 others who were also on Team Yahweh. Right after this, Elijah met Elisha, who became his friend, apprentice, and successor.
When confronting the massive problem that is human trafficking, it is easy to feel the same way Elijah felt in that cave. Alone and very small against the tide of evil. But none of us is alone in this fight. For one, working for justice always puts us on God’s side because justice is a prime concern for God. Showing mercy to those who have been harmed, who have been taken advantage of is as close to the heart of God as we can come. And like Elijah, there are actually other people who are also already on this team. One of the most important things we can do is to become aware of them and the work they are doing. So we can help them. So we can pray for them. So we can be encouraged to work and not give up.
Here are some organizations doing important work against human trafficking that have a scope broader than local. You can find helpful resources (like flyers you can print and give out/put up in public spaces). You can also pray for these folks.
A quick Google search will also turn up organizations in your area that are working to end human trafficking already. Here are some in the Raleigh-Durham area:
This is just a sample. You can easily find others. I encourage you to spend time this week getting to know the 7000 (or more, its a metaphorical number) teammates you have in this fight. And spend time praying for them. Everyone who joins in this effort is on Team God, Team Justice, Team Mercy. Let’s pull together and pull for each other and be encouraged by each other. It sure beats sitting alone in a cave and whining. Pray something like this:
Thank you, God, for everyone who has it on their heart to work to end modern day slavery. Thank you for all the people in my area and around the world working for justice, showing mercy, and offering protection to those who have been harmed, enslaved, or are in danger of such. Strengthen our hands, Lord. Give us the resources we need to do this work. Encourage us. Inspire us. Guide us. Unite us as a team. And pyrotechnics once in a while would be cool too. Thanks for being the God of justice and mercy. Make us into people of justice and mercy. People after your own heart.