In places such as Asia and Africa, widows commonly bear the burden of stigma and discrimination, in addition to their grief. They may be blamed for their husband’s death and viewed as cursed. It’s commonplace for widows’ own families to reject them, leaving them to fend for themselves.
According to the World Bank, “In much of Africa, marriage is the sole basis for women’s access to social and economic rights, and these are lost upon divorce or widowhood.”1 The United Nations estimates there are 258 million widows worldwide and that one in 10 widows lives in extreme poverty. 2
These widows have numerous needs, including the need to be loved and cared for. GFA missionaries are helping meet these needs for widows in Asia and Africa.
Join us this month as we pray for widows and GFA’s widow ministry.
1 “Invisible and Excluded: The Fate of Widows and Divorcees in Africa.” The World Bank. January 20, 2018. https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2018/01/20/invisible-and-excluded-the-fate-of-widows-and-divorcees-in-africa.
2 “International Widows’ Day.” United Nations. Accessed August 8, 2022. https://www.un.org/en/observances/widows-day.
Pray for Widow’s Financial Provision
Because of the stigma of widowhood, job options for widows are often limited, adding to their financial struggles, especially when they have young children to feed. Some may rely on charity, but many widows need a sustainable source of income. GFA missionaries often help widows by giving them income-generating gifts, such as sewing machines or goats, so they can provide for themselves and their children.
Please pray that God will provide for widows’ everyday needs. Pray they will gain a sustainable source of income and that neither they nor their children will go hungry. Pray GFA missionaries will have the resources to provide widows in their communities with income-generating gifts.
Pray for GFA Missionaries
GFA missionaries minister to widows in various ways, practicing “pure and undefiled religion” (James 1:27). They visit them and care for them, often taking on the role of a son or daughter for widows whose own families have rejected them. They encourage them and pray for them. They also help meet widows’ physical needs through various gift distributions.
Please pray that GFA missionaries will effectively minister to the widows in their communities. Pray they will have special insight into widows’ needs and a special love for these dear women as they care for them.
Pray for Widows to Experience Christ’s Love
Many widows have suffered much in life. In addition to losing their husband—and his provision—many widows in Asia and Africa must also endure the shame of being blamed for his death and the rejection of those around them. They need to experience true love, sometimes for the first time, which offers a balm of healing to their hurting hearts.
Please pray that widows will experience Christ’s love. Pray that widows will receive inner healing from wounds of the past.
Widows in Asia and Africa are often ostracized, even by their own families. They may have no one to care for them, no one even to talk to. These women need people who can surround them with love and support, who can offer community and become surrogate family members. GFA missionaries offer such support through individual relationships as well as through women’s fellowships.
Please pray that widows will have a community of people who love them and care for them, especially in times of need. Pray they receive the relational support they need to thrive.
Pray for Changed Perception
Much of what widows in Asia and Africa suffer results from misguided views on their status in society. Other people commonly blame these widows for their husband’s death, consider them cursed and ostracize them. It is the cultural norm, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Please pray for a cultural shift in perspectives, that families and societies in these regions will see widows as vulnerable individuals in need of care, not inherently cursed. Pray widows will be treasured rather than scorned.
Print these prayer requests out for your convenience.