January is observed as Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Since at least 2005, Women of the ELCA participants have been actively working to end human trafficking. Some participants work on education and awareness, in the church, in school settings, in the community. Others provide support to agencies helping women to leave or who have left human trafficking. Still others are working to change laws that criminalize the victims of trafficking.
At the Eleventh Triennial Convention (2021), the voting members adopted a resolution setting the four weeks prior to the annual NFL Super Bowl as a time of prayer to end human trafficking and called on women of this organization engage in prayer. With the 2024 Super Bowl happening on Sunday, February 11, we’re offering daily prayers, one week at a time. They can be prayed individually or in group settings. Use them at circle meetings or other any gathering of people of faith. May they inspire you and others to engage in the difficult work of ending human trafficking.
In addition to materials offered by Women of the ELCA, many resources are available online. They can be found with a simple search in a web browser. They include the federal Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking In Persons, The Polaris Project, and the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
Prayers for the week of January 21
Sunday, January 21
Loving God, your people have been looking up to you during times of need, because they believe in you and depend on your love and mercy. As human trafficking continues to be a threat, your children have been looking for ways to end human trafficking and provide support to the trafficked. Strengthen the agencies which devote their time and efforts to aid those being trafficked. Give courage to those who advocate and support socially, spiritually, emotionally, and financially. Give us the wisdom to understand our responsibility and the courage to take a step. Remind us that we are stewards of creation and siblings to each other so that we can always look out to defend and protect each other against evil. Amen.
Monday, January 22
Creator, we thank and praise you for your wonderful creation and the gift of life. We pray for women who are being trafficked every now and then, we pray for those who are trying effortlessly to escape from the traffickers. Lead them, give them strength and wisdom, and protect them from all danger and harm. We ask for your mercy and care for those who have lost hope under the traffickers. Please, give the women and girls the wisdom to identify where there is danger and encourage them to make decisions that keep them away from the danger of being trafficked. Amen.
Tuesday, January 23
Our Lord and our God, you bring your great light into the darkness in our lives. You do not distance yourself from the pain of your people. Recognizing the trafficking terrors and events that happen during the Super Bowl and other major sports events, we pray for our siblings who are crying to you in pain, confusion, and despair. We pray for the safety of women. We believe in your unending protection and leave all the women during these events in your caring and safe hands. Enable us to find in Christ the faith to trust in you, and strength to continue justice work that will bring awareness and protection to those who are vulnerable and in danger. Amen.
Wednesday, January 24
God the promise keeper, you are a faithful God. You have promised to give comfort and consolation to your children. Hear the voice of the ones crying for justice towards the deaths of indigenous women who are mercilessly murdered each year. We pray for comfort and consolation for the families, friends and communities who lost their loved ones. Heal the hearts of their families and loved ones from the traumatic experiences and events. Protect your indigenous women from any danger of going missing or being murdered. We rely on your merciful protection. Amen.
Thursday, January 25
God of justice, you are the voice of the voiceless. Hold up those who tirelessly search for the missing indigenous women. Provide and encourage them or give them closure as needed. We believe that you will intentionally be present in the cases of the missing and murdered indigenous women so that justice may be served. You will never leave them alone in the fight for justice and their struggle to get answers. We believe that you will provide them with the necessary resources they need. May you continue to grant grace and give everyone patience as they wait for you in faith. Amen.
Friday, January 26
God of compassion, your son came among us to serve and not to be served. We give you thanks for the agencies working to aid those being trafficked and the indigenous women who are missing. With your Holy Spirit continue to empower your servants in their calling and ministry of building the body of Christ so that together in faith they can continue to serve those in despair. May you, O God, continue to provide guidance and strength to those who have dedicated their lives to this justice work, give them faith to serve you, and kindle them in your love as they fight for justice of your children. Amen.
Saturday, January 27
Dear God, who draws your church together, we praise and bless you for reconciling our world and for your Holy Spirit to move in every human heart. We call to you to hear the cries of women around the world who do not feel safe in their communities. May you, O God of justice, bring help and healing and bear the pain of our siblings who are in constant terror of being taken and murdered. God the Creator, give refuge to your children and strengthen them as they seek freedom and peace. Continue to be a constant symbol of protection to the vulnerable and remind us of your presence even in times of struggle. Amen.
These prayers were written by Martha Ambarangu. She is a doctoral student at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago working on New Testament Womanist Criticism, a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, wife and a mother of two. She currently lives with her family in Chicago. She is part of the ELCA’s International Women Leaders program.