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 28
Sunday, January 28
Source of all forgiveness, we confess our own actions and inactions that contribute to trafficking. You know our frailties and failings, yet you offer us grace and steadfast love. Forgive us when we turn our backs to the horror of trafficking. Transform our failings with your abundant mercy. Bring us to newness of life that we might come to the aid of those being trafficked. Carry our burdens and hear our prayers. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Monday, January 29
God of compassion and peace, we pray that our siblings who are trafficked not abandon hope. Help them know that we care and are working on their behalf, in the name of Jesus. We pray that through the actions of Women of the ELCA we can help bring an end to human trafficking. Bless and encourage those who educate and create awareness. Bless and inspire those who support anti-trafficking agencies. Bless and embolden those working to change laws that criminalize victims of trafficking. May we ever be open and receptive to your call to just love. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Tuesday, January 30
God of grace and healing, you call us to live in community. Inspire us to seek out agencies and groups in our neighborhoods who are doing anti-trafficking work, that we might join with them and multiple our efforts to end human trafficking. Feed our creativity and imagination, that our work not become stale. Help us remember every individual who is harmed by trafficking, that our work of advocacy might not cease. Bless us and those for whom we pray, in Jesus’ holy name. Amen.
Wednesday, January 31
God, loving parent of all humankind, you call us to pray for our enemies. We ask your guidance in ways to bless, love, and pray for traffickers. Remind us daily that we are all your children. We pray for those who traffic and use others, that the situations that lead them to trafficking find resolution and that they might be brought to health and wholeness, finding new life in you. Turn us and our enemies to you. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Thursday, February 1
Tender God, we are created in your image. We know that Jesus calls us to discipleship. We celebrate the Spirit’s empowerment. Help us use the power of love to end human suffering. Hearten us to care for one another, that we might reflect your just love to all we encounter. Inspire us to be witnesses to and messengers of your abundant grace. Give us strength for this work. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.
Friday, February 2
God of peace, we pray for those in authority, for our federal, state and local legislators, that they seek to create just laws that protect the defenseless and hold traffickers accountable. We pray for those in law enforcement and frontline workers who encounter the trafficked, that they may recognize and respond to trafficking. We pray, too, for your church that it might rise up and speak for all whose voices are not heard. Awaken the hearts and minds of those in our congregations, that all may work to bring an end to human trafficking. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Saturday, February 3
God of time and space, we know that trafficking is not a twenty-first century ill, that people have been trafficked for centuries. We come to you from a broken and weary world. Inspire us, that we not become complacent or ignore the issue. Protect and empower those in captivity, that they do not lose hope. Enter the hearts of traffickers, that they might come to know your love. We pray for reunions and restorations for all involved. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
These prayers were written by Linda Post Bushkofsky, executive director of Women of the ELCA.