Like the story of the feeding of the 5000 a few weeks ago, this passage also offer an opportunity for congregations to reflect on the famine currently facing the people of Eastern Africa.
At the time of the Joseph’s reunion with his brothers, Egypt and much of the Middle East had been caught in the grips of a long famine. Because of a dream interpreted by Joseph, Egypt (unlike its neighbours), had been able to prepare for famine years in advance, storing up grain when it was plentiful so that they would have enough in times of drought.
In the Genesis account, Joseph explains to his brothers how God had deliberately allowed him to be sold into slavery in Egypt years before, in order that he might be in a position to save his family and countless others from starvation.
The passage made me think of the many people today working in relief and development agencies around the world. Here’s a prayer I wrote for them.
Prayer of Intercession for Relief and Development Workers
Just as You sent Joseph to Egypt
to help the people there prepare for a time of famine,
so You continue to call people to use their skills and abilities
to help alleviate hunger and suffering in our world today.
Hear our prayers for those who work in relief and development organizations
around the world.
We pray for aid workers on the ground in needy countries,
dispensing food and medical supplies, and offering health care and other services;
for program administrators,
making decisions about when and where to send resources;
raising public awareness and sharing stories with the world;
for clerical and support staff,
providing behind-the-scenes support and keeping things running smoothly;
for fund raisers,
raising the money needed to purchase food and supplies;
for agency directors,
providing ongoing leadership and direction;
for procurement officers,
purchasing food and supplies and arranging for their shipment;
for Board members,
helping set the overall vision and ensuring accountability.
For all these people,
and for the partner organizations they work with in the developing world,
we give You thanks, God.
Strengthen and encourage them in their work.
Make Your presence known to each.
Give them the love and compassion they need to do their work well—
to be Your hands and feet in our hurting world.
—Christine Longhurst/Canadian Foodgrains Bank
This prayer appears on the website of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. For more worship resources related to the current famine in Eastern Africa, visit their website.