When the Lutheran Malaria Initiative first appeared on my radar screen it was a proposal through Lutheran World Relief at a board meeting for LCMS World Relief and Human Care. Since then we must have made some progress because at that time someone died of malaria every 45 seconds. Latest statistics say 60 seconds now. Statistics are interesting things – they tend to fall apart at the individual level. Try this in you church or Sunday School or VBS – get a mosquito net (they will send you one) and put it over a group of people. Then during the service or presentation or class, take someone out of the room every 60 seconds. At the end of you time see how many are left that weren’t covered by the net. Powerful stuff that.
Walter Obare was once asked what the biggest obstacle to reaching people with the Gospel was in Africa. His answer was that because of malaria many “are not alive to hear it”.
Join in the prayer – check this out
One child in Africa dies every 60 seconds from malaria. In a single 24-hour period—one day—1,440 people in Africa will succumb to this disease. World Malaria Day offers an opportunity to raise awareness of the devastating effects of this disease and encourage people to join in the worldwide effort to end malaria deaths in Africa by 2015.
On Wednesday, April 25—World Malaria Day—please join us in a moment of prayer at 2:40 p.m. (14:40 on a 24-hour clock) as we consider the 1,440 Africans who die each day from malaria and remember in prayer all who suffer from malaria or will lose a child or other family member to the disease.
Here is a prayer you could offer at that time:
Lord God, our most merciful Father, in this fallen and sinful world death is the constant and impartial enemy of all. We humbly ask you to show mercy on all those who are suffering from malaria today. If it be your will, restore the afflicted to full health. Surround them in their time of illness with your love, especially the children who are weak and afraid, through the family and friends who minister to them. Comfort those who have already lost a loved one to malaria or will, especially the parents of young children, who in the minds of mothers and fathers are taken from this life too soon. We plead you to perform the miracle of ending this disease, in part through the education and relief efforts of the Lutheran Malaria Initiative. Grant that LMI’s educators, physicians, health care providers and missionaries are powerfully and fully equipped to bring an end to the human suffering and death in Africa caused by malaria. And Lord, through the Gospel of your Son Jesus, proclaimed through Word and Sacrament, strengthen our faith and lead others to see that a life in His grace leads only to an eternal existence in your loving presence. Through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Savior. Amen