Followers of Christ are being called to pray throughout this week for the needs of the children, workers and families of the foster care system.
Gatherings have been planned in at least 30 states across the country as part of the 2009 National Foster Care Prayer Vigil, sponsored for the second consecutive year by Focus on the Family, Hope for Orphans, and Show Hope.
"Some organizers are planning large, elaborate, city-wide events, while others are praying in the context of an existing Bible study group," said John Moore, 2009 National Foster Care Prayer Vigil coordinator. "The format doesn't matter; what's important is that Christians are praying for these kids and the adults who impact their lives."
According to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), more than 500,000 children are in the U.S. foster care system on any given day. Furthermore, more than 19,000 children each year "age out" of the U.S. foster care system without an adoptive family. Of those who do, more than half reportedly find themselves homeless or experience housing instability.
"Many kids in foster care feel like they don't have a prayer…we want to change that," said Paul Pennington, executive director of Hope for Orphans, a ministry of FamilyLife. "We want foster care kids to know that they are loved and valued."
In 2008, more than 100 prayer vigils were held in 32 states. In 2009, the National Foster Care Prayer Vigil coordinators hope to have participation from all 50 U.S. states.
The official dates of the 2009 National Foster Care Prayer Vigil are May 17-24.