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Young people who are supposed to take care of the old people have run away to protect themselves. The elderly are now helpless and the only hope they have is God who is protecting them. Grandmothers are vulnerable in a particular way as they take care of the sick and the many children who are left in their care while they have limited resources to take care of others. Grandmothers are now struggling with their health because of their age.

The context of war makes it difficult for them to access medication. Dear Lord, the giver of life, We acknowledge your mighty protection in our lives and especially to our grandmothers, You have granted them many years of life and the young people depend on them for traditional knowledge and wisdom. We feel blessed for that wonderful gift from them.

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We come before You, our Creator, praying for all the elderly, especially the grandmothers who live in countries going through conflict like South Sudan. We pray that they feel your comforting presence in their moment of suffering from different types of abuse, hunger and diseases.

Oh Lord, you are their only hope, as you have promised to protect and rescue them, May your presence continue to be with them in every situation. We also pray for the people and organizations who have devoted themselves to take care of the elderly, especially grandmothers in armed conflict situations. So they are no longer two, but one flesh.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John Maybe the church leaders have only two wives. But most men have many wives and children. In this context, the woman parliamentarian used a popular definition of polygamy which is a man marrying many wives. The technical meaning refers to marrying many wives or husbands simultaneously or marrying many times - that is, consecutive marriages.

The traditional African reasons for polygamy are many.

The understanding is that with more wives the higher the chance of having more children. In the context of the South Sudanese who have experienced civil war since , no wonder polygamy has normalized even among Christians as a way to replace the many people who have been killed. It was also mentioned as a solution to missing husbands who have been killed, or left to join the war or just disappeared.

In this context girl child marriages to older men who already have wives is seen as a lesser evil to protect the girl from rape. The society emphasizes that a girl must be a virgin when she is gets married. Raped girls and women are stigmatized. The missionaries who brought the gospel to South Sudan preached against polygamy as a cultural practice of the people and held that the Bible only supported monogamy.

Despite more than a century of Christianity in South Sudan, polygamy has continued.

While the civil wars have been the major reason for its continued practice, many African theologians challenge the missionary interpretation of polygamy in the Bible and in African culture. Today the discourse on homosexuality has also brought back the debate on polygamy. For the majority of African women theologians, the discourse about polygamy is connected with a life of dignity for African women who find themselves in a polygamous marriage.

In the context of civil war, does polygamy protect the dignity of a girl child who is married off to be raped by an older polygamous man? Do women whose husbands have disappeared due to the civil war find a life of dignity when they are married off to a rich polygamous man? We thank you God for creating marriage.

We pray that marriages in South Sudan should reflect dignity for the couples. We pray for all those women who are experiencing torture in their marriages in whatever form it comes. We pray that you grant them wisdom to know what to do in order to experience fullness of life as promised by Jesus. We pray that the peace negotiations in South Sudan will result in a permanent end to the civil war and fulness of life for all people of South Sudan. May the church in South Sudan continue to be a beacon of hope for all its peoples.

The Healing Power of Prayer

In Jesus name we pray. Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. Ecclesiastes NRSV. While the WCC delegation was in South Sudan, we learned that, as in many African cultures, women bear the brunt of providing home-based care to their children, the sick, and the elderly.

When A Black Man Prays...God is Always Listening: How A Black Man Is Strengthen By His Faith In God

The women shared stories of how war destroys also the relationships at home. Husbands abandon the home, and people come back from the war zones with huge physical and psycho-social wounds. According to the women, they are the first to rise up and the last to get to bed and do not get any support from their able-bodied husbands. Though they work hard, they remain poor because of the robberies that go on each night. They go to bed in perpetual fear, since a tap at the door can result in robbery, rape or death.

These women, some of whom have been deserted by their husbands, have to feed, clothe, house and school their children with very few resources, if any. They look on painfully as their children go on the streets and become vulnerable to drugs, sexual abuse, criminal acts, diseases, and other vices that may lead to premature death. The burden is heavier because husbands marry off young girls for money, leaving mothers alone to care for all at home. Male children who should support and protect their younger sisters unfortunately also see them as bride price for their own future marriages.

One young man said, "There is no value on women, they are a source of wealth; once you have a sister there should be no problem getting married". As faith communities, we should pray for the war to come to an end so that the government, faith-based communities, civil society — and husbands — can take up their responsibilities to provide quality care for those who need it. Loving God, you are the source of holistic care, for you covenanted with humankind to initiate the divine-human relationship. You show us that labor is best enjoyed when it is shared.

Your self-revelation in the holy Trinity attests to this truth. Supply the strength your overburdened daughters in South Sudan need, to care for those who cannot take care of themselves, especially in times of crises. Protect your persevering daughters from toxic relationships.

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We pray, O Lord that you touch the hearts of husbands to share the huge burden of taking care of their families. Create the awareness and prove your true word that the three-fold cord of divine-human couple relationships is not easily broken. We pray dear God that you will let sanity and your peace that surpasses all understanding prevail in South Sudan and other war torn areas, to the glory of your name.

We pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Fred M. Women have always been the backbone of the Church and have always been in leadership positions. From preaching to teaching to hospitality women are at the forefront of church leadership whether the position is ecclesiastically ordained or not. We know the church would not survive if it were not for dedicated women holding the pieces of local congregations together with their prophetic and motherly wisdom.

The prophet Huldah was one such woman. In fact, she herself taught the young King Josiah to live in Godly ways. And because she heard from God, the King had everything related to other gods destroyed and he reintroduced the God from the Bible. While in South Sudan we had a chance to meet great women from various churches and with women in parliamentary positions.

Many talked about their roles within their local congregations. Many of these leaders have been ordained by their churches where the work involved counseling women and girls who have been traumatized by this civil war. Women from both the ruling party and the opposition parties have been against the civil war and have worked diligently in their government roles and in their churches to promote peace. These leaders are filled with motherly wisdom and concern for the future of their country. They seek God and hear from God. South Sudan, through its many struggles is raising up prophets like Huldah, who will speak a Word and help save their land.

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We pray that women in government are able to be a light in the midst of darkness as they try to change perceptions about gender. We pray that they are able to move every heart towards peace and reconciliation. May they continue to have the courage to speak truth to power despite threats against their very lives and livelihoods. We pray, in the Name of Jesus, for women in church leadership who have young minds in their care.