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5 ways to pray for UK poverty

Hands holding a candle. Original photography by Anna Shvets.
Hayley Tearall

Digital Content Producer

A Bible-based guide to praying for UK poverty. 

TW: briefly mentions suicide.

With all that’s going on in the world right now, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Maybe you want to pray but don’t know where to start or what to pray for specifically.

Here at CAP, we believe in the power of prayer and we know that God can answer our prayers in all different ways. We know that he hears those things left unsaid, and that he intercedes on our behalf (Romans 8:26–27).

Perhaps you already pray regularly for the work of CAP and those in poverty across the UK, and are looking for new ideas of what to pray for. Maybe you’re in search of some guidance to help you get started. Wherever this blog finds you, I hope this little introduction to praying for UK poverty encourages you.

Many of you may enjoy digging into the Bible and being led by the scriptures in your prayers. The Word of God is a powerful sword, after all, and what better way to win a battle?

So, here are five simple ways you can pray for UK poverty right now, and some Bible verses to help guide your prayers:

1. Pray for those living in poverty

Poverty is devastating. It robs people of their dignity and hope, breaks down relationships, and forces people to live isolated, cold and hungry.

In the current cost of living crisis, 56% of people are having to borrow just to afford the essentials like food and clothing, and 61% can’t afford basic toiletries like soap, toothpaste and sanitary items*. The cost of living crisis has had a brutal impact on those already struggling, as well as pushing even more households over a financial cliff edge.

Poverty literally takes lives, too. The devastating truth is that 50% of CAP clients having considered or attempted suicide before coming to us for help.

Your prayers are vital for those experiencing poverty and debt, going without the essentials or struggling to make ends meet. Pray that they’d be able to access the support they need, whether that’s help with debt, housing, accessing any extra income entitlement (such as benefits) or finding employment that covers living costs.

Pray they’d find the courage to reach out, and that they’d be met with kindness and practical support. Pray that God would surround them with his love, protect their mental and physical health, and bring hope as they find a way to move forward.

Bible verses to guide your prayers

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Psalm 34:18

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.’

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Isaiah 61:1

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.’

2. Pray for CAP supporters, churches, and staff who are passionately serving their local communities

Across the UK, there are more than 1,000 churches that partner with CAP. Debt Centre Managers and Debt Coaches are delivering free debt help through home visits and ongoing practical and emotional support. Those who run Job Clubs are equipping people with the skills they need to find employment. Money coaches are running groups for those who want to be more savvy with their finances, learn to budget or save. No matter how complex or difficult, every one of our frontline staff is committed to meeting the needs of those in their local community.

Then there’s CAP’s expert Debt Advisors at head office, building bespoke budgets and working with creditors to make sure we can take people on a journey from their first call with us to becoming completely debt free.

And of course, without our incredible, passionate, generous supporters, none of this would be possible. If that’s you, thank you. You are making a way in the wasteland. You’re empowering people to rebuild their lives.

Please pray for CAP’s frontline workers, voluntary or paid. Meeting people who are trapped in debt and poverty is not easy, yet they go above and beyond for everyone they meet, knowing God always makes a way, even if it requires a miracle. Pray that God would refresh them as they’re committed to caring for others.

Pray that God would bless our supporters abundantly, for the blessing they are to so many others. Pray that as they hear stories of the lives they’ve changed, they’d feel the voice of their Father saying well done, good and faithful servant’.

It’s amazing to see the Church shining God’s love, a beacon of hope in a dark time, where everyone has a role to play and together we are seeing lives transformed. Pray for God to keep moving in the impossible situations and the small details, for all of it bows to him alone.

Bible verses to guide your prayers

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Proverbs 11:25 (NLT)

The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.’

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Romans 12:4–5

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.’

3. Pray for charities and organisations to continue working together

There are many organisations doing great work across the UK to serve those in poverty. This could be anything from food banks, to free debt advice organisations, to housing, employment or mental health services. All of these exist for those who need them, and it’s vital that we pray not just for each service, but that they’d work together to make the most impact and make sure every person is able to access the services they need.

Why not look into what services are in your local area and pray for them on a set day of the week? Or make a list of the services you’ve heard of that exist across the UK and pray they’d be able to raise the voices of those they support and make sure their needs are heard, not just transforming individual lives but seeing wider societal change.

Bible verses to guide your prayers

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Matthew 18:19

Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.’

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Psalm 82:3–4

Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.’

4. Pray for wider societal change

At CAP, we are passionate about seeing a fair and just society where everyone can afford the essentials. Through our policy and influencing work, we build relationships with external industry and government contacts, raising the voices of those in poverty and campaigning for change. In the current cost of living crisis, 50% of our clients’ budgets simply aren’t sustainable. This is unacceptable, and poverty needs to be on the Government’s agenda.

Pray for our leaders – MPs, Government, people in positions of influence and power – as they are responsible to give an account to the Lord for the actions they take. Pray that God would lead and guide them, and that they’d hear the voices of those in poverty and be compelled to respond. Pray that they’d be filled with compassion and wisdom, making fair decisions and creating policies that prioritise those in need.

Pray for energy companies, banks, water companies, and more, that they’d continue to develop ways to protect their vulnerable customers and those in financial difficulty. Pray for debts to be cancelled for those who are unable to repay them!

Pray that these organisations would be led by wisdom, generosity and kindness, that they’d understand the challenges their customers are facing, and keep increasing the support available to those who need it.

Pray for anti-poverty charities and organisations like CAP, that as we continue to unite together and take a stand against poverty, the voices of those we represent will be heard loud and clear. Pray for justice to roll like a river in every unjust situation, and pray that, ultimately, we will see an end to UK poverty.

Bible verses to guide your prayers

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Amos 5:24

But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!’

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1 Timothy 2:1–4

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.’

5. Pray for an end to UK poverty

One day, we believe we can see an end to UK poverty. We want to see a hope-filled society, with churches equipped to meet the needs of those in their community. We want to see God’s promises come to pass, that he would rescue the needy from the grips of those more powerful, and that he would shut the mouth of injustice.

It’s a big vision, and it’ll only be possible if we work together – individuals, churches, Government, and more. But united, we can transform lives, equip churches to thrive as a hub of hope in their communities, and bring about the wider change needed to see an end to poverty in the UK.

Are you in?

Bible verses to guide your prayers

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Psalm 140:12

I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.’

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Job 5:15–16

He saves the needy from the sword in their mouth; he saves them from the clutches of the powerful. So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth.’

Pray with us

So, will you join the fight against UK poverty by committing to pray regularly for the work of CAP and those we support to get out of debt and poverty? Will you pray for local churches who are serving their communities, and pray for organisations and leaders who are leading the charge and raising the voices of those held captive by poverty?

*All stats from this blog post are taken from CAP’s 2022 client report: https://capuk.org/about-us/policy-and-research/client-report

Ruth holding a sign that reads 'There is so much need. I'm at my limit.'
Ruth, Co-Debt Centre Manager

We urgently need your support to reach every person in poverty.

Ruth holding a sign that reads 'There is so much need. I'm at my limit.'