A Kenyan's perspective.

Over the last several years, rainfall patterns here in Kenya and in most of Africa have changed dramatically. Prolonged droughts and unusually heavy flooding have affected food security in the region. An estimated ten million people in Kenya alone are likely to face famine and starvation this year because of crop failure in 2009. The situation is not very hopeful, especially in eastern African areas such as Ethiopia, Somalia, northern Kenya, and northern Uganda.

Many Christians are turning to the Bible for answers and finding stories in which similar situations have been resolved through prayer. But can such prayer be effective today? I think so.

Last year, at the height of the long dry spell, I found myself reflecting on the Bible story of Joseph and his experience in Egypt as described in the book of Genesis, chapters 39—50. In the story a severe drought devastated Egypt and the surrounding countries for seven years. But Joseph's spiritual insight led him to foresee the crisis before it happened. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, had sought advice from his most learned men on how to deal with the drought, but did not find an answer. But the Bible tells us that "Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace" (Gen. 41:16). It is therefore clear that Joseph relied on prayer for answers and not on his own thinking. His prayers led him to urge Pharaoh to stockpile grain during the years of plenty preceding the drought, so the people would be sustained through the dry spell. By taking positive actions, he was able to prevent famine and starvation in Egypt.

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March 1, 2010

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