June 15, 2017

How To Pray Like An Orphan

What was the first prayer you ever prayed?

Perhaps it was a prayer of salvation when you first submitted your heart to Christ. Or maybe it was a prayer uttered in desperation to a God you weren’t even certain could answer.

Having grown up in a Christian home, I was taught to pray before my meals and at bedtime. Of course, my parents’ desire was that I learn to pray anytime, all the time. But they instilled these basic habits in me while I was still a toddler.

“God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for our food.”

“Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”

It wasn’t long before church attendance added The Lord’s Prayer to my repertoire. By simply hearing it recited on a regular basis, I learned to repeat the words without much understanding of their weighty meaning.

Of course, over the years, I’ve processed the words of the prayer the Lord modeled for us. I’ve heard sermons on the topic, and I’ve read articles and done Bible studies delving into the richness of their implications.

But to be honest, nothing has made more of an impact on my understanding of The Lord’s Prayer than getting to know orphans has.

You see, to pray The Lord’s Prayer from an orphan’s perspective is vastly different than praying it from my own.

Take, for example, the opening line, “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.”

My perspective? I had a phenomenal father. No one ever questioned his devotion to my mother or us kids. He worked hard to provide for us, and prayed for us constantly. He disciplined out of love and assured us multiple times a day that he loved us. Somehow, he even managed to convince each of the three of us that we were his favorite child!

But in most cases in an orphanage, it’s the more fortunate children who’ve never known a father. The connotations of the word are barren, but can at least be added to.

Those who’ve known a father figure typically recall abuse, drunkenness and neglect.

How can I tell Swetha, whose father put chili powder in her eyes and hung her from a tree, that God is her Father?

How do I describe a fatherly God to Illia, whose father abandoned him because of a birth defect to his leg?

To tell an orphan that God is their father is often to stir memories of abandonment, pain and rejection. The negative associations create all kinds of emotions, but hallow (or respect) are not high on the list!

So we must brainstorm. What would make the perfect Father?

Oh, he would be a good Provider, like the God who provided manna for the Israelites as they wandered in the desert. He knew the needs of His children and provided…liberally.

He would be a Defender. Rather than inflicting harm on his children, a perfect father would dependably come to their rescue. Psalm 68:5 tells us our God does just that! It describes Him as, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”

Though we don’t always enjoy it, a good father is also a Disciplinarian. He corrects and dissuades bad behavior, not because he enjoys inflicting punishment, but because he wants us to pursue right living. According to Heb. 12:6, that’s exactly what our God does, “because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”

But a good dad is more than all of that. He doesn’t just provide our physical needs, defend us in times of trouble, and discipline us when we’ve gone astray. He also displays an emotionally connected component, one that lets us know we’re not only unconditionally loved, but also enjoyed!

And Zephaniah 3:17 tells us that our God is One who dotes. Catch this:The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

This is the Father referred to in The Lord’s Prayer. This is the Father we share in heaven, and this is the Father whose name is to be hallowed.

As you pray for The Boaz Project this month, please remember to:

-Thank God for the things our earthly fathers did right, AND to thank Him for making up for areas where our human fathers may have been lacking. Pray—especially on Father’s Day—that the orphans The Boaz Project serves would come to know and trust their heavenly Father.

-Pray for me and my friend Michelle as we will be in India June 1-8. Ask our Father for journey mercies and opportunities to minister effectively to both orphans and house parents while we are in Bangalore.

-Ask God for travel mercies and safety for Jim, David and their team doing construction work in Russia June 2-11.They will be transforming a garage into a studio apartment in order to provide sustainable income for the Russian Christian Foster Home.

-Praise God for the land which has been designated for a girls’ home in Kenya. Our partners did not receive the land we hoped they’d be granted by the governor, but they have come up with a viable alternative. Please pray that the home can be built quickly, providing a safe haven for girls who would otherwise be forced onto the streets.

*This article is the first in a series walking through The Lord’s Prayer from an orphan’s perspective.

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Because God knew that abandoned children would need help to survive, He tells us to actively meet the needs of orphans in James 1:27.

If you also feel the weight of this responsibility and the desire to make a real difference, consider partnering with us. Through our innovative in-home care model, specialized caregiver training, and humanitarian aid, you’ll help children not just survive—but truly thrive.

When you choose to partner with The Boaz Project, you'll restore hope, ensure a brighter future through education, and share the love of Jesus with children who desperately need it.

Just imagine the impact you can have—from saving a child from the horrors of the streets to helping them become community leaders, educators, and nurturers of the next generation.

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What does an orphan mission trip include?

  • Hotel accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Application support and fees for your Visa
  • In-country language assistance
  • All meals in-country
  • Ministry curriculum and supplies
  • Cross-cultural training and preparation
  • Trip insurance
  • International medical insurance
  • Fundraising assistance

Apply for a mission trip.

Orphan Advocate Training Certification Levels

Level 1

Learn about the mission and vision of The Boaz Project through activities such as watching an Encounter webinar, exploring our website, and following us on social media. You will also have the opportunity to meet and interact with your Orphan Advocate Training Coach, who will help you as you go through the levels.

Level 2

Gain more insight into the realities of the orphan crisis through reading "The Orphan’s Abba" and visiting The Boaz Project YouTube page. You will also meet The Boaz Project staff.

Level 3

Grow in your understanding of the orphan crisis, meet some houseparents by reading their stories, and create your own "Pick 2" with options like watching a movie and completing a creative project utilizing your unique skill set.

Level 4

Enhance your knowledge of healthy attachments for orphans, watch a webinar about Eastern Europe’s institutional orphanage system, and visit the Boaz office virtually or in person.

Level 5

Utilize all of the knowledge you have gained throughout training to develop methods based on your personal experience to share the mission and vision of The Boaz Project with others. Read a portion of our first level Houseparent Trauma Training and use your unique skills to impact orphans with a special project. Completing Level 5 gives you the option to apply to become an OAT Coach and/or a Regional Coordinator for The Boaz Project.


Do I have to live near Greenwood, Indiana to complete the training?

No! This certification is intentionally created to allow opportunities for anyone in any location to fully participate.

How much of a time commitment is it?

This is completely up to you. The entire process is self-directed. There are no deadlines, and you may take as much or as little time as you need to complete each course.

Can I do this training with my spouse? Or a friend?

Yes! Going through the training with a spouse or friend can provide accountability and motivation. As you progress, you may be able to accomplish more together!

How much will it cost?

All Orphan Advocate Training courses are free to join! While you may choose to spend money while completing some projects, there are only minimal costs involved (such as a book or a few supplies) depending on which course you choose to do.

Is there an age requirement to become a Certified Orphan Advocate Trainee?

This would be answered on a case-by-case basis. This would also be open to middle schoolers or high schoolers looking to complete volunteer hours (i.e. National Honor Society) or build college applications. We always encourage young people to be involved if they feel led by God to do so!

What if I don’t have any social media accounts?

We will adjust your requirements to accommodate you and provide different opportunities to engage.

If I complete the five-level Orphan Advocate Training Certification, can I put it on my resume or LinkedIn profile?

Yes! When you complete each level, you will receive a certification that you can use to enhance your professional profile and to show involvement in community service.

Will I be able to get a signed letter to verify my volunteer hours?

We are sorry that we cannot verify volunteer hours that are done outside of the office or an event due to the fact that these hours are not supervised. However, we can write about the quality of work that was done, your commitment level, and the training courses achieved. We can also say that your self-reported, unsupervised hours fit into the typical number of hours that are usual for that course.

How do I get started?

If you think you would like to begin Orphan Advocate Training, please complete the form below, and you’ll be assigned an OAT Coach. Once your coach reviews your information, he/she will send you an email with your next steps!

Who do I contact if I have any other questions?

Please complete the form below or contact OAT@boazproject.org with any questions.

Corporate Sponsorship Levels

Company logo in all event programs
Company thanked by name at start of each event
Shared table provided for your promotional items at events  
Company name and logo displayed on the office sponsorship wall  
Published interview article in The Boaz Project newsletter  
Social media (Instagram/Facebook) promotions during the year  
Event day materials read "The Boaz Project's (event name) sponsored by (your company name)" for one year  
Private table provided for your promotional items at events with table tents  
Exclusive company mentions in promotional event emails  

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