This weekend I felt really blessed to go for a long walk with my husband near the beach. As we talked and I stared out at the serenely blue Pacific Ocean, I couldn’t help but think of how much I had to be grateful for while also remembering that there are so many people around the world who are living without their basic needs being met.

Sometimes living in the convenience of America, it can be easy to forget what others are experiencing in other parts of the planet. While the rates of extreme poverty have decreased in recent years, about 767 million people still live on less than $1.90 a day (according to the United Nations).

God calls us as believers to think of the oppressed and impoverished and even more, to empower them. But what does that look like?

For starters, here are five practical ways you can help the disenfranchised and those living in abject poverty:

  • Get involved in what your church is doing to help the poor. If they don’t already have a program in place to aid a population God has put on your heart, then start one. Initiate a new fundraising campaign or explore other ways you can partner with your church to make a difference.
  • Mark your calendar to reserve time to pray for those in need and ask God to lead you in how you can help.
  • If you don’t have any health restrictions, choose a day or even a times a year to fast for those living in extreme poverty. Fasting serves as a powerful reminder to pray for those who go hungry. You can even donate the money you would’ve spent on food that day to a trusted charity. According to the World Food Program, hunger is the number one cause of death in the world, killing more than HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.
  • Reach out to a nonprofit whose values are aligned with helping in the world’s poorest people. There are many ways you can use your resources, skills and talents to help change lives by creatively fundraising, increasing awareness or even volunteering.
  • Instead of asking for traditional birthday or Christmas gifts, suggest that friends or family purchase a gift in your name from a gift catalog published by an organization that works to lift people out of poverty. Buying simple items like plants for a community garden, a new Bible for someone who has never read the Gospel or medicine for a sick child can make a big difference for someone in great need.

Galatians 2:10 (New International Version)
“All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along.”

Proverbs 14:31 (New International Version)
“Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”