World Day of Prayer

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World Day of Prayer Logo since 1982

The World Day of Prayer is an international ecumenical Christian laywomen’s initiative.[1] It is run under the motto “Informed Prayer and Prayerful Action,” and is celebrated annually in over 170 countries on the first Friday in March. The movement aims to bring together women of various races, cultures and traditions in a yearly common Day of Prayer, as well as in closer fellowship, understanding and action throughout the year.

History and Alternates[edit]

The Women's World Day of Prayer started in the USA in 1887, as Mary Ellen Fairchild James, wife of Darwin Rush James from Brooklyn, New York, called for a day of prayer for home missions,[2] and Methodist women called for a week of prayer and self-denial for foreign missions. Two years later, two Baptists called together a Day of Prayer for the World Mission. The Day of Prayer initiated by these two women expanded to Canada, then to the British Isles in the 1930s. The movements focus on ecumenism and reconciliation led to growth after World War II. Since 1927 the March day is known as Women’s World Day of Prayer. Catholic women were allowed to join the movement after the Second Vatican Council, beginning in 1967, and united what had been their May day of prayer with the March Women's World Day of Prayer in 1969.[3]

Two other Christian denominations celebrate a World Day of Prayer in September. The Unity Church, a New Thought Protestant denomination headquartered at Unity Village, Missouri celebrates a twenty-four hour World Day of Prayer principally on the second Thursday in September (member churches may start at sunset on September 11, and the themes differ from those of the Women's World Day of Prayer set forth below).[4][5] Also, the terrorist events of September 11, 2001 prompted the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fellowship, to designate that date annually as a World Day of Prayer for Peace. [6]

Aims[edit]

Through the World Day of Prayer, women are encouraged to become aware of the other countries and cultures and no longer live in isolation. They are also encouraged take up the burdens of other people, to sympathize with the problems of other countries and cultures and pray with and for them. They are further encouraged to become aware of their talents and use them in the service of society. The World Day of Prayer aims to demonstrate that prayer and action are inseparable and that both have immeasurable influence in the world.

Program[edit]

Every year, worship service focuses on a different country and a specific theme. World Day of Prayer National/Regional Committees of that country prepare the order of worship on these themes to be used on the next World Day of Prayer.

On the first Friday of March, then, in services all over the world that country becomes the focus of prayer and understanding. Through preparation and participation in the worship service, women worldwide learn how their sisters of other countries, languages and cultures understand the biblical passages in their context. They learn of the concerns and needs of those women and to empathize and feel in solidarity with them.

World Day of Prayer themes and writer countries[edit]

Year Theme Writer Country
1932 Hold Fast in Prayer  India
1933 Follow Thou Me  Republic of China
1934 Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem  South Africa
1935 Bear Ye One Another's Burdens  Holland
1936 On Earth, Peace, Goodwill Toward Men  Chile
1937 Son of the Living God Africa
1938 The Church - A World Fellowship  New Zealand
1939 Let Us Put Our Love Into Deeds - and Make it Real  United States of America
1940 In Quietness and in Confidence shall be Your Strength  England
1941 Thy Kingdom Come  Shanghai
1942 I Am The Way  French Refugees

 German Refugees

1943 That They all May Be One  United States of America
1944 Bear Ye One Another's Burdens Unknown
1945 The Church Universal  England

 Wales
 Northern Ireland

1946 The Things That Make for our Peace  Central African Republic
1947 Make Level in the Desert a Highway for our God  India
1948 The Lord's Prayer - The Prayer Universal Unknown
1949 The Lord is Thy Keeper  China
1950 Faith for our Time  Japan
1951 Perfect Love Casteth out Fear  Germany
1952 Christ our Hope Migrants  Sharecroppers & Indian Americans
1953 Walk as Children of the Light Africa
1954 That They May Have Life  India
1955 Abide in Me  Buenos Aires
( Argentina)
1956 One Flock, One Shepherd  Cook Christian Training School for Indian Christian Leaders
1957 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ....?  Hungary
1958 The Bread of Life  Australia
1959 Lord, I believe  Egypt
1960 Labourers together with God  Committee of the Women's Inter-Church Council of Canada
1961 Forward through the Ages: In everything give thanks  United States of America
1962 For God So Loved the World  Uruguay
1963 More than Conquerors  Korea
1964 Let us Pray   Switzerland
1965 What doth the Lord require?  United States of America
1966 Ye are my Witnesses  WWDP Committee of Scotland
1967 Of His Kingdom there shall be no end  Tonga
1968 Bear ye one another's Burdens  Ceylon
1969 Growing Together in Christ  Sierra Leone

 Ghana
 South Africa
 Congo
 Zambia
 Kenya

1970 Be of Good Courage  Jamaica

 Egypt
 United States of America
 Philippines
 Guyana

1971 A New People for a New Age Caribbean
1972 All Joy Be Yours  Europe
1973 Alert in our time  New Zealand
1974 Make us builders of peace  Japan
1975 Become perfectly One  Egypt
1976 Education through Living  Mexico

 South America

1977 Love in Action  German Democratic Republic
1978 Community Spirit in Modem Living  Canada
1979 Spiritual Growth East Africa
1980 Responsible Freedom  Thailand
1981 The Earth is the Lord's  USA
1982 The People of God: Gathered for Worship- Scattered for Service  Ireland

 Northern Ireland

1983 New persons in Christ Caribbean
1984 Living Water from Christ our Hope  Sweden
1985 Peace through Prayer and Action  India
1986 Choose Life  Australia
1987 Come and Rejoice  International Committee of WWDP
1988 Open Doors  Brazil
1989 Lord, Teach us to Pray  Burma
1990 A Better Tomorrow, Justice for All  Czechoslovakia
1991 On the Journey Together  Kenya
1992 Living Wisely with Creation   German Speaking Switzerland

 Austria
 Germany

1993 God's people instruments of healing  Guatemala
1994 Go, See & Act  Palestine
1995 The Earth is a House for all People  Ghana
1996 God Calls Us To Respond  Haiti
1997 Like a Seed Which Grows into a Tree  Korea
1998 Who is My Neighbour?  Madagascar
1999 God's Tender Touch  Venezuela
2000 Talitha Koum: Young Woman Stand Up  Indonesia
2001 Informed Prayer, Prayerful Action  Samoa
2002 Challenged to Reconcile  Romania
2003 Holy Spirit, Fill Us  Lebanon
2004 In Faith, Women Shape the Future  Panama
2005 Let Our Light Shine  Poland
2006 Signs Of The Times  South Africa
2007 United Under God's Tent  Paraguay
2008 God’s Wisdom Provides New Understanding  Guyana
2009 In Christ, There Are Many Members, Yet One Body  Papua New Guinea
2010 Let Everything that has Breath Praise God  Cameroon
2011 How Many Loaves Have You?  Chile
2012 Let Justice Prevail  Malaysia
2013 I was a Stranger and You Welcomed Me  France
2014 Streams in the Desert  Egypt

Forthcoming World Day of Prayer themes and writer countries[edit]

Year Theme Writer Country
2015 Jesus Said to them: Do You Know What I Have Done to you?"  The Bahamas
2016 Receive Children, Receive Me  Cuba
2017 Am I Being Unfair to You?  Philippines
2018 All God's Creation is Very Good  Suriname
2019 Come, Everything is Ready  Slovenia
2020 Rise, Take up your Mat and Walk  Zimbabwe
2021 Build on a Strong Foundation  Vanuatu

First World Prayer for Peace from Jerusalem[edit]

The first globally publicized "link of prayer" for peace from Jerusalem was in June, 1993 organized by Dan Mazar's Jerusalem Christian Review, a Jerusalem-based archaeological journal. The event included more than 100 Christian and political leaders from around the world and was broadcast by satellite and radio live from Jerusalem.

Hosted by Jerusalem Christian Review Managing Editor Dan Mazar, parts of the Global Prayer were also shown on the CNN, CBS, and ABC television networks and almost 120 other television stations worldwide. The Prayer Link began from Los Angeles, California with a prayer from the former U.S. President, Ronald Reagan: "I join my friends at the Jerusalem Christian Review... for this very special day. A day dedicated to prayer..." said the former US president and governor of the State of California. The "prayer link" also included prayers of political figures live by satellite from 5 continents. Leaders such as Jack Kemp, Jeane Kirkpatrick and numerous U.S. Senators, as well as former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke all prayed for the "Peace of Jerusalem". Also included were Christian evangelists Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and James Dobson, along with denominational leaders from Europe, Africa, South America and Asia.[7][8]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]