World Day of Prayer
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The World Day of Prayer is an international ecumenical Christian laywomen’s initiative. 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
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, 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 in 1922, 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.
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). 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.
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.
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
|1927||Pray Ye Therefore||USA|
|1928||Breaking Down Barriers||USA|
|1929||That They May All Be One||USA|
|1930||That Jesus May Be Lifted Up||Korea|
|1931||Ye Shall Be My Witnesses||Canada|
|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|
|1943||That They all May Be One||United States of America|
|1944||Bear Ye One Another's Burdens||Unknown|
|1945||The Church Universal|| England|
|1946||The Things That Make for our Peace||Central Africa|
|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|
|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|
|1970||Be of Good Courage|| Jamaica|
|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|
|1977||Love in Action||German Democratic Republic|
|1978||Community Spirit in Modem Living||Canada|
|1979||Spiritual Growth||East Africa|
|1981||The Earth is the Lord's||USA|
|1982||The People of God: Gathered for Worship- Scattered for Service|| Ireland|
|1983||New persons in Christ||Caribbean|
|1984||Living Water from Christ our Hope||Sweden|
|1985||Peace through Prayer and Action||India|
|1987||Come and Rejoice||International Committee of WWDP|
|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|
|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|
|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|
Forthcoming World Day of Prayer themes and writer countries
|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
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.
- World Day of Prayer
- England, Wales, Northern Ireland
- "Ludington Daily News - Google News Archive Search". news.google.com.
- "Silent Unity". www.facebook.com.
- "Community Activities - World Day of Prayer for Peace". www.kofc.org.
- "List of World Day of Prayer by year - World Day of Prayer USA". wdp-usa.org.
- World Link of Prayer: Christianity Today Magazine, September 1993; Associated Press Wire Service, July 3, 1993.
- "Reagan, Other Americans Help Launch Christian Prayer Line to Jerusalem". jta.org.