By: Michael Crooks
In what are increasingly troubled times, the world is about to unite to pray.
On March 4, people throughout the world will attend services for the annual World Day of Prayer (WDP).
The day involves a worldwide movement of Christians of all denominations who observe a common moment of prayer.
The day’s origins date back to the 19th century when Christian women in North America initiated a day of activities in support of “women’s involvement in mission at home and in other parts of the world”.
“It aimed to involve women in mission, to raise the awareness of women in other countries and cultures, and to encourage women to use their gifts in service,” says Minister Deborah Bensted, who is hosting a service at Sydney’s St Matthews Manly.
“The motto of World Day of Prayer is ‘Informed prayer leads to prayerful action’. So issues of social justice have increasingly occupied the prayer agenda.”
This year’s event is hosted jointly by England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“The World Day of Prayer is an international ecumenical organisation which enables women all over the world to share their ideas and concerns,” the WDP organisation said in a statement.
Services are held throughout the world including in Australia and New Zealand.
In host country England, there will be a main service in Westminster’s Central Hall in London.
People who cannot attend can stream services.
“The whole point of the day is that we’re all united in prayer all over the world,” Ms Bensted, who is the Women’s Minister at St Matthews Manly, said.
“People from local churches of other denominations will be taking part in [our] service – it is a great opportunity for local Christians to unite in prayer and join others around the world.”
Though the focus is on praying for the plight of women, services will also incorporate those suffering in the current European war, and in the flood disaster in eastern Australia.
“Because of the situation in Ukraine and the floods, the WDP international and local committees have sent out prayers to be included in this service,” Ms Benstead said.
“It’s what’s on everyone’s mind. So they can bring their anxiety and their concern into the service, and leave it in the hands of the Lord, and allow God to shape their response.”
“Gift of prayer”
The World Day of Prayer aims to demonstrate that prayer and action are inseparable.
“In the midst of all the uncertainties we are living under this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the WDP 2022 theme emerges like a balm of confidence,” the WDP organisation said.
“It is an invitation to place our trust in God in times of suffering. We are given a seed of hope to ponder where it needs to be planted in our lives and in our communities.
“Take this opportunity to raise awareness on the needs of your community and offer the gifts of prayers and commitment. A seed, nourished by prayers of intercession and actions of love, bind us together around the world.”
For more information visit worlddayofprayeraustralia.org.
Article supplied with thanks to Hope Media.