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.
Immaculate Heart of Mary in Abbottstown will host this year’s day of prayer tomorrow, March 4th, and people of all denominations are welcome to participate.
No matter your faith or belief, the history behind this movement is of interest because it proves the power of what one person can achieve.
In 1884, when Mary Ellen James called for a day of prayer, she was not planning a great worldwide movement. Mrs. James did not know that this was destined to become the largest ecumenical movement in the world organized and led by women. She was simply reacting to the society in which she lived. The wife of a Presbyterian minister in New York and the mother of seven children, Mary Ellen was aware of the problems faced by many women around her, particularly new immigrants to America. She witnessed the conditions of poverty brought on by unemployment: poor housing, hunger, and lack of health and educational facilities. Two years later, the Day of Prayer expanded to neighboring countries, then on to Europe and other continents. Since 1927 the day is known as World Day of Prayer.
Today, Christian women of many traditions gather together to observe a common day of prayer. 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.
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. This year’s program has been prepared by the women of Chile. The theme for 2011 is in the form of a question, “How Many Loaves Have You?”
While the history and organization of this special day of prayer is traditionally organized by the women of Christian communities, it is a time for all, women and men to reflect on the struggles of other communities.
For those that want to participate in a traditional style, worship service will begin at noon followed by lunch at Immaculate Heart of Mary, 6084 W. Canal Road, Abbottstown.
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