World Day of Prayer is an international movement of Christian people in many different traditions that have a continuing relationship of prayer and service. People from various denominations gather in one another’s churches to celebrate, using a Worship Service prepared by women of a different country each year. Women, men and young people share the language, customs and music of that country, right around the globe.
Observed on the first Friday in March each year, is a worldwide movement of informed prayer involving people of many denominations and languages in more than 170 countries. Each year the service is written by women in a different country who share the hopes and fears, joys and sorrows, opportunities and needs, of their country. It affirms that informed prayer and prayerful action are inseparable.
How is it organised in New Zealand?
We owe a lot to our history: first the National Women’s Committee of the National Council of Churches, who made it a priority to organise World Day of Prayer here. Then the National Committee of Church Women United did sterling work, growing the nation-wide awareness of the prayer-and-giving opportunity. At the beginning of 2009 World Day of Prayer was registered as a separate charitable entity, and there was for the first time a dedicated group specifically set up to do the work. The National Committee is at present based in Christchurch.
Theme 2024 from Palestinian Christian women: “I beg you… bear with one another in love”
An ecumenical group of Palestinian Christian women have prayed and reflected together over the past several years to respond to the invitation to write the 2024 program. Their theme is “I Beg You… Bear With One Another in Love,” based on Ephesians 4:1-7. This program calls us to bear with each other in love, despite all difficulties and oppression.
The Worship Service shares stories of three Palestinian Christian women, who witness to the power of bearing together in love. Their stories illuminate the experiences of Palestinian women from three different generations. The symbol of an olive tree is used throughout the worship service. This represents the three generations through the trunk, branches, and leaves of the olive tree.
The Palestinian Christian women who wrote this worship service have invited the world to pray for peace, justice and freedom of religion and freedom of movement. Their prayers specifically call us to pray with women, refugees, persons experiencing homelessness, and all who are sick, dying and grieving. They also call us to confess to our collective role in causing the climate crisis, and to commit to repairing what we have destroyed. Finally, they call us, the global church, to be united in treating all with justice and love.
Additional information be accessed and downloaded on the WDP Resources page.