world day prayer

World Day of Prayer

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.


The World Day of Prayer started in the USA in 1884.
When Mary Ellen James called for a day of prayer in 1887, she was not planning a great worldwide movement, destined to become the largest ecumenical movement in the world organised and led by women. She was simply reacting, as a Christian, 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 - the awful slums with their poverty, unemployment, poor housing, lack of health or educational facilities. Something had to be done.
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 neighboring countries, then on to Europe and other continents.

Since 1927 the day is known as Women’s World Day of Prayer.


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

2007 United Under God's Tent Paraguay
2006 Signs Of The Times South Africa
2005 Let Our Light Shine Poland
2004 In Faith, Women Shape the Future Panama
2003 Holy Spirit, Fill Us Lebanon
2002 Challenged to Reconcile Romania
2001 Informed Prayer, Prayerful Action Samoa
2000 Talitha Koum: Young Woman Stand Up Indonesia
1999 God's Tender Touch Venezuela
1998 Who is My Neighbour Madagascar
1997 Like a Seed Which Grows into a Tree Korea
1996 God Calls Us To Respond Haiti
1995 The Earth is a House for all People Ghana
1994 Go, See & Act Palestine
1993 God's people instruments of healing Guatemala
1992 Living Wisely with Creation German speaking Women of Switzerland, Austria and Germany
1991 On the journey together Kenya
1990 A better tomorrow, justice for all Czechoslovakia
1989 Lord Teach us to pray Burma
1988 Open Doors Brazil
1987 Come and Rejoice International Committee of WWDP
1986 Choose Life Australia
1985 Peace through prayer and action India
1984 Living Water from Christ our Hope Sweden
1983 New persons in Christ Caribbean
1982 The people of God: Gathered for Worship- Scattered for Service Ireland, North & South
1981 The Earth is the Lord's American Indian Women
1980 Responsible Freedom Thailand
1979 Spiritual Growth East Africa
1978 Community Spirit in Modem LivingCanada
1977 Love in Action German Democratic Republic
1976 Education through living Mexico & South America
1975 Become perfectly one Women's Ecumenical Prayer Fellowship of Egypt
1974 Make us builders of peace Women's Committee in Japan
1973 Alert in our time WWDP Committee of New Zealand
1972 All joy be yours A committee from Europe
1971 A new people for a new age Women of Caribbean
1970 Be of good courage Jamaica, Egypt, U.S., Philippines & Guyana
1969 Growing Together in Christ Women of Sierra Leone, Ghana, South Africa, Congo, Zambia & Kenya
1968 Bear ye one another's burdens - Ceylon
1967 Of His Kingdom there shall be no end - Tonga Islands
1966 Ye are my Witnesses WWDP Committee of Scotland
1965 What doth the Lord require? USA
1964 Let us Pray Geneva, Switzerland
1963 More than Conquerors Women of Korea
1962 For God So Loved the World - Uruguay
1961 Forward through the Ages: In everything give thanks USA
1960 Labourers together with God Committee of the Women's Inter-Church Council of Canada
1959 Lord, I believe Egypt
1958 The Bread of Life Women members of churches in the Council of the WCC - Australia
1957 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ....? Hungary
1956 One Flock, One Shepherd Cook Christian Training School for Indian Christian Leaders in Arizona USA
1955 Abide in Me Buenos Aires
1954 That They May Have Life India
1953 Walk as Children of the Light Women of Africa
1952 Christ our Hope Migrants, Sharecroppers & Indian Americans - USA
1951 Perfect Love Casteth out Fear Germany
1950 Faith for our time Japan
1949 The Lord is Thy Keeper China
1948 The Lord's Prayer - the prayer universal
1947 Make Level in the Desert a Highway for our God. - India 1946 The Things That Make for our Peace - Central Africa 1945 The Church Universal England, Wales & Northern Ireland 1944 Bear Ye One Another's Burdens
1943 That they all may be one USA
1942 I Am The Way New York & a group of refugees from France & Germany
1941 Thy Kingdom Come WWDP Committee of Shanghai, China
1940 In Quietness and in Confidence shall be Your Strength -England
1939 Let Us Put Our Love Into Deeds - and Make it Real USA 1938 The Church - A World Fellowship - New Zealand
1937 The Son of the Living God - Africa
1936 On Earth, Peace, Goodwill Toward Men - Chile
1935 Bear Ye One Another's Burdens - Holland
1934 Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem - South Africa
1933 Follow Thou Me - China
1932 Hold Fast in Prayer - India

Forthcoming World Day of Prayer themes and writer countries

  • 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

See also

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