The Women’s World Day of Prayer
Every year on the first Friday in March in over 120 countries right across the world thousands of Christians from a multitude of denominations and of every race and colour, gather to celebrate the World Day of Prayer (formerly known as Women’s World Day of Prayer), by holding some special services.
This year the Day of Prayer falls on Friday 6th March and as usual two services have been organised for the day by the local committee in Oxted and District. The first one is at 10.00am at the Methodist Church in Hurst Green. The second service is at 7.30pm at the United Reformed Church in Oxted. Both services will be followed by refreshments and both are open to everyone – men as well as women.
Each year the Women’s World Day of Prayer services are prepared by the women of a different country and they write the prayers and select hymns and Bible passages. The women draw on their own experience of life and the services therefore represent an opportunity for people to become familiar with the thoughts and ways of worship of women from around the world.
This year the services have been devised by the Christian women of Zimbabwe and have as their theme “Rise! Take your Mat and Walk”. We are asked to consider the difficulties and unrest that have plagued the country over many years and through the service the women share the challenges that they have met and the hopes they have for the future with a focus on the themes of Love, Reconciliation and Peace
Zimbabwe is a land-locked country in south east Africa. About twice the size of the UK it is a land of mountains, savannah grasslands and tropical forest with abundant natural resources including coal, copper nickel, gold and diamonds. It has several major tourist attractions including Victoria Falls and Big Game Reserves
The Day of Prayer begins at the International Date Line in the Pacific and the first observances are early in the morning in Tonga, Fiji and New Zealand. The services spread across the world like a Mexican Wave and finish as the sun sets over St. Lawrence Island off the coast of Alaska. Services are held in private homes, in the open air, in small churches and great cathedrals, and under every conceivable condition of weather. The same Bible readings and essentially the same prayers are used in over 60 languages and a thousand dialects throughout the world over a period of roughly 36 hours.
At each of the services a collection is taken. As a result of this in 2018 over £120,000 was distributed to various charities.
In England and Wales they included the Royal National Institute for the Blind, The Salvation Army, and the Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen as well as to various Christian Literature Societies. Money was also sent overseas supporting a wide variety of causes including The Leprosy Mission, Mission 4 Water and The Christian Blind Mission.
Do come and try one of the local services – they are very informal and are always lively.