The World Day of Prayer (formerly Women’s World Day of Prayer) is a wonderful, ecumenical service open to all, whose origins date back to the 19th century, when Christian women of the United States and Canada initiated a variety of activities in support of women’s involvement in mission at home and in other parts of the world.
In 1926, the women of North America decided to distribute the worship service out to other countries and partners in mission – the response was hugely enthusiastic and resulted in a world-wide call for an international Women’s Day of Prayer.
It all starts on the international dateline in Samoa. Early in the morning, Christian women begin praying and then as the earth rotates a ‘Mexican Wave of Prayer’ encircles the globe – sweeping across the Pacific, touching Fiji and New Zealand on through Asia – Japan, the Philippines, Korea, Bangladesh – up into Africa rolling into the Middle East and then Europe, crossing the Atlantic the wave reaches the shores of all the Americas and Caribbean islands and on to the Pacific again, until the sun finally sets over American Samoa, where the final service takes place and the worldwide circle of prayer is complete.
This year, the service has been prepared by the women of Zimbabwe with the title of “Rise! Take up your mat and walk”. Zimbabwe has undergone many upheavals including the fairly recent ousting of Robert Mugabe and life continues to be extremely challenging for many – as written by a Member of the WDP Zimbabwe National Committee below – but with courage and ingenuity they are rising to meet these challenges:
… with the continuing power cuts and the rising cost of electricity neither of which appear to be set – even remotely – to improve, our sanity has literally been saved by the expansion of our solar system leaving us nearly able to manage off the grid.
Today our yard has been a hive of activity as we are embarking on another project. For years we have had a hole for a borehole but the water is at such a depth and there is not such a great volume of it either. We knew we would spend a fortune on electricity getting it to the surface so have never equipped it. However the shortage of water to the city and to households is so bad, we are having a solar pump installed and our hope is that with this water we can grow our own vegetables and maintain a little of the garden in which we have invested over the years but which has also brought great joy to many. It has been hot work clambering over a hot roof and in a sweltering ceiling to connect it all up.
And now, a challenge for us. With the sporadic rain the crops have all but failed and hunger is stalking the streets, schools and businesses.
Please join us here at Holy Trinity, Roehampton on Friday 6th March 12.30pm as we pray with the women of Zimbabwe and around the world in this service of peace and harmony that encompasses over 120 countries. We affirm our faith together, share our hopes and fears, learn about the Christian faith within other cultures and come together in solidarity through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.