Billion Prayer Campaign to End Extreme Poverty

An ambitious prayer campaign is counting 1 billion prayers to end extreme poverty.

The Billion Prayer March is collecting prayers, each of which will represent a person living in extreme poverty in the world, according to countingprayers.org. The Web site emphasizes that the world now has the means to end extreme poverty.

"It is generally accepted that since the late 1960s the world had finally acquired enough wealth and knowledge to eliminate abject poverty-so why don't we?" asks Jonathan Denn, founder of countingprayers.org. "As a world we simply lack the will."

The inaugural prayer for countingprayers.org was offered on Sept. 23, 2007, at St. Paul's at Ground Zero in New York City. The counter on the Web site shows that more than 650,000 prayers have already been given from all over the world.

"We invite every person, and every congregation in every faith in every country to offer The Counting Prayer everyday and/or at every worship service until the Millennium Development Goals are met. Hundreds of thousands of prayers will turn into millions then billions, and as the prayers are answered the repetition of words will turn into advocacy then action, and finally a miracle," Denn said in a statement.

Participants of the Billion Prayer March do not need to do any physical marching, but only make a prayer pledge on the Web site as the counter continues its journey to one billion.

Congregations are encouraged to organize a Billion Prayer March event to invite congregants to join the campaign. Churches can then enter the special event totals on the site.

"Anyone can hold these events anytime in solidarity with other group's prayer meetings, at gatherings like the G8, or advocacy actions on behalf of the world's poor," Denn assured.

The Billion Prayer March has been endorsed by the United Religions Initiative, the One Spirit Interfaith Seminary and Millennium Congregation.