Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who is the leader of the Anglican communion, urged people to stop "wandering away" from Jesus Christ as he launched the Thy Kingdom Come initiative, which Christians around the world are joining.
"Come back to Him today. Turn around if you've been facing the wrong direction; turn that walk into a run if you're already heading towards Him," Welby said on Thursday, Ascension Day, which marked the beginning of the 10-day initiative.
"Now, pray for those friends whose lives would be utterly different if they joined you in running to Jesus, instead of wandering away from Him."
Churches from various denominations, along with individual believers, are being urged to join the global prayer movement in the days leading to Pentecost. Participants are specifically called to pray "for more people to come to know Jesus Christ."
The initiative, which began in 2016, has three main hopes, namely that "people will commit to pray with God's world-wide family — as a church, individually or as a family;" that churches will hold "24-7 prayer, prayer stations and prayer walks, across the U.K. and in other parts of the world;" and that "people will be empowered through prayer by the Holy Spirit, finding new confidence to be witnesses for Jesus Christ."
The Thy Kingdom Come website features an interactive map of the world under its Pledge2Pray section, which lights up a light for every church or individual that has signed up to be part of the movement. Presently there are lights from every continent in the world, though most are concentrated in Europe and the United States.
A post-event survey on the 2017 initiative found that the videos promoting the call to prayer have received more than 2 million views, with Christians in more than 85 countries around the world deciding to participate. More than 500,000 prayer resources were delivered, and were translated into different languages.
Talking about the success of the prayer initiative, Welby said: "I cannot remember in my life anything that I've been involved in where I sensed so clearly the work of the Spirit."
"In praying 'Thy Kingdom Come' we all commit to playing our part in the renewal of the nations and the transformation of communities," the archbishop added.
The website features material and videos that both inspire people to share and grow in their faith, as well as advice on how to reach out to others and get them involved. It also states that God will use people to help answer the prayer of sharing Jesus with others.
"He will give us opportunities to witness to Him with the people we have been praying for. He will use us to invite people to know and experience the goodness of His Kingdom and to join His family. But we also know that most of us find speaking of our faith daunting," it says.
"We feel ill equipped. We assume someone else, maybe anyone else, is better suited, or we think that sharing faith is someone else's job. All Christians are appointed as God's witnesses. It is not a choice. The only choice is whether we are good witnesses or bad ones."
This year's prayer movement comes as many American churchgoers (51 percent) say they are not familiar with the term "Great Commission," according to a study conducted by the Barna Group and the Seed Company. The "Great Commission" is a term used to describe Jesus' call to evangelism in Matthew 28:18-20.