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Over 1 Million Christians Expected to Join International Women-Led 'World Day of Prayer'

Over 1 Million Christians Expected to Join International Women-Led 'World Day of Prayer'

A service held in the Philippines for the 2017 World Day of Prayer international observance. The theme for that year was "Am I Being Unfair to You?"; based off of Matthew 20:1-16.  | (Photo:  World Day of Prayer International Committee)

More than one million Christians from different denominations and 140 countries will be taking part in the annual World Day of Prayer observance on Friday.

Initiated and overseen by women, the World Day of Prayer takes place every year on the first Friday of March, which in the United States is observed as Women's History Month.

In comments emailed to The Christian Post, Rosângela Oliveira, executive director of the World Day of Prayer International Committee, explained that this year's theme is "All God's Creation is Very Good!" which is based off Genesis 1:1–31.

"It was developed by WDP women in Suriname, and it calls the world to be caretakers of God's creation," said Oliveira.

"Suriname, as a small country, is an excellent voice to show the world the beauty of creation and the concerns they face like mining, deforestation, water access, basic sanitation or floods," she added. 

Based in New York, the WDPIC has chapters in over 140 countries. Each year, a given country's committee is selected to write up a program and theme for the World Day of Prayer.

The day of the observance will often involve worship services, while the program created by the chosen national committee will include other activities related to its theme, like educational events or volunteer projects, done throughout the year.

A photo from a service in the Bahamas that was part of the 2016 World Day of Prayer observance. The theme for that year was "Receive Children. Receive Me," based off of Mark 10:13-16. | (Photo: World Day of Prayer International Committee)

Oliveira estimates that as many as 1.6 million people will participating in this year's observance, if not more, with about 22,000 services taking place globally. The total number of nations taking part might get as high as 170.

"In that sense, the potential for WDP to raise awareness on environmental justice based on the concern of each community involved in the program is very meaningful," noted Oliveira.

"We are to be responsible for how we are living for the next generation — not only in terms of sustainability of the Earth but also in regard to a life free of violence."

The WDPIC traces its origins back to the 19th century, when Christian women from the United States and Canada coordinated a series of projects to help female involvement in mission work.

The International Committee itself was officially founded much later in 1968, having focused on a variety of themes over the years in observance of the World Day of Prayer.

For example, in 2006, the South African committee organized a program titled "Signs of the Times," which centered on combating the nation's HIV/AIDS crisis.

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