World Day of Prayer is on FridayBy DEBRA THORNBLAD
Special to the Union Leader
March 05. 2014 6:00PM
BERLIN — Women from the Berlin-Gorham area Protestant and Roman Catholic churches have organized a North Country observation of Friday’s World Day of Prayer.
The ecumenical service, scheduled for 2 p.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church on Norway Street in Berlin is open to the public.
World Day of prayer is celebrating its 127th year in more than 170 countries. Each year, women of a different country organize the observation.
This year, Egyptians planned services around the theme “Streams in the Desert.”
The words of the prophet Isaiah, “I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19 ), inspired the theme.
World Day of Prayer in the United States promotes justice and equality for women through prayer, partnerships, service and celebration.
The worldwide observance has its roots in National Prayer Day, started in 1887 by women of the Presbyterian Church “for repentance for the sins of individuals and their country.”
In 1890, two women who were serving as missionaries for the Baptist Church in Asia initiated a day of joint prayer, especially for overseas ministries.
By 1897, women from six denominations formed a joint committee for a united day of prayer, according to the World Day of Prayer National Committee website.
In 1920, the first Friday of Lent, Feb. 20 that year, was established as the day. It later was changed to the first Friday of March.
In 1926, women extended the worship service to as many countries as possible, and in 1928, the official World Day of Prayer was established, according to the WDP website.
Since then, each year a different country has established a different theme for international services.
In 1932, at the height of the Great Depression, India offered the theme “Hold Fast in Prayer.”
Over the years, U.S. women have been in charge of the theme at least five times.
Last year, France based the service on the theme “I Was a Stranger and You Welcomed Me.”
For more information, visit the World Day of Prayer USA website at www.wdp-usa.org.