Prayer is the action that grounds us in our faith. It is a personal and communal experience that brings us closer to God. It is so much a part of us that sometimes we are unaware that it is happening. Prayer is the thread in the tapestry of a life of faith. Jesus taught us to pray. He modelled that prayer is essential to a life lived to the fullest.
Today is the calendar day for the World Day of Prayer. You would think this would be something we would hear about in the media. Every year this World Day of Prayer takes place all over the global community.
What does prayer mean to us? We ask for prayers, we rhyme off traditional prayers and we often lose ourselves in prayerful moments. Imagine the presence of the Spirit when so many of God’s people are united in prayer.
Those who work on the planning of this international effort, are inclusive and passionate about justice and peace. Every year they create a theme, post resources and plan events to unite the world in prayer and justice. This year, I chose to attend a prayer service at Dominion Chalmers United Church here in Ottawa. What a wonderful opportunity to come together in Christian community! We share faith in Jesus Christ. Why don’t we do this more often?
The 2020 World Day of Prayer theme is ‘Rise, Take and Walk.’ Based on the account of the healing of a man in John’s gospel, this is a rich reference for such an important day. When the paralyzed man tells Jesus why he cannot get to the pool, Jesus tells him to take up his mat and walk. This theme is an invitation to the world to pray and do so actively. It is an invitation to take up our mat as humanity and embrace the healing love of Christ and to work for peace and reconciliation.
The women hosting the World Day of Prayer this year are the Ni Vanuatu. The tiny island country of Vanuatu is located in the South Pacific ocean on a volcanic archipelago. Women around the world join these women in prayer and learn about their culture. Every year, women of many cultures come together to pray, to socialize, to learn about the world and to work for peace. The global community and the earth need prayer in this present moment.
We often speak of the power of prayer. There is a lot of power here and it’s a peaceful, humble power. Imagine prayer uniting 100 countries, spoken in 79 languages with 95,000 worship services. Power of prayer indeed! Happy World Day of Prayer.
–Jan Bentham is a Retired Religion Coordinator with the Ottawa Catholic School Board. She is a musician, serving in music ministry at St. Ignatius Parish in Ottawa. She currently works at St. Paul’s University with the Catholic Women’s Leadership Program.
Resources for this year’s World Day of Prayer can be found here.