Stopping in for a brief visit last week at a United Methodist Church in Indiana, I was pleased to see a poster in the narthex indicating the congregation would be participating in this Sunday’s Global Day of Prayer. This international prayer event represents one of the most remarkable spiritual movements of our time.
The Global Day of Prayer had its beginnings in 2001, when a Day of Repentance and Prayer was held at Newlands Rugby Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa. In 2002, similar prayer events took place across South Africa.
In 2004, Christians throughout the African continent — in 56 nations — participated in a continental Day of Repentance and Prayer for Africa.
The first Global Day of Prayer took place on Pentecost Sunday 2005, with believers in 156 nations — including the United States — taking part. By Pentecost Sunday last year, the movement had spread to 214 nations.
Use the video player below to see excerpts from last year’s Global Day of Prayer observance, the largest prayer gathering in history.
Global Day of Prayer gatherings will be held this Sunday in stadiums, parks, local churches, and private homes.
Because this year the event falls on a “fifth Sunday,” the Day of Prayer will be observed in some communities as part of regularly scheduled “Fifth Sunday Community Services” that bring together several congregations for joint worship.
Each local Global Day of Prayer event will be unique, as believers in different parts of the world worship and pray according to their own cultures and customs. But at some point each gathering of believers — across all 200-plus nations — will pray the 2009 Prayer for World (PDF), a prayer of unity rooted in a common desire to see the unfolding of God’s purposes. In English, it reads in part:
King of Glory,
Come and finish Your work in our cities, our peoples and our nations.
We lift our voices in unison with believers from Africa and Asia,
from the Middle East and Europe, from North and South America,
and from Australia and the Pacific Islands — together we cry:
Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Be lifted up ancient doors
so that the King of glory may come in!
As Your deeds increase throughout the earth,
and as Your blessings abound to all the nations,
they will seek You, asking, “Who is this King of glory?”
Together we will answer:
He is the Lord Almighty!
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!
Come fill the earth with Your glory as the waters cover the sea.
The Spirit and the Bride say:
Amen! Come Lord Jesus!
Many (but certainly not all) Global Day of Prayer events in the U.S. are shown here.
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