What does the World Day of Prayer (WDP) mean to me? World Day of Prayer has been part of my faith journey, since my grandmother used to take me with her on Friday to be part of the World Day of Prayer service. At that time, I did not know what was exactly going on, but I remember that as children we had to behave, and we were involved in the service. I never thought that my role would be extended to be committed to translating the materials into Arabic since 1990. At that time, the worship service was also known as the “Ecumenical day”.
The World Day of Prayer is indeed an ecumenical day still. It is an experience of crossing borders together with other churches, and be enriched together. I believe this day challenges us to recognize that we cannot understand our faith away from the other, discovering the blessings received as we pray together. As Christians in the Middle East praying together is an urgent need for presence, role and impact.
The World Day of Prayer challenges us to cross borders with other countries, no matter where they are. Discovering how God is at work even in the farthest countries. World Day of Prayer is a solidarity chain where we are connected as the body of Christ.
The World Day of Prayer is a day where we hear the voices of women. As they tell their stories of struggle from their perspective, we look at their insights in explaining the Bible and raising issues of injustice.
The World Day of Prayer teaches us the deeper meaning of prayer. It is a time when we pray for others even when we are used to praying for ourselves. Even when we are in pain, we are challenged to pray for others' pain. To pray for countries that our political agendas are not aligned with. This day helps us to see beyond what we hear on the news and to see the people of God as our brothers and sisters no matter where they are. We meet on the level of God’s call that all may have an abundant life.
I believe that during the distancing that COVID-19 created in the world, the WDP is a shaping experience against distancing, an experience of belonging to the Body of Christ in the world.
We come together as the WDP to envision how we can be in mission today. How we can be the church for today that believes that prayer changes reality and together we can have a better tomorrow, hopefully with justice for all. “What does the Lord require” of us today is a key question that every service pauses on us.
The World Day of Prayer is a day of hope, trusting that our prayers in action will change the World.
By Rev. Najla Kassab, WDP Lebanon
(Reflection presented at the WDP Middle East Regional Meeting on 1/26/2022)