World Day of Prayer 2023 artwork ‘“I Have Heard About Your Faith” by Hui-Wen HSAIO. [1]
The World Day of Prayer is an international ecumenical Christian laywomen’s initiative. It is run under the motto, Informed Prayer and Prayerful Action and is celebrated annually in over 170 countries on the first Friday in March.

The movement aims to bring together women of various races, cultures and traditions in a yearly common Day of Prayer, as well as in closer fellowship, understanding and action throughout the year. In 2023, Taiwan is the particular focus.

Prayer is a powerful way of connecting with others for love, healing and compassion. Recently I was anxious about my infant grandniece who was undergoing a serious operation that could affect the rest of her life. Being too far away to be with the parents and child, I lit a candle and sent them blessings and prayers by phone. Their delight and gratitude were tangible.

While the allegory for the chaos theory is simplified with this saying that a small butterfly flapping its wings could, hypothetically, cause a typhoon, its application demonstrates how the universe is deeply interconnected. That a small faithful whisper of love, kindness, compassion or blessing can reach around all corners, countries and oceans is a phenomenon. Prayer is really powerful.

Prayer is about being present in love with God; it’s about living in the present moment; it’s how we are called to live a life of faith.

Fully contemplative people are more than aware of Divine Presence; they trust, allow, and delight in it. They ‘stand’ on it! To love, trusting that love is the deepest stream of reality. That’s why prayer isn’t primarily words; it’s primarily an attitude, a stance, a modus operandi. That’s why Paul could say, “Pray always. Pray unceasingly”.
Richard Rohr, 13 February 2022

The present moment, the now, holds many surprises.

We’ve got a lot of other things to do. We can pray unceasingly, however, if we find the stream and know how to wade in its waters. The stream will flow through us, and all we have to do is keep choosing to stay there.
Richard Rohr

As we pray unceasingly, we are aware of the concerns of the world. We pray in communion with the people suffering globally from natural catastrophes, violence, dysfunctional and evil administrators.

We simply cannot pray and ‘mind our own business’. Instead, we find ourselves driven to do more and more to make the world what God wants the world to be.
Joan Chittister, Breath of the Soul, Chapter 6, Living in God.

The contemplative secret is learning to live in the now. The now is not as empty as it might appear. As the Presence of God is in everything, and everywhere is God’s eternal presence, we can be sure that as we consciously pray with women throughout the world, particularly the women of Taiwan, they will be enclosed in God’s presence and love.

Michele Shipperley rsj


[1] Taiwan has a history of being colonized by different foreign governments, which led to experiences of ethical, cultural social and political conflicts and integration. The artist has used several motifs that highlight Taiwan’s best-known features to express how the Christian faith brings peace and a new vision to Taiwan. The women in the painting are sitting by a stream, praying silently and looking into the dark.  Despite the uncertainties of the path ahead, they know that the salvation of Christ has come. (World Day of Prayer 2023 – Artist)