World Day of Prayer 2024 artwork by Halima Aziz.

The World Day of Prayer has a long history. It begun in New York in 1887 by Mary Ellen Fairchild James as a day of prayer for home missions. Two years later it became prayer for world missions. It travelled to Canada in 1922, then to the British Isles in the 1930s. From 1927, the prayer day was known as the ‘Women’s World Day of Prayer’. After the Vatican Council in 1967, Catholic women united their ‘May Day of Prayer’ with the March ‘Women’s World Day of Prayer’ which then became the ‘World Day of Prayer’.

The aim of the World Day of Prayer is to become aware of other countries and cultures, especially those living in isolation, to pray for those countries, and to encourage women to offer and use their talents to better society.

Different countries have been given the responsibility of organising the theme and the prayer service each year. For this year, Palestine has prepared the prayer based on the theme, “I beg you… bear with one another in love”. (Ephesians Ch 4: 4-5). One would have to say how much we need this in our present environment!

For the service booklet, a Palestinian artist, Halima Aziz, has prepared a beautiful artwork showing three women praying together.  The symbols in her image are:

  • Olive trees – Symbols of Everlasting and abundant life
  • Golden roots – Underlining rights and freedom for Palestinians
  • Poppy flowers – reminiscent of lives given for the country
  • Palestinian dresses/white scarf – representative of the Palestinian people and their art and history
  • Keys (round the neck) – symbolising hope of return to Palestine

This year the World Day of Prayer will be held on 1 March 2024 around the world, uniting the world in prayer and understanding of the needs of others and acting in solidarity with them.

Patricia Williams rsj

Listed below are website links you’re invited to visit to find out more: