We prayed today with millions of people around the world, reflecting on John 5:2-9a: “Rise! Take Your Mat and Walk”. Photo by Valter Muniz / WCC

The World Day of Prayer is a worldwide ecumenical movement that welcomes and brings women together in prayer and action while creating awareness about other countries and cultures. Millions of people across the globe observe this special day, celebrated annually on the first Friday in March. Each year the World Day of Prayer focuses on a theme and a country.

This year on March 6, the World YWCA once again joined partners and friends to celebrate the World Day of Prayer service at the Ecumenical Centre chapel in Geneva. Women gathered in solidarity and prayer across the world for Zimbabwe, reflecting on the journey of transformation and theme “Rise! Take you Mat and Walk”, based on John 5:2-9a.

The World Day of Prayer committee of Zimbabwe greeted participants with: “The peoples from the land of Zimbabwe welcome you. Zimbabwe means house of stones. We greet you in the language of the Shona people—Kwaziwai! (kwuz-WHY), and in language of the Ndebele people—Salibonani! (sah-li-bo-NA-nee). In English, we all say hello.”

Rebecca Sangeetha during the meditation

The service included lively and spirited hymns and traditional objects that represented the country and its people. Other items on the programme included powerful, strong prayers, readings, choral selections and a well delivered meditation by Rebecca Sangeetha from the Lutheran World Federation. She shared:

“The time to act is now. Let us rise in faith, lift up our mat in hope and walk in love”.

During the service, the voice of Nobuhle, a 13 year old girl living in the Mberengwa district, a rural province in the Midlands of Zimbabwe was higlighted. She shared how after getting her menstruation, shame and not being able to afford sanitary pads was keeping her in isolation and preventing her to attend school.  Nobuhle’s story reflected the reality of many other girls in her community and country.  This is why the offerings collected during the service were towards supporting a project from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe. They, run Nobuhle’s school, and they pledged to use the contributions to educate young women on their rights and ensure that all girls stay in school.

The cultural and spiritual afternoon concluded with an invitation to participants to a bake sale to further collect contributions to the project and expand its impact in the community.

The celebration of the World Day of Prayer sparkled up dialogues about peaceful and constructive relationships and cooperation based on people’s realities both in church and society. It provided a space to reflect and act upon the healing of ourselves and our communities to bring transformation, peace and reconciliation into the world.

Click here to view all photos from the World Day of Prayer celebration at the Ecumenical Centre chapel in Geneva.