Pray for Those Women Who Are Your Sisters. Which Women? All of Them.

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Woman's Hands Clasped in Prayer

March 5th is the World Day of Prayer. There was strong resistance from all-male mission boards in the late 1800s, when talk of a World Day of Prayer (WDP) first surfaced among women in the American and Canadian missionary societies of various Christian denominations. Women saw the special needs of other women and of children in the developing world. They understood that prayer was needed but was not enough. Action was required, as well. And so they organized. One result was the World Day of Prayer, which has grown into a global movement.

The U.S. World Day of Prayer site says "Throughout the entire day, we collectively pray all over the world, beginning with the first sunrise and ending at the last sunset. Our prayers follow the sun’s path around the globe. WDP’s motto is “Informed prayer leads to prayerful action." Through World Day of Prayer, women affirm that prayer and action are inseparable and that both have immeasurable influence in the world."

Here are some of the programs they have supported -- and there are many, many more. A full list can be obtained here.

Provincial Council of Women, Western Highlands, Papua New Guinea -- to support programs that provide training and counseling in the areas of HIV and AIDS awareness, sexual abuse and domestic violence and financial independence for women in the Western Highlands region.

Women in Peace-Building Program (WIPNET), Liberia -- to advocate for inclusion of women’s issues in peace and security policies at the national level in West African countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria with the goal of promoting human security and building lasting peace.

Urgent Action Fund-Kenya -- support of women’s human rights through rapid response grant making, especially for women in conflict areas on the African continent who are defending the rights of women, based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Women Making Airwaves for Peace, Philippines -- to provide training of women in the Asia Pacific region in the use of community radio and journalism as an empowerment tool that promotes peace and women's critical role in conflict resolution in their communities.

Clear Fork Community Institute, Tennessee -- to promote women's education and community development in coal-mining communities in Appalachia.

Christian women are trying to help women globally and are joining their voices in prayer. The organization thus far is specifically Christian, but it spans the many denominational differences of women, in many churches, in many countries. In 2009, the U.S. branch of WDP had about 70,000 women in America attending services.

Women from 170 countries will pray and collect financial offerings at these annual worship services, and small grants will be made to global groups providing help to women and children. Every year the women of one country are tasked with composing the worship service for that day. This year it is the women of Cameroon.

Cameroon, a west African nation, has a troubled past and a troubling present. Amnesty International has cataloged a lengthy history of human rights violations there. They are actively involved in the trafficking of women and children for the sex industry and for forced labor.

The US WDP site also says :

As we begin our journey with the women of Cameroon, we learn about the social challenges that include the trafficking of children -- particularly girls -- for sexual exploitation and slavery, gender issues that allow the perpetuation of violence against women and women losing their land rights. We will ask and seek answers to questions about possibility and justice in Cameroon. On Friday, March 5, 2010, we welcome the worshipping community to join the women of Cameroon.
Let's turn our prayers into action.

Too often in this world there is prayer without any action, or action without the spiritual underpinning to keep it active over time. Through the World Day of Prayer, a noble attempt is being made to join the two. And, the plight of a designated national community of women and children is brought to the fore. Honestly, I had not thought about Cameroon before this. But I am focused on it now. The women of WDP just held it to my eyes.

Women everywhere, helping women and children everywhere -- a world of women who pray and work across borders, who proclaim their faith in prayer and action -- it makes me hope.

Whether you attend a service or not, please join your prayers to the prayers of other women on March 5th. Pray for those who don't have what we do, however limited our resources. Join with prayers for the hurt, the abused, the genitally mutilated, the victims, the survivors, the children of promise, the orphans, the women entrepreneurs in small villages, for broken women, those who have been trafficked for sex or for forced labor, the discarded, those with HIV, women in countries with no land rights, lost women, raped women. Pray for every woman and child in the world. Let the force of prayer that day rouse us all from our slumber, and spring us into action to help all our sisters and their children.

Feel free to append your prayer in the comments belowv...vor even part of itv...

~~ Contributing Editor, Mata H. prays silently and out loud at Time's Fool

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