"Let Our Light shine" is the theme of this year's World Day of Prayer.
With its roots in the 19th century, World Day of Prayer has come to be celebrated annually the first Friday in March. Its origins can be found on www.worlddayofprayer.net.
Responsibility for organizing each year's events rotates among participating countries. This year's event has been organized by women in Poland.
Included in the scriptural references this year is this verse: "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light" (Eph. 5:14). It is this Christ-light of spiritual understanding that we can seek to shine through us as we pray for our world.
Jesus said, speaking of Christ, which he so clearly expressed, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness" (John 8:12). And when those disciples who sought to follow him asked how they should pray, he gave them the Lord's Prayer. I've always been impressed that the Lord's Prayer refers to "our" and "us" and not to "mine" and "me." This all-inclusive prayer is fitting for a world day of prayer.
In the Christian Science textbook, Mary Baker Eddy wrote, "Our Master taught his disciples one brief prayer, which we name after him the Lord's Prayer. Our Master said, 'After this manner therefore pray ye,' and then he gave that prayer which covers all human needs" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," page 16).
The light that pervades the Lord's Prayer shines through all prayers that seek good for the world. More than 170 countries are uniting in this year's World Day of Prayer, and the needs that will be addressed are as numerous. The spirit of the Lord's Prayer addresses those needs around the world and around the clock. All the prayers become a mighty force for good.
A friend once said, when she had responded to a call for herself and others to pray concerning a world problem, that she felt she was tapping into a great reservoir of faith. While she didn't discount the effectiveness of one individual praying alone, she felt a special joy and conviction when joining in prayer with others throughout the world.
I, too, saw the effectiveness of a group of us responding to a call for prayer. It was during a time of rioting and burning of whole areas in a nearby city. We lived in the first suburb north, and we were warned that rioters would be coming into our area and smashing windows.
As I drove to pick up my husband at the train depot, I passed by a place where I sometimes worked and couldn't help noticing its large plate glass windows. These looked like a prime target.
Many of us who had been called to pray were obviously doing so, and I felt as if I, too, had tapped into a great reservoir of faith. I found my prayers not only seeking protection for our community but also for freeing the rioters from doing something they would probably regret someday.
When I got to the train station, police and store owners were on the street, all apparently waiting for the rioters to get off the train. To my amazement, the train sailed on through without making its regular stop. I drove farther north, and when the train finally stopped, my husband and other regular passengers got off. We drove back on streets along the tracks, and there was no evidence of rioting.
There wasn't a pane of glass broken in our town, and soon the destruction ceased throughout the area. This small incident has always inspired me to join in community prayers when called for.
It's a big community we are being called upon to pray for on March 4, and we can be sure that the light that will enlighten our prayers is bright enough to shine through them all. And the works that those prayers inspire will be visible throughout the world.
Thy word is a lamp
unto my feet,
and a light unto my path.