This Friday Christians around the world mark Women’s World Day of Prayer , when we are encouraged to join with other women from different cultures and countries to pray for, and with them. The day offers us an opportunity to hear the thoughts of women from all parts of the world, and listen to their hopes, concerns and prayers. On this day we are reminded of the power of prayer as it goes hand in hand with action, both having a great influence in our world.
The theme for this year’s Women’s World Day of Prayer is ‘build on a strong foundation’ and the women of the republic of Vanuatu (located in the South Pacific Ocean) have prepared a virtual service for this year
Each week at JRS, our Refugee Women’s Prayer group meet together, to gather in reflection and prayer and for the past year meetings have been taking place on Zoom. These sessions are a key foundation of faith, for our refugee sisters, providing them a regular space for worship, and spiritual connection with one another and with two volunteer religious sisters who help facilitate the group. I asked our sisters from the Women’s Prayer Group to take a special moment of reflection for Women’s World Day of Prayer, and invited them to share their own prayers for women all around the world, in their communities, and at JRS.
I would like to share with you some of their thoughts and reflections.
In my country there is conflict every day. I want to pray for all women in my country who are raped every day. I pray for them, and for the conflict to stop.
I want to pray for all women in the United Kingdom and all the nations of the world who are depressed because of the pandemic. I pray that God heals everyone with the virus and other infirmities. I also pray that JRS should continue to flourish and all the staff should experience peace of God that surpasses all understanding in Jesus mighty name.
I want to pray for women to be in power; to be presidents and prime ministers, and take charge of our communities and take power.
I want to pray for those women from JRS – they bring us food every month. God almighty protect them and bless them.
I want to pray for all the women who have been kidnapped and raped all over the world. Women suffering domestic violence & beatings, I pray that God should deliver them from the oppressors, that God should touch their lives, comfort them and those who have lost a loved one, that God should comfort them, that God should be their guide, their hope in Jesus’s name.
I want to pray for the women key workers around the world. During this pandemic it’s very hard – and it’s hard for the women who work in the hospitals, and the hospices.
I want to pray for all the girls in the world who their parents forced them to get married so young. Some girls at 9 or 10 years old, they’re forced to get married. We have to pray for them.
Sr Vianney: And the young girls who are abducted.
I want to pray for women with children; they are working very hard at home, raising their kids. and they are sometimes forgotten. We are praying for good wages as well for women.
In my country, women are so abused. We have to pray for them.
For the final prayer I’d like all of you in your own heart to picture the face of a woman who has been terribly important in your life. That woman could still be alive or she may be dead. Just try and bring her face before your eyes.
We call on all the holy women who have come before us, channels of God’s word and givers of God’s life. We want to know their stories, celebrate their lives and share their wisdom and in remembering them, release their power in our lives. And we remember all our mothers’ grandmothers, and foremothers, who handed on to us the wisdom of womanhood and the womanly vision of God.
May the God who dances in creation, who embraces us in the human love of our friends, who shakes our life with thunder, bless us and send us out to continue our journey toward wise faith, blazing hope and generous love as women.
[Final prayer adapted from ‘Praying with the Women Mystics’ by Mary T Malone]
Take a moment to reflect on the words of our friends, and as you do I invite you to listen to our refugee sister singing a hymn in French ‘Quel Ami fidèle et tendre’
Quel Ami fidèle et tendre,
Nous avons en Jésus-Christ
Toujours prêt à nous entendre,
À répondre à notre cri.
Il connaît nos défaillances,
Nos combats de chaque jour.
Sévère en Ses exigences,
Il est riche en Son amour.
What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear –
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Jo Biernat is JRS Communications Editorial Assistant
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