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A History of the World Day of Prayer

Mrs Mary Ellen Darwin James, President of the Woman's Board of Home Missions in the Presbyterian Church of America, was concerned for the poor immigrants from Europe and the Orient who had arrived in America looking for a new life. Believing that those who persistently prayed would become advocates of the powerless, she issued a call to set aside a "Day of prayer for Home Missions, when there shall be confession of individual and national sins, with offerings that will fitly express the contrition".
1890 Two ladies from the Baptist church (Mrs Lucy Peabody of Boston and Mrs Helen Barrett Montgomery of Rochester, New York) made an appeal for a "Day of prayer for Foreign Missions".
This resulted in an increased observance of both days.
1919 The two interdenominational mission bodies set up a National Committee to prepare worship materials and to correspond with local communities.
1920 A call was sent out for all churchwomen to come together on the first Friday in Lent to pray for Christian mission in the whole world.
1922 Canada Women were invited to start their own organisation, sharing materials from the USA.
News of the Day of Prayer began to spread around the world.
1928 Jerusalem An International Missionary Conference was held. The Day of prayer became known as the World Day of Prayer.
Scotland Mrs Mary Grace Forgan, a member of the United Free Church, brought news of the World Day of Prayer to Scotland.
1930 The first World Day of Prayer service was held in Scotland, in a house in Edinburgh. The theme, That Jesus may be lifted up, was written by Miss Helen Kim of Korea.
The day became known as the Women's World Day of Prayer in many countries.
1932 England The Women's World Day of Prayer began, spreading to
1933 Wales and
1934 Ireland
World-wide The hymn "The day Thou gavest, Lord is ended" was adopted as the World Day of Prayer hymn.
1948 The Praying Hands were used as the symbol for the Women's World Day of Prayer.
1966 The Service was written by Scottish Committee. Theme: Ye are my witnesses.
1967 USA Women from 42 countries were invited to discuss plans for an International Committee which would be responsible for the future planning.
1968 Sweden The International Committee (ICWDP) was formally started and the first Friday in March became the World Day of Prayer.
1980 Scotland Celebration of 50 years of the Women's World Day of Prayer in Scotland.
The word 'Women's' was dropped from the title.
1982 International A new logo developed by women of Ireland was adopted as the international logo. Margaret Williams, Scottish Convener became International Chairperson until 1986.
1987 Scotland Service in Dunblane Cathedral to celebrate 100 years of the World Day of Prayer.
1995 International The International Committee title was changed to the World Day of Prayer International Committee (WDPIC).
2005 Scotland 75 years of WDP in Scotland: celebrations were held in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness.
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