02/03/2013

Women's world day of prayer 2013

I was a stranger and you welcomed me. Matthew 25: 35-36

Last night, my friend Geraldine and I went to Weston for the Women's world day of prayer and I was a bit nervous as I was asked by my friend Vivienne to do the talk. I only found out about this very special day when we arrived in Staffs so for those of you who do not know about it, I have done a bit of research on their website.

It was in 1928, at an international missionary conference in Jerusalem, that Scotswoman Grace Forgan first learned of the world day of prayer and brought the news to the U.K.
THE FIRST SERVICES WERE HELD:
1930 in Scotland. 1932 in England 1933 in Wales 1934 in Ireland.The Second World War was a time of great growth - drawing women together in prayer and fellowship.

In 1941, the WWDP office in London was bombed. There was no loss of life and minutes recovered from members enabled the bare bones of the first 9 years to be preserved. Often the planning committee in London met in an air-raid shelter but every year Orders of Service were produced and supplied to the rest of the country.In 1982 the service was prepared by the women of Ireland, both north and south.In England, Wales and Northern Ireland there are now over 3,000 branches holding 5,000 services every year. It is from such roots as these that WWDP has taken its present shape- a worldwide ecumenical movement of Informed prayer and Prayerful action.


 Last night, the service was written by French women. It emphasised the importance of welcoming strangers.
‘When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. 34 The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God. Leviticus 19: 33, 34. 
In between the Bible verses and French hymns, we read first negative life stories and then positive life stories of foreign women who moved to France and settled there.
We also heard the parable of the sheep and the goats, Matthew 25:31-40 . It depicts the Last Judgment, where the King is separating out the nations gathered before his throne on the basis of the lives they have led. The ‘sheep’ and ‘goats’ express surprise at the King’s words. What have they done or not done for him? The King goes on to explain that whenever they cared for, fed, clothed, welcomed or visited someone in 
need, or neglected to do so, they in fact did, or failed to do, these things for the King himself. So it is made clear that whenever we welcome a stranger from another country, it is God himself whom we are welcoming.
I'd love to know if you have attended a women's world day of prayer in your country, so do let me know. Have a blessed week-end. Yours in Christ. N.

I was a stranger and you welcomed me.

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