What is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity?

Bishop Swenson introduces leaders of other denominations as part of the Ecumenical Day service at the 2016 General Conference. Photo by Kathleen Barry, UMNS.
Bishop Swenson introduces leaders of other denominations as part of the Ecumenical Day service at the 2016 General Conference. Photo by Kathleen Barry, UMNS.
Jan. 18-25 marks the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. This annual observance, sponsored jointly by the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity since 1968, invites all Christians everywhere to remember one another in prayer and strengthen the bonds of love and mutual mission we share in Jesus Christ. 

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While the observance is commonly referred to as a Week of Prayer, it lasts eight full days. The number eight is important in the Christian understanding of salvation history. The resurrection of Jesus on Sunday marks that day as the “eighth day of creation” and the first of the new creation. Many baptismal pools and fonts have eight sides because in baptism we are buried with Christ in his death and raised with him to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4). The eight days of prayer across all of our churches reflects our confidence in our Risen Lord to make us one.  

The theme of the observance for 2022 is “We saw the star in the East, and we came to worship him.” A free downloadable booklet created by the Middle East Council of Churches provides resources for an ecumenical worship service designed to help multiple congregations worship together, along with personal or family devotions for each day.

All Week of Prayer for Christian Unity resources are available in English, French, German, Spanish, Arabic, Italian, and Portuguese.
 
This content was produced by Ask The UMC, a ministry of United Methodist Communications.