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100th Anniversary of the Week of prayer for Christian Unity

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity traditionally takes place between 18-25 January but may be observed over a different period.

It lasts for 8 days and was originally called an Octave of Prayer.  2008 is a special year, marking its 100th anniversary.

The Week of Prayer was first marked by Father Paul Wattson, an Episcopalian Franciscan priest in the USA and its aims are:

  • To pray as Christ prayed “that they may be one”.
  • To pray for the unity of all Christian people as we share in Christ’s ministry.

Here is a prayer I wrote a while ago for Christian unity:

Almighty Creator,
you alone are our God
– worthy of all our praise and worship.
You gave us the gift of life
and made us to live in community.
You want us to celebrate our diversity,
but to discover that you are a God of unity
who longs for us be one just as you are one,
so that the world may believe.
With many tongues and yet with one voice,
we worship you together.
We adore you for all that you are
and for the hope that you give
to our broken and fragile world.
We praise you that you have not abandoned us,
but desire us to turn towards your love,
and seek your healing and reconciliation in all our relationships.
You have sent your Holy Spirit to work in our hearts,
to draw us closer to you and to one another.
We confess with shame, our stubbornness,
independence and selfishness;
our intolerance, our pride, and our insensitivity towards others.
We freely admit our lack of desire to live in harmony with you
and with one another.
Forgive us we pray,
and may we be assured of your pardon,
through our saviour, Jesus.
May your grace and mercy permeate our very being;
may we be truly cleansed, renewed,
and remade into our Lord’s likeness.
for we ask this prayer in His name,
that we may be living stones,
building upon the Rock for the sake of your kingdom. Amen.

Copyright Rev. Anthony D. Miles January 2005

Tony is a Superintendent Methodist Minister, broadcaster and author. He is a radio presenter with Premier Christian Radio and a regular contributor to BBC Radio 2's Pause for Thought (5.45 am). Tony is married with two children and four grandchildren.

One Comment

  • Bosco Peters

    January 21, 2008 at 10:01 am


    In this week of prayer for Christian unity I want to encourage people ecumenically to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. There may be divisions at the point of Eucharist – but we can unite around praying the Bible together – which is what the Liturgy of the Hours is. As we grow in union with God in prayer we grow in union with each other – and can celebrate diversity.


    Liturgy of the Hours at:

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