From 18-25 January, Christians will embark on the largest prayer gathering in the world, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Whether praying together, exchanging preachers or planning ecumenical services, they will bear witness to Jesus’s prayer for his disciples that “they may be one so that the world may believe.”
The theme for the week of prayer in 2019, “Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue …” is inspired by Deuteronomy 16:18-20.
World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit said that, as people around the world pray together, they will share a sense of joy, concern and accountability, a sharing that forms the heart of the ecumenical movement.
“As we celebrate a unity in diversity, we become more able to strongly pursue justice in our many contexts,” he said. “In all cultures and continents, we can pray for each other and pray together as a living fellowship for justice and peace.”
Each year, the Week of Prayer – a tradition that began more than 100 years ago – is jointly organized and led by the WCC and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU). In 2019, the theme for the week is ”Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue,” inspired by Deuteronomy 16:18-20. Churches in Indonesia were invited by the WCC and the PCPCU to prepare resources for the week.
As people around the world gather with this text in mind, no matter how they interpret it, their hearts can be touched together, reflected Odair Pedroso Mateus, director of the WCC Faith and Order Commission. “The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity deepens fellowship among Christians from different parts of the world who would otherwise hardly meet each other,” he said. “The context of Indonesia, where fragile harmony today is threatened in new ways, is particularly moving.“
World Council of Churches, oikoumene.org