BY LUCY COX
Bringing hope at a time of uncertainty, Viva united the world in prayer in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic earlier this year.
The World Weekend of Prayer (WWP) is a global event held each year to celebrate children and lift them up in prayer. It is a chance for adults to learn from children, and to join with them in praying for other vulnerable children around the world.
In total, this year’s WWP spanned 23 countries, with over 200,000 people participating in 28 initiatives run by over 2,000 partner churches. When we include those who prayed through larger church bodies, over 750,000 people were praying.
The prayer weekend took place on 6-7 June. This year’s theme of ‘Hands to serve Him’ gave children the opportunity to recognise their potential to use the gifts God has given them to carry out His work by caring for those around them.
Resources were developed in 13 languages, with the ‘Hands to Serve Him’ song receiving over 1,490 views across 50 countries. (You can watch the original version here and listen to one done by Babiyre in Uganda here.)
This year, the events had to be adapted at short notice and were largely held online due to the Covid-19 global pandemic.
Despite this, the WWP provided a great opportunity to bring encouragement and hope through this time of uncertainty.
Having the events online expanded their reach in many places, as people who would not normally be able to attend church events, or would not want to, could join in. Red Viva Bolivia found having online events to be particularly successful – they reported that it was powerful to have many projects and churches from multiple cities participating in the same event.
Some of our partner networks were still able to host events in person. Churches connected to Red Viva Honduras participated in the WWP by encouraging children to develop murals and games, focusing on using our hands for the service of God. During their services they prayed whilst symbolically washing each other’s feet. They then placed prayer requests in floating lamps which were thrown into the air, symbolising that all of our requests reach heaven.
“This is a life-changing event that gets us to view our world from God’s perspective!” Uganda
Following the WWP, we have heard so many encouraging stories of God’s faithfulness. To share just a few examples:
- In Zimbabwe a group of women were motivated to help vulnerable people in their local area following the WWP. Viva Network Zimbabwe connected them with a vulnerable mother who needed help after giving birth to triplets. They were able to provide supplies, money and ongoing support for this mother and her children. 10 churches also provided food for families who were struggling due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. The network estimates that at least 30 families per church received assistance.
- Red Viva Costa Rica held a prayer event where a nine-year-old boy prayed for his father who had struggled with an alcohol and aggression problem for some time. The following week the Lord answered his prayers. The boy’s father approached the pastor asking for help to change, so he could make amends and reconcile himself with God.
- A 13-year-old girl shared her story with Viva’s partner network in Patna, India. She used to put herself first and never helped her siblings or friends. After she attended a WWP Zoom event where her pastor shared a sermon on ‘Hands to serve Him’, she realised that helping other people does not make her a servant, but it gives her the opportunity to be kind and do great work. She learnt that believing in Christ means following His ways by helping others, just as Jesus did.
“Through children’s prayer requests we can listen to their hearts and use these requests to pray to the Lord”
The WWP has brought encouragement and practical support to thousands of people around the world. The full report is available here, which includes many more testimonies from the weekend.
We are currently in the process of planning WWP 2021 (5-6 June), which will be a celebration marking 25 years of Viva’s World Weekend of Prayer. Why not invite your church to join us in praying for children at this event?
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