The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, traditionally celebrated every year from January 18 to 25, will begin this coming Friday. Scripture passages for each day of the Week are being offered for prayer and reflection.
The theme chosen for this year's initiative, taken from the First Letter of Paul to the Thessalonians, is: "Pray without ceasing". The texts for reflection and prayer have been prepared by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches.
The texts for reflection for each day of the week are:
18 January: Pray always. "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5, 17).
19 January: Pray always, trusting God alone. "Give thanks in all circumstances" (1 Thessalonians 5, 18).
20 January: Pray without ceasing for the conversion of hearts. "Admonish the idlers, encourage the faint-hearted" (1 Thessalonians 5, 14).
21 January: Pray always for justice. "See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all" (1 Thessalonians 5, 15).
22 January: Pray constantly with a patient heart. "Be patient with all of them" (1 Thessalonians 5, 14).
23 January: Pray always for grace to work with God. "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5, 16).
24 January: Pray for what we need. ". help the weak" (1 Thessalonians 5, 14).
25 January: Pray always that they all may be one. "Be at peace" (1 Thessalonians 5, 13b)
The normal celebration of this week of prayer is in the month of January, but in the southern hemisphere some Churches observe the week at another time such as Pentecost.
In the basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls at 5.30 p.m. on Friday, 25 January, Feast of the Conversion of the Apostle Paul, Benedict XVI will preside at the celebration of Vespers to mark the close of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity was created by the joint efforts of two Anglican priests and a Catholic priest in the early 1900’s. Father Paul James Francis S.A., one of the two Anglican founders, conceived the idea and shared it with Rev. Spencer Jones (Anglican) and Abbé Paul Couturier (Catholic).
As an outgrowth of his desire for Christian unity Father Francis founded the Society of Atonement while still an Anglican. In 1909 the society was received corporately into the Roman Catholic Church by Pope Pius X.
(Information from www.weekofprayer2008.org)