By Jiří Unger, General Secretary of the Czech Evangelical Alliance
The Alliance Week of Prayer already took place in the Czech Republic in the interwar period and even survived the communist regime. This prayer initiative was one of the few occasions when Christians of different denominations would meet and start the New Year together in prayer. Otherwise, the opportunities for joint interdenominational events were quite limited. Since the 1990s, joint prayer has tended to decline, but even in the Covid era we recorded over 250 places where the Week of Prayer was held. Usually these are prayer meetings on each day of the week, with individual congregations preparing the evening, but with speakers from other congregations. During the epidemic, there were also online prayer meetings, prayer walks, prayer chains and other experiments. Over the years we have tried many forms, including prayer guides for families, prayer vigils for young people in partnership with the 24-7 prayer movement, themed weeks prepared by EA partners, e.g. focusing on children. Most years we develop our own themes based on a “prophetic” insight into the situation in our country. For example, two years ago we produced a guide on prayer in polarised times, which encouraged us to pray about the issues that most divide the church and society. A year ago the theme was the renewal of the Church. This year we also prepared texts for YouVersion and radio broadcasts.
By Israel Montes, President of the Prayer Group in Spain
Before the pandemic, a typical week of prayer in Spain was a time when congregations in the region came together to pray. Each day a brother from a different church would preach and lead the time in prayer. In addition, the service was held in a different church each day. It was a week to start the year well: in fellowship with God and the brothers and sisters from our own and surrounding churches.
In the last two years we have had to adjust the format because of the pandemic, which is why the Week of Prayer in our country now looks as follows: Churches are following the prayer guide with most of them doing it online or through the YouVersion app. But we have introduced a day of fellowship (the last Sunday) with all the churches in Spain through Zoom. This year we had more than 100 people who met virtually and experienced a time of blessed fellowship. We had a short meditation and three times of prayer with different topics for each group. I believe that the aim of the Week of Prayer, which began 145 years ago in Spain, was still fulfilled: To begin the year in intimate communion with God and in practical fellowship with our brothers and sisters, recognising that we have one God and we are one body.