Across Europe, there are an estimated 23 million evangelical Christians. Imagine what would happen if all of them set apart a week to pray for their families, communities and nations at the beginning of each new year?
This is exactly what the European Evangelical Alliance encourages Christians to do during its annual Week of Prayer (WOP), which has, historically, always been in the first full week of January of each new year. Likewise, in the next year, the Week of Prayer will be conducted from 12-19 January 2020.
Next year’s topic will be “On the road home”. Thomas Bucher, the General Secretary of the European Evangelical Alliance, writes in his introduction to next year’s Week of Prayer material: “Here on earth we will have experiences of feeling at home, a sense of belonging. We are called to strive for this as much as possible, whether in our private homes or in a church community. Both are images of the heavenly HOME. That heavenly HOME will ultimately and fully fulfil all our longing.”
The EEA has recently published the material for the WOP 2020 on its website. The material has thankfully been developed by the Spanish Evangelical Alliance and contains a biblical devotion as well as prayer points for thanksgiving, confession and supplication for each day. The material is available free of charge (donations welcome) in English and Spanish and the EEA encourages its translation into further languages so it can be a blessing to even more people in Europe.
The Evangelical Alliance WOP is an old tradition. The first time a Week of Prayer was conducted was in the very next year after the launch of the Evangelical Alliance in 1846. It was one of the agreed initiatives that came out of the founding conference of the EA.
The Week of Prayer has seen a high rate of participation in many countries in Europe for a very long time. In many of the countries of the former communist world in Europe it was the only Evangelical Alliance activity that stayed alive during the communist era…..so, even when people had heard of nothing else to do with Evangelical Alliance, they had often heard of the Week of Prayer. It pre-dates the ecumenical ‘Week of Prayer for Christian Unity’ by about a century.