Global Day of Prayer to Celebrate 10-Year History

( [email protected] ) May 21, 2010 03:56 PM EDT

The Global Day of Prayer, observed by millions of Christians each year, will celebrate the tenth anniversary of its founding by a South African businessman this Sunday.

South African believers will gather at Newlands Rugby Stadium in Cape Town – site of the first GDOP event – to pray and to celebrate how one of their own started one of the world’s largest prayer events.

South African businessman Graham Power organized the first prayer event in Cape Town in 2001, drawing around 45,000 Christians to pray in Newlands Rugby Stadium. The prayer event then expanded to other parts of Africa and soon after around the world. Today, as many as 500 million Christians from more than 200 countries participate in the GDOP.

“I am deeply grateful that God led Christians in the southern part of Africa to launch a movement of prayer that has now encompassed the globe,” commented Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, international director of the World Evangelical Alliance. “Given the challenges we face in the world today the Church desperately needs to be united in prayer. We thank God that Global Day of Prayer has made such a profound impact.”

For the past few days, Tunnicliffe has been participating in the three-day GDOP conference leading up to the prayer event. During the May 20-21 conference, the Canadian evangelical led a plenary on the Church and the current global challenges and opportunities facing it. Some of the issues he discussed included globalization, persecution, human trafficking, HIV/AIDS, the financial crisis, war, climate change, and nuclear weapons.

“God’s vision is the church joined together in every community around the world effectively living out and proclaiming the Good News of Jesus,” said Tunnicliffe, whose organization joins together more than 420 million evangelical Christians. “These united churches seek transformation, holiness and justice for individuals, families, communities, peoples and nations.”

The evangelical leader is scheduled to lead prayer at the Cape Town GDOP event on Sunday.

More than 200 countries around the world have pledged to participate in this year’s GDOP.