Over 500 million Christians around the world have been invited to observe the International Day of Prayer for Peace on September 21, 2004. The Day of Peace, initially declared by the United Nations General Assembly, is a worldwide effort to bring global ceasefire and non-violence – at least for one day.
Samuel Kobia, the general secretary of the World Council of Churches, called on its member churches to observe the day in the framework of the 10-year Decade to Overcome Violence: Churches seeking Reconciliation and Peace initiative launched by the council in 2001.
Churches or individuals wanting to participate in the Day of Prayer is asked to pray for peace on 21 September or on the Sundays preceding or following that day. Specifically, Kobia encouraged member churches to arrange 24-hour observances or vigils on September 21.
Through the prayer initiative, the WCC hopes to raise public awareness to the current-day events that strike at the heart of global peace.
"Observing an International Day of Prayer for Peace together is one way to combine the strength and witness of churches and faith communities with the strength of the many forces in the international community who are also striving to promote peace and justice in our troubled world," Kobia said in his invitation to the member churches.
In following this year’s Decade theme, “The Power and Promise of Peace” and its emphasis in the United States, Kobia also called on WCC member churches to "to specifically pray for the churches and religious communities in the US who are committing much of their energy for peace and justice in these critical times".
At a larger scale, the WCC Decade calls on churches and ecumenical organizations to work at all levels with people of all faiths and movements in promoting justice, peace and reconciliation.
For more information on the International Day of Prayer for Peace or for the Decade to Overcome Violence, please visit: http://www.overcomingviolence.org/peace2004