By Mary Watson Vergnolle | Reporter
A virtual session of Women’s World Day of Prayer, took place virtually earlier this month and featured guest speakers, devotionals and worship to welcome women from Baylor, Texas and beyond.
The theme this year, “Life! Standing Together Unified in Hope,” sought to connect women through prayer on Friday, Feb. 12.
Patty Lane, the newly retired director of intercultural ministries for Texas Baptists and keynote speaker at the event, said her presentation focused on the meaning of hope and unity.
“A lot of Baptist associations around the world celebrate a Women’s World Day of Prayer and it is traditionally in November. This is something that is celebrated worldwide and is sponsored by the Baptist World Alliance Women’s Department,” Lane said. “My keynote address tried to focus on the words ‘hope’ and ‘together.’ I wanted believers to recognize that our hope is in God. It is in God, not our ability, that our hope is anchored.”
Hope, the overall theme of this year’s event, was seen as an important topic choice, especially during a time as unprecedented as this. Evelyn Ofong, a third-year theology student and an attendee of the event, says the history of Women’s World Day of Prayer is very similar to the struggles many women face today in their faith.
“The Women’s World Day of Prayer [event] was started by European women after World War II. We can replay that in terms of the war we now face with the pandemic. We have all been touched with death and illness and fear and the same kinds of things that bothered them then, we can find now — the feeling of being out of control,” Ofong said. “We know as they did that there is someone to whom we can turn, and that person is God. Just knowing that God is forever faithful and constant brings comfort.”
Over its nearly 70-year history, Women’s World Day of Prayer seeks to unite women in their faith and create a network of fellowship and prayer. Lane said she hopes that the event inspired women to lead a more faithful lifestyle.
“Just that people leave [the event] having a stronger faith and hope in God and that people can know that even if they feel discouraged or overwhelmed, that our hope in God can be consistent because it isn’t about how we feel but about who God is. That is such a liberating thought because He is always consistent,” Lane said.
Ofong said she feels as though the event could not have come at a better time.
“It was edifying to see diverse women coming together in prayer — women who represented different ethnic, geographic, socioeconomic and age groups,” Ofong said. “Praying during the pandemic was especially powerful. As women prayed for regions and parts of the world, the different accents and expressions of prayer reminded me of how different this world is; however, God is the same Father of all.”
Ofong said she hopes to see the effect of prayer at the event continue to impact and inspire women during this time, as well as beyond.
“How can it not inspire you?” Ofong said. “I think it has added to the network of women. They now know that they are not alone and that they can reach out to each other even after the event. I hope it doesn’t just stop with this one day, but that relationships will continue.”