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World Day of Prayer is Friday

The Park Rapids Area World Day of Prayer Planning Committee includes, from left, Alice Hagen, Calvary Lutheran; Betta Sanders, Trinity Episcopal; Kathy Toomey, Calvary Lutheran; Jane Boehmer, Hubbard United Methodist, and Carol Szymczak, St. Peter the Apostle. Not pictured, Vickie Manners, Riverside United Methodist. Submitted Photo

Churches throughout the lakes area will observe the World Day of Prayer this Friday, March 1, with an ecumenical prayer service written by women of France about welcoming immigrants worldwide.

Grace Lutheran Church in Detroit Lakes will host a noon prayer service on Friday, followed by a light lunch.

St. Francis Xavier Church in Lake Park will hold services at 1 p.m., and Park Rapids services will take place at 1:30 p.m. inside Calvary Lutheran Church.

The women of France, this year's writer-country, have chosen the worship theme, "I Was a Stranger and You Welcomed Me," taken from Matthew 25:31-46.

The French WDP Committee looks for a Christian response to struggles concerning immigration and for ways to welcome "the stranger."

The women who prepared this year's worship service and Bible studies reach into Jesus identification with "the least of these" in Matthew 25 and draw on customs of hospitality found in Leviticus to paint a picture of welcoming the stranger.

Through visual interpretation and personal stories, participants begin to put themselves in the shoes of "the stranger," remembering their own feelings of being on the outside -- and the blessings of welcoming.

The origins of WDP date back to the 19th century when Christian women of the United States and Canada initiated a variety of cooperative activities in support of women's involvement in the mission at home and in other parts of the world.

WDP is a worldwide movement of Christian women of many traditions who come together to observe a common day of prayer each year, and who, in many countries, have a continuing relationship in prayer and service.

Women, men and children in more than 170 countries and regions will celebrate World Day of Prayer.

It is symbolized by an annual day of celebration - the first Friday of March - to which all people are welcome.

WDP brings together women of various races, cultures and traditions in closer fellowship, understanding and action throughout the year.

Through WDP, women around the world affirm their faith in Jesus Christ and share their hopes and fears, their joys and sorrows, their opportunities and needs.

Women are encouraged to become aware of the whole world and no longer live in isolation; to be enriched by the faith experience of Christians of other countries and cultures; to take up the burdens of other people and pray with and for them; to become aware of their talents and use them in the service of society.

Through WDP, women affirm that prayer and action are inseparable and that both have immeasurable influence in the world.