People all around the world greeted 2018 and a new year with prayer after some Australian Christians organized the Sunrise Prayer Relay and publicized it on social media and other outlets. The event was in keeping with Psalm 113:3, which says “From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised.”
Warwick Marsh, the coordinator of Australia’s National Day of Prayer and Fasting, explained that “in declaring Jesus Christ as Lord at this worldwide Sunrise Prayer Relay, we are circling the globe with prayer, praise and worship and surrendering our lives to Jesus Christ for the glory of God.”
A Massive Turnout
The call to prayer was answered in a big way. In Australia alone, people in 172 locations registered to participate, and they either publicly or privately greeted the new year with prayer on January 1, 2018. That number included 93 public locations where church groups, families and friends gathered together.
In addition, it is likely more people in more locations participated, as the organizers of the rally said they knew of additional locations in Australia where people hadn’t registered to participate, but were praying as the new year dawned.
The event went far beyond Australia, as people in at least 50 countries prayed at sunrise on New Year’s Day 2018. The countries that were confirmed as participants, in addition to Australia, included: Austria, Bahamas, Cameroon, Canada, China, Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Czech Republic, DRC (Congo), Denmark, England, Fiji, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Liberia, Mauritius, Namibia, New Zealand, Nigeria. North Korea, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Russia, Rwanda, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United States and Wales.
Everyone Welcomed to Join In
Australia Christian prayer leaders had invited other Christians, including churches, prayer groups and prayer networks, to participate in the event from all over the world. The idea was to gather at public locations like hills or landmarks in various cities and towns.
Marsh noted that “David said in Psalm 108:2, ‘I will wake the dawn with my song.’ So during the New Year’s Day event, the focus was on be on giving great praise to God. Also, the goal was to pray for revival and transformation and for God to bring healing as it says in 2 Chronicles 7:14.”
Pat Steele, a prayer and worship leader in Wollongong Australia, said about the rally format, “We encourage you to pray the Lord’s Prayer together aloud as the sun rises and make a declaration that Jesus Christ is Lord of your life, your family, your region and your nation. At your location we encourage you to include praise and worship, prayers, and Scripture readings. We suggest 30 minutes, but you can pray for longer. You could even take communion, shine a torch or light a candle. What you do for your sunrise celebration is up to you.”
Times of fellowship and evangelism were other ideas for ways rally participants could spend time and make a positive difference during the event. Because the day before January 1 was a Sunday, when people were already in church on New Year’s Eve. Another idea was for churches to include a Sunrise Prayer Relay along with their Sunday services.
The organizers in Australia also provided prayer resources on their website, and invited event participants to register their locations at www.sunriseprayerrelay.org.
Hope and Anticipation for the New Year
Participants shared moving and beautiful photos and videos on social media from their locations around the world and used the hashtag #sunriseprayerrelay when they posted.
“When people pray God moves and we are expecting Him to move powerfully in 2018 all around the world as we continue to pray for awakening, revival and transformation in the name of Jesus,” the organizers said.
The New Year’s Day event is expected to be just the beginning of something powerful and significant that will continue well into the year. Making prayer and praise the first priority of the year is sure to bear an abundance of fruit.
~ 1776 Christian