The octave (eight day period) from the feasts of the Confession of Saint Peter through the Conversion of Saint Paul inclusive is observed as an Octave (or Week) of Prayer for Christian Unity. These dates were proposed by the Revd Fr Paul Wattson (an Anglican priest, founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement and a pioneer in the cause of Christian unity, who later became Roman Catholic) in 1908. The website for the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity notes that these dates (January 18 through January 25) are observed in the northern hemisphere, while in the southern hemisphere a week of prayer for Christian unity is often observed around Pentecost (as suggested by the Faith and Order Movement in 1926).
The website of the Pontifical Council has materials for observing the Week of Prayer for 2011.
For each day of the Octave, I will be posting intentions for intercession, based on the James Kiefer’s suggestions published on the website of the Society of Archbishop Justus.
Today we pray especially for the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Church of the East (Assyrian), and the Mar Thoma Church.
Gracious Father, we pray for your holy Catholic Church. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in any thing it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. Amen.
Almighty Father, whose blessed Son before his passion prayed for his disciples that they might be one, as you and he are one: Grant that your Church, being bound together in love and obedience to you, may be united in one body by the one Spirit, that the world may believe in him whom you have sent, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
O God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Savior, the Prince of Peace: Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions; take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatever else may hinder us from godly union and concord; that, as there is but one Body and one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.