The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is celebrated from January 18-25 each year. The theme for the week in 2018, “Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power,” is inspired by Exodus 15:6. The resources for the week have been prepared by members of different churches in the Caribbean.

Christians are reminded of Jesus’ prayer for his disciples that “they may one so that the world may believe (John 17:21).” At this time, we come together as an ecumenical community, brothers and sisters in Christ, for prayer and worship, reflection and action, in all manner of ways – small and large – to both reflect and deepen our unity in Christ and to extend our partnerships with one another, guided by the Holy Spirit. As people of God, we recognize that our call to fellowship and communion, healing and liberation, is not a once-a-year event but a perennial invitation and challenge.

For this upcoming Week of Prayer, the Church Council of Greater Seattle invites congregations, faith groups, families and individuals to partake of the opportunity to pray during local worship times and at home. The original materials for group liturgy and for prayers during the week can be found on the World Council of Churches (Oikoumene) website. We highlight certain aspects of the theme of this week for your own adaptation. We will also share reflections of various faith members during the Week of Prayer. At such a time as this, the call to prayer is extraordinary and urgent: putting on the mind of Christ, we believe that God hears our prayers and is inspiring us to become “new creations” and to be generative agents of transformation. We invite your participation as you deem appropriate and we look forward to hearing of your experience.

Our Christian friends in the Caribbean have chosen the inspirational Biblical message of Exodus 15:1-21 for this year’s text. God leads Moses and the Israelites through the Red Sea, delivered from slavery to freedom, saved in steadfast love. Miriam takes a tambourine, dances and sings, “Sing to the Lord, for the Lord has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider have been thrown into the sea.”

As the Caribbean faith leaders state,

The contemporary Caribbean is deeply marked by the dehumanizing project of colonial exploitation. In the aggressive pursuit of mercantile gains, the colonizers codified brutal systems which traded human beings and their forced labor. Initially, these practices enslaved and decimated and in some cases exterminated the region’s indigenous peoples. This was followed by the enslavement of Africans and the “indentureship” of people from India and China.

Whereas those who brought the Bible to this region used the scriptures to justify their subjugation of a people in bondage, in the hands of the enslaved, it became an inspiration, an assurance that God was on their side, and that God would lead them into freedom.

Today, Caribbean Christians of many different traditions see the hand of God active in the ending of enslavement.  It is a uniting experience of the saving action of God which brings freedom. Exodus 15 allows us to see how the road to unity must often pass through a communal experience of suffering. The Israelites’ liberation from enslavement is the foundational event in the constitution of this people. For Christians, this process climaxes with the incarnation and Paschal Mystery. Although liberation/salvation is an initiative taken by God, God engages human agencies in the realization of his purpose and plan for the redemption of his people. Christians, through baptism, share in God’s ministry of reconciliation, but our own divisions hamper our witness and mission to a world in need of God’s healing.

The Caribbean churches work together to heal the wounds in the Body of Christ in the region, which are a legacy left by colonization. Reconciliation often demands repentance, reparation and the healing of memories. One example is the acts of apology and reparation between Baptists in Britain and the Caribbean. Like Israel, the church in its unity is called to be both a sign and active agent of reconciliation.

Option for Prayer service/reflection time for small groups or for incorporation into broader worship 


Open with the following prayer or one of your own choosing.

God of all comfort and hope, your resurrection defeated the violence of the cross.

As your people, open our hearts that we may be a visible sign that the violence of this world will be overcome.

This we pray in the name of our risen Lord.


Read Exodus 15:1-21 and reflect on the words and message in today’s context.
Use the prayers of the people from the suggested liturgy from the churches of the Caribbean:

God of the Exodus, you led your people through the waters of the Red Sea and redeemed them.  Be with us now and free us from all forms of slavery and from everything that obscures human dignity.

R:  Free us from fear and lead us to witness boldly.

God of abundance, in your goodness you provide for all our needs.  Be with us now, help us to rise above selfishness and greed and give us the courage to be agents of justice in the world.

R: Free us from fear and lead us to witness boldly.

God of love, you created us in your image and have redeemed us in Christ.  Be with us now, empower us to love our neighbor and to welcome the stranger.

R: Free us from fear and lead us to witness boldly.

God of peace, you remain faithful to your covenant with us even when we wander from you, and in Christ you have reconciled us to yourself.  Be with us now and put a new spirit and a new heart within us that we may overcome violence and be servants of peace with justice.

R: Free us from fear and lead us to witness boldly.

God of glory, you are all-powerful, yet in Jesus you chose to make your home in a human family, and in the waters of Baptism have adopted us as your children.  Be with us now and help us to remain faithful to our family commitments and our communal responsibilities, and to strengthen the bonds of communion with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

R: Free us from fear and lead us to witness boldly.

God, in Christ you have made us one with you and with one another.  Be with us now and by the power and consolation of the Holy Spirit, free us from the self-centeredness, arrogance and fear that prevent us from striving towards the full visible unity of your Church and sowing the seeds of your Reign.

R: Free us from fear and lead us to witness boldly.

Pray for one country of the Caribbean and its residents during each of the 8 days of the Week of Prayer.

Day One:  Haiti

Day Two: Bahamas

Day Three: Jamaica

Day Four: Puerto Rico

Day Five: Trinidad & Tobago

Day Six: Antigua

Day Seven: Guyana

Day Eight: Cuba.

Consider actions or next steps that your congregation can take to extend fellowship to another congregation and/or address a community need or priority together.
Close with the following prayer or of your own choosing.

Almighty God, give courage and strength to your church

to continually proclaim justice and righteousness

in situations of domination and oppression.

As we celebrate our unity in Christ,

may your Holy Spirit help us to look to the needs of others

and respond with love and compassion.


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