The Universal Day of Prayer for Students (UDPS) is one of the longest established ecumenical events. The WSCF publishes ecumenical services of worship on a theme that relates to the Federation's theme of study for the year or responds to current events and issues of concern to the world's students.

With God all things are possible
(Matthew 19:26)
God of hope, may your life-giving rivers overflow and transform our suffering world
Rejoice in Hope
(Romans 12:12)
Young People Building Peace and Overcoming Violence
Eco Justice, Economy & Ecumenism
(prepared by WSCF-LAC)
Stories of Faith
(prepared by SCM-Britain)

pdfUDPS 2007 Migration
(prepared by WSCF‑Europe)

pdfUDPS 2006 Empire
(prepared by WSCF‑NA)

pdfUDPS 2005 For the Victims of the Tsunami in South East Asia
(prepared by WSCF‑LAC)

Each year the UDPS liturgy is prepared by one of the six regions of WSCF — either Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and Caribbean, Middle East or North America. The Day of Prayer is usually celebrated on the third Sunday of February. The format of the liturgy changes each year, but always maintains the strong intercessory focus envisaged by its founders. Each year's liturgy is translated into the three official languages of the federation, English, French and Spanish and is distributed by the Inter-Regional Office to every national member movement of the federation.

UDPS History

The UDPS was first celebrated on Sunday 13th February 1898 at the second meeting of what was then known as the General Committee of the World Student Christian Federation.

The participants of the Federation's then ten member movements believed that intercessory prayer should be a vital ingredient in the life of a world-wide body of Christian students. As a result, the early leaders of the federation called on Christian students around the world to join together in February each year for observance of the Universal Day of Prayer for Students.

During the world wars when it was impossible to hold WSCF meetings, the major bond of unity between those separated from one another by the ravages of war was the annual observance of the Day of Prayer for Students.

For more than a century students and friends of WSCF have observed this Day of Prayer as a way to express their common commitment as witnesses of our faith in God and in each other, to the world both inside and outside our academic communities.

One of the founders of the WSCF John R. Mott said this of the Universal Day of Prayer for Students:

"Some have questioned the values and power of special days or weeks of prayer. Experience, however, is demonstrating from year to year that the observance of the Universal Day of Prayer for Students exerts a truly wonderful influence. Through this means, for one day at least, Christian students and others… are reminded in the most vital way of the students of all other nations and races and of their relation to a worldwide community. Such reflections and exercises cannot but widen the horizon and expand the heart.

"The uniting influence of this day is likewise evident and beneficent. At such a time and by such a spiritual process the students of the entire world, notwithstanding their isolation and separation, and regardless of differences of race, temperament, social position, intellectual point of view, and religious experience, come to realise their true oneness. This is one of the wonder-works of prayer. It would be difficult to overstate the federative power of intercession.

"Who can measure the energising influence of this Day of Prayer? If it be true that there are added benefits from true agreement in prayer by even two or three followers of Christ - and on His authority and in the light of experience this is the case - what limit can be placed on the united intercession of Christians throughout the student world? Potent as are the subjective influences of prayer, its largest significance is found in the realm of intercession for people and movements, for objects outside ourselves. …This is prayer at its best. May (students everywhere be stirred) to devote themselves as never before to exploiting the undiscovered and unrealised possibilities of untried intercession."

(From John R. Mott's editorials on the UDPS in Student World, January 1910 and January 1913)

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