Universal Day of Prayer for Students
This page introduces the World Student Christian Federation's Universal Day of Prayer for Students (UDPS) and links to recent and upcoming versions of the liturgy.
The Universal Day of Prayer for Students: History
The Universal Day of Prayer for Students (UDPS) is one of the longest established ecumenical events. It 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)
The Universal Day of Prayer for Students: Today
Each year the Universal Day of Prayer for Students 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.
The annual theme of the UDPS liturgy 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.
Universal Day of Prayer for Students: Liturgies
To view the introduction and service sheet for the Universal Day of Prayer for Students in a particular year, please go to the relevant year's link in the list below.
UDPS Liturgy 2012
The liturgy for the Universal Day of Prayer for Students 2012 on the theme of Economic Justice has been prepared by the Student Christian Movement of Sri Lanka, celebrating its 100 years, together with the WSCF Inter-Regional Office. UDPS 2012
UDPS Liturgy 2011
The Ecumenical Water Network (EWN) and the World Student Christian Federation prepared this liturgy together. It may also be found on: www.oikoumene.org/en/activities/ewn-home/resources-and-links/seven-weeks-for-water.html. There is also a Lenten study on water (WSCF contributed to week 3) and other ideas for activities on the EWN website.
UDPS Liturgy 2010
The 2010 Universal Day of Prayer for Students liturgy focuses on WSCF's annual theme, 'Climate Justice'. Former WSCF Chairperson Rev. Ejike Okoro of Nigeria has prepared the 2010 UDPS liturgy and accompanying Bible study on behalf of the Africa region. The liturgy includes a suggested offering to support the Haitian SCM. UDPS 2010
UDPS Liturgy 2009
Universal Day of Prayer for Students 2009
First celebrated in 1898, this year the UDPS is observed on or around February 15th. In line with WSCF's theme for 2009 the UDPS theme is 'Identity, Diversity and Dialogue'. WSCF's Middle East Regional Office prepared the 2009 UDPS. UDPS 2009
UDPS Liturgy 2008
The 2008 Universal Day of Prayer for Students has been prepared by the Inter-Regional Office on the theme of Students in the 21st Century. It also refers to the 34th General Assembly's theme which is taken from the prophesy of Joel, “I shall pour out my Spirit on all humanity. Your sons and daughters shall prophesy…and your young people shall see visions.” UDPS 2008
UDPS Liturgy 2007
The UDPS liturgy for 2007 has been prepared by the Europe Region on the theme of Migration. To view the introduction and service sheet please go to UDPS 2007
UDPS Liturgy 2006
The UDPS liturgy for 2006 was prepared by the North America Region on the theme of Empire. To view the introduction and service sheet please go to UDPS 2006
UDPS Liturgy 2005
The UDPS liturgy for 2006 was prepared by the Latin America and Caribbean Region in memoriam of the victims of the 2004-2005 tsunami. To view the introduction and service sheet please go to UDPS 2005