Southwark prayer campaign seen by over 1.5 million people in its first week

A campaign encouraging people to take up prayer by the Archdiocese of Southwark has been seen by over 1.5 million people in its first week.

During Lent, the Archdiocese of Southwark is releasing a prayer video a day across social media promoting much loved prayers within the Catholic Church as part of its campaign to encourage people to “Give Prayer a Go”.

It’s already been a huge success on social media, with over 1.5 million people seeing the campaign on Facebook alone since it began on Ash Wednesday (14 February 2024). The campaign’s aim is simple, to help people connect with Christ through prayer by providing content which enables them to do that in their everyday life.

Prayers released so far include the Act of Contrition, a prayer used in the sacrament of confession by Catholics, a prayer by St John of the Cross “stillness of my soul” and the Nicene Creed, which is a statement of faith used by the Catholic Church.

The Most Reverend John Wilson, the Archbishop of Southwark said:

“Prayer is a gift from God, it’s his way of revealing his desire to have a meaningful and lasting relationship with each of us. But too often, with the busyness of life, people put up barriers between themselves and God. Too often people find it hard to take a moment to lift their hearts and mind to God.

“I want people to rejoice in the wonder of prayer and that is why I’m encouraging people to give prayer a go. Christ thirsts for us and our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.

“The extraordinary reach of this simple prayer campaign underlines how much people do desire a relationship with Christ, but sometimes just need a little support in lifting their hearts and minds to Him. Prayer is a precious gift and I am delighted people are embracing it this Lent.”

The prayers to be released during the campaign include those which feature part of the Catholic liturgy and those written by Saints of the Catholic Church. Many of the prayers are much beloved by Christians, while some are lesser known and aim to help people connect with Christ in their prayers.

The campaign’s success is entirely organic, as the Archdiocese of Southwark hasn’t spent a single penny on advertising of the videos or advertising the campaign itself.

The most popular prayer so far has been the Nicene Creed, followed closely by a prayer attributed to Saint Padre Pio.

Facebook defines “Reach” as the number of unique users who have seen a post. The reach of the videos released on Facebook so far includes:

The wider #GivePrayerAGo initiative by the Archdiocese of Southwark began on the 1st January and is being run to support the Year of Prayer designated by Pope Francis ahead of the upcoming Jubilee in 2025 for the Catholic Church. A Jubilee in the Catholic Church is a special year of forgiveness and reconciliation, occurring every 25 years.

The video prayer campaign is one part of the wider prayer initiative, which will also be highlighting ways to enrich prayer life including features on Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, which is a devotional prayer of the Eucharist, as well as encouraging children and families to pray the rosary.

Under Archbishop John Wilson’s leadership, the Archdiocese of Southwark – which covers South London and Kent in England – has had a firm focus on evangelisation and leading people to Christ. The impact has been profound, with increasing numbers of people completing Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) – the process to become a Catholic as an adult. Mass count statistics are also increasing again since the pandemic.

This new approach of online evangelisation looks to build on the Archdiocese’s already successful and varied approaches to lead people to Christ. 

The prayer video campaign will continue throughout Lent and will finish on Easter Sunday. The campaign can be seen across the Archdiocese’s social media channels, including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.