Being Set Free
To maintain their grip on power, gambling lobby groups, such as ClubsNSW, try to get the support of state governments especially at election times. They want to ensure that the billions of dollars which might be spent in small businesses to enable the economy to thrive go into their poker machines. The jobs which this money could support are not created and families suffer. It has been said that pokies aren’t just bad for personal health, they are bad for society and anti-business and anti-innovation. Clubs and pubs argue that they need pokies to survive, but they are not telling the truth. Governments should acknowledge that if clubs and pubs can’t manage without pokies that’s their loss and that the help they give to society is minimal. Their business model needs to change. The support that clubs and pubs give to their communities is very limited in comparison to what they take out.
Clubs, pubs, and government can all be as addicted to pokies as much as the players. Tim Costello, former CEO of World Vision, says, “gambling is Australia’s equivalent of America’s gun problem”. It’s time that politicians and policymakers are challenged about their need for income from gambling and that clubs are weaned off their dependence on revenue from pokies, and instead become places for connection, culture and community. Clubs need to be places where people feel at home and welcome., clubs become places where people can gather throughout the day. It goes beyond offering them a friendly, occasional dabble at the pokies that the clubs deem “entertainment”. The suffering associated with gambling and pokies is well documented. It is said that big companies deliberately concentrate their poker machines in low-income areas to take advantage of some of the poorest people with up to 70 per cent of their clubs and hotels in NSW being located in low-income areas. This is a form of corruption that preys on the vulnerable.
*For the breaking of the persuasive power that clubs, pubs and associated businesses have to influence politicians and communities. That God’s Kingdom comes, and His will is done in this current election.
* For those who are standing for parliament to be willing to take the risk of thinking about whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report. (Phil 4; 8) and plan to put these things into action.
* For vulnerable individuals and families to seek the Lord and learn from Him how to live and survive in current challenging economic conditions.
Whether it be on social media, or emanating from a road rage incident, or an act of domestic violence, today there is much anger evident in our society. In fact it has reached the point where it is doing damage not only to the recipient of the anger but also in the life of those who are constantly expressing such anger. Society as a whole is also affected by it with people changing normal patterns of behaviour to try and avoid being on the end of an angry barrage. The first mention of anger in the Scripture is when Cain got so angry with his brother Abel that he murdered him. In Australia there are around an average 3 people murdered each week. The word anger is only one letter short of the word danger so let us pray asking God to deal with the problem in our society.
* that the leaders of our nation will take the issue of anger seriously, not pass it off as simply a personal problem, but to try and find ways of helping those with an anger problem to find help to constrain their behaviour for their own good and for the good of others.
* asking God to expose the root cause of anger in our community so that issues creating this problem can be addressed and fixed.
* for all those who live in situations where anger is part of everyday life. Pray for spouses who confront anger almost every day, for children who know only anger emanating from a parent, never love. Pray that those who live in fear would find comfort in a relationship with Jesus.
TRUANCY AND SCHOOL ABSENCES
Truancy and school absences have doubled during the pandemic. This has torn families apart and forced parents to quit their jobs as children refuse to go back to school. Government data reveals attendance levels have dropped below 50 per cent for the first time. Barely a quarter of First Nations students turned up to school at least 90% of the time in 2022, compared to half in 2019. Educators and child welfare experts blaming the “generational rupture” on the chaos of Covid-19 lockdowns, gaming addictions, bullying and difficult schoolwork. Mental-health social worker John Chellew, director of the School Refusal Clinic, said, “A significant number of children missed a lot of school during Covid and have fallen behind in numeracy and literacy, so have lost confidence in their academic ability.” He also said, “It’s a cacophony of multiple issues and a very complex problem. Sometimes it’s social, academic, gaming, bullying – the list goes on.” Dr Glenn Melvin, a clinical psychologist from the School of Psychology at Deakin University, is working on strategies to help parents cope with school refusal. He said, “There’s still shame and embarrassment from parents that they can’t get their kid to school. We need more resources to re-engage students who missed a lot of school. We should be talking in terms of carrots, not sticks.”
“My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love – so you can’t know Him if you don’t love.” 1 John 4:7-8 MSG
* Pray for children who are truanting from school for whatever reason.
* Let’s pray for love, wisdom and understanding for parents who struggle to help their children, and for parents towards their children who are not attending school for whatever reason.
* Pray for resources, wisdom and strategies for teachers and professionals who are working to resolve these problems affecting our children’s education.
Praying for Issues in the News
* Australian has entered into the largest defence contract in its history to acquire nuclear fuelled submarines in an effort to build up our nation’s defences against possible aggressors in a world experiencing heightening tensions between nations. The total of the contract is expected to be around $368B. Please pray that the Government will be given wisdom in how to provide for such an amount in its budget without having to cut back on other essentials that people reply upon, particularly during these times of increasing strain being felt by many as a result of the rising cost of living.
* The New South Wales election is now only 10 days away. Pray that God’s will be done in the results flowing from the election, not only in relation to the party that is elected to govern, but also as to which individuals are elected. Pray that in the event of a hung parliament that those who will hold the balance of power will have an open heart to God so that they can exercise their power in Godly wisdom. Pray too for all candidates standing as Christians that they will be favourably looked upon by the electorate, and elected, even where there is no strong expectation of that.
Praying For Others
This week let us pray for Central Asia. Pray for the safety and perseverance of travelling evangelists who have recently been attacked by villagers for sharing the gospel.
Source: Australian Prayer Network
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