The Forgiveness Cross
One hundred years ago four young indigenous evangelists preached the gospel to the tribal Ikuntji peoples in the western desert who lived near Memory Mountain 230km west of Alice Springs. They brought a message of forgiveness to a culture that had no understanding of it. Traditionally when someone did something wrong, they would suffer for it with payback and retribution. This could include the spilling of blood. They explained what Christ has done on the cross through His blood. He had been speared in his side and his blood went into the ground to bring true forgiveness that lasted forever. This message hugely impacted hundreds who came to know Christ and were baptised. Sixty years later, the leaders of this Ikuntji community were given a vision to establish a giant cross on top of this rugged and majestic Mountain. This year this dream has become a reality. The Forgiveness Cross was officially launched this Easter. Australians came from all over Australia and gathered at Memory Mountain this Easter to celebrate their faith and culture.
Ken Duncan says ‘they’re not saying we forgive white people. They’ve already done that. They’re saying, “God, forgive us all for trying to do things in our own way and let’s get the focus back on Jesus, whether black, white, or whatever colour.” – Ikuntji Elder Kieran Malta. ‘People from every nation can come together—every nation—black or white or Chinese or Indian. The cross is the way to meaning, forgiveness.’ Vision’s CEO Phil Edwards said: ‘I’m really excited to be able to stand united with our Indigenous brothers and sisters in a time of so much division, and together declare to the nation the hope we have in Jesus. I am so moved by the fact this is an initiative of the Indigenous people themselves, and that their core message is forgiveness”. It is so significant that indigenous people are making such a bold statement about forgiveness in a time when their need for reconciliation and recognition are in such sharp focus.
Let’s pray as a nation:
* Thanking God for what He has done and is doing in the centre of our nation to let us forgive the past and praise Him for what is to come relating to the reconciliation and recognition of all peoples.
*Father, forgive us for trying to do things our way to overcome marginalization and oppression. Let us look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb12 :2)
*Lord, create in us clean hearts and renew a right spirit within us. Don’t cast us away from your presence; or take your Holy Spirit from us. Restore the joy of Your salvation; and grant us a free spirit, to sustain us. (Ps 51:10-12)
Discovering God’s Will
There is nothing more important for a nation or an individual than discovering and doing the will of God. How does a nation discern the will of God when the political leadership of that nation does not know or seek God for their wisdom. In the world as God meant it He reveals it to His people who become His prophetic voice to Government. That system is not working too well in our nation at present as God’s people (His Church) has lost its prophetic voice and impact on national issues, but nevertheless we still have a responsibility as God’s people to seek and know His will and to pray that into being and allow God, as only He can, to move the minds and hearts of our leaders to do His will.
* Acknowledging that our trust is in God and not in the wisdom of man, let us pray that God would continue to work through the prayers of the saints as they are offered up in faith for our nation.
* that God would restore the prophetic voice of the Church so that truth is spoken and upheld in our nation at the highest level and would confirm through the scriptures to the praying people of this nation what and how to pray in any given situation so that God’s will is being prayed in all over the nation.
* asking God to renew our minds so our thoughts do not conform to this world, but rather align with the thoughts of God, so that what is good, acceptable and perfect to Him will become, through prayer, the pathway our nation takes in the decisions it makes on all issues.
Saving Christian Schools
An alliance of the nation’s most senior spiritual leaders is warning that under proposed anti-discrimination reforms the future of religious education is under threat and religious schools will not be allowed to choose teachers who share the same faith. The alliance includes more than 30 leaders from the Christian, Jewish and Islamic faiths. It has written a letter to Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus warning him about the possible outcomes from the controversial reform proposal put forward by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC). The ALRC plan proposes that principals would be barred from giving preference to the employment of teachers with the same beliefs and spiritual outlook as the educational institutions.
The letter warned that “Despite paying lip service to the importance of all human rights and rejecting any notion of a hierarchy of rights, the ALRC proposals would place unnecessary and unreasonable restrictions on the freedom of religious schools to give effect to the international human right of parents and guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.” It also called on the government to ensure that the ALCR properly addresses the terms of reference through a genuine consultation, with input from religious leaders and religious education experts, parents and secular experts.
“Be strong in the Lord and in His great power.” Ephesians 6:10
* Thank God for His warning that we will always have to fight for His kingdom. But we never have to fight in our own strength. Thank Him for His strength and wisdom and love which is available to us in times of need.
* Pray for the Christian leaders who are standing up against attempts to weaken Christian schools.
* Pray for the Attorney-General as he considers all the proposals put to him about the future of religious schools. Pray that he can withstand the very loud voice of the minority seeking to eliminate Christ from the public square.
Praying for Issues in the News
* Alice Springs, Darwin and numerous other communities continue to be torn apart by community violence. Governments at the National and Territory levels appear not able, or unwilling, to intervene leaving residents in despair. Horror stories continue to be shared by residents, but they seem to have no impact on the political class. Please pray for a resolution to the ongoing situations in so many communities across the Territory and even in other parts of the nation. Pray that our parliamentary leaders will wake up and become involved with local community leaders in an endeavour to help those in need who are crying out for help but feeling ignored whilst the rest of the nation talks about giving them a greater voice in their own destiny.
* The rapid rise in the cost of living in Australia is hitting those who can least afford it the hardest, thus widening the gap between rich and poor, something that has not before been a major problem in all our years as a nation. Again, our political leaders seem unable, or unwilling, to address the main causes of this trend even though they have made the greatest contribution to the cause of the current bout of inflation by overspending in budgets for many years. Please pray that our leaders will again wake up to the problem and be given wisdom as to how to address it even though it may be a politically difficult pill to swallow. Pray too for those suffering the most, that they will be looked out for by those who still have plenty of resources, so that the pain is more equally shared around. Pray that the Church will arise to represent the love of Jesus to a generation of people who are feeling the hopelessness of their current circumstances.
Praying for Others
This week let us pray for Southern Philippines. 23-year-old Atifa is the first Christian in her family. Pray for guidance and protection as she seeks to connect and share the gospel with her loved ones.
Source: Australian Prayer Network
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