A recent survey, which portrays an alarming picture of increasing loneliness, shows the need for true friendships. More people are living alone than at any other time in recorded history. Millennials can spend up to 6.5 hours a day on social media. They can have a very large number of ‘friends’ but experience an increasing sense of loneliness. 73% of Gen Z feel alone. Old people can also feel alone. We’ve become a culture strengthening Wi-Fi connections more than personal ones. Is there any substitute for face-to-face friendships? C.S. Lewis says, “To the Ancients, friendship seemed the happiest and most fully human of all loves; the crown of life and the school of virtue.” It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others. Friendships matter and Jesus said we can call Him a friend (Jn 15:5) A friend is someone who knows all about you and loves you just the same like Jesus does. “What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!” Let us also “Rejoice in the Lord, always.” We also need human friends who make time for us, laugh with us, and be there when we need someone to cry with. Deep friendships are needed for teams to succeed, for churches to grow, communities to function and nations to flourish. Friendships can continually be strengthened through forgiveness and become stronger than before. “Those who forgive hurts foster friendship, but those who dwell on them alienate their friends. (Pr 17:9) Let’s “Love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour.” (Rom 12:10) In contrast, we know that friendship with the world is enmity with God. Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.(Jam 4:4) There are traditions about friendships and what constitutes a friend that vary from culture to culture and from rich to poor. Developing cross-cultural deep friendships is challenging.
*For many more, especially the young, to come to know Jesus as their friend and saviour who knows all about them and loves them just the same.
*For more deep friendships to flourish like those of Ruth and Naomi or David and Jonathan and for the Lord to strengthen marriages and families that reveal more of the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
*For more sensitivity and a willingness to be vulnerable in those who desire to develop deep cross-cultural friendships.
Praying for the Voice
As the referendum comes ever closer and debate over the Voice intensifies it is time to pray into the issue which will have a huge potential impact upon the future of our nation. Over coming weeks, we will highlight areas where we believe we need to concentrate prayer in order that the result of the referendum is the best outcome for Australia and in line with God’s perfect will.
Let us pray:
* That the confusion around the Voice be cleared up with sufficient and accurate information so that people are fully informed when they vote. “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” (1 Cor 14:33 NIV)
* That the name calling and personal attacks between the two sides of the debate will cease.
* That people will not be intimidated as to how they should vote but will be allowed to make a considered and thoughtful vote when the day for vote casting comes around.
Smugglers Test Government Resolve on Asylum
Operation Sovereign Borders has begun upgrading security and facilities at the Christmas Island immigration detention centre. The reason is that people smugglers in Sri Lanka appear to be stepping up their efforts to test the resolve of our new Government. The latest group of asylum-seekers to reach Australia is the largest since August last year, made up of 35 men, three women and three girls aged 8, 13 and 15. All were flown back to Colombo on a Royal Australian Air Force plane. Two of the asylum-seekers claimed to be having heart attacks during the previous eight days in the custody of Operation Sovereign Borders, however all were deemed fit to fly by an Australian doctor. Border authorities are concerned that people-smugglers are wrongly advising asylum-seekers that illness could delay their removal from Australia.
The latest group of asylum-seekers takes the number of known arrivals since the election of the Labor government in May 2022 to 250, after a long period of no people-smuggling activity. The increase is a direct result of Sri Lanka’s ongoing economic crisis and people-smugglers seeking to exploit the change of government. The people on this boat were tricked into believing they were heading for New Zealand, not Australia, which they knew would not accept asylum-seekers entering illegally. A spokeswoman for Australian Border Force said it did not comment on operational matters. This has been the position of immigration authorities since the first weeks of the Abbott government, when the Coalition ended Labor’s practice of issuing media statements about boat arrivals in order to prevent people smugglers from using boat arrivals as evidence of successful ventures. Since then intercepts and turn-backs only become public when the media learn of them.
“Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 MSG
* One of Australia’s redemptive purposes is to be a country of refuge that welcomes people seeking a new life. Pray that our governments and our citizens will remain generous to those people who seek to come here legally whilst protecting our borders from those seeking to enter illegally.
* Pray for the resolve of the current government to keep our borders safe from unscrupulous people smugglers and people trafficking. Pray for the Australian Border Force personal, as they carry out their work on our behalf.
* Pray that Australia experiences such a move of the Holy Spirit that we do indeed prompt new arrivals in our country to open up to God, their generous Father in heaven.
Praying for Issues in the News
* With the level of inflation showing a significant downturn last month there is hope that a further rate hike may be averted when the Reserve Bank meets next week to decide what will happen with interest rates. Please pray that God would give wisdom to the Reserve Bank Board and that the decision they make will be the right one for the national economy and the long-term interests of the people of Australia.
* The completion of the Police enquiry into the disappearance of William Tyrrell is speculated to include a recommendation that his stepmother be charged with concealing a crime associated with his disappearance. Whilst no one can be certain of what happened in this case there have been many cases where assumptions without conclusive evidence have resulted in miscarriages of justice. Whilst we all want to see the case solved and justice for William achieved, let us pray that God would guide the case right through the court process to a final resolution where everyone can agree that justice has been done and the right conclusions reached.
Praying for Others
This week let us pray for West Africa. Several church leaders have been kidnapped and killed. Please pray for their families, that they would have peace that surpasses all understanding.
Source: Australian Prayer Network
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