A Nation Votes
Even at this late stage it is important that voters are certain of what they are voting for rather than just voting on how they feel. For instance, the yes vote looks so plausible as it appeals to the voter’s desire to improve the life of Aborigines rather than leaving things as they are. The no vote seems so static. We are even told “if you don’t know vote no”. But there are many reasons why to vote no, but it’s harder to think of them because we have been inundated with such false claims such as ‘80% of Aborigines are voting yes’. Key Christian Aboriginal leaders tell us that 100% of them are voting no. Whatever is the result of the referendum on Saturday we need to pray that it doesn’t leave a deep chasm between those who voted Yes and those who voted No. Most of us want Australia to be reconciled with the First Nation peoples and live as one family, one tribe, one humanity and one nation and not be divided. Our national anthem tells us “Let us rejoice, for we are one and free” Now a positive vote could result in there being two nations. We need to respect and value each other. In the past we have not shown much respect to our First Nation’s peoples, nor valued them. Many hope a yes vote could change this and improve their lot. The hope is that First Nation peoples will be given a greater recognition than they have in the past. But can manmade laws heal the deep wounds that can separate us as people? But we know God can. Let’s pray for us, as a nation, to be reconciled to God rather than being linked to the demonic spirits of this land. If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation the old things have passed away; behold new things have come. All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ (2 Cor 5:17) Can we as a nation be reconciled to God? Sometimes when we hope for peace but no good has come, for a time of healing but there is only terror. (Jer 8:15)
Shortly after reading this the voting will be over and we will know whether the “yes” vote or the “no” vote has prevailed. As a community, whatever the outcome, we have a great task ahead of us to heal any divisions resulting from opposing voting. But if we have yet to vote there is the need to respect the concerns, ambitions, and desires we all have for a prosperous future including those of the First Nations people. Like us, they want affordable housing, good access to medical services and meaningful education for everyone. They value being consulted about how their needs can be best met. They are also come from a diverse range of communities – advantaged or disadvantaged, remote or urban. They include those who are physically or mentally handicapped, the very young and very old. They are thankful for community initiatives of various sorts. When we vote yes, we focus specifically on the needs of First Nation people. Voting no allows us to include all in our community who have needs. It is always a challenge to love, respect, be reconciled to and serve others whether they are from First Nations, are migrants, or descendants of early settlers.
*For Christians in our nation to make every effort to keep ourselves united in the Spirit, binding ourselves together with peace. Knowing that there is one body and one Spirit (Eph 4:3-4) That we will be alerted to seeing differences and quick to mend fences.
* That First Nation peoples will rise and take their rightful and honoured place in our nation irrespective of the referendum outcome.
*That there will be few recriminations raised, especially between Christian groups, about the result of the vote. That Christ’s purpose to create in himself one new humanity out of the two will be fulfilled, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile us all to God through the cross, by which He put to death our hostility. (Eph 2:15-16)
Prayer for the Australian Church
Drawing from the rich resources of research for his 2011 biography, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, American Christian leader Eric Metaxas chronicles the attempts of the young pastor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as he repeatedly spoke truth to the German Church, warning them of the impending dangers of being compliant while a rogue government took shape under their watch. The prophetic message Bonhoeffer delivered to the German Church speaks to us today. Their failure cost the lives of over 70 million people who died in WWII, including the lives of 6 million Jews. Will the Australian church fail to act as the German Church did? If we do not act, our fate could be worse than the German Church’s. Metaxas makes it clear; the church of this nation holds the key to whether Australia survives as a nation or succumbs to cultural and political defeat.
* For a renewed sense of urgency among the Australian church over the cultural and spiritual decline our nation is experiencing.
* For our faith to provoke us to good works so that evil is rooted out and injustice is upended.
* For Your people to rise up so we do not miss our window of opportunity to redeem our culture and bring about a true moral and spiritual revival to the people of this land.
Praying for Issues in the News
* With the referendum being held this weekend pray that whatever the outcome there will be no backlash from either side and that peace will prevail across Australia in all communities regardless of their ethnicity. Pray the Government will be given wisdom as to how to re-unite the nation after the divisive nature of the national debate in recent months.
* Over 10,000 Australians are currently in Israel seeking to survive amidst the attack upon that nation by Hamas. Already at least one Australian has died amid the chaos. Please pray for the safety of the remaining Australians and indeed all people of goodwill irrespective of their nationality including many Arab Christians who would not be supporting the terrorist uprising but not being able to extract themselves from the reprisals that will come from Israels defence of their nation. Pray for wisdom for international leaders as they seek to come to terms with how to deal with the current terrorist attack without further expanding the fighting into other lands.
Praying for Others
This week let us pray for the Central African Republic. Pray that converts from Islam will meet other Christians who can help them grow and mature in faith. Thank God for those wanting to learn about Jesus.
Source: Australian Prayer Network
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