A Change in Focus
In 2008 Jon Stanhope, the chief Minister of the ACT Labor Government, helped set up the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body. He hoped to improve the lives of Canberra’s 9500 Indigenous population, but 15 years later he described those plans as failed. The Aborigines in ACT are among the most disadvantaged in Australia. Canberra has failed to address the problems facing its own Indigenous people. Currently it has one of the highest Indigenous incarceration rates in the country with 21 times more indigenous people likely to be imprisoned compared to non-Indigenous people. Childhood development is well behind the national average. Only 27.3% of Indigenous kids are developmentally on track in all five domains of the Australian Early Development Census. The rate of children in out-of-homecare is also higher than the national average. The effectiveness of the Elected Body has been plagued by problems. Because its entire membership is usually made up of ACT public servants, this compromises their ability to hold the ACT government to account. At the last election for the Elected Body of 7 Aboriginal members less than five per cent of eligible Aboriginal voters bothered to vote. There is also a high attrition rate in the Elected Body, as well as infighting stemming from tribal tensions. This Indigenous Elected Body seems to have a very low profile in initiating infrastructure projects and services for Aboriginal people in ACT. They have advocated for three public housing developments to house 15 older Indigenous people, pushing for bus routes to an Indigenous health clinic and restoring an Oval as a community hub. The ACT government had addressed only 24 of the 99 priority actions that the Elected Body recommended. The current ACT Auditor-General has also criticized the structure and efficacy of the Elected Body. At the Voice referendum more than 60% of those living in Canberra voted that the Voice would be the answer for improving the lives of First Nation people. Can we choose a better way? This wonderful hymn written by John Fawcett in 1884 spoke of a better way and to pray ardently for a change in focus. For there to be a willingness to share woes, bare burdens, sympathise, care and love and experience the fellowship of kindred minds.
Blessed be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love; the fellowship of kindred minds is like that to that above. Before our Father’s throne we pour our ardent prayers; Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one. Our comforts and our cares. We share each other’s woes, our mutual burdens bear; and often for each other flows the sympathizing tear.
* Thanking God that Jon Stanhope was prepared to identify real problems in Canberra relating to people coming from a First Nation background and seeking forgiveness for our failure to come alongside them in spirit.
* That all who come from different cultures to make up our great nation will value, share, appreciate one another, and work together to implement what is best for all.
* For unity in our nation to grow out of worship and acknowledgement of God, and less out of trying to get political agreement on policy issues. That we will chose to acknowledge God, humble ourselves, and seek God’s face.
The spirit of Delusion
Nowhere in our history have we seen delusion embraced and popularized as we are seeing it today. It seems like, nearly every day, people are coming up with some new concept that goes against science, biology, reality, and common sense—but they embrace it as truth, receive it as truth, proclaim it as truth, and persecute those who remain stalwart in their refusal that it is truth. This is a spirit of delusion. As it says in 1 Timothy 4:1: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons …” If there was ever a time when we are seeing “deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” at work in Australia, it is today. How can we pray against it?
* Pray against the spirit of delusion by asking God to counteract it with His wisdom from above. Pray for an outpouring of wisdom upon all people.
* Pray too for the release of a spirit of understanding that along with His wisdom we will also have an understanding of His ways.
* Pray for the removal of the spirit of delusion from our nation and for its replacement with the Holy Spirit who leads us into all truth.
Canberra Gender Laws
In 2020, ACT Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury introduced legislation overhauling the births, deaths, and marriage registration act to allow children under the age of 18 to officially change their gender identity and their name. These reforms came into effect on August 20, 2021, and established a pathway for a child as young as 12 to change their name and gender without parental consent. Since then, approximately 30 young people between the ages of 12 and 17 have registered a change of sex. Under these reforms someone aged 12-15 can apply to change their gender with the consent of a parent or legal guardian. However, even without parental consent they can still apply for leave to make an application to the Registrar-General. A child under the age of 12 may also apply in ‘exceptional circumstances” but only with the consent of one person with parental responsibility. Children over the age of 16 can amend their birth certificate by applying to the Registrar-General for a change of name and sex without parental consent.
The ACT Liberals have opted not to make an issue to the reforms. However, religious groups are concerned. Australian Christian Lobby chief executive Michelle Pearse said that the transition of children could have lifelong consequences and that parents know that the best response to a child wanting to do things is often not yes.
“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you.” Zephaniah 3:17
* Let’s be glad that we worship the Lord who saves. Pray for all believers in the ACT. May they know that they are warriors in the faith and that through grace they can walk hand in hand with the Lord, the Mighty Warrior who saves.
* Pray for the ACT government and in particular, Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury. May they realise that what they term “reform” is actually regression and suppression.
* Pray for the families in the ACT who have children who are confused and disorientated about who they really are. Pray that the Lord would show them how to respond in that very difficult situation.
Praying for Issues in the News
* An epidemic of type 2 diabetes is sweeping our nation, especially affecting remote Indigenous communities in Central Australia where 40% of residents are said to have the disease with limited resources to treat it. Doctors have described it as a catastrophe in slow motion with many hospitals almost at breaking point simply due to the impact of this one disease. Please pray for authorities and governments that they would be given wisdom as to how to slow down and eventually eliminate this insidious disease which slowly debilitates those with it leading to ultimate death. Pray too that individual Australians will take personal responsibility for their own health given type 2 diabetes is largely due to issues related to diet and exercise both of which are in control of every individual.
* As the stakes in the Israel-Hamas war get higher, so do the ramifications for Australia. The growing conflict now threatens to deliver a major long-term pivot in America’s foreign policy back towards the Middle East, undermining Washington’s ability to focus on the ambitions of Russia in Ukraine and China in the Indo-Pacific. None of this is good news for Australia, which needs an active and engaged US military presence in the Pacific to balance China’s hegemonic behaviour in the South China Sea and the South Pacific. Australia and Europe also need ongoing and unwavering US military support for Ukraine if Kyiv is to eventually repel Russia’s invading forces from the 20 per cent of Ukraine it still occupies. Please pray for the leaders of all nations, especially within the western block, that they would be given Godly understanding of the current world situation and the wisdom as to how to deal with the very difficult alliances that are being formed against the west by nations such as China, Russia and Iran.
Praying for Others
This week let us pray for China. Pray that translated Bibles produced by various missionary agencies will reach remote and isolated communities.
Source: Australian Prayer Network
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