National 24-Hour Prayer Watch 20/24 23rd May 2024

Neither for nor against

When Joshua crossed the Jordan to conquer the Promised Land he was greeted by a man with a drawn sword. When he asked him “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” his response was “Neither, but I am the commander of the army of the Lord”. (Jos 5:13-14) Our instinct is to support one side or the other, but our commander says “neither”. We are faced with a current challenging situation in Australia where social cohesion is being lost. So let us pray for there to be social cohesion in our nation and for God’s name to be honoured, His kingdom come and His will to be done here as it is in heaven.  If we are to experience social cohesion in our nation our community and political leaders will need to publicly and strongly call out those who seek to undermine that cohesion. For instance, some University vice-chancellors seem to have shown a weak response to anti-Semitism and pro-Palestinian protests on their campuses. Police were needed to stand in between the two rallies. Who are causing the problem? We need to pray for them out of love and care for them and our nation and place ourselves into God’s hands. We can invite Him to bless our nation and those who need help. There are those who were born in Middle Eastern countries who have experienced ‘religiously motivated violent extremism’ in their countries.   Now they are experiencing it here. Antisemitism is on the rise. When Pro-Palestinian supporters shouted “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” they wanted no future for Israel as a nation. It is a way to vilify and terrorize Jewish students and intimidate and harass them on campuses. They happen to be breaking our current law by intentionally or recklessly inciting violence towards individuals or groups of people on the grounds of their religious belief or affiliation. This law should not be changed even if it happens to offend a particular religious’ group.  Our very way of life seems to be being profoundly challenged by this. When members of any community break the law, they need to cooperate with the police and law enforcement officers to bring the offenders to justice. We can’t be tolerating the vilification of any part of our community and there are reports of Jewish students avoiding their universities because of fear. Education Minister Jason Clare, state education ministers and vice chancellors, are asking universities to implement policies that prohibit hate speech on campus. Universities were warned last year about the manifestations of antisemitism on campuses, but the situation seems to have got worse.

Let’s pray:

*Lord, please give us a heart like yours for the Israelis, Palestinians and all caught up in this conflict – a heart of love that is neither for nor against any particular group. Thank you that your heart is poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Rom 5:5) Please pour out your love into our hearts today.

*That leaders in both government and universities will take up their God given responsibility to implement policies that prohibit hate speech and encourage social cohesion.

* Thanking God for the freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of association that we currently enjoy in Australia.


Protecting Christian Schools from Attack

The Law Reform Commission’s report and recommendations relating to Christian schools and discrimination laws was recently tabled in Federal Parliament.  The recommendations are designed to force faith-based schools to accept the LGBTQ+ view of the world. Pray that the Opposition parties will stay strong and not give in to legislation that forces schools to retain staff who live in violation of the ethos of the school. At the same time give thanks that the outcry about the Productivity Commission’s proposal to remove DGR Status (that donations are tax deductible) for school building funds and for religious educational bodies, such as YouthCare (which places chaplains in schools), has resulted in the Federal Assistant Minister Anthony Chisholm saying this change is “not something we’re considering. I support the current circumstances that are in place.”  Pray that his view will prevail.

Please pray:

*   Against this attempt by the Law Reform Commission in conjunction with the Federal Government to weaken Christian Education in this country by seeking to force Schools to employ staff who live in violation of the ethos of the school.

*   Giving thanks that a public outcry against the proposal to remove the tax deductibility for School building funds and religious educational bodies, has resulted in the Government saying it is “not something they are considering”. Pray that such a view will remain the position of the Government through to final consideration of the Commission’s report.

*   That this and other attacks against Christian Education in our country will only work towards strengthening the resolve of Christian Schools and parents to seek to resist every attempt to weaken Christian Education in Australia.


Jewish Students and Pro-Palestine Rallies at Melbourne University

Hundreds of pro-Israel supporters, many draped in Israeli and Australian flags, gathered at the University of Melbourne.  They called on educational institutions to make campuses safe places to be for Jewish students. Zionist Federation of Australia chief executive officer Alon Cassuto opened the rally.  He said that since October 7 anti-Semitism around the world has been on the rise. “We’re here to say that the past seven months are not something we’re prepared to tolerate any longer.  Our campuses must be free of hate”, he said. Israeli and Palestine supporters stared down each other and chanted slogans from their respective sides, with police seen standing between the two groups and stationed around the perimeter of the event.  The Australasian Union of Jewish Students had voiced concerns and decided to take action after hearing reports of Jewish students avoiding their universities.  The union is calling for a roundtable with Education Minister Jason Clare, state education ministers and vice chancellors and demanding that universities implement policies that prohibit hate speech on campus.

Alon Cassuto said he was concerned about the welfare of Jewish students on campus and expressed his support for the demonstration.  “We warned the universities last year about the manifestations of antisemitism on campuses, but the situation has got worse since that time,” Mr Cassuto said. “There has been a collective absence of leadership, with appalling and intimidatory behaviour being ignored in the hope that it will go away.  Instead, in the face of inaction, it’s got worse.”

Please pray:

“God is my fortress, I shall never be shaken…He is my mighty rock, my refuge”. Psalm 62: vv2b,6b-7b)

*   Pray for the protection of Jewish students and staff attending our universities. Ask the Lord to be their fortress and protection.

*   Pray that our national leaders and the leaders of our universities will, at last, acknowledge the aggressive antisemitism that flourishes in Australian universities.  Pray that they find the courage and morality to act and to deal with the ever increasing, brazen aggression of pro-Palestinian protesters.

*   Pray that Australians generally and Christian Australians in particular, see this aggression for what it is and refuse to be shaken or turn their backs.


Praying for issues in the News

*    All political parties appear to be preparing themselves for a possible early election with self-interest motivating their reasoning and policies. Let us pray that as an election approaches that policies formed will result in outcomes that are in the best interest of the nation as a whole and not simply popular policies to get electoral success.

*    Released detainees continue to re-offend, causing fear and uncertainty to arise within the community. Please pray that the Government will find an acceptable way to address this issue and remove any criminals released as part of this programme from our streets.


Praying for our Nation

This week let us acknowledge the sins of our forefathers as the Holy Spirit reveals them to you as you wait on Him. Nehemiah1: 4-7, Daniel 9:4-6, 2 Chronicles 29:4-11.

Source:  Australian Prayer Network

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