Musings of an antipodean contrarian

Archive for the category “prayer”

Prayer for a service for those lost at sea

I was asked to offer a prayer for Australians as part of a Service of Commemoration for those lost at sea to be held at St Barnabas’ Anglican Church, Broadway, Sydney, on Sunday 23 June 2013.  Here it is:

Almighty God, in whose prophets through the ages we have seen and heard your love and justice clearly proclaimed,

And in whose Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, you have definitively declared the worth of human persons,

We pray today for all Australians:

Forgive us when we fail to recognise the right of the other person to be different, and fail to defend the vulnerable and voiceless, and fail to offer hospitality to those fleeing real danger and persecution.

Give us eyes to see the plight of our fellow human beings on the high seas and in detention.

Give us ears to hear their cries and their stories, to learn their names.

Give us lips to encourage them, and speak for them, and change hard hearts.

Give us hands and feet to love them, welcome them, care for them, and restore their honour as Jesus would.

Lord, give us a new imagination for what our nation and our world should be, and instil in all of us the courage and hope and wisdom we need to get from here to there.

We pray this in the strong name of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Happy New Year!

Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 6 Jan 2013.

Happy New Year to all our listeners!  On this first Sunday of 2013, here’s a prayer from one of the world’s great Christian leaders, the Reverend Billy Graham, published in The Saturday Evening Post:

Our Father and our God, as we stand at the beginning of this new year we confess our need of Your presence and Your guidance as we face the future.

We each have our hopes and expectations for the year that is ahead of us—but You alone know what it holds for us, and only You can give us the strength and the wisdom we will need to meet its challenges…

May we never presume on Your past goodness or forget all Your mercies to us, but may they instead lead us to repentance, and to a new commitment to make You the foundation and center of our lives this year. Amen.

I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.

A perspective on political leadership

Back in 2009, when Kevin Rudd was Australia’s Prime Minister, my friend Matt Prater interviewed him about his Christian faith and the challenges facing Australia.

At the end of the interview, Matt asked Mr Rudd to share a favourite passage of Scripture, and Mr Rudd quoted the words of Jesus in the Gospel of John, chapter 15 and verse 5: “I am the Vine, you are the branches.”  This was Mr Rudd’s mother’s favourite verse, and it’s inscribed on her headstone.

“That verse works on multiple levels,” he said.  “It applies when you are running out of energy, enthusiasm, and ability to do anything in life or in politics – just pause and recognise that you are only a branch and that our Creator, God, is the vine.”

It’s my prayer that Kevin Rudd will find fresh strength in those words of Jesus in the days ahead, and that his rival, Julia Gillard, will come to understand the significance of a personal faith in God.

Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 26 Feb 2012.

President Obama on prayer and guidance

Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington last week, President Barack Obama said his policies were grounded in his Christian beliefs, and his push for a more equitable economy was consistent with the teachings of Jesus.

He said the Bible teaches us to “be doers of the word and not merely hearers.”  We should each have a living, breathing, active faith; and then give of ourselves for the betterment of others.

President Obama also told how he and veteran evangelist, the Reverend Billy Graham had met and prayed for each other.

He said, “I have fallen on my knees with great regularity since that moment, asking God for guidance not just in my personal life and my Christian walk, but in the life of this nation and in the values that hold us together and keep us strong.”

Perhaps we should arrange a meeting between Prime Minister Julia Gillard and  Billy Graham.

Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 12 Feb 2012.

Hope for Creation

Christians around the world are gathering today (Sunday 6 November), under the banner of Hope for Creation, to pray about the growing negative impact of climate change in our world.

It’s an opportunity to engage in a public conversation that has for too long been dominated by science and politics.  Through prayer, Christians are seeking God’s help to better understand the issue, and to pray for political leaders, for the future of our children who will inherit the world we leave behind, and for the world’s poor who are hit first and hardest by climate change.

World Vision Chief Executive Tim Costello said, “Hope for Creation goes to the biblical mandate of creation care.  All of creation carries the imprint of its Maker.  Through [World Vision’s] work with the world’s poorest people, we are already seeing the dramatic impact of climate change, so this initiative calls us to speak boldly and live faithfully, to honour our call to follow Jesus.”

Hope for Creation spokesperson Cath James said, “When we give in to denial, it ensures that things will not change.  But to dare to hope that we can change the world sets us on a path of making sure it will happen.”

Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 6 November 2011.

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