We are coming to the end of that wonderful refreshing time of year when most Australians take annual holidays. We trust your New Year is off to a good start and pray God’s blessing on you and your family for 2015.
But sadly, this year we have already been shocked a number of times by more horrific news. There was the cold-blooded murder of journalists in France and the slaughter of thousands of Christian men, women and children in Nigeria. At home, we witnessed the sombre funeral of eight children killed last month in Cairns and right now a volatile hunger strike of asylum seeker detainees in Manus. All this can leave many Australians feeling powerless and unsettled. As Christians how can we respond?
In this Good News Update it is our joy to highlight three nation-wide events that will take place over the next three weeks. We believe these will help Australian Christians to look to God and find new hope and strength.
1. The Australian Prayer Network has again called its member churches, prayer groups and individuals to A Night of Prayer for Australia. This will be held on Sunday 25th January 2015, the eve of Australia Day.
Thousands of Australians in local communities and individuals in homes across our land will ask God to guide our nation into the year.
Prayer points to use have been prepared and may be downloaded from the Australian Prayer Network website. The Australian Prayer Network are making these available to anyone so there is no need to register. We encourage you to print them and use them tomorrow night. In fact, they will be an excellent resource to continue praying for Australia throughout the year.
2. We also encourage you to take part in National Christian Heritage Sunday on Sunday 1 February, 2015. This is a time to reflect on our Christian foundations and recognize the hand of God in shaping Australia.
In particular, it celebrates the coming of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to our Australian shores. The Reverend Richard Johnsonwas the first to preach in Australia. His congregation was made up of newly-arrived convicts, free settlers and marines.
This took place on 3 February, 1788, the first Sunday after the First Fleet had anchored in Sydney Cove. The service was held on a grassy hill underneath a ‘great tree’ as there were no buildings at the time.
National Christian Heritage Sundaytakes place on the first Sunday of February to coincide as much as possible to the actual anniversary of the first preaching the Gospel in Australia.
At the National Christian Heritage Sunday website you will find an invitation to participate as well as suggested short readings and a prayer. Please encourage your church leaders to get involved by using these. Share this media release by downloading it here.
3. The third nation-wide event is the National Day of Prayer & Fasting on Sunday 15 February 2015 with pre-events in state capital cities and across Australia from 7 to 14 February 2015. The media release below gives a more detailed description.
This is the time to be diligent in prayer for our nation and the world.
50 years ago today, on 24 January 1965, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill died at the age of 90. Remembered by many as the greatest democratic politician of the 20th century, his life continues to inspire us. Perhaps more than any other person, God used Winston Churchill to keep the British people strong in the darkest days of World War II.
His words “Never, never, never give up”, spoken against Nazi tyranny, still echo throughout the free world today.
Christians, however, have a far more powerful word about not giving up. We read in the Bible that “Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up“. Jesus went on to promise that God will “bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night” (Luke 18:1,7).
As we pray in the coming weeks, let us flash our own V-for-victory sign in thanks to God for Australia. “He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”
(1 Corinthians 15:57).
Have a GREAT AUSTRALIA DAY!
Yours for Australia mobilised and covered in prayer,
David Rowsome and Warwick Marsh
Media Release 23 January 2015
National Day of Prayer &Fasting Gains Momentum
The 5th Australian National Day of Prayer & Fasting will take place on Sunday 15 February 2015. Once again Christians will gather in the Great Hall of Parliament House in Canberra to pray and fast for Australia.
Local churches Australia-wide are also encouraged to participate on the day by celebrating the event during their own church services. Suggestions to do this are found at Guidelines for Churches and Pre-events.
The prayer focus this year is that Australia will recapture its DESTINY in Christ. Watch this 2- min YouTube promo.
Ps Matt Prater, Chairman of the Organising Team says, “Our aim is to make it possible for more and more Australians to pray and fast for the revival and transformation of our nation. We are excited by the growing momentum for prayer and fasting.”
David and Marilyn Rowsome explain, “This year there will be newly added State Days of Prayer & Fasting in a growing number of capital cities. These pre-events will take place on Saturday 7 February 2015. There will also be new regional pre-events in different cities, towns and rural locations, as well as small groups like prayer meetings and home groups, from Saturday 7 February to Saturday 14 February 2015.” More are being added to the website every day at Pre-events.
Dr Graham McLennan, a member of the team and co-founder of the Australian Christian Heritage Research Institute asserts, “For Australia to find its DESTINY we must first understand our Christian heritage. The National Day of Prayer & Fasting and its pre-events will therefore have a strong focus on Christian foundations and history of Australia.”
Warwick Marsh exhorts, “We have a famine of the Word of God in this land. As a nation we have rejected the one, true and living God. The Martin Place tragedy and the recent news from France spur us on to pray and fast that Australia will come back to Jesus Christ and find its DESTINY in God.”
Sue Tinworth highlights, “Following the National Day of Prayer & Fasting will be the 40 Days of Delight. This extended time of prayer and fasting affirms that our personal and national DESTINY is found as we delight ourselves in the Lord. It will take place during the forty days of Lent from Ash Wednesday 18 February to Palm Sunday 29 March 2015. Daily devotions will be sent to those who register and be available on-line. A new feature this year is the Daily Recorded Blessings called “Have a Good One” to be broadcast on Christian radio.”
The organising team thank God for the way the National Day of Prayer & Fasting is spreading and the burden to pray for the nation is growing.