(January 24, 2020) Robert McQuillan encourages continued prayer and caring for Australia in this time of need …
The bushfires ravaging our nation, the total devastation of towns, businesses, homes and forests; the loss of livestock and nature’s animals – and sadly some lives including brave firefighters, two from the States – has seen Australia foremost in the news recently and even declared a war zone.
In short, Australia is currently in great need! And I’m reminded of Psalm 136, that psalm that rings loudly of God’s unceasingly love. Verse 25 (Message) declares: ‘[God] Takes care of everyone in time of need. His love never quits!’ That’s so precious, so reassuring to those who trust in God.
Worldwide caring prayer
It’s been great to hear from friends overseas sincerely enquiring about our safety – and we can advise that we’re not in the fire danger areas. Their caring becomes even more precious when they say that they’re praying and caring not just for us only but for our nation, that the bad news on TV has touched their hearts!
One example is the para my good UK friend Brian Bell had in The God of Pardon, Presence and Provision – ‘Be encouraged by a God who cares about the details of our lives – (and, incidentally, cares for all – Christian and non-Christian – whose lives have been recently devastated by an atrocity, natural disaster, tragedy or loss such as in the current Australian bushfires).’
Brian (left) – and countless other Christians – across the world are caring and praying for Australia at this time of desperation, loss and heartache…
And it’s great that celebrities are giving financially for onward transmission to the needy. That our federal and state governments have allocated funds to support resource services, help rebuild lives, businesses, townships, look after saved animals and extend hope to desolated Australians in what’s been termed a war zone, such has been the ravishing of our land.
Many Ozzies praying away!
Yes it’s great that concerned overseas folk are praying – and that many Australian Christians have been praying too! Church denominations have been active in receiving offerings for bushfire appeals.
My own prayer has been this: ‘Lord, send such an outpouring of rain on the bushfires that they suddenly, mysteriously, go out and people are left standing scratching their heads thinking there must be a God after all!’
But I was entranced in discovering that a local friend has been praying daily what I consider an outstanding prayer for a miracle in Oz. Let me share about Kathryn Jensen, associate pastor at Mill Park Baptist Church, Victoria…
Kathryn (right. Link: firstname.lastname@example.org ) told me that she felt led to write a special prayer about the Australian bushfire scenario – one she could use daily as she too trusts God to intercede miraculously and help us, and that it was inspired by The Lord’s Prayer –
Our Father in heaven,
Your name is above the smoky haze
– and the billowing columns of the fires that burn across our country.
Your kingdom come
– and your will be done in Australia as it is in heaven.
Give us today:
– rain to extinguish the fires,
– relief for those still battling the flames,
– mercy for the grieving,
– and wisdom for our government, churches and relief services directing provision for those who are emerging from the ashes.
Forgive us for our ungodly responses to this tragedy:
– our blaming and shaming,
– our fear-mongering,
– our self-sufficiency,
– our indifference,
as we forgive those who blame, shame, scare and project their worst onto us,
Lead us not into the temptation
– to give simplistic answers to complex, politically-charged issues, or
– to speak before we listen (first to you, then to others),
But deliver us from the evil of
– hatred and
For yours is the kingdom!
– the power and the glory, forever and ever.
Amen. © 2020 Kathryn Jensen
Wow! Well done, Kathryn! May many readers sense your heart in this classic prayer, appreciate your sentiments and pray with renewed dedication.
A different fire needed
Praise God that prayers for rain have been answered: it has been falling, even causing flooding! Great for farmers and plants… but we need more, especially where fires are still burning. Today’s BBC News reports that ‘Some 30 people have so far been killed – including four firefighters – and more than 10 million hectares (100,000 sq. km or 24.7 million acres) of bush, forest and parks across Australia has burned)’.
Such reports, although needed, can depress us! But they impress the need for ongoing prayer in this hour of need!
Writing about fire and rain, and God’s unquenchable love for us, reminds me of that number sung by Carman (whom I once had the privilege of interviewing, a great Christian who too, incidentally, is asking for prayer at this time as cancer is once more attacking his body).
The chorus begins –
‘Lord, send the rain
Pour out your Spirit
Let the fire fall.’
What a spiritual combination, rain and fire! This is, of course, one fire that won’t harm but bless this great country – the fire of the Holy Spirit, the miracle worker! And it’s great to know that Christians and many churches are praying for a miraculous ending to all the disaster in our nation.
May the fire of the Holy Spirit burn within us encouraging us to keep praying that he moves in supernaturally sending rain and assisting our fire services and relief forces… and may we boldly expect miracles – and also witness Jesus every opportunity given us!
God is the caring God… he responds to those who humble themselves before him and seek his help.
2 Chronicles 7:14 come to mind, ‘Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.’
I would encourage very church and every Christian to…
- Keep on praying to our caring God as long as the littlest fire danger is still possible.
- Avoid siding with negative people who blame and try to shame our government, especially our Prime minister (a fine Pentecostal Christian set in authority by God… one man whereas numerous appointed authorities have been commissioned to achieve what government members can’t).
- Remember to ‘respect the government and be law-abiding, always ready to lend a helping hand. No insults, no fights. God’s people should be bighearted and courteous’ (Philippians 4:6-7).
- Give generously to whichever bushfire disaster fund one feels God is leading us to donate to.
- Believe that God is hearing us and that this tragic time will soon be over and much rebuilding will be accomplished, that the homeless and desolated will have a genuine, meaningful new hope for 2020!
Prayer, not worry!
Paul was confident that God hears our humble prayers in our hour of need – and that he’ll respond.
In Philippians 4:6-7NLT he encourages: ‘Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.’
I ask again that we all continue to pray… and that we take whatever opportunity the Holy Spirit gives us to strenghten others in their hour of need.
I think too of the Portuguese missionary explorer, Captain Pedro Ferdinand de Quiros, who is regarded as having named Terra Australis as the great southland of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost May 14, 1606.
When he claimed this land to be open to the gospel of Christ, he declared ‘…in the name of Jesus Christ [I] hoist this emblem of the holy cross on which his person was crucified and whereon he gave his life for the ransom and remedy of all the human race.’
Our whole world, let alone our nation, needs Christ the Saviour… he is still the ‘remedy of all the human race’ (John 3:16). As we reach out to those in any need, may we also share his gospel.
Dr Robert and Maureen McQuillan minister itinerantly interdenominationally and crossculturally, mentor and counsel. Links: email@example.com / Facebook