In conjunction with our Voices for Justice worship and lobbying event in Canberra this October, hundreds of Christians from churches across the country gathered in prayer vigils as a form of advocacy to our powerful God.
"Prayer itself is a form of advocacy" explained Micah Australia's National Coordinator Ben Thurley as the sun set over Parliament House on October 12th and hundreds of Voices for Justice participants solemnly gathered with politicians, church leaders and local Christians with candles in hand.
If we define advocacy as speaking to the powerful on behalf of the powerless then we must certainly speak to the most powerful God.
"We are called to pray for all our leaders and for their work in governing the nation. We are also called to pray for our own nation and the way it helps or hinders God’s work of peace, mercy, and justice in the wider community of nations," he said.
The Christians gathered in Canberra were joined by over 50 churches and groups across the country who were also gathering in solidarity with us to pray for global justice, for our nation’s leaders, and for a world free from poverty.
Following a shared prayer guide, all groups were led to pray in hope and celebration for all that has been achieved in alleviating the impacts of poverty, in restoring peace and flourishing communities. To express thankfulness for the children receiving education, babies born in safe conditions after women have had safer pregnancies, the reduction in preventable deaths and disease, as well as the increase in access to safe water and sanitation.
And yet… groups also cried out in deep anguish and grief knowing that in all these areas and more, there is so much to be done.
Sarah Fear, who coordinated a prayer vigil at Penrith Baptist Church (NSW), shared the following reflection on her prayer vigil.
"We live in a world filled with longing. We long for peace, for love and for freedom, and we long for a voice – for our cries to rise above the clamour of a fallen world and be heard by Almighty ears. I rest in the knowledge that our God hears us, and I cling to the hope that his Son is coming soon.
Our world is full of suffering, but I am beginning to see that it is also full of hope.
I have seen the ruins of broken lives transformed into agents of change, and I have seen the power of our heavenly father unleashed as he reaches out to his children in love. I believe in the beauty and strength of prayer, and I considered it a privilege to join with brothers and sisters across Australia as we prayed for this world.
In the moments of quiet and stillness that rose and fell during our time of prayer I knew that Jesus was with us. We use mere words and feeble hearts to petition the God of the Universe, but the Son stands in his majesty and power and covers the earth with his grace. There is nothing he cannot do, and he has promised to hear us. I am humbled by the knowledge that the Alpha and the Omega comes in response to us. Let us never give up the privilege of prayer."
'Prayer as advocacy' is a focus we will continue to have at Micah as we coordinate more vigils in the future. Please feel free to download our Prayer Vigil Guide and other prayer resources to use anytime in your individual and corporate prayer times as you cry out for justice to our powerful God.
Angela Owen is the Media and Communications Coordinator at Micah Australia.