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40 days of Indigenous Christian testimonies

CHRISTIAN LIVING  |  Kaley Payne

Saturday 6 February 2016

Over 40 days through February and March, you are invited to meet some of your Indigenous Christian brothers and sisters as they share their testimonies, stories of faith and prayer, as part of the annual 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting event.

The 40-day calendar starts on February 10, or Ash Wednesday – the first day of Lent, which is intended to be a season of preparation and prayer before Easter.

Matt Prater, part of the organising team and also pastor of New Hope church in Brisbane and afternoon host on Vision Christian Radio, says the team felt “called by God” to showcase the many moving stories of Indigenous Australians coming to Christ and living lives for the Lord. A camera crew travelled around Australia to capture the stories and messages from 40 Indigenous Christians from the tiny Aboriginal town of Looma in northern Western Australia, to Cairns, to inner-city Melbourne.

“Each video is different. Some will inspire you to pray. Some will inspire you to repent and give your heart to God. Some will give you a bigger heart for Indigenous people. The idea is that over the 40 days, we’re taking you on a journey,” says Mr Prater.

“When we see what God is doing in this nation, it’s because of prayer,” says Pastor Norman Miller, an Aboriginal pastor from the Jirrbal people, and an artist from Cairns.

“All over Australia there are many tribes. Jesus himself comes from a tribe. He is from the tribe of Judah. It’s important that we recognise the tribes that we come from, but we should also pray and prophesy that they would come into alignment with the Lion of the tribe of Judah,” said Norman in a 40 Days interview.

Other Indigenous Christians interviewed as part of the 40 Days series include Miliwunga Wurrben from Katherine, Northern Territory, Pastor Peter Walker, founder of Australian Indigenous Ministries in NSW, Patricia Waria-Read (Auntie Pat) of the Ngadjuri Clan from South Australia, and Richard Evans, tribal leader of the Kuwarra people in Leonora, WA.

This Sunday, Jesus will be front and centre in the prayers of close to a thousand people in the Great Hall of Parliament House in Canberra and thousands more in churches around the country for the National Day of Prayer and Fasting.

The annual day, held in early February each year, is an opportunity to commit the year to the Lord, says Mr Prater.

Mr Prater believes every Christian should fast regularly, but he knows “it’s not something a lot of Christians do.”

“I believe Jesus encourages us to fast regularly as part of our spiritual disciplines. I think it’s a great kickstart for the year, too,” he told Eternity. 

Organisers have offered what they’re calling The Jesus Prayer for use in churches and prayer groups this weekend:

Loving Lord JESUS,

As we come before You this day we acknowledge you as the Son of God and the Son of Man. Your Name is above every other name.

God sent you into the world not to condemn the world but to save the world1 through your shed blood on the cross. You who had no sin, became sin for us that we might receive God’s free gift of eternal life. We are forever grateful.

You declared that you came to preach good news to the poor, proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind. You brought glory to the Father by completing the work he gave you to do. We stand in awe of your great love.

Help us to be your witnesses as salt and light in our Australian society and the public square. Help us not to be overcome by evil but to overcome evil with good. Help us to follow in your steps and share in your sufferings so that we may also share in your glory.

You, who welcomed a little child and warned of the serious consequences of causing a child to sin, help us to protect and nurture our children in your love. Be Lord of our families, our communities, and our nation that our children will come to you and flourish.

In a world that has become increasingly dangerous, thank you that we are more than conquerors through the power of your unconquerable love. Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is found in you. With you at our side we are not afraid.

In our affluence help us not to feel that we are self-sufficient. We repent of putting our trust in wealth and forgetting the hungry, the sick, the poor, the elderly, the unborn, the fatherless, the downcast, the foreigner and those in prison. Use us to reach others with your love.

You prayed that all who believe in you would be brought to complete unity so that the world may know your love and the love of the Father.

JESUS, we cry out to you that your name will be lifted high in Australia. Let this be a powerful testimony to the nations of the earth.

In obedience to your command we pray to the Father to send workers out into his harvest field. Use the Body of Christ in Australia in a great end-time global harvest of souls. We long for the day of your appearing.

To you, Lord JESUS, the author and finisher of our faith, be all glory, majesty, power, authority, dominion and praise. In your powerful and most precious name we pray. AMEN

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