Interceding for our First Peoples
What’s Jesus doing now? Last week we thought about him as intercessor, marvelled that he gives us access directly to the throne room of God and were challenged to make the most of this access to come daily before the Father who loves us. We were also encouraged that because Jesus gives us access to the Father, we can and should intercede for the good of the world. Our prayers are not wishful thinking or hope against hope. No, we speak to the God of power, compassion and transformation who is able to bring good even out of brokenness! So, this reconciliation week I want to encourage each one of us to use this access to intercede on behalf of our Indigenous brothers and sisters.
The sad reality is that our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island neighbours continue to trail behind in every life outcome measure we have – poorer health, education, employment, life expectancy etc. They continue to carry the scars of the past whilst we continue to benefit from their losses. The way forward seems overwhelming, but all things are possible with God.
Below is a mash-up prayer from the prayers Common Grace have used this reconciliation week. (You can find the full prayers on their website www.commongrace.org.au) Would you read and then pray this prayer in the coming week as we together intercede for our Indigenous neighbours in the name of Christ.
Dear heavenly Father,
We thank and praise you for your creation of this land in which we live. We thank you for those who have cared for this land for generations. We lament the theft of land by Europeans since 1788, theft perpetrated by both governments and individuals. We lament such massive disobedience to your clear commands, ‘You shall not covet, you shall not steal, you shall not murder’. We lament stolen lands, stolen lives, stolen livelihoods, stolen languages, stolen liberty, stolen dignity, stolen children, stolen communities, and stolen freedoms, and damage to the land and environment. Please forgive these massive sins, help us to acknowledge them, help us to speak the truth, and achieve justice and reconciliation.
We pray that you will bring your comfort to all those who need it. We pray that as the truth is told and acknowledged, your healing waters will flood our hearts and this nation. We pray that Indigenous families will be restored, and that families and communities will be strengthened and supported. We pray that compensation will be given to survivors and families of the Stolen Generations. We ask that you guide our political leaders and raise up First Nations peoples into positions of influence and leadership. We pray that more resources will be given to the local Indigenous community organisations to help the people grow healthy and strong.
Loving Creator of all people, we sometimes feel overwhelmed by these things. But we thank you that your plan is still that people from every tribe and language and people and nation come together to serve you in this land now, and to praise your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, for all eternity.
Make it so in the name of the Lord Jesus. Amen.
Karen Reid, Curate