by Kurt Mahlburg, Canberra Declaration
God loves when we let desperate circumstances lead us to pray desperate prayers.
“Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying. As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.” —Luke 8:40-44
“When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.” They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up.” — Luke 8:51-55a
It’s easy to turn prayer into a ritual—whether it’s at the start of a meal, the end of a meeting, or even in our regular quiet times with the Lord. But there are two people in this story from Luke who remind us of the need to pray desperate prayers. Jairus’ daughter is about to die; and the woman with the bleed has been ostracised by her community for twelve years, unable to live any sort of normal life.
Hardship works wonders for our prayer life. Both the quantity and the quality of my prayers improve exponentially when I’m facing difficult circumstances. When the foundations of our life are shaken, we realise that the only stable thing that we have to cling to is God.
None of us can know exactly what Australia will look like in 3 years’ time, or in 30-or beyond. But many Christian leaders have been warning about the make-or-break nature of this year’s election. Whether or not we realise it, much is at stake come May 18th, from the stability of the family unit, to the rights of the unborn, to the freedom for the Christian gospel to be proclaimed. We could add to this list a whole myriad of issues that our Christian faith informs.
The way that the sovereignty of God intersects with the prayer of his people is something that Christians have wrestled with for thousands of years, and our answer to this will depend on our denomination or theological background. But however we resolve this question, one thing we can be certain of from this passage in Luke is that Jesus loves to respond to the desperate prayers of his people.
When Jairus came pleading for the life of his daughter, there was no hesitation from Jesus. The next sentence cuts straight to, “When Jesus was on his way…” Likewise, the woman with the bleed interrupted Jesus’ present task, but he took the time to stop for the one and her prayer was answered “immediately”.
May we come before the throne of grace with just as much desperation as these two. As we do, let’s be reminded of God’s promise that we will “receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
Father, Australia needs you. Rend the heavens and come down. Step in and bring about a result to this election that only you can. Surprise us in your great mercy. We thank you that our nation has a great heritage of life, family and liberty, thanks to our Christian roots. We now pray, with hearts that cry out in desperation, that all of this and more will be protected by your sovereign hand, and that you will appoint leaders who might continue to advance Australia fair. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Election Prayer Points
- Pray that God would rule over this election – that righteous leaders would be elected to govern this nation in truth and justice because, “When the righteous are in authority the people rejoice”. Proverbs 29:2
- Pray God’s blessing upon all our current parliamentarians and leaders, including their families and all the candidates of all the parties standing for this federal election. 1 Timothy 2:1-3
- Pray for a multiplication of prayer and unity across the Body of Christ in Australia that people will wake up to the dangers facing our nation and respond in prayer. Ephesians 5:14
- Pray for a Spiritual Awakening for Australia, Revival and Transformation for our nation and the proclamation of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. John 3:16
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