The Canberra Declaration does not mention prayer in all of its 907 words and yet prayer remains the bedrock of our Judeo-Christian foundations.
Interestingly the words found in Australia’s constitution, “humbly relying on the blessings of almighty God” have that prayer-like quality and are quoted in the Canberra Declaration. Australia’s second Prime Minister, Alfred Deakin, wrote a book of Prayer & Praise, such was his dependence on God.
In the preface to his book he wrote: “Almost always I realise the existence of God – always I believe in Him with my intellect and turn to Him with my heart but I am anxious for a closer and more permanent relationship Almost always I believe in the spiritual efficacy of prayer and often I am inclined to pray; sometimes the power to put my cry in words will come – sometimes it will not come I shall write those prayers I can express so as to open the channel wider and enable me to recall past prayers when I cannot uplift fresh appeals. Let me know my wants if I can know nothing else He saw Federation as almost a God-given necessity and a mission from God. Oh God, grant me that judgement and foresight which will enable me to serve my country. Guide me and strengthen me so that I may follow and persuade others to follow, the path which shall lead to the elevation of national life and thought, and the permanence of well-earned prosperity. Give me light and truth and influence for the highest and the highest only.”
It has been shown that when prayer wanes, so does the Judeo-Christian ethos. This is because the Judeo-Christian ethos is carried in the collective hearts of those who are aflame for Christ. It must be remembered that Christianity is not just a catechism or a set of beliefs, but is a living relationship with God through the finished work of Jesus Christ sacrifice on the cross.
Jesus himself said in Matthew 20:28, “For even the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”. So, the idea of servant leadership and the importance of prayer are central factors in the restoration and revitalisation of Australia’s Judeo-Christian values.
Almost every time we communicate with the Canberra Declaration signees about the issues of the day, we ask our members to not only act, but to pray. Prayer is powerful. Billy Graham said, “To get nation’s back on their feet, they must first get down on their knees”.
The team at the Canberra Declaration agree with the words of Billy Graham. We believe that prayer is the foundational activity to see a full revitalisation of Australia’s Judeo-Christian beliefs.
Therefore the Canberra Declaration will continue to initiate specific “Prayer Projects” to achieve our vision and mission.