We thank you for praying for Melbourne and invite you to register or join a local prayer group: www.PrayforMelbourne.com.au
What a privilege we have to live in this city and to pray for Melbourne!
Through the first weeks of 2017 I’ve been closeted away writing the 40 Days Devotions for the 40 Days of Prayer & Worship Relay which begin in 25 days. On the afternoon of Thursday 19 January I came to Bourke St to consult with my colleagues, Jordan & Elisa Mullen.
Just 24 hours later “Bourke St” took on a new meaning.
I spent some time praying in the city during the following days. At first the written messages expressed shock, confusion and anger.
Then Melbourne took on a new meaning.
At the Bourke St Vigil on Monday 23 January we stood still in the searing heat, shoulder to shoulder with strangers, not knowing how personally those beside us had been touched. The pain was palpable. The fear was real. And then our Lord Mayor said, his comfort in recent days had come from Psalm 23. As he slowly read this passage from the King James Version peace descended in Federation Square – and settled our spirits and soaked into our bones.
“The effectual fervant prayers of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16
When our Lord Mayor turned our focus to God we found His kingdom near. (Matthew 4:17) Things looked up when we looked upward.
A young student, Henry Dow, shared words that identified Collateral Beauty in our shared experience. Henry was on Bourke St on Friday 20 January. He held the wounded and dying, and their grieving family members. And he was held by others.
In part Henry said,
“We have all seen images and opinions flood the media over the past 24 hours. If you feel like shaking your head and feeling sad for the state of humanity, I implore you: Don’t.
There was no evil on Bourke Street yesterday; one sick young man did a terrible thing, and hundreds responded with the love and sense of community that makes Melbourne such a beautiful city, and Victoria such a great state.
There was only kindness in the voices of the police who came to relieve us.
I felt only love when an older man hugged me, having just told a father he had lost a daughter.
Many images and sounds will stay with me much longer than I might like, but I am glad to have seen, and hope I never forget, just how brave and loving strangers can be.”
We may pass by without eye contact. We may seem busy and self-sufficient. But the people of Melbourne work together every day to preserve the security, peace and order of our city. And when strangers need help we respond with sacrificial tenderness, kindness and comfort.
Standing at the corner of Bourke and Elizabeth St on 25 January, our Lord Mayor said, “Love is the glue that holds our community together.” One young man had come in to see if he could feel safe in Melbourne again, and standing there among the floral tributes he said, he can.
Thank you for your prayers. We invite you to continue to pray for Melbourne and to reach out to the strangers around you with Love. This is a powerful time to be bearers of Good News.