Prayer is everywhere, and not just for the pandemic. Extended periods of isolation at home have meant that people, stripped of a busy life of commuting, events and travel, are putting prayer at the forefront of their day.
“One of the great things about Christian prayer is that it makes us look up and look out,” says Archbishop Kanishka Raffel, who is urging Sydney Anglicans to prayer. “We look up to the Lord. We look out to the world and, where we see grief and trouble and all the challenges that we're facing, we're able to bring them in prayer before the God who is God of everything.”
Last week the Archbishop and bishops organised regional meetings of leaders of churches across the Diocese to pray for our locked-down communities.
Archbishop Raffel is also joining other church and community leaders in a special prayer event in Wednesday, 18 Aug (click here to register on zoom). The group, organised by Family Voice, includes former Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson, and former Wallabies captain Nick Farr-Jones.
“All Christians have this privilege of being able to approach God in prayer, and it's one of the wonderful things that we can do across our various traditions and denominations,” the Archbishop says. “We have this privilege in common, and so we stand alongside [each other] as brothers and sisters in Christ, approaching our Heavenly Father who loves to give good gifts in response to the prayers of his people.”
The Coronavirus is spreading so quickly, so far and wide. Please contain the virus, give your wisdom, energy and perseverance to the testing and contact tracing teams, and the leaders making decisions that have such a huge impact on our community.
The public profile of prayer during the pandemic – and the fact that it even has non-Christians interested – has been noticed by social media giant Facebook, which is now rolling out an experimental prayer request feature. This has received a mixed reception from Christian leaders, who worry about security and privacy, as well as the motives of a multi-billion dollar company.
Archbishop Raffel says contact, as well as prayer, makes a difference. “I think one of the, if you like, COVID silver linings has been that we've remembered our neighbours and our neighbourhoods. We've realised that we have so much in common, and there's so much that we can offer to each other.
“The call of Jesus to love our neighbour as ourselves, reminds us again to look out. So many people in the community have been doing some shopping for their neighbour or making a phone call to encourage somebody with conversation or just to share news to check in. There are a number of ways of doing this on Zoom or by social media or whatever you have, just to stay connected, to keep people informed or to check on each other.”
On twitter, the Archbishop also called for urgent prayer for the nation of Afghanistan, especially for vulnerable people, after the takeover by the Taliban.
Events in Afghanistan are deeply distressing to people of all faiths. Please join with Afghan pastors in their prayers for their country and especially the welfare of their most vulnerable citizens.https://t.co/cTNYigBPPv #anglican #prayforafghanistan— Archbishop of Sydney (@archbishopsyd) August 17, 2021