'Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish.' (Psalm 25:16-17)
These words impacted me today in my daily bible reading as bushfires rage uncontrolled in many parts of our nation.
The declaration of a state of emergency, pleading with people to leave particular areas on top of the already countless loss of property and most tragic of all the loss of life, can indeed lead to great anxiety and helplessness. Such helplessness drove me to prayer, and so it must.
As National Director I have been in contact with communities where BCA people are on the ground or where we have a connection. They include Kangaroo Island, the new ministry in the Jindabyne region and also Mallacoota and Cann River where BCA has a historical connection that dates back to the early days of BCA and where recently we have been able to help again. I have assured each of these places of not only our prayers but any help we can provide.
Like many organisations, BCA has the means to provide financial resources for direct pastoral engagement and relief in the affected communities. Not only for BCA supported areas but also for any churches or dioceses that ask for our help that is within our means to provide. I imagine in the days, weeks and even months ahead there will be opportunities for the BCA family to help. Anyone wishing to provide for this support can do so by donating to our Kirkby Trust on the BCA website.
So friends, please continue to pray. Pray as individuals and as churches. Pray not only for an end to the disaster but remember also those who grieve and are now greatly traumatised. Pray for our leaders and especially for those who are on the front line fighting the fires and coordinating the relief efforts. And remember to also pray that we might all cast our cares and anxieties on our gracious Lord. I have included a prayer from Archbishop Glenn Davies as a helpful resource to aid us in our prayers.
BCA National Director
Our heavenly Father, creator of all things and especially the creator of this land and its original peoples, we call out to you in these desperate times as fires have swept across several parts of our country. Our hearts cry out to you for those who have lost loved ones, and those who have lost properties in the wake of these ravaging fires.
Father we pray, in your mercy, restrain the forces of nature from creating catastrophic damage; in your mercy protect human life. Guard those volunteers, rural fire service personnel and emergency services who selflessly step into the breach to fight these fires. Guide police and authorities who help evacuate and shelter those who are displaced. Bring comfort and healing to all who suffer loss.
Remembering your promises of old that seedtime and harvest will never cease, we pray that you would open the heavens to send refreshing rain upon our parched land. In your mercy, we pray for drenching rain. We pray that despite the forecasts, in your miraculous power you would bring forth rain to quench these fires and to bring life back into the earth, so that crops may grow and farmers may bring forth the harvest of the land again.
We bring these requests before your throne, in the name of your Son, who died and rose again for our deliverance, Amen.