Archbishop of Sydney appeals for prayer after weeks of devastating fires in Australia

Published 03 January 2020  |  
(Photo: Reuters)

With fires continuing to ravage parts of Australia, the Archbishop of Sydney has issued an urgent appeal for prayer.

Thousands are seeking shelter in emergency centres, with flames reported to have reached 70m high in places.

In Victoria, where a state of disaster has been declared, at least two people are dead and 28 unaccounted for. A state of emergency has been declared in New South Wales, where eight people have died since Monday.

In a letter to churches, Dr Glenn Davies asked that congregations keep those affected in their prayers throughout the month.

"Our January Sunday services will give us all an opportunity for bringing our prayers to God for his mercy to flow, and indeed for rain to fall," Dr Davies said.

He said that churches, and especially those in the Wollongong Region, have been holding special prayer meetings and providing practical assistance to those affected.

A special prayer service in connection to the fires is to be held at St Andrew's Cathedral on 19 January.

A prayer issued by the Archbishop asks God to comfort those who have lost loved ones or property, and protect the firefighters tackling the blaze.

"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," the prayer reads.

"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."

Sydney's Anglican Aid has raised over AU$300,000 in response to the disaster. Some of the funds will go towards Anglicare's Disaster Recovery Response, which deploys teams of trained volunteers to crisis areas to provide practical assistance.

The full prayer issued by the Archbishop reads:

A prayer for Australia in drought and fire

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.

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