Australian Catholics will be among hundreds of Christians expected to converge on Canberra on 12 October to pray for the nation’s leaders and local contributions to a world free from extreme poverty.
As part of Micah Challenge’s annual Voices for Justice event, participants will join Federal politicians in a public night prayer vigil on the lawns of Parliament House.
They will also be joined by more than 40 local churches and Christian groups across Australia who will host simultaneous prayer vigils.
“If we define advocacy as speaking to the powerful on behalf of the powerless, then prayer itself is a form of advocacy as we cry out from the depths of our hearts to the God of grace and justice,” said national co-ordinator Ben Thurley.
“We are called to pray for all our leaders and for their work in governing the nation. We are also called to pray for our own nation and the way it helps or hinders God’s work of peace, mercy, and justice in the wider community of nations.”
“Having Christians around the country praying in this way sends a powerful message to politicians and reminds them that we hold politicians to their highest calling which is to work for the common good and to protect the rights of the poor and needy both within our borders and beyond them.”
This year’s worship and lobbying event also marks the beginning of a new era of campaigning as Micah Challenge relaunches as Micah – a renewed coalition of church and Christian organisations advocating for global justice and the end of poverty.
Micah will succeed the decade-old Micah Challenge, and focus on ensuring that Australia does its fair share to achieve the Millennium Development Goal, which had a 2015 deadline.
According to Mr Thurley, the global picture relating to poverty and sustainable human development has changed dramatically over the past decade and it has never been a more important time for Christians to be intentional and strategic in prayer and action for justice.
“Over the past year we have seen the largest ever cuts to the Federal aid budget, and over this past weekend a new set of global goals – the Sustainable Development Goals – which aim to end extreme poverty, tackle inequality and combat climate change by 2030 have just been agreed upon by world leaders.”