Thousands of people across Australia are joining in
prayer as the nation experiences its worst drought in 100
Amid reports of desperation on the land - including that a
farmer is committing suicide every four days and rising instances
of depression among those living in rural areas, in what is
believed to be an unprecedented move in Australia the Australian
Prayer Network is calling for people all across the country
to pray for the nation with a focus not on rain but on seeking
God about the reason behind the current drought.
we’re doing is we’re trying to get an
understanding of what God is saying to us as a nation”
Pickering, national co-ordinator of the Australian Prayer
Network, says that while previous prayer initiatives had been
focused on praying for rain - including in 2003 when up to
100,000 people had taken part in a Year of Prayer for Church
and Nation, and in the middle of last year - the current 40
day prayer period, which started on 22nd October and will
run until 30th November, was instead aimed at “seeking
the face of God”.
“We’ve prayed for rain at different times during
the last four years and we’ve watched other people pray
for rain and there’s a pattern emerged whereby God does
send rain in response to prayer but when the prayer stops
so does the rain and the drought continues to get worse in
the bigger picture,” he says.
“So we’re saying praying for rain is not the ultimate
solution. It might be a temporary solution but it is not the
ultimate solution and we need to try and understand what God
is saying to us as a nation.
“II Chronicles 7:13 says when the heavens are shut up
and there’s no rain, my people, who are called by name,
should humble themselves and pray and seek my face, so what
we’re doing is we’re trying to get an understanding
of what God is saying to us as a nation...”
The prayer network is asking for people across the nation,
as they seek God, to feed back what they think God is saying
to them, particularly through Scriptures.
“Where we see a Scripture coming through time after
time after time, we’ll focus on that as if it’s
a word from the Lord,” says Pickering. “And when
we collate it all, we’ll feed it back to the nation
through our network and say ‘This is what’s God’s
been saying to those who have taking part in this process'.”
While it’s hard to estimate how many people will take
part in the 40 days of prayer, the prayer network has connections
with about 4,800 churches, prayer groups and individuals.
Pickering says that already the network has started to receive
emails in response to its call for prayer.
“(C)learly already,” he says, “almost every
email that comes in talks about the need to repent. Now there
are many different things that people are saying we should
be repenting of, nevertheless it certainly indicates that
people are clearly hearing that God wants us to repent and
turn to Him and change our ways.”
says that while some emails which are speaking of repentance
are addressing many social issues including moral issues like
abortion and homosexuality, more are focusing on issues God’s
people themselves, addressing issues such as the “loss
of relationship with God, the way in which today, within the
church, there is not a passion for the things of God”.
“So there is a sense in the hearts of a lot of people
who are writing in that we really need to turn back to God
as the people of God and, when we do that, other people in
the nation will begin to change as well.”
is a sense in the hearts of a lot of people who are
writing in that we really need to turn back to God
as the people of God and, when we do that, other people
in the nation will begin to change as well.”
prayer network believes there will need to be a “national
response” to the findings of the 40 days of prayer which
could include an event such as a national prayer gathering.
Pickering says while the network has been receiving a “steady
flow of emails” for some time calling for prayer concerning
the drought - including from people affected by the drought,
they had waited to ensure the event coincided with the return
of the drought to national news headlines.
“The Prime Minister's starting making statements (and)
the media's started covering it again, so we thought now is
the time to get people’s focus on it...” he says.
“People are now focused on it and we’re taking
advantage of that.”
Pickering believes there is a clear link between the physical
“I think if you read the Scripture, there are many references
to drought being a way in which God speaks to his people -
the classic passage in II Chronicles 7:13:-14 is an example
of that,” he says.
“We believe that if God is unhappy with some aspects
of a nation’s life, then He allows things to begin to
happen which will hopefully will gain the attention of the
people. I don’t believe it’s a punishment...I
believe it’s Him trying to get our attention and if
He can get our attention without tightening the screws on
us, I’m sure He would. He moves so slowly - this has
been going for five years and it’s only now that we’re
starting to say ‘Well, what are you trying to say to
us Lord?’. So, He’s very patient but yes, I think
there is a direct correlation between the health of the people
of God and the health of a nation.”
The network is leaving people to seek God in whatever way
they would normally do so but have asked that people refrain
from sending in their opinions or theories on such issues
as physical reasons for the drought.
“All we have said is try not to give your opinion of
why you think we are having drought but ask God, particularly
to speak through Scriptures, because I think that’s
the purest way of hearing from God,” says Pickering.
“I don’t think any of us can be absolutely certain
when we hear the voice of God - some people are more experienced
than others - but when God speaks through Scriptures, that’s
He adds that people shouldn’t expect an individual response
to their emails to the network.
• Responses to the 40 days of “Seeking the
Face of God” should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.