Australians are being encouraged to ask for Christians to pray them under a new web-based ministry established in Queensland.

Launched in April under the banner of "linking the community to the church through prayer", PrayForMe.com.au is already receiving around 100 prayer requests a week, according to director Russell Barton.

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Citing figures from the last census which show that 69 per cent of all Australians indicated they believed in a Christian God, Barton says he established the non-profit organisation to provide Australians who are facing a period of crisis with an avenue to make contact with Australia’s Christian community and ask for prayer support.

An Assemblies of God pastor, Barton recalls a dropping his youngest son at a kindergarten one day and noticing a note on the door advising people one of the children’s mothers, aged only 30, had died while making lunch for her two children - aged 18 months and three years - earlier that week.

“(I realised) that Australians face crisis and periods of real need everyday,” he says.

It sparked Barton to begin thinking about how people can reach out to their local church during such times. PrayForMe.com.au was born.

Prayer requests may be submitted by filling out a form on the ministry webpage, by sending a reply paid postcard (some of which are being dropped in letterboxes around the country) or by SMS.

Once prayer requests are received they are forwarded on to a network of Christians based at around 80 churches from various denominations across Australia. The requests are prayed over a period of four weeks before a note is automatically sent to the sender to ask whether the prayer request is still relevant. It may then be resubmitted.

Those people who have had answers to prayer are encouraged to provide feedback. Up to 30 have so far been submitted.

Barton, who was recently an associate at the Liberty Christian Church in Brisbane but is now is working full-time on the project along with his wife and a couple of part-time volunteers, says that under the organisation’s privacy policy the identity of those who send prayer requests - and those they are praying for - remains confidential.

As well as fielding prayer requests, PrayForMe.com.au has also been sending out around 10 free Bibles a day and if asked via a contact form on the website, can put people who are seeking help in contact with a church in their area.

Pointing to figures showing that an estimated 75 per cent of Australian adults had access to the internet, Barton says it’s a powerful tool with which to reach people, allowing them to ask for prayer not only from the privacy of their own home but on their own terms. 

www.prayforme.com.au

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