It’s hard to believe that 2013 will soon be behind us. As we reflect back on this past year we can give thanks to God for many answered prayers-either in our own personal lives or in our schools. Thank you to all who have faithfully prayed for our schools and others who have led prayer groups. Your prayers are important. Also thank you to those who have given financial support.
Prayer Day for Schools is held annually at a host school, and this year it was at Scotch College. It was held on 6th September, with about 70 attendees, of that 24 Primary schools and 16 Secondary schools were represented, with 30/40 of those schools having a prayer group. So you can see there is need for Prayer Groups in Schools.
The programme consisted of the Scotch College’s Chamber Choir who ministered to us beautifully in song, community singing, short testimonies, prayer sessions in cluster groups and our guest speaker was Justin Simpson from ACCESS ministries. In our second prayer session this year we divided groups into areas, (e.g. Whitehorse, Bayside etc.) and this enabled others to meet neighbouring school prayer warriors and hopefully there will be further unity and support in their areas.
Mr Batty (Scotch Principal) and Graham Bradbeer (school Chaplain) spoke on behalf of the school. And we’d like to thank Graham especially for all his help in planning the Prayer Day at Scotch and refreshments which followed.
Our first testimony was from David, a senior member, originally a student at Scotch and involved in Prayer group, then on the staff and now retired. He and his “older generation” (in their 80’s) prayer warriors still meet regularly to pray for neighbouring schools. He encouraged us that we are never too young or too old to pray for schools, and we don’t have to have children still at school to be our excuse. So I encourage any grandparents out there to be praying for the schools your grandchildren attend.
Next we heard from Ping, from Wesley, and she shared how their prayer group has only been going for 12 months. It started with 4 and they now number 10 and God is working in their midst. They even have a student prayer group started this year too…having seen the impact of prayer group with the parents. What a wonderful witness.
Maureen from Heatherton Christian College emphasised the importance of being involved in a school prayer group for the past 8 years. She has seen many answers to prayer and the most recent one was the acquisition of land adjoining their school that now they can utilise.
Jude then shared how she had been involved in 2 school prayer groups over the years, currently at Ringwood Secondary College. She has experienced spiritual and practical help and support from her involvement in prayer groups, and Jude has now been part of our Support Team for 12 months too and has seen the important part the Support team has in helping other groups. She encouraged more to prayerfully consider joining the Support team, as we need more people to branch out to other areas, such as the Western Suburbs and regional areas. Is God speaking to you? Also Ringwood Secondary College has started a student Prayer Group. Doesn’t this emphasise the example we can set to our children of the importance of prayer and that they can relate to their peer group too?
We were very encouraged with Justin Simpson’s words of inspiration and encouragement – focusing on our theme for this year “Casting all your cares on Him because He cares for you. “(1 Peter 5:7)
Justin was saying that sometimes we can feel we aren’t in control – but we can learn from each other. By using 3 words: THINK, PAIR and SHARE. Think for a minute and ask yourself “What are the things in life causing stress, concern and worry?” Pair up with someone and share those concerns. As intercessors we can be burdened for the outcome. Look at our verse from 1 Peter 5:7, this message is for you as you intercede for others. Then two other verses: “Come unto Me all who labour and are heavy laden”, and “Don’t be anxious about anything” (Phil: 4:6). Sometimes we worry about our concerns rather than interceding. Jesus gives us His peace. Give our burdens for our schools to Him. Cast our cares i.e. throw overboard as in casting a net, cast ALL to Him.
Justin also encouraged us to partner together with other schools ministries, and make ourselves more widely known, asking God for guidance and direction.
Marilyn (PGS Coordinator) then reported on the following. We have had area meetings in Whitehorse and Maroondah, and would like to see more areas involved in the next year. The Support team will help you as you ask us.
A new student Prayer group started at Wesley, and only a month ago in answer to prayer, a prayer group has started at Camberwell Boys Grammar, with five attending. We need to let the school community be aware we have or want to start prayer groups in our schools. We all know the power of prayer.
We have been working in more with other school ministries such as CRE and Kids Hope and SU. And in May this year some of us from team went to a Schools Ministry Expo organised by S.U. This was an excellent way to make known the work that the different organisations are doing in schools and how we can partner together.
Sadly we say farewell to Julie Wong (Manningham area leader) from the Support team at the end of this year. Thank you Julie for your commitment, prayers and support over the years you have been on team. We’ll miss you, but pray God’s blessing on you as you move on to what God has planned for your future. May God bless you and your family.
I’d like to share some thought on our passage from 1 Peter 5:7 ‘’Casting all your cares on Him because He care for you” Isn’t that verse a comfort? When you start to feel anxious about something, relinquish the situation to God. Back off a bit and redirect your focus on Him. Don’t let the unexpected events throw you off course. As soon as something grabs your attention talk to God about it. He shares your joys and problems and helps you cope. This is the way of peace. Our Heavenly Father takes pleasure in hearing your prayers, so feel free to bring all your requests to Him. The more you pray the more answers you’ll receive, and this strengthens your faith as your specific prayers are answered. Come before Him with open hands and heart ready to receive all He has for you. God is standing silently in the background of your mind, waiting for you to remember He is with us. When you turn from your problem into His presence your load is immediately lighter, then together you and God can handle whatever the day brings. We need to look UP to Him and direct our thoughts ON Him, in hopeful anticipation of what He’ll do. Grip God’s hand tightly and stay in close communion with Him. Remember His promise. “I can keep you in perfect peace as you stay close to me”.
And now as I close I leave these verses of comfort with you… promises from God.
- Deut 31:16 “Do not be afraid because I am with you. No matter what happens I will never leave you nor forsake you”
- Phi l 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God.”
- Matt 11:28 “Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest”
- 1 Pet 5:7 “Cast all your cares on him because He cares for you”
On behalf of the support team Chiara, Dalrene, Julie, Jude, Lai Poh and Lyn (thank you all for your commitment this year), we wish everyone a very happy and safe Christmas and look forward to what the New Year will bring.
A date for your diaries. Venue for 2014 Prayer Day for Schools will be at PLC Burwood on Friday 5th September.
Blessings to all,
Marilyn Ford (PGS Coordinator Vic)