Newsletter: September 20, 2020

WEEKLY UPDATE:

This Sunday is FREEDOM SUNDAY and we join with 15,000+ local churches in 35 countries to share about injustice and slavery in our world today and what we can do about it! 
 
These stats from Walk Free Foundation and International Labor Organization are shocking!  Did you know:
–  Over 40+ million people are held in slavery today!  Yes, in our day!
–   1 in 4 slaves is a child, yes, a child!
–   Human trafficking generates about $150 billion a year and two-thirds from commercial sexual exploitation!  Australia sadly is one of the worst countries that contribute to this horrible industry!
 
WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!  With our denomination, we are commending and encouraging members to support the work of International Justice Mission (IJM) to you.  IJM:

– Has rescued more than 53,000 people from oppression.
– Works where justice systems are unable to protect the oppressed from violence.
– Helps local justice systems protect more than 150 million people from violence by training more than 67,000 officials to recognise and respond to violence since 2012.
– Has won more than 1,800 convictions against slave owners, rapists and other criminals.
 
Our 2nd offering this Sunday will be for the important work of IJM. To give towards the 2nd offering, please process a separate electronic funds transfer to our church bank account and note the second offering cause in the ‘message’ or mail in a cheque to PO Box 4113, Narre Warren South 3805. Thank you.

You can also become an IJM Freedom partner and give a single gift or a monthly donation by visiting ijm.org.au
Thank you for your prayers, financial support to help end slavery and injustice.  We can’t do everything, but we can do something, even if small, it does make a difference!  May we not only be hearers but also doers.  Until all are free.  Maranatha!  Come Lord Jesus, come quickly – Ps Michael and Jenny.

IN KEEPING WITH FREEDOM SUNDAY, PLEASE USE THIS PRAYER REGULARLY:

Our Loving and compassionate Father in heaven, Hallowed and Holy is Your Name. 

We come before You in prayer heartbroken by the stories we hear, unable to fully comprehend the horror of women and men and children subjected to such abuse and violence. We lament:

  • That our world has so much evil, that 40 million men, women and children are trapped in slavery.
  • We grieve the injustice and depth of pain and sorrow – we cry out as David did – How long, O Lord? How long must the suffering go on; how long will injustice go unchecked?
  • We cry out to You – Lord, have mercy.

Father, we know how much more Your heart must break, how grieved You must be that the world is so broken and fallen – but You Lord are a compassionate God who upholds the cause of the oppressed; You are a holy God who looks on injustice with a righteous anger.

We Know that You are ever present, powerful, that Your love is stronger than any darkness that we might face, that Your light overcomes the darkness.  Lord, we also pray for Your forgiveness:

  • We confess that we have sinned against You and Your people. We have not loved others as we have loved ourselves. We have benefitted from the oppression of others. We have been silent, apathetic, and indifferent to the suffering of others and the injustices they face. We have ignored the injustice and suffering in our own country and in our own communities. Lord, forgive us.  Save us from our apathy, from the complacency in our own hearts.
  • Change us Lord – open our eyes and our ears to the suffering of others. Your Word commands us  to seek justice, encourage the oppressed and defend the cause of the fatherless. Soften our hearts to care more keenly, sharpen our minds to think more clearly, and clench our fists to fight more fiercely for those who are oppressed.

Loving Father, we thank You for your promise that You will hear the prayers of Your people.  So we cry out to You against slavery and pray for it to end.

  • We pray for freedom for those who are trapped in forced labour in dangerous conditions and little or no pay and endure great abuse.
  • We pray for those in sex trafficking who have been stripped of their dignity, that they will be rescued.  We pray for an end to the horror of the online sexual exploitation of children.  Protect them from those who seek to harm them, for You are a strong tower and a mighty fortress. Deliver them, Lord, from their abusers’ hands, Lord bring rescue!
  • Thank You that You are a compassionate God who heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds. (Ps. 147:3) Let Your tender love and care surround all those who are enslaved. We know You bear their excruciating fear, hurt and pain. May they feel Your peace and grace wash over them.
  • Dear Lord, we pray for survivors of slavery that You will bring healing, new joy and hope where previously there was only shame and fear. We thank You that You can bring beauty out of ashes. 
  • God of justice, we pray in Your powerful name that there will be justice for those who have been wronged. We pray that the oppressors will be arrested and prosecuted, and for criminal networks to be dismantled. Give strength to those who investigate and prosecute traffickers. Encourage them when they are weary. Give courage to survivors when they are asked to testify against their former captors.
  • Dear Lord, give us the courage and wisdom to stand in solidarity with victims of slavery. Stir up in us a passion for others’ freedom that leads us to challenge injustice and fight for change. Give us wisdom to know what we can do to eliminate slavery in our lifetime.

Through Jesus we pray, Amen.

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