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First Epistle of Paul to Timothy 2: 1-2 (NIV)
1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
My time as Chaplain to the Parliamentary Christian Fellowship draws to a close. I give thanks to God for the work he entrusted to me for the past eleven years and praise him for confirming to me again and again that he continues to build his kingdom. Yes, even in Parliament House his kingdom comes. I thank him too for people of prayer across this nation who uphold our elected leaders at Federal and State levels and who pray that justice and righteousness will be at the source of all legislation.
The prayers with which the Senate and the House of Representatives begin each sitting day continue to inspire me. I thank God for those who, over a century ago, drafted them. Because the prayers for each Chamber* are slightly different I paraphrase them here:
Almighty God, we ask you to extend your special blessings upon this Parliament. Direct and prosper our work to the advancement of your glory and to the true welfare of the people of Australia.
I concur with the clearly-stated priority: the advancement of God’s glory comes first; only with this motive is it appropriate to work for the true welfare of the people.
I am confident that you who regularly read these reflections agree there is a need for Christian witness to and among those who work in Parliament House. Many of you know of men and women in our Parliaments whose Christian witness is inspiring. We recall that the Apostle Paul urged, “that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority” (1 Timothy 2: 1-2). We make these requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving to our Lord regularly on behalf of our Prime Minister, Opposition Leader, Cabinet ministers and others in authority over the affairs of our nation.
Chaplaincy to the Parliament of Australia will continue, thanks to God and to Eric Burton, a former Principal Chaplain of the Royal Australian Navy, who has accepted the role and will be in position for the first sitting day of the new parliamentary year, 7 February 2017.
Again I thank all who have prayed with me and for me. I thank all who minister through word and deed to our Parliamentarians. I encourage you to continue to do so. I urge all Australians to attend to the Apostle Paul’s injunction to the church in Rome (Romans 13: 1):
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
May God bless them and keep them. May he make his face to shine upon them … and grant them his peace.
*The original prayer for each of the two Chambers is quoted at https://pcfchaplain.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/to-the-advancement-of-gods-glory/