1250 Christian leaders met this morning to pray for the city of Sydney as well as other parts of Australia and the world at the Sydney Prayer Breakfast in 2021.
The annual breakfast – organized by the City Bible Forum and held at the ICC Convention Center Sydney – brings together Christians working in many different sectors of Sydney, including business and education leaders and representatives of Christian organizations.
“Lord, we pray that we may be salt and light in our business.” – Shemara Fernando
Last year, the event had to be held online due to the Covid-19 epidemic. This year, still facing the continuing challenges of COVID and natural disasters, many of the prayers focused on asking God for wisdom and grace.
Following an introduction to the event by the chair of Sydney Prayer Breakfast, Neville Cox OAM, several leaders offered prayers for the various sectors they work in. Tace Stevens, a woman from Noongar and Spinifex, prayed for the indigenous community; Dr. John Best, a specialist sports and exercise medicine
doctor, pray for the medical community; Sally Irwin, founder and CEO of The Freedom Hub, prayed for the marginalized; and Hon. Damien Tudehope MP, member of the NSW Legislative Council and Minister of Finance and Small Business, prayed for civic and church leaders.
“We ask for wisdom and insight for leaders who make difficult and complex decisions in this COVID environment,” said Shemara Fernando, assistant director of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, to pray for business and professionals.
Fernando also asked “for consolation for those facing losses and financial burdens, for perseverance in this time of rapid change and seemingly relentless insecurity”.
She continued: “Help us to live our faith with authenticity and responsiveness to the real needs of people in our workplaces, businesses, and communities, always with the lens of the gospel, always with the hope that Jesus offers. And finally, Lord, we pray that we may be salt and light in our business. ”
The psychic struggles that many young people face today were recognized by Dr. Paul Burgis, Principal of Presbyterian Ladies’ College, Sydney. He prayed for youth and education – including those in public, independent and Catholic schools as well as homeschooling.
“We know that there are young people in our schools who are hurting because of broken homes, promises that have not been kept that some people experience great harm to those who are there to love them the most. Some are on their way to suicide, ”Burgis asked.
“We know that some young people struggle to know who they are or how they fit in, or what their identity is …
“Help us please in schools to make an impact in these areas, live a life that honors Jesus and reflect your love for each person. Give us listening ears and the ability to see things through a child’s eyes. We thank you for your grace. Make us smart. We pray these things in the name of Jesus. ”
The guests prayed in groups at their tables for those who suffered from recent floods and for the gospel to reach those affected by COVID, especially in India and other parts of South Asia. Among other things, they also prayed for the godliness of business leaders and that God would support the leaders of our country.
“I think good leadership is about helping others find the answers.” – David Thodey
The keynote speaker at the breakfast was David Thodey AO, President of CSIRO, Australia’s National Scientific Research Bureau, as well as EFTPOS solution firm Tyro and accounting software firm Xero.
Thodey shared five important lessons about being a Christian leader, which he learned during his many years on boards and as a top executive, including as CEO of Telstra (2009-2015) and CEO of IBM Australia / New Zealand.
One of those lessons was about having a “service attitude”.
“I find it often tempting in leadership to think that you have to solve all the problems you are presented with or that you have to have all the answers,” Thodey said.
“Honestly, I have found the opposite. I believe that good leadership is about helping others find the answers and, in fact, about enabling others to find the solutions and help them solve the problems.
“I think of when Jesus said, ‘I have not come to be served, but to serve.’ That is so true of the leadership journey, and I think it has given me great freedom as I have pursued my career. ”
Concluding his message, Thodey said: “In my career, God has been incredibly faithful. There have been times in my life, in my career, where I have not known the answers to questions, where I have faced really complex, difficult decisions, and things have not always gone the way I expected them to. . But it has been in these times that my relationship with Jesus Christ has been an enormous strength for me that I have been able to draw on through reflection and prayer. ”
In his prayer for Thodey, Wendy Simpson OAM, CEO of Westray Engineering and a member of the committee at Sydney Prayer Breakfast, committed his work to the Lord, adding that “his best years are yet to come”.
Registration is now open for Sydney Prayer Breakfast in 2022, held on 31 May. For more information, visit the City Bible Forum website.