SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA -- Nearly 500 Parliamentarians, dignitaries and diplomats from across Australia gathered at the Parliament House in Canberra, Australia for the 18th annual National Prayer Breakfast, Monday, Nov. 3. Featured speakers emphasized the need for spirituality in properly and faithfully governing the nation.
“It is the faith of men and women that inspires hope and vision and the determination to bring a better way of life with justice, peace and security for all of us,” said Major General Michael Jeffery, the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia.
"And our faith, I suggest, revolves around a strong belief in our individual spirituality, in essence our capacity to love our fellow man and our God; that a person’s spirit is something supremely precious and unique, above the birds, the trees and the animals,” he continued, encouraging the leaders to hold onto the divine nature placed within themselves.
"It is a certainty of belief that the spirit of man has not derived, simply as a result of the big bang, or through evolution, but is essentially divine in nature; given to us at birth specially and specifically by God; and that our time on earth – a paltry 80 years in the mega light-year age of our universe, or the four billion years of our planet, is but a short stepping stone, a test place if you wish, for our spirituality to be nurtured, like the flower seed, and to then blossom fully towards a fulfilled life with the promise of an eternal dimension,” Jeffery said.
The general also reminded those gathered of the hardships involved in the walk of faith. "The Christian faith provides such succor and hope – but being a Christian can be hard work. It demands time, resource and commitment and importantly parental, school and church direction in the childhood years.”
However, noted Jeffery, “the rewards are great. All of us, I believe, deserve the opportunity of coming to an understanding of our unique spirituality through the family, school and church learning processes, so that as life progresses, we can make our own judgments on spiritual values and religious faith based on a personal knowledge and understanding of the core tenets involved."
Following the general’s speech, the Federal Member for Farrer NSW, Sussan Ley, offered a closing prayer.
Other members who took part in the event included Senator Penny Wong of South Australia, Senator Brian Harradine of Tasmania, Prime Minister of Australia John Howard, Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Edward Natapei, Air Marshall Angus Houston and the Leader of the Opposition, Simon Crean.
Prayer breakfasts, which have been a part of the Australian tradition since 1986, are also celebrated in many nations throughout the world. The United States, the country most renown for the event, will be celebrating its 52nd annual Prayer Breakfast next February.