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Pastoral letter 27th December 2020

牧聲 二零二零年十二月二十七日
27/12/2020
by
Esther Wang

The alarm bells of the COVID epidemic have become a prelude to Christmas 2020. Sydney has once again quieted down while restriction measures tightened.   Over the past year, it has become normal for us to adjust our lifestyles and attitudes as we face a myriad of sudden changes and challenges.  As Christians, we know that God is in control, yet when reality strikes, we may still succumb to feelings of confusion, being disgruntled, discouraged and disappointed.  The future appears blurry and uncertain… what can we do?

Fortunately, God knows the weakness of human hearts, therefore He commands us to pray.  Apart from praise and thanksgiving, we can pour our hearts out to the Lord and share with Him our innermost thoughts.  Being our loving Father, He readily listens to us and through our dialogue with Him, we experience His reality.  

Prayer is a privilege given by God to His children; a sweet time to experience God’s love and presence; and a weapon for spiritual warfare.  When we pray to God, we experience His abundant blessings and mercy.  It is certainly not the case that God is stingy and will bless us only when we pray.  Rather, it is His desire to have a close relationship with His children, and the best way to have a more intimate relationship with our Lord is through prayer.

As we approach the end of an extraordinary year, may I invite you to pray – be it a prayer of gratitude, sorrow, hope or disappointment.  Let us be still and come before the Lord with an open heart and pray, not only for ourselves but for our brothers and sisters and for our church.  Sometimes, the ministry of prayer is the best means to serve God and His people. Our spiritual insights and power have to be built upon prayers, which cannot be replaced by any other form of training.  However, very often, we neglect the practice of prayer, as prayer requires us to rely on God, which is in stark contrast to the ways of this world.  If we are willing to seek to do what pleases God, let our new year begin with prayer.

疫情忽然來襲,成為2020聖誕節不能忽略的前奏。悉尼又安靜下來,封鎖措施開始升級。這一年來,我們不斷學習在各種各樣突如其來的變化中,調整生活,調整心態,面對挑戰。雖然作為基督徒都知道,凡事神都掌權,只是說起來容易,真正遇到事情發生的時候,仍然會困惑,會抱怨,會沮喪失望。未來似乎模糊不清,我們能夠做什麼呢?

還好,神已經知道人心的軟弱,所以他教我們要禱告,除了讚美和感恩,我們也可以在神面前傾心吐意,一訴心裡的種種想法。神的愛如此寬廣,身為他的兒女,他樂意傾聽我們一切的傾述,在最坦誠的交流中,神向我們顯示他的真實。

禱告是神給他的兒女們的特權,是經歷神的愛和同在的良辰,也是屬靈爭戰的武器。很多的祝福和憐憫,神樂意在我們禱告的時候賜下來,不是神不夠慷慨,我們不禱告,他就不給我們,而是因為神願意我們與他有更親密關係,與神建立親密關係的最好途徑,就是禱告。

這個不平凡的一年的年尾,讓我邀請你來禱告吧,感恩的,憂傷的,期待的,失望的,讓我們靜下心來,誠誠實實來到神的面前,向他傾訴,向他祈禱。不但為我們自己,也為我們所愛的弟兄姐妹和我們的教會。有的時候,禱告就是最好的服事,服事神,也服事人。我們屬靈的眼光和能力,需要在禱告中建立,這是任何別的訓練不能取代的,然而往往,我們卻最容易忽略了禱告的操練,因為禱告依靠神,是與這個世界的行事準則背道而馳的。如果我們樂意並且追求做神所喜悅的事情,讓我們再次為了新的一年,從禱告開始吧。

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