By Les Henson.
Heavenly Father, you sent Abraham out in search of a land that you promised to give him, and he became a wandering Aramean. Like him, we Australians are mainly immigrant people. We have come to this land for many reasons: to provide a better life for our children; to escape war and terror; to seek a place of justice and peace, and to make this beautiful land our home. God, in our wandering and our settling we have often turned from the path that you have put before us. We have gone our own way. We have as people turned from you and our neighbours. We have settled and become hard of heart in ways that keep us from welcoming new immigrants into our nation and our communities.
We have often demonised those who seek to come to this country and called them many names. We have established a system of laws and policies that seek to hinder their coming and make life difficult for them when they arrive. We have caused many to take risks to obtain a more secure and healthy life. They have crossed dangerous seas, worked in low paid jobs, and lived in fear of deportation. We think of those that end up in detention often for many years and the loss of hope and the psychological damage and distress that it entails. Forgive us for the harshness of such laws and policies. Enable us to implement more humane ones that are honouring to you and symptomatic of who we desire to be as a people. Turn us towards those who suffer and towards you, so that we shall become more hospitable even when the law of our land is inhospitable and hostile to immigrants. Help us to bring about reform and provide a righteous and just welcome to those that come to our shore regardless of how they come. Help the churches of this land to speak out and challenge those in positions of power and demand change in our laws and policies. Change our hearts that we might grant justice to all immigrants and our neighbours who have recently arrived in this land. We ask all this in the name of the One who is LORD of all nations. Amen.