Fight Fires With Prayer

3 January 2020

3.4 MINS

After months of record-breaking drought, our beautiful country of Australia is now facing a terrible season of bushfires.

Since October, five million hectares of land have been burnt—an area as big as Croatia. Over 1300 homes have been destroyed, and sadly, 17 people have lost their lives. Right now, at least 28 people are still unaccounted for, and as conditions worsen in NSW and Victoria, thousands are scheduled for mass evacuation.

Amidst all the tragedy, there are also many stories of miraculous survival. In the Adelaide Hills where I live, I have heard many jaw-dropping stories of fire licking doorsteps or fence lines but being unable to travel any further.

Some of these properties were protected by our nation’s brave firefighters who arrived in the nick of time. But many were spared by what can only be described as a miracle. A friend of mine from church showed me these photos of her property in Mount Torrens:

One miracle that has gained national attention took place in eastern Victoria. On New Year’s Eve, 4,000 people were evacuated from the township of Mallacoota to the beach and lakeside. David, a local bed-and-breakfast owner, told this story to ABC radio:

“I was praying. I was an atheist. I was praying to God, praying to Jesus, turn the wind. You wouldn’t believe it—but I’m going to tell you the honest-to-God truth. It pushed this thing back against itself.

“Literally we felt the wind come from off the beach, it shouldn’t have, but it did, but it went back at it. I don’t care if anyone else doesn’t recognise it. It was unbelievable… I believe [it was] God’s intervention, absolutely, through prayer…”

With such confronting events facing our nation, it’s understandable that people are looking for someone to blame for the fires.

In some quarters, it’s become popular to hold our PM personally responsible for them. Many accuse Scott Morrison of inaction on climate change, believing that a global rise of 0.8 degrees Celsius over the last 140 years has made fire events today worse than they otherwise might have been.

It is difficult to see, however, what ScoMo could have done in his short 18 months in office—especially given that the nation he leads contributes only 1.1% of global carbon emissions.

There are in fact individuals who are personally responsible for some of the nation’s fires. Arsonists have been charged for starting fires on the NSW south coast, in the state’s south-east, the Sydney CBD, and in eastern Victoria.

Police are treating other fires south of Adelaide, in northern NSW and suburban Melbourne as deliberately lit, and have also accused a man on the NSW mid-north coast of arson.

In fact, The Australian recently reported that in NSW alone, 56 people have been charged or cautioned for bushfire-related offences since August.

The other reality that firefighters are having to deal with is the heavy fuel loads that have been allowed to build up in many parts of the country. For generations before white settlement, indigenous Australians practiced safe fire management to reduce these loads.

For years, we’ve known that heavy fuel loads pose a big risk in bushfire season. In fact, one of the findings of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission was exactly that. A fire chief who quit following those fires warned as recently as February that the state’s fuel loads are reaching similarly dangerous levels again.

There is one more factor that most Australians are reluctant to talk about. And that’s the message that God might be sending our nation through these disasters.

In Luke 13, Jesus was careful to point out that we shouldn’t simply assume that people affected by natural disasters are under God’s judgment. Nevertheless, Jesus did point to such disasters as God’s call for us to return to Him. This is a consistent theme of Scripture, beginning with the flood of Noah through to almost every calamity the Bible records.

In the months and years to come, hopefully we as a nation can better address the various human factors that have led to the current infernos. But right now, Australia is a nation in need of prayer.


At this time, please pray. Pray for protection and provision for our firefighters. Pray that the dangerous conditions forecast for Saturday 4th January would instead turn into soaking rain across the continent, and that we’d be blessed with above-average rain in the months ahead.

Pray also for those who have lost homes, loved ones and livelihoods. Pray that Aussies would hear the Good News of Jesus in these times of despair. Pray that each of us would deepen our commitment to God.

As we’ve already seen so many times, our God is a miracle-working God. He can be trusted.

“A couple in Cobargo had to leave their home, and the fire didn’t damage their home — it stopped at the Cross they have at the edge of their home!”

Photos: Ben White/Unsplash; AsiaNews.

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  1. Bienne 4 January 2020 at 10:59 am - Reply

    Some cases are comparable to Job and Joseph’s stories whereas some are spared from the worst disasters. Fiery trials and tribulations coming the believers’ way to refine their faith like gold are happening in this generation as it was in the past. We are forewarned that we should not lay up treasures on earth and set our hearts on things above.
    For unbelievers, it is the judgement of God in general against their sins and the purposes are to warn, to alert and to call for repentance unto life before they all perish at God-set times.
    For the living in general, we must fear God for He is a jealous God and a consuming fire!

  2. Bev 4 January 2020 at 3:58 pm - Reply

    2 Chronicles 7:14 – If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, AND WILL HEAL THEIR LAND !!!!!!!

  3. […] pray for those fighting the fires. Let us pray for rain to put out the fires. If praying into the bushfire crisis interests you, join me on Monday night 6 January at 8PM (AEDT) at a special Bushfire Crisis Zoom Prayer Call. […]

  4. Lois DOWNING 4 January 2020 at 6:53 pm - Reply

    Praise God please help us with safety first then rain

  5. Brenda Stace 4 January 2020 at 10:04 pm - Reply

    Shouldn’t that be Monday 6th January, 2020???

    • Jean Seah 4 January 2020 at 11:47 pm - Reply

      Good catch! Thank you for pointing it out.

  6. Marcia McIntosh 5 January 2020 at 11:28 am - Reply

    Well said. Please don’t blame Scott Morrison – he hasn’t started the fires. Would you want him out there with a wet bag banging at the flames or, as our national leader, directing things from an overall perspective. Would you expect the Pope or the Primate of Australia to be on the fire front . National leaders, both. Same scenario. Scott believes in miracles and so do I. Thank God for the B and B man in Mallacoota who had the courage to speak up about the miracle there. Freak of Nature? Not in my book, not in his. Let us put out a call for a National Day (week?) of Prayer.

  7. Goodnewseverybodycom 8 January 2020 at 10:51 am - Reply

    Praise the Lord! Thanks for that update as I’m archiving this on my personal blog I made to increase the awareness to get more people around to pray…

  8. […] since the intense burst of prayer in the first week of January, rain has been falling consistently somewhere in our wide brown land. […]

  9. Lloyd Watkins 11 February 2020 at 9:53 pm - Reply

    We have been part of a NZ based prayer for Australia fire relief. This included the recognition of Divine Intervention, and as recent events have been recorded, the resulting rains have been nothing short of this. We celebrate with you this wonderful outcome and give thanks.
    In NZ we are currently facing a widespread dry with farmland drying up and water shortages for many towns. We would welcome your prayers also for our country and our people.

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