Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged 21,000 Hillsong Conference delegates on Tuesday to make love their highest goal, to lay down their judgment of one another, and to pray for their nation more.
Speaking on the opening night of the conference at Sydney Olympic Park after being invited to the stage with his wife Jenny to pray for the nation, Mr Morrison said all believers have essentially the same role: “love God, love people”.
“That’s what we all need,” he said. “That’s what our nation needs. That’s what we’re here to do as Christians. Not here to judge, not here to lecture. Just to show the amazing love of God.”
He reaffirmed his election-day statement that he “believes in miracles”, offering the example that their daughter was born on the 7th of the 7th, 2007, “after 17 years of waiting”, and said that Australia “needs more prayer”.
When asked by Pastor Brian Houston what he would like Christians to pray for on his behalf, Mr Morrison asked for prayers for “humility of leadership”, as well as “wisdom to see what [God] sees and to move towards that”.
Morrison led the conference in prayer for the nation. People suffering mental illness seemed to be close to his heart, as he prayed for young people battling suicidal thoughts, suffering war veterans, and people going through mid-life struggles; he also offered prayers for Australia’s Aboriginal communities, people with disabilities, and for an end to the drought.
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While speaking, Mr Morrison referenced the national debate over religious freedom, which has intensified after footballer Israel Folau’s controversial comments on social media earlier this year. He said that while the government has a role to play in legislating for the protection of religious freedom, it is only the people of the nation who can set a culture of freedom.
“It’s not the laws that make freedom of religion work, it’s the culture that accepts it,” he said.
Mr Morrison called for Christians to remember their heritage, referencing missionaries who’ve laid down their lives for Jesus, rather than using the political system to demand their rights.