The Heart of the City of Sydney, Beating with Prayer

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
12 Jun 2015

A record attendance of 900 people gathered to pray at the 2015 Sydney Prayer Breakfast

Christian leaders, workers and representatives from all walks of life came together to pray for the city this morning. While most CBD workers were still caught in the peak hour rush, more than 900 people gathered for the Sydney Prayer Breakfast at 6.30 am.

Held at the Westin Hotel, this year's annual Prayer Breakfast was an opportunity to dine on bacon and eggs or fruit and muffins. But most importantly it was an opportunity to pray.

It was also an opportunity to hear a powerful and moving keynote address given by the Premier of NSW, Mike Baird.

Reflecting on the terrible and challenging ordeal during last December's Martin Place siege at the Lindt Cafe the Premier emotionally recalled the way goodness rose to the fore as the force of the tragedy hit home and impacted the people of Sydney. He spoke of the expressions of condolence and prayers for peace that were symbolised by the overflowing sea of flowers that filled Martin Place, and gave great hope to everyone and to the city in the aftermath of the siege.

NSW Premier Mike Baird was the keynote speaker at the Sydney Prayer Breakfast 2015

The Premier also reflected on the Gospel story of the Prodigal Son. Using meditations from Henri Nouwen upon Rembrandt's renowned painting of the Prodigal Son, he invited those present to place themselves in the position of the father who welcomes his son home with unreasonable and outrageous love.

"The story of the Prodigal Son has had significance for humanity over the ages," the Premier said.

Premier Baird proposed the qualities of the father in the parable to those present in all their various life and work situations and noted the power of forgiveness, surrender and complete trust.

"Our city will never be the same again if we respond like the father in the parable of Prodigal Son," he said and encouraged all those present to make a difference to the heart of the city through their goodness and prayer.

Among those present at the breakfast were the Premier's parents, Judy and Bruce Baird, former NSW Politician and Minister. Also there were Bishop Terry Brady, Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Sydney, the Archdiocese's Chancellor Chris Meney and the Bishop of Broken Bay, the Most Rev Peter Comensoli.

Members of the St Thomas More Society also attended.

The Premier reflected on the power of prayer to make a difference in the life of the city of Sydney

Held each year since 2010 the Sydney Prayer Breakfast was founded with a threefold aim, to pray for the people living and working in the city, encourage believers in their faith and to be a light and Christian witness for other city workers and neighbours.

An initiative of members from various Christian denominations, the Sydney Prayer Breakfast continues to grow and what started with just a few hundred at the inaugural Breakfast, now has almost one thousand participants filling the Westin's ballroom to maximum capacity.

Leaders in various fields and from different Christian denominations led prayers for specific areas of Sydney's life and work. Heartfelt prayers were heard for security and safety of Sydney's citizens, for the marginalised and poor, for arts and culture, for the business community and professionals, for the media and for civic and church leaders. Those gathered at tables were also encouraged to pray for specific issues of local concern to them.

Past keynote speakers at the Sydney Prayer Breakfast have included NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione, Managing Director of the ABC Mark Scott, economist Professor Ian Harper and Vice Chancellor of Sydney University Dr Michael Spence.