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Premier -Sydney’s record rainfall is an amazing answer to prayer

This article was first published here on Premier….

Bushfires update: Sydney’s record rainfall is an amazing answer to prayer


As bushfires ravished the Australian landscape, destroying property and claiming over 30 lives, Christians worldwide fell to their knees in prayer. It’s now being reported that record breaking rainfall is containing all of the fires. David Robertson explains why he believes the news is a dramatic answer to prayer 



Bad news sells. The more apocalyptic the better. That’s why so many will have heard about the dreadful situation we faced in Australia these past few months.

Good news is often just a footnote that we can easily miss. So I thought I would share some good news with you…

“Come to Sydney,” they said.  “It’s a beautiful city, the opportunities for the Gospel are great and the weather is almost perfect.” We moved here from Scotland in July last year and while the first two promises have been proved right – the third is a little more testing! First there was the continued drought and increased heat, which in turn has impacted the bushfire season, which in turn has been so severe that it has created its own weather.

In a normal year Sydney might have one or two ‘smoke’ days. These past few months there have been over 40. More than 11 million hectares have been burned (that’s an area over five times the size of Wales). At the beginning of the year things were not looking good. Major fires had been burning for weeks – new ones had started and the air quality in Sydney even forced me to go out and get a mask. I was speaking at a Keswick-style Bible conference near Melbourne when we were ordered to evacuate for one day. The fires passed us by but many others lost homes. We were told that the likelihood of rain before April was minimal. Water restrictions were imposed on Sydney because the main dam had fallen below 43%.

What could we do? Even if climate change was a factor – which the evidence suggests is the case – nothing we did would make a difference. The firefighters were exhausted – even though there were reinforcements coming from all over the world. We were helpless.

So what did we do? As Christians, we prayed. The Archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies, called on us all to pray. The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, publicly prayed at Hillsong. I remember writing a couple of desperate Facebook posts and tweets, urging Christians throughout the world to pray for us.

“What good do prayers do?” scoffed the mockers.

Then some rain arrived and for a few days the weather cooled.

We smiled and were thankful.

“Is that all your God can do?” came the cries of derision.

Then this past week the rain poured down. In fact it is the largest amount of rain in New South Wales (NSW) since 1990. As I write, I am watching a report that says all the fires in NSW will be put out by the weekend. The smoke has gone. The air is clean. The grass is green.This is the largest amount of rain in New South Wales since 1990…To see farmers jumping for joy in the rain was a delight

Screenshot 2020-01-26 20.44.42

What is utterly astonishing is to see areas that were brown and arid suddenly becoming luscious and fertile. Russell Crowe tweeted a picture of his farm in Northern NSW. One week it was brown and burned. The next, after the rains, it was green and blossoming. To see farmers jumping for joy in the rain was a delight. And astonishingly the dam levels have jumped almost two thirds in one week – as a year’s worth of water was delivered.

The cynics whined, “It’s just nature – we knew it would happen….anyway why didn’t your God prevent the fires in the first place?”. It seems as though some people are never satisfied!

I do not believe in a mechanistic view of prayer where you put your prayer in the divine slot machine and out comes the answer you are looking for – if only you pray hard enough. But neither am I a Deist – believing that God created the world and wound it up like a clock – having nothing to do with it ever since – just observing from afar.

I believe that ultimately all things are controlled by God. He uses the laws of nature he has created. Even though we live in a broken and fallen world, he is able to intervene. That is why we pray.

Sometimes there is miraculous intervention, but by definition that is rare. He usually uses more normal or everyday means. The scriptures are full of prayers for those facing extreme weather conditions – especially drought. Acts 14:17 says: “Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” James 5:17 reminds us: “Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”   

I suspect our ancestors prayed a lot more about the weather than we do…perhaps they were wiser?

“O God, heavenly Father, why by our Son Jesus Christ has promised to all them that seek your kingdom, and the righteousness thereof, all things necessary to their bodily sustenance; send us, we beseech you, in this our necessity, such moderate rain and showers, that we may receive the fruits of the earth to our comfort, and to your honour; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen” BCP.

As the bushfires continue to rage, what might God be saying?

What is the Truth about the Australian Bushfires?

A Mighty Downpour in Australia

How Prayer Impacts Lives


  1. Thankfully we rely on meteorology rather than prayer or wishful thinking. Thales wrote 2,500 years ago that saying God caused lightning explained nothing. If we kept relying on prayer to change the weather we would still be in the Christian Dark Ages. Read God’s Philosophers, there was no science in Christendom between 400 and 1200 whilst there were plenty of Islamic scientists.

    1. Do you actually know what the ‘Christian Dark Ages’ is? Or are you just repeating a meme? It is a complete nonsense that there was no science between 400 and 1200 in Christendom…time to get yourself some new info for your prejudices.

    2. There is some truth in what you say. Science in Europe did not advance very far during the years you mention. There was too much instability and turmoil to allow science to flourish.
      On the other hand there were several scientific advances which were the work of Moslems during that time.
      But after about 1400 (your cut-off point) things went the other way. Science flourished in Christian societies whereas there was very little scientific advance in Moslem areas of the world. In fact, modern science only flourished in Christian societies. In non-Christian societies modern science did not exist.
      For an explanation of why modern science only flourished in Christian societies, read “Science was Born of Christianity” by Stacy Trasancos.
      I have read ‘God’s Philosophers’. One thing to notice when reading that book. There is quite a bit in it about scientific advances in Europe between 400 and 1200. But there is nothing in it about scientific advances by Moslems after 1400 – or even earlier.

    3. Muslims of that era should thank the Nestorian Christians whose Greek language skills enabled Muslims to enjoy the knowledge transfer that may have boosted confidence to a bloody Muslim age of conquest.

      En passant, we will be hard pressed to find an Arab in Islam’s ” intellectual golden age” .

      This is because so many ” Islamic” discoveries were renamed from Aryan inputs , some from the Arab conquest of the Aryan – Iranian converts and some from the Steppe – Invaders of India. Algebra is an example of the latter .

  2. “O God, heavenly Father, why by our Son Jesus Christ…”

    I think you meant to type: ““O God, heavenly Father, who by your Son Jesus Christ…” – a swift correction please and then delete this comment! Thanks!

  3. “Then some rain arrived and for a few days the weather cooled.

    We smiled and were thankful.

    “Is that all your God can do?” came the cries of derision.

    Then this past week the rain poured down. ”

    “… at the seventh time he said, ‘Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising out of the sea.’ And he said, ‘Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.’’ And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain.” (I Kings 18: 44-45).

  4. “I do not believe in a mechanistic view of prayer where you put your prayer in the divine slot machine and out comes the answer you are looking for – if only you pray hard enough. But neither am I a Deist – believing that God created the world and wound it up like a clock – having nothing to do with it ever since – just observing from afar.”

    Well, tell us how he does it then.

      1. And how does he intervene? What mechanism does he use to translate his desires into action?

      2. What are the scriptural references to the use of prayer as a means to cause god to intervene?

    1. “I realised then that people who believe in the existence of a natural explanation, believe it in the absence of evidence. ” Dr Jacalyn Duffin. Dr Duffin is an atheist who has instigated the process by which the Catholic Church investgates the phenomenon of miracles.

  5. God is sovereign and can do as He pleases. He intervenes in the affairs of men to accomplish His purposes. We must be dependent on His equally sovereign grace, mercy and loving kindness. All praise and glory to our Lord Jesus Christ.

      1. Unless you have fully trusted in God’s grace and mercy through the Lord Jesus Christ, it won’t matter how much I may explain it, you will not see. His intervention is not always obvious unless seen through the eyes of faith. But there will be a day when every knee will bow, but by then it will be too late so please trust Christ as your saviour and lord now before that day comes.

      2. You mean you cannot explain how and see the weakness of the so called explanation given?

        I will only see it through the eyes of faith? How ridiculous. Is your god so powerful he cannot actually do what you say he does?

        I want a plausible mechanism as to how your god interacts with matter – its that simple.

      3. Yes – for you it is that simple. You want a god who answers to you and is subject to your experimentation. You ain’t gonna get it. You are answerable to God – and if you chose to remain in ignorance and arrogance – that’s your call…

      4. Bob, I’m sorry if I can’t give you the answer you want. Faith is the currency of Heaven. I can’t give you a plausible explanation because, as the Bible tells us, who can fathom the ways of God. He has already told us on His word that My ways are not your ways, neither are My thoughts your thoughts.
        I am praying for you with a glad heart that you will come to know God through accepting Jesus as your Saviour and Lord.

      5. I don’t know how God interacts with the physical world, Bob. But not knowing how He does doesn’t imply that He can’t.
        Hundreds of years ago we didn’t know lots of things we know now. And we still don’t know everything. But none of that meant that it didn’t work, and none of means that God can’t interact with the physical world. But it’s obvious that He must be able to, as He created it in the first place (yeah, I know, you don’t believe that. You believe that the universe created itself, but that is contrary to everything that we observe, in which things happen because something or someone else caused them to happen).

  6. Record high temperatures. Cause? Global warming, of course.
    A drought that lasted a long time. Cause? Global warrming, of course.
    Record high rainfall. Cause? Err. Well, it’s got to be global warming of course. Global warming explains any and every weather phenomenon that occurs anywhere in the world today.

  7. How many millions of people prayed for the two world wars to not start and for their men and women to come back alive as it is estimated 110 million people died in those wars and how many prayed for food and medicines from the third world and still do pray but do not receive because 20,000 children continue to die every day? Why also does your God allow mass shootings in such a Christian country as the USA where in 2019 517 were killed and 1648 were wounded?

    So the obvious question is why would your God listen to people praying about bush fires and the loss of mostly property but only a hand full of lives?

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