Church resources

This page includes the following resources:

  • Acknowledgement of Country
  • Psalm 23 - Aboriginal Style by Uncle Rev Ron Williams
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander List of Injustices
  • 26 January Prayer
  • Prayer for the Journey of Healing
  • Prayer of the Aboriginal People
  • A Responsive Prayer for #Jan26
  • Benediction Prayers
  • NATSICC Prayer
  • Prayer of non-Aboriginal people - When we love our Aboriginal neighbour as ourself
  • Prayer for January 26th

Acknowledgement of Country

An Acknowledgement of Country can be done by any person. In an official event it would be the most senior person of the organisation or church (i.e. CEO, Board Chair, Senior Pastor, Principal). It should always be at the start of the event or service. Many people are used to hearing set wording but Aboriginal Christian Leader, Brooke Prentis, encourages people by saying "An Acknowledgement of Country is more than just words, it is about heart and mind coming together through a genuine want and act of building relationship with Aboriginal peoples."  Below is some standard wording, but as you are moved by heart and mind, what Aboriginal people have taught you, and what you know about your own Traditional Custodians of your local area, let your words be led by the Spirit.

"We would like to acknowledge, the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we gather today (insert people and nation if known). We would also like to pay our respects to the Elders past, present and future (or emerging). (Specifically name any Elders or Leaders.  Specifically name any Aboriginal Elders or Leaders who are present). We acknowledge all other Aboriginal peoples present."

Suggested additional wording in a church context:

  • "The Traditional Custodians are stewards/caretakers on behalf of our Almighty Creator"
  • "We promise to walk softly and gently on this land."
  • Add in the features of the landscape and/or Aboriginal history in the area eg. mountains, rivers, creeks, mangroves, sacred sites
  •  Your local government / council website is a great place to start in learning who your local Traditional Custodians are

Psalm 23 – Aboriginal Style by Uncle Rev Ron Williams 

My big fella boss up in the sky is like the father Emu.

He will always look after me and take me to green grass,

and lead me to where the water holes are

full and fresh all the time.

He leads me away from the thick scrub and helps me keep safe from the hunters, dingoes and eagles.

At night time when I am very lonely and sad,

I will not be afraid,

for my Father covers me with his feathers

like a father emu.

His spear and shield will always protect me.

My big fella boss always give me a good feed

in the middle of my enemies.

In hot times he makes me sit down in a cool shade and rest.

He gives me plenty of love and care all of my life through.

Then I will live with my big fella boss like a father emu:

that cares for his chicks in good country,full of peace and safety

For evermore and evermore.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander List of Injustices

Compiled by Brooke Prentis, Aboriginal Christian Leader

  • Stolen Land
  • Invasion
  • Dispossession
  • Lack of Treaty and Treaties
  • Massacres
  • Genocide
  • Ecological destruction
  • Lack of recognition of The Frontier Wars
  • Lack of a Truth Telling Commission
  • Stolen Wages
  • Slavery
  • Poverty
  • Stolen Generations
  • Loss of Languages
  • Forced Removal from Homelands
  • Lack of return of Ancestral Remains
  • Lack of protection of Sacred Sites
  • Destruction of Sacred Sites
  • The New Stolen Generation
  • Stolen Lives
  • Lack of Closing the Gap
  • No implementation of the Statement from the Heart
  • Life expectancy gaps
  • High rates of suicide
  • Age of criminal responsibility as young as 10 years old
  • High rates of Prison incarceration & Juvenile Detention
  • Disregard for free, prior, and informed consent
  • Not consulting, or respecting Aboriginal peoples environmental rights Aboriginal Deaths in Custody
  • Racism
  • Discrimination
  • Trauma
  • Breaking of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Breaking of the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child for Aboriginal Children


Prayers Written by Aboriginal People

26 January prayer

Written by Brooke Prentis, Aboriginal spokesperson for Common Grace

God of Holy Dreaming, Great Creator Spirit, Papa Jesus,

We come before you today as a Christian community to pause and reflect with our Aboriginal brothers and sisters.  We pause to take a moment to show compassion to Aboriginal people at this time of grief and grievance.  Whilst not all of us will understand this Lord, we ask that you help us to see, hear and feel the struggles of our Aboriginal brothers and sisters. 

We pray for strength and healing at this time that brings forth feelings of loss.  We recognise the loss of family, loss of land, and loss of freedom.  We say sorry for the times we have wronged Aboriginal people, the times we have not treated them with dignity, the times we have not stood up to racism, and the times we have not listened to their stories, their fight for justice, and their cry for compassion. 

Dear Lord, we pray for a way that we can celebrate together, not as one unified group, but for a way that celebrates our diversity.  A way that encompasses all cultures, and celebrates and commemorates our past, both the good and the bad. 

Dear Lord, we know that you are all seeing and all knowing.  We know that you have seen all that has gone on in this land since time began. We pray that you help all Australians to see as you have seen through all the pages of our history and our present and our future yet to come. 

Dear Lord, we thank you for placing Aboriginal people here in this land, we thank you for their care and stewardship of your great creation for thousands of years.  We thank you for their survival against many odds. Dear Lord, may we learn to respect, appreciate, and acknowledge, the oldest living culture in the world.

Lord we ask all these things in your Almighty name, Amen. 

Prayer for the Journey of Healing

© National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission 2002

Almighty and loving God, you, who created ALL people in your image, lead us to seek you compassion as we listen to the stories of our past.

ALL:   Lord hear our prayer.

You gave your only Son, Jesus, who died and rose again so that sins will be forgiven. We place before you the pain and anguish of dispossession of land, language, lore, culture and family kinship that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have experienced. We live in faith that all people will rise from the depths of despair and hopelessness.

ALL:   Lord hear our prayer.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families have endured the pain and loss of loved ones, through the separation of children from their families. We are sorry and ask God’s forgiveness. Touch the hearts of the broken, homeless and afflicted and heal their spirits. In your mercy and compassion walk with us as we continue our journey of healing to create a future that is just and equitable. Lord, you are our hope.

ALL:  Amen.

Prayer of the Aboriginal People

This prayer is to be prayed by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person. It was composed for the meeting between Pope John Paul II and the Aboriginal peoples.

Father of all, you gave us the Dreaming
You have spoken to us through our beliefs
You then made your love clear to us in the person of Jesus
We thank you for your care
You own us
You are our hope
Make us strong as we face the problems of change
We ask you to help people of Australia to listen to us and respect our culture
Make the knowledge of you grown strong in all people
So that you can be at home in us and we can make a home for everyone in our land.

A Responsive Prayer for #Jan26

Written by Brooke Prentis

God of Holy Dreaming, Great Creator God, Papa Jesus,

Today we pray together on common ground.  Common ground of an ancient land that you created.  Common ground of over 65,000 years of peoples and place.

ALL: Lord, we are longing for acknowledgement.

We acknowledge that your creation was disturbed and disrupted in 1788.  We acknowledge our failure to break the Great Australian Silence. We acknowledge the true history of the land now called Australia.

ALL: Lord, we are longing for truth.

We grieve the truth of statistics that show we are not equal.  Truth of death, sickness, imprisonment.  Truth of lack of education and lack of employment.  Truth of a gap that isn’t closed.    

ALL: Lord, we are longing for justice.

We seek justice for Stolen Land, Stolen Wages, Stolen Children.  We seek justice for yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

ALL: Lord, we are longing for love.

Today we stand together on common ground.  We come together in the love of Christ and the love of our neighbour.  We confess we have not loved one another as you have called us to and promise to do better. We long to embrace unity with diversity.  We are longing for acknowledgement, truth, justice, love, and hope. 

ALL: Lord, give us
comfort for the pain, in our day of mourning,
courage for the fight, in our day of invasion,
strength for the journey, in our day of survival.
Lord, You, are our hope.  Amen.

Benediction Prayer

By Francis Bodkin of the Bodkin-Andrews clan of the D’harawal Peoples

May you always see the beauty of the Earth
May you always taste the sweetest fruit
May you always hear the laughter of the People
May you always feel the warmth of the Flame
May you always smell the perfume of the flowers
May your dreams always be happy ones
May your friends always be with you when you have need
May your stomach always be full
May you never feel hurt


Father, Our Creator

You created all things seen and unseen
Listen to my silent prayers as I stand here before you
As my weary eyes look back over distant horizons,
Back to those days where my people walked.
The footprints of my Grandfathers are imprinted on the earth,
And the images become real to me.

I see my Grandfathers standing tall and strong,
Warriors of long ago.
I hear them singing.
I see them dancing,
And my Spirit moves within me.

They told of the emus fighting,
And the kangaroos picking up the scent of our hunters.
The images fade away as I feel the hurt of my people.

I can hear the cries of my Grandmothers as they cry for their children.
Grandfather, you can see me as I stand here and feel this hurt.

Father Creator, is this the purpose of my being here.
Or is it your plan to reshape my people
To be once again the proud race it once was?

Let me walk with you and my Grandfathers
Towards the dawning of a proud and new nation.
I thank you for my Sacred Being.

Prayers Written by Non-Aboriginal Peoples

When we love our Aboriginal neighbour as ourself

Prayer by Penny Kleemann

Creator God, Jesus, Eternal Spirit,
as we pray some of your words back to you,
help us to get them right…

The Spirit of God is brooding over the waters
The salt waters
The salt water tears of our God gush down
As He looks upon our nation.

For He wove a beautiful vision
But those of us who came later
Have ripped and torn the weave
And shredded holes in His design

God gave us instruction not to covet or kill or steal
To love our neighbour as ourself
And not to take anything that belonged to our neighbour
Yet all this has been ignored.

“Justice is driven back
And right actions stand at a distance
Truth stumbles in the street
And honesty can’t enter”

Yet God in His incredible grace
Works with us
And we work with Him
To right what is wrong

We, the people of Jesus
Are the body of Jesus in this land
It is our eyes, that see the pain
It is our ears, that hear the cries
It is our voices, that speak up
It is our hands, that reach out in friendship
It is our feet that help defend sacred land
Australia, your progress has been small,
But our hopes and dreams are big
For we know God revels in the small
And we remember that through 12 people
Jesus changed the world
“From little things, big things grow”

When we love our Aboriginal neighbour as ourself
Our brothers and sisters “have hope
And injustice shuts it’s mouth”

When we love our Aboriginal neighbour as ourself
We too feel the pain and grief and the hurt of the 26th of January
And we know that this is not a day for a party

When we love our Aboriginal neighbour as ourself
No longer do we call each other stranger
Now, we call each other friend

Creator God, may we pray and live and work for the day
When our Aboriginal brothers and sisters
Are looked up to, not down to
When they will have peace at sunrise
And joy at sunset

That time can’t come quick enough
That time is now
Be it so.

Prayer for January 26th 

written by Rev Katherine Rainger

Before you our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer,

We remember that we stand on holy ground

We acknowledge the stories of this land

We acknowledge the peoples of this land

We acknowledge the lore of this land

We acknowledge the languages of this land

We acknowledge that this land and her peoples 

are in need of healing

Give us compassion  

to hear and to feel the pain of lives torn apart

to hear and feel the pain of land that is damaged 

            and mistreated - sold to the highest bidder

Give us conviction

             to name where we benefit from the

             dispossession of First Peoples

             to see where injustice has taken hold

             and to not look away

Give us the courage 

to listen, to see, to feel, to name 

the pain, 

the loss, 

the theft and 

the resistance.

May we be inspired by truth-tellers, 

Justice-seekers and peace-makers in every age. 

Turn our inaction into action. 

We pray this in the name of Jesus the Christ