What’s going on for Aotearoa’s Rangatahi?
New Zealand’s teen suicide rate (15-19) is the worst in the developed world, it is so high it raises the global average (2017 statistics).
2012 was a particularly bad year for New Zealand; 144 young people took their own lives.
Mike King, comedian and television presenter, was asked to speak to Northland’s Taipa Area School in 2013 in an effort to make them laugh. But he soon realized that the young people in the room didn’t need jokes, they needed honesty. So Mike related the struggles he faced in his own life growing up. As he spoke, the kids in the room nodded and nudged each other.
One young man, Ezekiel Raui, went home that night and write about the problems facing the young people of Northland. It wasn’t a formal report, nor does it have the professionalism of a statistical analysis, but it packs a punch.
In Raui’s opinion, these are the issues facing New Zealand’s young people:
- Cyber bullying
- Regrets – mistakes
- Expectations – being expected to be the same
- No support to speak out
- Having a disability and being teased because of it
- Prostitution, rape
- Being used to sell drugs/alcohol/money
- Insufficient help – too long, too late
- Scared youth
- Stuffed up organisations
- Youths aren’t being listened to
- No courage anymore
- Hurt in home
- Adults are unaware
- Family violence
- Peer pressure
- Being “COOL”
“God shapes the world by prayer. The more praying there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil…The prayers of God’s saints are the capital stocks of heaven by which God carries on His great work upon earth.”
- E. M. Bounds
Ephesians 6:18 tells us to, “…pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” James 5:13 says, “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.” And Psalm 17:6, “I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.”
There are so many verses on prayer in the Bible and so many examples of God calling His people to prayer. But isn’t God going to do what He wants anyway? Do our prayers really make that much difference?
The short answer is, yes, our prayers do make a difference. We are called to pray. God has chosen to work through humans, not in spite of them. Whatever your theology, whatever your denominational background, prayer stands as a way to touch the heart of God and change the course of history.
So, please, stand with us. Let your heart ache for our young people. Ask God to intervene on their behalf. Pray for breakthrough, for hope, for truth, for peace. Let’s pray for all that weighs on the heart; God’s and ours.