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).
Mike King, comedian and television presenter, was asked to speak to Northland’s Taipa Area School in an effort to make them laugh. But he soon realised 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 all the same.
In Raui’s opinion, these are the issues facing New Zealand’s young people:
Regrets – mistakes
Expectations – being expected to be the same
No support to speak out
Having a disability and being teased because
Being used to sell drugs/alcohol/money
Insufficient help – too long, too late
Stuffed up organisations
No courage anymore
Hurt in home
Adults are unaware
Youths aren’t being listened to
“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.