A wide cross-section of Christians who work in the Sydney CBD will come together in the brand-new International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour, in June for the annual Sydney Prayer Breakfast.
This year, about 1500 Christians of different denominations are expected to gather over croissants and coffee to pray for the city, as well as networking with other Christians and catching up with friends.
Last year, tickets to the breakfast sold out several weeks before the June date as about 940 guests filled the Westin Hotel ballroom to capacity. About 600 of those guests rebooked for this year’s event without knowing the date, the venue or the speaker. So far, about 900 have registered for the June 16 event in the Convention Centre Grand Ballroom and the hope is that numbers will reach 1500.
“Christians are keen to gather and pray for our city, our state and our nation.” – Neville Cox
Sydney Prayer Breakfast chairman Neville Cox said this interest indicated “the importance of prayer in our city. Christians are keen to gather and pray for our city, our state and our nation.”
City Bible Forum’s Peter Kaldor added: “Last year, quite a few people were disappointed and we were waiting for this Convention Centre to be completed, so it gives an opportunity for more people to come.”
Past speakers at the breakfast have shared the joys and challenges of living as followers of Jesus in their professional and personal lives. For example, in 2014, Vice-Chancellor of Sydney University Michael Spence shared how difficult he found it to pray after the painful experience of losing his wife. Through their example, the speakers encourage Christians to keep trusting in the goodness of God and to be always ready to give the reason for the hope we have.
While past speakers have been household names such as former premier Mike Baird and recently retired Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione, this year’s speaker is less well known.
As the NSW Small Business Commissioner since 2014, Robyn Hobbs leads a team that provides advocacy, mediation and dispute resolution services to the 690,000 small businesses in NSW. In 1983 she founded Carols in the Domain, Australia’s largest community Christmas concert, for which she received an OAM in 2009.
“They’re committing to the cause of coming together to pray for the city.” – City Bible Forum’s Peter Kaldor
The Sydney Prayer Breakfast has had a long history in Sydney but it ceased to exist for several years. About 450 people attended the first newly constituted breakfast meeting in 2010, and numbers have grown each year.
“The fact that we presold 600 seats on the day last year without being able to confirm the date or speaker indicates that people are won by the concept of meeting together and praying. That means they’re committing to the cause of coming together to pray for the city,” Kaldor said.
“That it’s a wide cross section of Christians is appealing. There aren’t many occasions when Christian people can all gather together like that, particularly across denominations, and there’s a buzz that people enjoy when the room fills up.”
Kaldor said praying for the city corporately was “an encouragement to people who can feel at times quite isolated and lonely and increasingly in an environment where there are pressures to conform or adapt to society. It’s an encouragement to Christians that there are others – and often in quite senior positions – and they’re willing to stand up for their faith.”