The
Inspiration
Project

WITH BRENDAN CORR

GUEST Brian Pickering

Episode 12

Brian Pickering: Episode Summary

On this episode of ‘The Inspiration Project’, Brendan Corr talks to Brian Pickering about his nomadic childhood, banking career and the National Prayer Network.

Among other things Brian shares:

  • his nomadic childhood as a pastor’s kid in country NSW.
  • ️that he made a personal commitment to follow Jesus when his father died.
  • the dramatic change that occurred in banking about 20 years ago.
  • how God provided in advance for Brian’s future ministry while working in the bank.
  • taking one step at a time towards God’s vision.
  • the two distinct types of prayer.
  • ️how God miraculously healed Brian’s chronic back condition.
  • How the National Day of Thanks came into being.

National Day of Thanks winning entries

allie rex winner min

Allie Rex, Kindergarten

Winning video entries by: Kelechi Okenwa, Isabelle Watmough and Ocean Chahoud

I am thankful for God

An acrostic poem by Lilliana Cooper


Truly thankful to God

He can win battles for us and gives us all we need

Always very powerful

Never lets us down

Keeps all his promises


Yet he is very loving

Out of this world miracles

Understands our feelings

I am thankful for God for...

by Laila James

The opportunity to bless other kids and make them happy while we can’t meet together.

I made up activity packs for kids in my Sunday School to do at home during Coronavirus restrictions.

laila james

THANKFUL

A Poem by Tait Furlong

say thank you to the friends who look out for my needs,

not just my wants

Those friends are caring about planting goods seeds in me

and don’t try to bring out my daunts.

To my friends, who no matter the circumstances in their life

will call me even just to say hi.

They ask me how my week was and help me to understand

my dreams and weekly highlights.

Everyday my friends personalities rub into mine

and influence my decisions all the time.

That is why I am thankful for those;

those who inspire me to learn and to grow.

Although sometimes it feels like I am some kneaded dough,

I just need them to understand and know,

That they inspire just to sow good seeds,

So I can replenish with other good deeds.


“I have written a poem to good friends that look out for the best in me. It was inspired by a couple different people in my life - one by a friend named Travis whom has called me each week to see how I am doing and asks what my dreams and hopes are. Another friend I was influenced by is a friend called Jack, as he and his family are always looking out for the best in me.”

Brian Pickering: Episode Transcript

Sponsor Announcement
This podcast is sponsored by Australian Christian College, a network of schools committed to student wellbeing, character development and academic improvement.

Introduction
Welcome to The Inspiration Project, where well-known Christians share their stories to inspire young people in their faith and life. Here’s your host, Brendan Corr.

Brendan Corr
Hello there everybody, welcome to another episode of The Inspiration Project podcast, we are hoping that you’re enjoying the stories that we’re bringing to you of prominent Christians who’ve been able to bring their faith into life, through the work that they do in their profession and vocation. I’m delighted to have Mr Brian Pickering with us this morning, who has a long and successful career in many different fields and we’re looking forward to hearing how that transpired and how God was working in his life. At the end we’re also looking forward to announcing the winners of the ACC Group National Day of Thanks competition that was recently run, so keep your ears out for the announcement of those winners at the end of our conversation. Mr Pickering, you grew up on the Mid North Coast in a small town, you were the son of a local minister, moved into a career in banking and took a position of prominence with the National Australia Bank, but then had a dramatic change in your life and ventured into something that is quite, quite different. We’re absolutely delighted to have you as part of our Inspiration Project podcast. Can I start by taking you back, what was it like growing up as a country kid and a pastor’s kid at that?

Brian Pickering
Yeah, it’s a very different lifestyle, living in the country to what it is living in the city, so most of my early years, up to the age of about 12 or 13 I lived in the country, and being the son of a minister we moved around quite frequently, as was the mode in those days. I was born in Wingham near Taree and from there we moved to a place called Culcairn, which is down near Albury, then to Retrick in the Riverina, Yass near Canberra, Raymond Terrace near Newcastle, and finished up on the Far North Coast at a place called Alstonville, before my father retired and we moved to Sydney from there.

Brendan Corr
That sounds like it was a move every two years or so, would that be right?

Brian Pickering
Roughly two or three years, yeah, yeah.

Brendan Corr
Yeah, so what was it like?

Brian Pickering
That’s what they used to do in those days, that’s what they used to do in those days. He was a Methodist minister and so they were moved according to need and so forth. Not like today where pastors often are pastors for many, many years in their own church. In those days they used to move them regularly.

Brendan Corr
What would that mean for you as a young person, making friends and going to school and trying to make your own life in a situation where it was changing so much?

Brian Pickering
Yes, I went to many schools and had to make friends and then lose friends and make new friends. Looking back on it it didn’t seem to have a great deal of negative impact on me, and I wasn’t conscious about it, it was just how life was. I remember, the friends I really remember, came into my life maybe in the mid years of my primary education, and I’ve maintained friendships with some of those people all through my life. It is different, moving around is different from living in one place.

Brendan Corr
Did it mean …

Brian Pickering
Being a pastor’s kid also has its challenges as well.

Brendan Corr
Well, I was going to say, you’re moving into a new district and trying to make friends, and you’re carrying, well the double-edged sword I suppose, of being the local minister’s, of identified Christian, that’s come into the community. Did it …

Brian Pickering
Yes, that’s right.

Brendan Corr
Did it change the way you related to the kids around you?

Brian Pickering
It didn’t change the way I related to them, but I think it possibly changed the way they related to me. I think one of the big things that pastor’s kids struggle with is the expectation that’s placed upon them because their father is the minister, so therefore they should be goody-goodies and they should never do anything wrong.

Brendan Corr
Was that you Brian?

Brian Pickering
You had to live up to that expectation. Sorry?

Brendan Corr
That was you?

Brian Pickering
That was me? Yeah, well, that’s what they expected. Having to live up to that all the time is difficult, and I think that’s why some pastor’s kids rebel, because they just find it too difficult to live up to the expectations that people have. I got through that and it didn’t affect me in that negative way, and so when I look back …

Brendan Corr
Why do you think that was Brian? Why do you think you were able to feel a sense of authenticity about that experience, that didn’t evoke a …?

Brian Pickering
I don’t know that I could put that into words actually. I had a personal relationship with Jesus from my early years, so I guess that would have played a part in it as well. I guess my parents to some degree might have shielded me from that as well and gave me as normal a life as possible. I did the things that all kids do, played sport and went into different activities. They tried to make my life as normal as possible and they didn’t put that kind of expectation on me, so probably not having it from the family was helpful in balancing that came from the church people or society.

Brendan Corr
Yeah, I can understand that. I can imagine that there could be as much of a burden of obligation that would come from a Christian home, as from the friends that you’re trying to make, of being a certain way or living to a certain standard. It’s a blessing that your family, your parents were able to allow you to find your authentic faith of your own.

Brian Pickering
Yes.

Brendan Corr
When did that happen for you Brian?

Brian Pickering
Well, I was brought up in a Christian home, so I’ve not known life outside of the church, but I made a personal commitment when my father died. When I realised that at that point of time I’d been a Christian primarily because my parents were Christians and they brought me up in the church and I did all the things, the right things in the church. Then I realised that my father was no longer alive, so technically I could do whatever I wanted to do now. Not that he was a dominant father, he didn’t try to make me what he wanted me to be, he gave me freedoms and so forth, but I guess deep within I always felt an obligation to honour my parents and therefore to continue in the way that they had brought me up. When he died I realised that, okay, well, I’m not answerable to him any more, so I have to make a decision as to what I’m going to do with my life. At the point, which was in my mid-20’s, I made a personal commitment, for myself, to follow Jesus, for myself and not just because my parents had.

Brendan Corr
You had probably a couple of decades of being immersed in the life of the church and really living, ostensibly a life of faith.

Brian Pickering
Yes.

Brendan Corr
Then in your 20’s had this very real commitment, a wilful commitment. Did it change your relationship to God at that moment in …?

Brian Pickering
It deepened it. It deepened it. I mean I’d been everything, I’d been a Sunday School teacher, I’d been in the youth group and everything like that, I’d led a fully Christian life and I would say I loved Jesus, I loved the Lord. I wasn’t putting it on at all, but it went deeper once I’d made that personal commitment. Once I’d decided that I could go, I could either go that way or that way, I had two choices, I chose to go the way that I followed for the rest of my life.

Brendan Corr
Yeah, that’s a profound thing, to have such a significant event in your own life, the loss of your dad, also be a trigger to something that really launched you into a whole direction of life ultimately.

Brian Pickering
Yes.

Brendan Corr
Yeah, so you were growing up and meandering or nomading around these country towns, your family settled in Sydney, at what time did you, what stage of life did you get settled?

Brian Pickering
That was in my high school years, so I went to school at Kogarah, in Kogarah High School in Sydney and finished my schooling there. Then I went into the bank, and that was on the urging of my parents, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. They said, “Look, banking is a good safe career, why don’t you go into banking?” I went into banking and I stayed there for all of my business life, so I moved from being a junior, who did the most junior things of licking stamps and putting them on the envelopes to post out the statements and things like that, right through to a senior management position 39 and a half years later.

Brendan Corr
Wow, that’s quite a story isn’t it? Going from the mailroom to the boardroom essentially.

Brian Pickering
Yeah, it doesn’t happen much these days.

Brendan Corr
No.

Brian Pickering
People change careers regularly. In those days, to stay in the one job was seen to be something that most people thought was fantastic, to go right through your life. Banking is that kind of a career, because there are many different streams that you can go through and go into, it’s not just the one job for the rest, all your life. You can go into international banking or you go into lending or you can go into branch banking, and I experienced all of those to get to senior management.

Brendan Corr
Was there a particular set of interests that you carried into that work that created it as a career path for you?

Brian Pickering
I wouldn’t say interest, but my gifting was in administration, so I tended to do well in positions that required administration. I was a branch manager and from there I went into lending and so I was a regional lending manager. They also put me through international banking and they put me through card services and so I had a very wide spectrum of experience, but I was, I heightened my life, my main life was in administration.

Brendan Corr
How did you find the alignment between that type of a … even at the lower levels, finance, issues to do with security and resources, and the life of faith? Was there ever discontinuity between those things?

Brian Pickering
No, I didn’t have a conflict of faith, because, back in those days, and I left banking some 20 years ago, so younger people growing up today know banking as to what it is today and it doesn’t have a good reputation in some circles. Back in those days banking was very ethical and so I was never put in the position where I had to make a decision as to what the bank wanted me to do as to what my Christian values wanted me to do. I was able to live my Christian life as a banker and it never conflicted with my personal values. I suppose the closest it would come would be when a customer who was not a Christian and maybe didn’t, wouldn’t have shared my particular ethics, and wanted a loan, and I had to work that through as to whether I was representing the bank or whether representing myself. Maybe it had to lend money, sometimes to a business that, if it was my own personal money I might not have done so, but because it fell within the ethics of the bank, I did it as a banker person. I wouldn’t have done that had it been totally opposed to my Christian ethics, it was just, it was something that I wouldn’t have done myself, but it still wasn’t unethical or illegal.

Brendan Corr
I understand entirely. You’re right in saying that the whole banking industry was built on the same or on the Judeo-Christian understanding of responsibility, wise stewardship, care, caution, that sound ethics. You’re also right that it doesn’t seem to be quite that way. Have you given any thought as to what changed and when it changed and it has?

Brian Pickering
Well, very much so. It changed about the time that I left the bank. Part of the reason I left the bank was that I was retrenched. I was retrenched along with many, many senior managers who had been brought up in the bank and had careers in the bank and were career bankers. The bank, and we were a service industry, our main resource was to serve the public and provide for them to make their own lives and buy their houses and set up their businesses. Around 20-odd years ago the bank changed and became a profit making industry.

Brendan Corr
Yes, yes.

Brian Pickering
That changed, which resulted in them having to change the culture of the bank, and to change the culture of the bank they had to get rid of all the old bankers, because they were of the old mob. Many, many, I think the day I was retrenched, a thousand years of experience was retrenched from the bank.

Brendan Corr
My goodness.

Brian Pickering
They brought in all, what we would call, some university people who’d never had any life experience, but knew how to make a profit and how to sell a product and all that. Banking became a sales machine and out of that sales machine and profit came bonuses, and out of those bonuses came self-interest and we got to where we’re at today.

Brendan Corr
Yeah, yeah. A significant shift, isn’t it, on the …

Brian Pickering
It was.

Brendan Corr
Premise on which it was all built.

Brian Pickering
It was a deliberate shift. It was a deliberate shift from a service industry to a profit-making concern.

Brendan Corr
Was that, and I’m speaking in a bit of ignorance here, was that the deregulation of the banking industry that you sometimes hear about? Is that where the change occurred?

Brian Pickering
Yeah, I guess that was involved. Yeah, that probably would have been around about that same time. That was probably part of the effort.

Brendan Corr
They became a bit more self-determining and free from some of the obligations that government constraints might have been having in place, the, excuse the pun, the checks and balances.

Brian Pickering
Yes, that’s right.

Brendan Corr
That might have been in place for that.

Brian Pickering
Yes, that’s right, yeah.

Brendan Corr
A pretty tumultuous event, for you to be senior level management, to be highly regarded in society as a person to be honoured and in a field that was on the bedrock of society and then to have that changed overnight. What did that do for your sense of self?

Brian Pickering
Actually I was prepared for it. I was prepared for it. I’d always felt that at some stage in my life I would leave the bank and become full-time in some form of ministry. My ministry was forming when I was even in the bank, so I was running a prayer ministry alongside of my banking career, which made life very hectic. When it came time to be retrenched, I was actually looking forward to that because it was going to release me into a new field of ministry and …

Brendan Corr
That’s amazing.

Brian Pickering
Provide me with a golden handshake to enable me to do that, set me up financially, to enable me to do that without having to rely on the ministry to provide the income. To me it was God’s provision.

Brendan Corr
Amen.

Brian Pickering
I remember the day when I announced it to my team, that I’d been retrenched, and everyone cheered, because they thought, “This is wonderful because God’s now released him to be able to do ministry full-time.” It wasn’t something that was a shock to me. It wasn’t something that destroyed me. It was something that actually released me.

Brendan Corr
Yeah, how fantastic. For God to have gone before, you were in your own circumstance, your own thinking, so what could have been, and I’m guessing for some of your colleagues who didn’t have that life of quite sustaining them, it would have been quite devastating.

Brian Pickering
Yes, indeed.

Brendan Corr
For you, an avenue of God’s goodness in your life.

Brian Pickering
Goodness and provision, yeah.

Brendan Corr
Yeah, that’s extraordinary.

Brian Pickering
Because as you know, when you get retrenched, you get your superannuation, you get redundancy pay and all of that. That set me up financially to be able to do the ministry without being paid to do the ministry. Because I was in the group, I’m still on the banks pension for instance.

Brendan Corr
Yeah, right.

Brian Pickering
That continued, so God was actually wonderful the way he provided. When God wants you to do something He provides for it and that’s the way He provided for me.

Brendan Corr
Yeah, that’s great. Opens the doors and makes the way plain and removes the obstacles for Him to work His goodness in your life. That’s great.

Brian Pickering
Absolutely.

Brendan Corr
Brian, you mentioned you already, while you were in the senior position at the bank, operating a prayer ministry. I want to ask you, in the little bio that I was reading of you, that you felt you had this call to a ministry of prayer. I wanted to ask you a bit about that, where did that come from and where did it start for you, this deep sense that prayer was something particularly that God was wanting you to understand and work in?

Brian Pickering
In my earlier years I didn’t have that. In fact I would have not thought I was a very diligent pray-er at all. As the years went by I began, God began to lead me into areas where I began to understand prayer more and to see the impact that prayer could have in the life of individuals, in the life of families and in the life of nations. He began to change my perspective. I wouldn’t say I was always a pray-er. I was a Christian and I prayed, but I didn’t understand prayer the way I do now. At the age of 40, on my 40th birthday, and God had done a lot of preparation, don’t get me wrong, He’d prepared me through taking me through various avenues within the church. I held every position there was to hold in a local church, but I also went on to boards of the church at state and national level, so I’d had lots of experience. At the age of 40, God spoke to me very clearly and called me to take a step towards Him in looking after people who had become Christians, but were in dry places and were struggling with their Christian life. They were basically people in the country, and because I’d been a country boy myself, I knew that, country people don’t have all the stuff that we can have in the city, where we can go to a meeting here or listen to a speaker there or whatever. A lot of those people had a living faith, but were living in a dry place. My initial, the way God led me initially was to go and visit those people in the country areas on weekends, with a small team of people we took with us, to encourage other Christians in their faith and to encourage them and teach them to pray for their own community. For the first six years of my ministry life I was still working in the bank. I would work in the bank Monday to Friday, but every third or fourth weekend we would go as a team and visit a country town and visit some people in that town, stay overnight with them on Saturday night. We would travel, leave work or home on Friday afternoon, stay in a motel overnight, get there Saturday, spend all day Saturday, Saturday night, Sunday morning and drive back, go back to work on Monday. I did this for about six years.

Brendan Corr
Wow.

Brian Pickering
That time, God was building an army of people who were encouraged to pray for their community, to pray for the nation and whatever, and maintain a link with us. After about six years God said, “Now, I’m going to use those people and use you to start a network across the state, of praying people, who are going to be part of My army to pray for the state and the nation.” That’s how it began.

Brendan Corr
Yeah, I want to come back to that prayer network and what that has become, but can I probe a little more with you, you used some phrases in that story, that God told you, you were led, in a practical sense what was that like? For you what form did that take? Was in conviction? Was it bible references? Was it friends speaking into your life? What are the things that gave you clarity that this was God?

Brian Pickering
Conviction would be the first thing, but then God began to bring people into my life that I hadn’t known before, who had a similar understanding and a similar calling and vision to myself. Within a period of months after that conviction came on me, I had a group of about a dozen other people, four, five or six other couples, who said, “Look, we believe God has called you and we believe God has called us to support you, we want to be part of whatever it is that God’s doing.” Together we sought the Lord and we felt that He was saying to make contact with people that we knew in the country and just begin that journey. My journey hasn’t been a journey where I’ve known where I’m going to finish up, my journey has been a journey of taking the next step.

Brendan Corr
Yeah, yeah, that’s great.

Brian Pickering
As each step has been taken the vision has opened up further and further. I didn’t know right from the beginning where I was going to finish up, all I knew was God wanted me to follow Him and then He wanted me to go and meet some of these people in the country. That was the beginning. When I did that He opened something else up and something else up, and it grew and grew and grew over years. At no stage, and even now, I don’t know what the future holds. I take one step at a time. He opens the doors and I walk through them.

Brendan Corr
It’s fantastic to have that, hear the story of God giving you a sense of call and then bringing other voices and confirming that with providing support, providing the team.

Brian Pickering
Absolutely.

Brendan Corr
It’s going to happen. You start from these humble beginnings of every third or fourth weekend, heading off to a country town, you’ve now established an Australian-wide prayer network, that you’re leading.

Brian Pickering
Well, at that stage it was only a state-wide prayer network, but it grew to be a national network when I was invited by other leaders to establish a national network under the AD 2000 Movement, and so I then was appointed National Coordinator of the Australian Prayer Network.

Brendan Corr
Just tell us a bit about that network. Do you mind telling us a bit about it?

Brian Pickering
Well, that network began with about 200 names of people who had been to prayer conferences. Those names were given to me by a pastor in Brisbane, who was asked to start a network and he knew that being a pastor in a local church he wouldn’t have time to do that, so he searched and came up with me as the person who he should offer that job to, and so I became the National Coordinator, and he gave me a list of 200 people to contact and to start the network off. Well, now, that was about 27 or so years ago, that network now has 700 churches affiliated with it and a couple of thousand prayer groups and up to 100,000 people through those prayer groups, through those churches and through those individuals, a network of about 100,000 people who are praying for our nation on a regular basis.

Brendan Corr
That is amazing.

Brian Pickering
It’s done, it’s not been anything that I’ve done, except follow the Lord step by step.

Brendan Corr
Yeah, the next step.

Brian Pickering
That’s important. I think that’s important, that when we have a vision, I believe God gives us a vision of what He’s going to do, not what He wants us to do.

Brendan Corr
Yes.

Brian Pickering
In order to fulfil that vision He gives us steps to undertake.

Brendan Corr
Yeah, that’s good.

Brian Pickering
It’s in the obedience of those steps that He fulfils His vision.

Brendan Corr
Yeah, super. I want to ask you, you’ve already mentioned that you feel like you understand prayer at this point in your life, in a very different way than you did when you were a child believer, or even a mid-life Christian. What has prayer come to mean? What did you have as an understanding of prayer that’s changed over that period of time?

Brian Pickering
I think most people, if you ask them what is prayer? They will say, “It’s a conversation we have with God.” Prayer for most people is very personal, in fact there was a survey done not too many years ago where it found that 85% of Christians only ever prayed for themselves, their friends or their family. God has raised that level for me to understand how prayer works in changing nations and changing cities and changing society. My focus, or our focus in prayer is not so much on the person. We don’t pray for individuals, there are other ministries that do that, we pray for the nation, the nations, cities and so forth. We interact with governments and we interact with the church and we do prayer projects in cities alongside of churches and so forth. Prayer to me is the conduit of power that flows from the throne room of God into the circumstances of our life. Prayer, it is a personal thing, I have a personal relationship with God and I talk to Him as I’m talking to you. That’s very personal, but there is also a power that flows from His throne into the circumstances of life, and He uses ordinary people as the channel. The ordinary people connect by prayer.

Brendan Corr
Yeah, you, literally I think you’re leading into another question I had on my list to ask you, was what’s your understanding of intercessory prayer and how is that different from other sorts of prayer? You were beginning to explain that, do you want to take it a little bit further and what do you think is intercessory?

Brian Pickering
Well, what I’m talking about is intercessory prayer.

Brendan Corr
Right.

Brian Pickering
I would call just ordinary prayer, is our conversation with God, our personal conversation. That’s valid, that’s valid, God talks to us, we talk to Him, we sit on his knee as our Father and He speaks to us and He looks after us in life. That’s prayer. Intercessory prayer is when we do what we do, we become an agent for God to use us to work in changing the circumstances of others lives, including the likes of cities and nations.

Brendan Corr
Yeah, so do you believe anybody can be involved in that? Or is that something that God might call particular people to?

Brian Pickering
I believe God does call people to that particularly. I think there is an aspect of it which is a gift and a ministry gift, but I also believe that all of us are called to be intercessors, and by that I mean allowing God to do in me what I want Him to do for another. If I want my nation to be a righteous nation, the only way that I’m going to contribute to that is by being a righteous person.

Brendan Corr
Amen.

Brian Pickering
God has to change me to be a righteous person before I can be used by Him to make my nation a righteous nation. That’s the intercession part of it.

Brendan Corr
You have a national perspective, God provides that platform, those opportunities, and opens your eyes to see His potential to impact the nation. Is there a place for intercessory prayer or intercessory ministry in a family, in a company, in a school?

Brian Pickering
Absolutely. The same principle applies. The same principle applies in the family as it does in the nation. It’s the same principle, it’s just different … You may express it differently or you may have to do different things in relation to it, but as a father, I’m a father to my family, but hopefully I’m also an intercessor for my family. In other words, I allow God to use me to impact the life of my family. I do that through how I live my life in relationship to my God. Every life, everything I do is, in relation to someone else’s life, is an intercession of that person.

Brendan Corr
There’s many Christians I think Brian, who think of prayer as a bit of a last resort or a bit of a habit or something that doesn’t necessarily have a lot of potential to change circumstances. You’re living a life that is based on the assumption that is completely different to that, the opposite to that.

Brian Pickering
Yeah.

Brendan Corr
That prayer is the mechanism or a mechanism where God does reveal Himself in your circumstances.

Brian Pickering
Yes.

Brendan Corr
Have you ever had to struggle with questions about that? The doubt that God can actually do the things you’re praying about?

Brian Pickering
I guess, and early on in my life in my mid-20’s I had a difficulty with a back condition that the Lord allowed in my life. That condition meant that I was going to finish up my life in a wheelchair or as a cripple, because what it was was my back was ageing quickly, so I was, at the age of about 25 I was like a man of about 75, my body wasn’t able, so my body was contacting as it does with older age. I was told by the medical profession that I would have to live a life, all they could think of was fusing my back, which may have succeeded and may not have, but I had to then look forward to a life of being a cripple or in a wheelchair. Then I had a very deep encounter with God over a period of about 12 months. I asked other people to pray for me, I went to prayer meetings, I went to healing meetings, I had people pray for me. Nothing seemed to work, until one morning in my kitchen of my home, I got up that morning to make my breakfast, and I believe I had an encounter with God, where he said to me, “Brian, do you want to be healed?” I said, “Of course I do Lord, you know I want to be healed. I’ve been going to prayer meetings and healing meetings for 12 months and nothing happened.” He said, “Well, Brian,” He said, “What I want you to do is I want you to reach up to me now and take my hand and be healed.” In that moment of faith, He gave me the faith in that moment of time, to reach out, touch Him and I was instantly healed and I’ve had a life free of pain for next 50 years.

Brendan Corr
Wonderful.

Brian Pickering
He proved to me at that time that He could do what he wanted to do.

Brendan Corr
Yes.

Brian Pickering
That doesn’t say that I still don’t struggle. When it comes time to pray for some else, I don’t, I still don’t have that faith as I had that morning, because it was the gift of faith.

Brendan Corr
Amen.

Brian Pickering
I know God can do it.

Brendan Corr
Amen.

Brian Pickering
Because He did it for me. I know God can do it.

Brendan Corr
That’s so … Yeah, he gives us the personal witness, the personal story, I know because this was my experience.

Brian Pickering
That’s right, and down through the years as we’ve prayed for communities, as we’ve prayed for nations, we’ve seen our answers to prayers, so it reinforces and builds your faith, and I’ve got 50 years of walking by that faith. My faith is now very secure and believing that God can do whatever God wants to do. I believe, even in the current situations we’re facing in life, here in our nation and in other nations, I believe prayer is the ultimate answer, but it just doesn’t happen with the click of a finger. It happens with dedication, it happens with commitment, it happens with seeking God and listening to God and doing what God asks us to do.

Brendan Corr
Amen. Brian, we’re getting close to the end of our time, but I wanted to ask you, for a man who has had his life called to prayer, that’s rested upon it for so long, what are you praying for at the moment?

Brian Pickering
I look at the world and I haven’t got enough hours in the day to pray for everything that needs to be prayed for. We are in a broken world, a broken world. I guess at the basic level I want people to know Jesus the way I know Him, because I know He’s the answer. He’s the answer to all of our issues, whether that be a personal crisis in our own life or whether it be a family crisis or whether it be a national crisis, He is the answer. As a society, in the western world we’ve moved away from it, we’ve said, “No, no, no, we don’t need a God, we’re able to do it ourselves. We can look after ourselves, we can do that.” When our Father doesn’t turn up it becomes a hassle. There’s these things like the viruses, which devastate us. Now what’s happening in America. We can’t control it ourselves, we need God.

Brendan Corr
Amen.

Brian Pickering
How long it’s going to take us to realise that I don’t know, but my prayer is, let us all as His people and others, find out that He is who He says He is and we need Him more than we think we do.

Brendan Corr
Amen. Amen.

Brian Pickering
They’re my prayers.

Brendan Corr
A beautiful way to wrap the ministry that you have, that heart you have for what God can do and wants to do in our nation and other nations. It’s also a beautiful compliment Brian, that in the prayer network that you have given so much to, you were also involved in the National Day of Thanks. That’s a lovely compliment to say, “Well, we’re asking You for these things, for Your power to be revealed, but we’re not neglectful of the thanks that we want to give for the good things that You’ve done. By Your grace, by Your general revelation, by the work of goodness in our community.”

Brendan Corr
Just tell us very quickly a little bit about the National Day of Thanks, how that came about.

Brian Pickering
It came about through the praying hearts of God’s people. At a certain stage, about 15 years ago, we got a number of people who suddenly started to write to us and say, “Look, God wants a day in the nation that He’s honoured.”

Brendan Corr
Amen.

Brian Pickering
“For himself.” They were the days when it was not politically correct to mention God anywhere, especially in the public sphere and you couldn’t sing Christmas carols at school any more and all these sorts of things. Out of that came this idea of a day of saying thank you for what God has done for our nation, but also saying thank you to people who have done things. We took that to the Governor-General of the day and he agreed that that would be a valuable thing to do. He said, “Look, as the Governor-General I have to be all things to all men, so if you want it to be a Christian thing then you’ll have to organise it yourself. The church will have to take it up and do it, but I’ll support it, I’ll give you a statement of support.”

Brendan Corr
Great.

Brian Pickering
About 15 years ago we started the National Day of Thanks, and the church has embraced that and the community to a certain extent has embraced it, and schools are embracing it and so forth, as a way of saying thank you to God and thank you to each other for living by the principles that God has established that we should live by and honouring those people that do in our society.

Brendan Corr
Yeah, that’s a fantastic thing, and it’s so good to hear that it was rooted so solidly in the praying hearts of the people as you said. You might realise Brian, that our Australian Christian College group of schools participated, or invited students to be involved in a competition around the National Day of Thanks. They were invited to express their thankfulness to God and to others by answering this question, “Who are you most thankful to and why?” They were invited to make submissions, it could be in any sort of form, it could have been videos, poems, artworks or letters, and we’ve decided that we want to recognise some of the better responses from our different schools and the winners from our ACC schools around the nation will receive an Ultimate World Changer Kit from the thankyou charity. You’ve very kindly agreed to read the winners of those competitions in our different schools. Can I ask you to share with our listeners who were the winners from those schools who participated?

Brian Pickering
Absolutely, it’s my delight to be able to do that. I want to announce that from ACC Moreton the following students were the winners: Laila James, Tait Furlong and Isabelle Watmough. From ACC Marsden Park: Ocean Chahoud and Kelechi Okenwa. From ACC Launceston: Lilliana Cooper. And from ACC Singleton: Allie Rex. Congratulations to each of those students.

Brendan Corr
Thank you Brian, I add my own congratulations and the congratulations from all of our ACC group of schools to those students. Very, very well done, we are so thankful for your thankfulness and for the way you’ve expressed it. For those that are listening, please note that the entries from those winners are featured on the Inspiration Project podcast, which can be found at acc.edu.au/podcast under the episode with Brian Pickering. Brian, as we close up our time together, would there be anything that you’d just want to leave with our listeners, as a final thought or reflection?

Brian Pickering
Well, I guess I’m speaking to, in the most part, young people.

Brendan Corr
Yes.

Brian Pickering
I’d say, God can use you in ways that you cannot imagine that He could use you. You don’t have to know exactly where He is going to take you, but you do have to entrust yourself into His care.

Brendan Corr
Amen.

Brian Pickering
Be guided by the doors that He opens and the circumstances that He allows in your life. I would encourage you that God is who He says He is, and He’s able to do exceedingly, abundantly with your life, above anything you can do with it yourself. To give it to Him in the early years in your life is a wonderful thing, because the rest of your life, I believe will be guided by His hand and all you have to do is to go through the doors that he opens for you. Now, you may not be led in the same pathway as I’m led, that He leads people in all different ways, but whatever way He wants to choose to lead you, give yourself to Him and do what He asks you to do, and life will never be the same.

Brendan Corr
Brian, I couldn’t have said it better. Thank you so much for your life of faithfulness, for the ministry to our nation that God has been able to work through you and through your team. We pray earnestly that God will continue to give you strength and give you vision and enable you to do the work that He’s called you to do. God bless you.

Brian Pickering
Thank you Brendan.

About Brian Pickering

Brian Pickering grew up on the Mid North Coast of NSW in Wingham. After school Brian started a career in banking, where he progressed through the ranks to become a senior executive with NAB. At about 40 years of age while working in banking, Brian knew God was calling him to a ministry of intercessory prayer. He is now the National Coordinator of the Australian Prayer Network (APN), which facilitates, trains and encourages as many as 100,000 intercessors to pray for Australia. APN has thousands of registered members, representing churches of all denominations. He also coordinates the National Day of Thanks.

Photo of Brendan Corr

About Brendan Corr

Originally a Secondary Science Teacher, Brendan is a graduate of UTS, Deakin and Regent College, Canada. While Deputy Principal at Pacific Hills for 12 years, Brendan also led the NSW Christian Schools Australia registration system. Brendan’s faith is grounded in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and a deep knowledge of God’s Word. Married for over 30 years, Brendan and Kim have 4 adult children. On the weekends, Brendan enjoys cycling (but he enjoys coffee with his mates afterwards slightly more).