50 days of blessing the nation through prayer: Week 1 — Alf James
Each week of the #50Dayd2BlesstheNation Alf James is interviewing a leader around the week’s theme. This week he spoke to Pastor Laurette Mkati prayer coordinator of SA Prayer Movement for Change about the week’s focus of “The Church and other religions”.
We are witnessing the powerful effect of the media where the words of leaders are often exploited to incite hatred, racism and violence, and eventually the cursing of others; or where one person, with one irresponsible post on social media, releases a similar effect on our Nation, according to the 50DaystoBlesstheNation initiative.
“The words of Christians are to be different — to bless rather than to curse, to heal rather than to wound, to restore rather than to destroy.”
Encouraging Christians to take responsibility
The “50DaystoBlesstheNation” prayer initiative begins this weekend on Resurrection Sunday April 16 and continues to Pentecost on June 4 with the aim of encouraging Christians to take responsibility for our Nation; believing that God can and will change the hearts of South Africans.
“The time has come to allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse the hearts and lips of Christians living in South Africa,” says the 50DaystoBlesstheNation forum.
The prayer initiative, which is supported by 32 prayer networks throughout the country, encourages and invites all South Africans to unite in prayer for the 50 days of “Blessing the Nation”!
The 50 days will be divided into seven weekly focus areas based on the seven spheres of influence on society — Media, Government, Education, Economy, Religion, Entertainment and Family.
The first of the weekly focus areas from April 16 to 22 on religion centres on the Church and other religions.
The daily prayer blessing for the week is: In the name of Jesus Christ we bless the Church in South Africa: May we be filled with the Spirit, sanctified by truth through the Word of God; may we humble ourselves, pray and seek God’s face and turn from our wicked ways; May we be filled with wisdom and spiritual understanding, walk worthy of our Lord Jesus Christ, bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit and increase in the knowledge of God; May we be salt and light in our communities and obey the command to go out into the whole world and share the gospel of the kingdom of Jesus Christ with all nations. We bless our enemies, we bless those who curse us, we bless those who hate us, we bless those who spitefully use and persecute us. We bless the adherents of other religions: May their eyes be opened, and may they turn from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God, to receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ. May they know the love of God as Father, the grace and truth that comes through Jesus Christ and the power of healing and deliverance of the Holy Spirit. Bless South Africa, o Lord God!
Focus on the Church — Week 1 theme explained
Explaining why the first week of “#50Days2BlesstheNation” focuses on the Church and other religions Laurette Mkati, prayer coordinator at the SA Prayer Movement for Change, says God’s Word in Isaiah 2:2 tells us that: Now it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it.
“When you look at all the religions of the world, men have made many ways to get to God, but there is only one true way to God and that is through Jesus Christ.
“We have to pray that the Church rises up as the light of the world and the salt of the earth. We are called to ensure that everyone hears the message of salvation including Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and African traditional religions, so we pray for the Church that it will rise up into God’s calling for it.”
Mkati says this is emphasised in Isaiah 60:1-3 Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you and His glory will be seen upon you. The gentiles will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.
She says this refers to the Church of Jesus Christ, because Christ in us is the hope of glory.
Pray for the Church to rise up into its calling
“So, we pray for the Church to rise up into that calling. The Church is also vital in bringing solutions to the problems of the nation, because God has given wisdom to His sons. He has given understanding of the times and seasons.
“God’s Word tells us in Romans 8:22 that the whole of creation groans waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God, so in praying for the Church to arise we are praying that all of creation will find its solutions through the wisdom God gives to the sons of God,” says Mkati.
She reminds that in Matthew 16:18 Jesus said I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
“We have had a lot of scandals in the Church and a lot of things that have made the Church look as if it is not effective in the world and not representing God well, so we are focusing on the fact that we must allow Jesus to build His Church in these days and that believers must strengthen themselves in the Lord and in that way overcome the challenges that have seemingly been defeating us,” says Mkati.
She says the final prayer point for the week is for the Church to take on the burden of making disciples of all nations, and for the salvation of all those who are still in darkness, including all other religions.
“We are praying that God will remove the veil of the unbeliever, so that they can see Jesus.”
Ways to unite and participate in prayer
Mkati says the #50Days2BlesstheNation forum is encouraging South Africans to unite in prayer by:
- Praying a daily blessing over South Africa;
- Prayer-walking, Prayer-driving, Prayer-cycling your neighbourhood, community, town, township, city, farms, countryside, shopping mall, business district and industrial area;
- Interceding for the salvation of those who are lost and without the knowledge of God;
- The prayers of Individual believers, prayer-watches, prayer-groups, congregational prayer.
How to participate:
- Download the Prayer Guide to Bless the Nation from http://ifsaprayer.co.za/category/resourcesmedia/ or http://www.jwipn.com/50-days-to-bless-the-nation-16-april-to-4-june-2017/
- Receive a daily Whatsapp message from +27 817161203 with practical prayer-walk suggestions;
- Receive a daily video clip with inspirational message from +27 798791848;
- Prayer-walk with a friend. Pray for the present needs of people and places you see. Read Scripture aloud. Turn biblical phrases into prayers. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and to pray according to the Father’s heart. Address your prayers to God when contending with evil. Ask God to restrain spiritual enemies so people can be redeemed.
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