Each week of the #50Dayd2BlesstheNation Alf James is interviewing a leader around the week’s theme. This week he spoke to Pastor Afrika Mhlophe about the week’s focus of “media and sport”.
The media and sport are both important shapers of society, because they influence how we think of ourselves, how we think of others and how we view the world, especially in relation to who we see as role models and what we see as success.
Afrika Mhlophe, an author and pastor of Good News Community Church in Nelson Mandela Bay says the media is a mirror of society and whatever it mirrors will reflect the standard by which the society lives.
“It is a two-sided mirror reflecting society’s current values and the values that are still to become those of society.
“We use this mirror on a daily basis, so it is important that the media reflects more godly values and the positive in society instead of predominantly negative.
“We need a media that can balance the positive and the negative in an unbiased manner.”
Mhlophe says the media should not only reflect the values of the powerful, wealthy and influential as though they are the societal norm, but also the values and circumstances of the poor, the working people and the unemployed who do not have as much influence, power or wealth.
“We should pray that God will touch the media institutions and that His will be done through media practitioners.
“For example, although more than a million people gathered in Bloemfontein to pray for the country at the “It’s Time” National Day of Prayer it was difficult to get the country’s national media to attend, yet if 10 000 people gather to protest against the president it is given high-profile coverage nationally.
“The bias is huge,” says Mhlophe.
He contends that sport is another sphere of influence that impacts on both the personal values of people and their lifestyles.
“We live in a culture in which sports people are hero-worshipped and their behaviour affects people for generations.
“We have seen how successful sportspeople that publicly proclaim their faith influence people without having to preach, because they preach through their craft and public behaviour, which are widely profiled in the media.
“It is important for us to prey for sports people to be positive, godly examples and for the success of ministries that reach out to sports people. We should pray for sportspeople to have the strength to speak boldly for their faith and not compromise their values or Christian principles.”
Mhlophe says Wayde van Niekerk, South Africa’s current world record holder, world champion and Olympic champion in the 400 metres, is an example of a sportsperson that sets a good standard that is a positive influence.
‘He is a relevant young person that is not monastic in his behaviour. He engages with the world without hiding, but also without compromising the values of his faith, which he is bold enough to speak about’ says Mhlophe.
Another example is Eric Liddell who was a Scottish athlete, rugby union international player, and missionary, who chose his religious beliefs over competing in an Olympic race held on a Sunday.
The #50Days2BlesstheNation initiative daily blessing for week 5 from May 14 to 20 regarding media and sport is:
We bless South Africa’s media with accurate, truthful and unbiased journalism and broadcasting. We bless them with the ability to discern the truth from the lie, to be bold in exposing hidden agendas and to be responsible for the content of their programs, magazines, newspapers and social messages. May South Africans accept the challenge to build the nation, rather than tear it apart; to encourage people, rather than accuse, curse and demean others, especially through social media; to be the solution to overcome racism, rather than perpetuating hate, violence and racial discrimination. Lord Jesus Christ, please help us as Christians to remove all hate speech from our mouths. We bless our sportsmen and women to be responsible role models for our youth, to excel in their sport and to be worthy ambassadors for South Africa. Lord God, please bless South Africa with a new heart!
Prayer walk/drive: Radio-stations, TV stations, newspaper offices, media stations, sport stadiums, and health clubs.
Pray for: broadcasters, journalists, newspaper sellers, editors, commentators, coaches, athletes, sportsmen and women, social media: Facebook, Instagram, what’s app, email, and twitter.
Intercede for the salvation of perpetrators: fake, false and distorted news and information, citizens who stir hatred, racism and instigate violence, cyber bullies, cyber fraud, match-fixing, and use of illegal performance enhancers.
The daily prayer guides throughout the 50 days are:
1. Daily Mirror
Allow the Holy Spirit every day to search your heart and bring conviction of wrong attitudes, thoughts, motives and words that can hinder God’s blessing to flow through you.
Daily Prayer: Father God, please forgive me for hardening my heart towards other people. Where I have become insensitive to your voice and to the suffering of people, I ask that You will remove the darkness and bring light and life. Help me to love again, and look at other people with compassion and mercy. Help me to guard my heart.
2. Surrender yourself
Surrender your life into God’s hand and allow Him to transform your heart, to direct your words and actions to become a blessing to South Africa.
Daily Prayer: Father God, please forgive me for every harsh word that I had spoken in anger, impatience, hatred or insensitivity, to family members, to people of other races, to leaders or to foreigners. Remove every curse from my lips and use me as an instrument of righteousness to bless South Africa. Help me to watch my words.
3. Bless South Africa
Pray this prayer daily for 50 days over South Africa and the people living in our nation:
Daily Blessing: In the name of Jesus Christ I bless South Africa: The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” Num.6:24-26, (NKJV).
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Mat.5:2-12, (NKJV)
“Blessed are You, our God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ…that we should be holy and without blame before You in love” Eph.1:3-4, (NKJV)
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 What’s app 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.