An aerial view of the It’s Time gathering April 22. (PHOTO: @DrMichaelMol)
A million people prayed together and encountered the Holy Spirit together at the It’s Time prayer day last Saturday. Here a Karoo farmer, a retired minister from Howick, a couple from Beaufort West and a woman from Worcester who travelled to Bloemfontein by train with a group of 500 prayer pilgrims, all share their thoughts and impressions of the historic day.
The desire to pray as one body for the salvation of South Africa was so compelling that it drew a million believers to the It’s Time National Day of Prayer to humble themselves before the Lord God Almighty.
In the build-up to the prayer day many thought a million people attending was far-fetched and impossible.
Yet, people of faith travelled in aeroplanes, busses, taxis, motorcars, motorbikes, bicycles and on foot from all corners of southern Africa and beyond to assemble in the veld in the centre of the country, kneel before the Lord in the dust and repent and worship Him in Jesus Christ’s name as their way and truth and life.
The immense prayer gathering had a singular focus, Jesus Christ, it was not about any person, but our Saviour, the only begotten Son of God, this was made clear by Angus Buchan, who called for and led the meeting.
Middelburg to Bloemfontein
Before the Church clock had struck 5am, Albertus Geldenhuis, a farmer from Richmond in the Northern Cape, met-up with 20 fellows in faith in Middelburg for the journey to Bloemfontein.
The group came together when it was still dark, in the still of a Karoo street and before they bordered their hired taxi they celebrated Holy Communion, which Albertus said was a profound experience; standing in prayer as a body in the pre-dawn quiet — it set the journey to the national prayer gathering off in a wonderful way.
“Travelling in the taxi together with my son and 19 other believers, engaging in conversations and discussing issues was special. It would not have been the same experience travelling in my own vehicle.
“When we arrived at the event I became very emotional seeing the three crosses on the hill that overlooked the terrain. The crosses were placed in the perfect place as they were always in my awareness.
“I was amazed at how easily we entered the It’s Time site and found parking. I thought we would be in queues of traffic.
“The excitement of being there was wonderful, it was tangible, you could feel in the air, everyone was friendly, greeting each other and assisting each other. There was genuinely a feeling of goodwill.
“Being part of such a big crowd made for feeling that you were part of something big, something special, that something was going to happen that would ensure you were not the same person when you returned home,” said Albertus.
He explained that although he went to the gathering with great expectations, because of all the prophetic words and all that he had read on social media about preparations for the event, when he arrived he had the distinct feeling that the gathering was something God had planned and been orchestrating for a long time, so many different prophecies and seemingly unrelated preparations planned before the event was ever thought of by men came together on the April 22 in Bloemfontein to form the It’s Time National Day of Prayer.
Time for individual prayer included
The fact that Uncle Angus made time for individual prayer was a special aspect of a gathering that focused on praying for the nation, according to Albertus.
“It gave me time to sort out things in my own life and bring them before the Lord and it felt different doing it as part of a crowd of many people doing the same thing instead of by myself at home, because while I was praying personally, I was still aware of being part of a much larger body of believers all praying.
“Another special part of the day was when Uncle Angus asked the entire assembly of a million people to kneel. It was a wonderful symbol of how we have allowed ourselves to become proud and the necessity for humbling ourselves before the Lord and recognising our dependence on Him.”
The most important message that Albertus received from Uncle Angus on the day was that we should acknowledge the problems we face as a country, but not be negative about them. We should see them through God’s eyes and be aware that He is in control.
“Uncle Angus used the phrase, ‘But God’, so if anyone says something negative about the country we should answer ,‘But God’, because we know that He is in control and we know that ‘He works for the good of those who have been called according to his purpose’.
“He emphasised that we should be positive about our country and its people. We all know the power that is in the tongue and our words. We have allowed the enemy to use our weakness of speaking negatively for his purpose for too long.
“I think that is one of the biggest changes we can make; to be careful of the way we speak about our country, people, government, and President. That alone will make a big difference to our country. We should speak life into the nation,” said Albertus.
Personal role of bringing positive change
As a result of being at It’s Time, the Karoo sheep farmer said he is more aware of his personal role of bringing positive change to the country.
“We must realise that a huge shift took place in the spiritual realm due to the national prayer day, which we should remind ourselves of every day and live according to that new reality.
“God has taken back His ownership of South Africa from the enemy. It is through those lenses that we should see our lives, that God is in control,” said Albertus who is determined to go forward in such a way that he reflects the truth of God being in control in South Africa.
He is also grateful for the healing of his son’s ankle, which had troubled him on-and-off for years and had restricted his participation in sport, yet was cured during the event, although they only became aware of it when they got back home.
Albertus was surprised and impressed by the number of elderly people at the event, many of whom walked with difficulty or on crutches, yet they took the trouble of joining the prayer gathering and sat out in hot sun for a large part of the day.
While the traffic was jam-packed getting out of the event, which took many hours, Albertus said it was a small sacrifice to pay for the experience of such a blessed prayer assembly.
An aerial view of some of the fields used as parking lots for It’s Time. (PHOTO: Riaan Janse van Vuuren)
Howick to Bloemfontein
Another who was blessed by the day of prayer was retired Methodist Minister, Oswin Kretzman, who travelled from Howick in KwaZulu-Natal to attend the gathering.
“I was amazed by the fact that so many people attended what was essentially a prayer gathering, yet it drew a million-plus people from all corners of the country and from all denominations, which was incredible given that the prayer meeting is the Cinderella movement of the Church.
“For me it was a miracle that so many people attended a prayer meeting, the whole meeting was a miracle from beginning to end. There seemed to be no need to persuade people to attend, they just wanted to be there.
“The other thing that was miraculous was the emphasis of the meeting, which was on Jesus, His saving work, the worship of God Almighty, and the need to rely on the Holy Spirit, and that the most fundamental response we can give is prayer, especially people praying together as the body of Christ.”
Sign of revival
Oswin believes the meeting was a sign of revival.
“While the wind was there in gusts the wind of the Spirit was also there. During the whole It’s Time gathering we were surrounded by the gentle breeze of the Holy Spirit, which was very marked.
“While there were no dramatic expressions of the Holy Spirit, like people breaking out and speaking in tongues, I believe the Holy Spirit was there doing gentle, but deep work in all sorts of ways — physical healing, emotional healing and spiritual healing.
“I believe there will be a continuing impact of the Holy Spirit in the aftermath of the event.
“I think we will still see positive consequences manifesting from the meeting in months to come, especially in people’s attitudes changing particularly concerning being positive about our country that was repeatedly urged by Angus, which was a salutary reminder to all of us not to be influenced by the criticism of media.
“I believe the call by Angus to be constructive when speaking about South Africa was an anointed word.
“What he said will be etched in our memory and bring hope to people regarding the future of the nation,” said Oswin.
Beaufort West to Bloemfontein
David and Jenny Jack left their home in Beaufort West in the Western Cape at 12-midnight on Friday to travel together with friends by car to the It’s Time National Day of Prayer and arrived back home at 12-midnight on Saturday after the gathering.
“It was a milestone in South Africa’s history, it was amazing that it took place and amazing to see how many people participated,” said Dave.
“It was amazing that a million people arrived in the veld and the hot sun, and so many families with small children, it was mind-boggling.”
Jenny says from where they sat they could not see any end to the crowd.
“Although we knew quite a few people who attended, we didn’t see one familiar face. There were so many people that it looked like a lot of ants.
Need for a positive attitude
Dave was blessed by the way that Angus spoke without blame or censure, but with sound advice and encouragement, especially regarding the need for a positive attitude towards our neighbours and nation.
“I agree with Angus’ emphasis on the need to focus on the family and reconcile relationships within our households before looking to solve the country’s problems.
“If we can relate to each other within the family in a Biblical way many things will fall into place in the country.
“I was also strongly impacted by Angus saying that a nation can be born in a day and confirming it from God’s Word in Isaiah 66:8, because if we can humble ourselves before the Lord and set the tone for the country to follow then the Lord assures us that he will heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:14).
“He is a miracle working God and he will change our land if we humble ourselves, pray, have faith and allow Him to do it by treating each with love and respect,” says Dave.
Having returned from the It’s Time prayer gathering, Dave is adamant that he will focus on building good relationships, especially among the youth and children, because so many children are growing up without father figures.
Jenny believes Angus has put the ball firmly in the court of those who attended the prayer day.
“We feel strongly that there should be follow-up meetings to encourage each other and reach out to others.
“We hope to see the fruits of the It’s Time National Day of Prayer in changes in the country,” says Jenny.
Maryke Smit, left, and Dianne le Roux on the train leaving Worcester station for It’s Time in Bloemfontein.
Train ride from Western Cape to Bloemfontein
A train was organised specially to carry people from the Western Cape to the day of prayer.
“A diverse group of more than 500 people from many different denominations and towns were on the train,” says Dianne Le Roux from Worcester.
“It was fun bumping into people from Robertson, Hartenbos, and Cape Town a real mix of people including old friends that I had not seen for quite some time.
“It was a relaxing way of travelling and we were transported by busses from the station in Bloemfontein to the It’s Time venue,” explains Dianne.
She says attending the prayer gathering made her feel as if heaven became quiet.
“I couldn’t speak either, because I was emotional and it was such an amazing feeling to be part of it. Every time I looked at the crowd on the big screens I was brought to tears realising how many people committed to attending the national prayer day and are seriously seeking hope for the country in the Lord.
“There was one incident as Uncle Angus was speaking about the gentle wind being no coincidence, but that the presence of the Holy Spirit was tangible, when a whirlwind developed and took about five hats high up into the sky as well as a South African flag, it was beautiful,” said Dianne.
Reminder of need for righteous living
She found the day to be a strong reminder of the need for righteous living.
“We can’t expect the Lord to change the country if we don’t come into line with His word and honour him.
“I think we were all reminded of the importance of spending time with God and spending time in His word. We should focus on God, realise He is where our answers lie, and not be distracted by negativity.”
Dianne says she left the prayer gathering with renewed hope.
“I walked away thinking: now the work lies ahead. Those of us who gathered need to spread what we have heard, encourage people to be positive, turn to God, and pray and seek His will for the country.
“It was also very encouraging to know that back at home there was a gathering in support of the It’s Time meeting. I have spoken to one or two people that attended and they say it was blessed.
“It was wonderful to know that many people who couldn’t make the trip still took time out to join us in spirit,” says Dianne.