As I post this update, the digital countdown on our Prayer Day notice board, says there is 1 day and 15 hours until the Christians of our city gather in the iconic Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium for a day of prayer that organisers believe will change the history of the metro.
A key focus area of the prayers will be on repentance for sins such as crime, idolatry and division; and on pressing in to the redemptive purpose of the city, which local Christian leaders believe is to be a gateway for taking God’s blessing into South Africa and the rest of Africa. Education, including 2011 matric exams, and thanksgiving for rain are also on the prayer programme.
There is a buzz of mystery and expectancy in Christian circles as the call to prayer spreads through word-of-mouth, cyber networks, and radio chats like a modern shofar blast calling the faithful to action. What started two months ago as a vision shared by a few Christians from different parts of the metro, is now indeed happening — a fact that was highlighted today when the prayer day steering committee and the stadium management signed an agreement that secured the stadium as the venue for Saturday’s prayer event .
There have indeed been some testing moments as it seemed that time, and lack of funds were working against the project . But the organisers pressed on, encouraged by co-organiser SAPS General Dawie Rabie’s unwavering conviction that God had opened doors that nobody could close. Churches, businesses and individuals rallied with contributions to meet financial challenges, and the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality joined the team, providing much needed financial support.
But the shofar calls will continue to sound until the last prayer warrior enters the stadium on Saturday. The organisers would like to see every one of the 30 000 available wristbands sold by 2pm on Saturday, when the prayer day officially starts. Based on estimated sales of 10 000 wristbands today, it is possible. Wristbands, which are required for admission to the stadium, are on sale at various outlets around the metro and will also be on sale at three points outside the stadium on Saturday from 1pm to 2pm. The cost is R5 for adults and R2 for children.
Special prayer day busses will be available in certain areas to ferry prayers to the stadium and home again. The busses will depart from high schools in Uitenhage, the townships, the Northern Areas and Walmer Township at 12:00. The bus schedule will be posted soon on our Prayer Day noticeboard.
Prayer day participants may not bring any drink or food into the stadium but refreshments will be on sale throughout the event.
Free public parking will be available from 12 noon to 6pm at the following schools in the area:
Morewag, Dr Viljoen, Lawson Brown and Cilliers.
Venues where wristbands are on sale on Friday are:
· Gospel Direct, Walmer Park
· Charlo Butchery
· Student Life Events office, NMMU
· And at the following venues between 9am and 12 noon:
o Victory Ministries International church office on Stanford Rd
o Fishers of Men Ministries (old Blue Sisters building)
o Transformation Christian Network at 71 Main Rd, Walmer
o Holy Trinity Anglican Church on Havelock Square, Central
o Dominion Ministries at Bethelsdorp Resource Centre
o Summerstrand Community Church – 48 Erasmus Drive, Summerstrand.
As the last arrangements for the prayer day are taking shape on Friday, the army, police and local residents are embarking on a 10km prayer walk through Forest Hill, Summestrand and Humewood. It all makes one think of the words of the Casting Crowns song, “What if his people prayed?”, which is reflected in the NMB Metro Prayer Day logo. We will find out soon enough!