Patsy Fulton was one of around a million people who trekked to Bloemfontein last week to pray for South Africa – and to make history. Here is her report on this destiny-shaping day.
Vast numbers of people trekked across the country to pray together for God to make us the nation He planned.
People from farthest away arrived earlier and camped over on Ollie Le Roux’s farm, situated just north of Bloemfontein – the venue for the “It’s Time” national day of prayer last Saturday.
Others drove through the night to arrive there early Saturday. Metamorpha Church, in Witbank, which I attend, arrived in two 78-seater buses.
How this prayer meeting came about
Angus Buchan received a clear call from God:
- Cancel all planned overseas trips;
- Tell the Nation: – It is TIME – ONE million people
Two weeks after making this message public, he had 18 million Facebook responses.
Six weeks after that, the prayer meeting happened — because people heeded God’s call.
This life-changing event was about the reality in this land; South African Christians took it very seriously. The common purpose was much more than a church meeting in a field to the multi-cultural gathering represented all of South Africa. Intercessors at home, churches and around the world held the day in prayer. The camaraderie was tangible. It was evident even at the toilet queues where conversation and business cards was exchanged between strangers, loo rolls were shared and people held doors closed for a person they were never likely to meet again.
Two local radio announcers, in studio on stage, alternated between interviewing people of interest and playing Gospel music. Two South African favourites were interviewed:
- Dr Michael Moll said a few words earlier in the morning, he was proud to be there with his son.
- Heinz Winkler discussed how drought can be physical or spiritual; that God will rain down His righteousness on a South Africa who wants to pray.
More people share their story
Preparation for the day was compared, by a member of Buchan’s team, to the loaves and fishes bible story, it had been a matter of “bring and see what God will do”. Getting the work done to set up the field for the day required planning, and from experience they knew that putting together something like a Mighty Men Conference took a year at least, to organise. So it was daunting to have six weeks to prepare for one million people.
But, when tractors, water, toilets, car marshals, planning to handle 350 000 cars all happened in that time, they knew it was a God thing. “This is God!” exclaimed the speaker, “Look at how many people are here representing the nation?” He continued, “It was only possible thanks to hundreds and thousands of contributors. Goodwill has been amazing. This is God’s appointed time.”
Another part of the incredible infrastructure was the 10 kilometres of cable and 600 speakers in 29 towers relaying the sound across the fields. Attie van Staden explained the effect of the 3.5 second delay, from the stage at front to the speaker towers at back. It was impacting to hear the crowd far behind us, in a ripple of sound, reacting to what had been said, especially when a wave of “Amens” snapped across the veld, in response to Buchan leading everyone in prayer.
A cycle group who set out from Cape Point, rode 200 kilometres a day and battled the Karoo heat to get to the meeting. One rider was a Xhosa man, originally from Khayelitsha, the informal settlement on the Cape Flats. He explained that in the past he had felt desperate and hopeless, but when he met Jesus at a youth camp, joy filled and changed him. He added: “Today when I look at my wife and children, I know they would never have been in my life if I hadn’t changed.” He concluded: “Today is about God coming into our lives.”
Another cyclist was Reghaart van den Bergh, director of the Angus Buchan movie, Faith Like Potatoes. He said arriving at the farm brought tears to his eyes, more than the gruelling ride through the Karoo, on their six day journey. Van den Bergh took the opportunity to explain that since 2006, when the movie premiered, 400 million people have watched it. “Not bad for a Boer Seun,” he chortled. The movie has also been translated into 17 different languages. “Faith has feet,” van den Bergh explained, “it is up to those here today to take what happens today back to their home towns, and that is what will institute change.”
Lucky Mbiko, managing director of TBN in Africa, had come along to join the Day of Prayer for South Africa. “The role of waiting on God, with the whole of South Africa signifies unity,” he said. He admitted that the call of the shofars gave him goosebumps. “It is time for something to happen,” continued Mbiko, “this is Holy Ground. Whatever happens today let it be God speaking to this huge crowd.”
The day was described as “an historical event to change the spiritual climate of our country, like an altar in the middle of our land.”
Change our hearts and make the nation You planned
Angus Buchan arrived with his wife Jill and Simeon Benghu, his brother in Christ and first foreman of his Natal farm. Simeon opened with prayer in Zulu, speaking hope and salvation for our nation. There were more than one million people listening.
Buchan spoke boldly, that it would be “through us, as South Africa’s change of heart to God” that countries would be affected, right through Africa. “Make us the nation You planned,” he prayed to God, on our behalf.
The national anthem was sung before Buchan preached.
He clarified that the event was a Jesus meeting, to pray corporately for God to heal our nation. He prayed to pull down strongholds and to build up commitment to prayer. He used the example of Jesus in Gethsemane, as his message about the power of prayer before boldly asking, “Can a nation be born in a day?” He called unbelief the greatest sin and named the family as God’s unit.
Finally Buchan closed in very specific prayer, in Jesus Name, to stand for truth and righteousness, so that revival will come to South Africa.
When the crowd reacted to a scurrying whirlwind that blew through and over some of the crowd, Buchan said: “God is pleased with us for our renewed commitment.” He cautioned listeners that bigger winds would come.
Exhausted, yet exhilarated adventurers who had spent the day in Bloemfontein on April 22 can honestly say: “I was there, the day Christians made history in South Africa!”