It is difficult to keep track of the many prayer movements that are engaging South African Christians today. Jesus followers are participating in an ever-expanding array of local, national and international networks with significant prayer moves breaking out in churches, homes, workplaces, schools, on the streets and in public arenas. Prayers are being lifted up for many reasons but the common thread is a cry for revival. And surely one of the most remarkable of these prayer phenomena is the 50-days-of-non-stop-prayer-for-revival initiative that is happening right now in 20 prisons throughout South Africa.
Now in day 47, the national prison prayer move was launched on Easter Sunday and will continue until Pentecost Sunday, May 27. The initiative followed a 40-days prison prayer campaign in Johannesburg in 2010, and 40-days prison prayer campaigns in Johannesburg and Cape Town last year. Led by the Holy Spirit, a family who prefer to remain anonymous, spent two months on the road early this year visiting prisons around the country asking prison authorities to support the proposed 50-days of prayer for revival in prisons and in the nation. The prison authorities all agreed to facilitate the unique prayer campaign and the family spent a few days at each prison training prisoners how to use free CD prayer resources they had developed.
Esther (not her real name), a member of the family behind the campaign, urges Churches to get involved this week by joining the revival prayer initiative by praying at those participating prisons which have provided prayer venues for visitors. Anybody interested in this opportunity or in supporting prison prayer ministry, is invited to call Esther at 083-727-9182. She has sent Gateway News the following report-back from participating prisons (which we publish verbatim):
Heidelberg Prison in Johannesburg: We praise God the inmates are praying and they are on fire for God. The family did a follow up visit with the Prayer group: the inmates just continued praying they would not stop, they say it was the spirit of prayer coming upon them. One inmate came to Esther after the time and said: “I received Jesus here in prison a few weeks ago. I am just a baby Christian. I want to ask you about the fire I saw while you ministered the word and prayed. It looked like real fire; it is the first time I have seen something like this. It was all over the room.” I referred him to Acts 2 and the Pentecost fire. Praise God, we are trusting God for the Pentecost Fire in every Prison.
Praise God, The Free State: Chaplain Modise reports the inmates are praying and fasting everything is going well we see change in our prison and are looking forward to your second visit. An inmate from this prison phoned on the day they had to start with the prayer to say, that the contractors are renovating our centre and we cannot move. I have encouraged the men to start praying right where they are until they are moved. He said” “We are on fire for God”.
Western Cape: Polsmoor Prison: Pastor Pienaar, a staff member and Piet Van Wyk, the Spiritual Coordinator, who are the Prayer Coordinators at Polsmoor Prison report: We cannot give you accurate reports of the numbers praying, we started with 12 inmates in 2011. This year (2012) we had 76 men praying on the 19 April 2012. Piet said the numberswere growing every day. A few weeks later Pastor Pienaar reported that there were now 748 men praying. The Community was invited to pray at the home of Pastor Pienaar who lives on the premises; he runs a church, True Worship, on the premises. They experienced such a breakthrough. Pastor Lebusho, a staff member at Polsmoor, who runs a church in Kayelitsha, attended the 40 days of prayer in Pastor Pienaar’s home last year. He was so encouraged and motivated, he decided to participate in the 50 days of Prayer in 2012. The family visited Pastor Lebusho’s church in Kayelitsha in February 2012 giving prayer training and motivated them. Praise God this church is on fire and praying and inviting other churches in Kayelitsha for the prayer. What’s amazing is to see how the prayer has a rippling effect in each community. It is spreading like a wild fire, and God is doing it.
Northern Cape: Upington Prison: Mr Abrahams, the spiritual coordinator, reports that the inmates are praying, some of them are finding it difficult to fast, but praise God everything is going well. We have not been able to get hold of Mr Abrahams in this week for an updated report. We need to pray for the Community of Prayer Warriors in Upington, that they will hear about this movement and that the prison will open a prayer room for them. Praise God, we are trusting for Divine Intervention from Heaven above. Jesus is the Great Intercessor leading this prayer movement in every prison.
South Eastern Cape: George Prison: Mr. Willie Botha, the spiritual coordinator for this prison, who also is a presenter at the Radio Eden-Gospel Station, reports regularly, he is so excited. The prisoners are reading the book: “The Father’s Cry for the Son’s to come home”, which was donated by the author of the book: Christian Brochu in Canada to all the prisons in South Africa. The book is based on the Father’s love for his sons. It helps the sons to discover their true identity and their purpose for being created by God. It motivates them to move from slavery to sonship. He says that there is such a change in the lives of the prisoners, the staff members are amazed, they want to know: “Why are the prisoners so quiet?” Gangsterism, violence and abuse are the elements they battle with. We are praying and trusting God for permanent change in offending behaviour. The intercessors from the community who are praying in the prison with the inmates during the day, and some of them who come in at night to pray, are regulary reporting back on what God is revealing to them. They say: “The Spirit has challenged us to continue with the prayer even after Pentecost Sunday.” These intercessors have faced many challenges and hardships but they continue praising God in every situation.
Eastern Cape: Port Elizabeth- Saint Albans Prison: Mr Geduld reports that the inmates who were trained are praying and fasting. Some of the prisons in the Eastern Cape are facing major challenges with gangsterism in the prisons. This is a common problem in most prisons. We are trusting God to change the hearts of stone and to give them hearts of clay- Ezekiel 36 is what we are praying for in the prayer room everyday. He says it seems as if there is chaos in this prison since we’ve started with the fast. We have encouraged them to persevere and we are trusting God for the breakthrough in this prison. Please pray with them.
Kwazulu Natal: Durban Westville, Empangeni, Port Shepstone, Kokstad, Pietermaritzburg, Ncome, Glenco and Umzinto Prison were mobilized for the 50 days of Prayer. The family motivated the eight chaplains who are managing the different prisons in Kwazulu-Natal at their Regional Chaplains’ Meeting to participate in the 50 days of prayer. They express their sincere thanks to the Regional Director of Development and Care who supported this initiative and encouraged chaplains to participate. Chaplain Naidoo has given feedback: “We began a small prayer watch with with the female staff in Vryheid. These ladies are experiencing great attacks from the enemy, but I have encouraged them to hold on. I am also promoting prayer at the other correctional centres, in Kwazulu-Natal, so please keep us in your prayers. God be praised for His marvelous works that He is doing in Natal.
Northwest Province: Rustenburg Prison were mobilized for the 50 days of Prayer. Chaplain Ditswene reports that the juveniles are praying and fasting. The staff members are reporting that they are meeting regularly at the prison and are praying every day. They will give feedback.
Mpumalanga Province: The Witbank Prison was mobilized for the 50 days of Prayer. Th family met with the chaplain and He promised to take the process further. They received this email from Witbank. We are a group of approx. 15 people ministering in the Witbank Paxton Prison. We have been there for approx. 3 years but only gained access to a classroom to do weekly lessons last year May.We had a revival weekend over Easter (organized by the inmates) We had such an awesome time and saw God moving in such powerful ways. We had many new converts and many coming forward for prayer and deliverance. We also had the wardens and prison officials joining us. What unity in the presence of God! A friend has just forwarded the email regarding your 50 days of prayer and the packages to be distributed to prison leaders. We would love to network with your ministry and support in any way we can–New Life Church.”
Limpopo Province: We have received news from Tzaneen that a spiritual care worker is reaching out to 80 men on a weekly basis and would like to become involved. We plan to follow up and visit them. Please pray for this Province.