Time for Christians to live out their faith without fear — Chief Justice Mogoeng

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng swears in members of the sixth democratically-elected Parliament last week (PHOTO: Daily Maverick).

‘Three minutes in Parliament that God used beyond expectations’

Many Christians in South Africa and beyond were inspired when Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng called for three minutes of meditation or prayer for the nation in parliament last week and then knelt down to pray.

But some South Africans took to social media to express their disapproval of Mogoeng’s prayer before swearing in members of the sixth democratically-elected Parliament — and President Cyril Ramaphosa’s approval of his “unprecedented” prayer — which they saw as inappropriate in a secular state.

In an interview yesterday, the Chief Justice said he did what he did in obedience to God’s direction to him, that he acted strictly according to the parliamentary order of procedure for the day laid down to accommodate people of all faiths and people of no faith, and that he had not prayed for some people to be favoured above others — but for peace, national unity and prosperity, and an end to corruption — “all the good things that South Africa needs”.

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“Now, how somebody gets to criticise that, I don’t understand,” he said.

Before getting back to the interesting story of how the Chief Justice’s three-minute call to prayer or meditation came about, and what followed, let me report on his answer to my asking him what practical response he would like to see from South African believers who were inspired by his example in parliament on Wednesday last week.

Stop being timid
“I say that South Africans must stop being timid when the opportunity arises for them to enjoy or exercise their constitutional right to pray,” he responded.

He said they should feel absolutely free to initiate prayer at their workplace or wherever they were, with fellow believers or with people who were willing to be in the company of praying Christians.

“I’m here at the Constitutional Court and nothing stops me from saying to a number of people who happen to be Christians, let’s come together at lunch hour and pray together. There is no law against that; on the contrary, there is law in support of that practice.

“We must stop feeling guilty for being Christians. We must stop feeling like we are committing a criminal act when we declare who we are and when we practice our faith. And that, by the way, applies to everybody. Everybody has a constitutional right to live out who they are and what they believe in.

“There has been a trend to try and intimidate Christians out of Christianity. There’s a barrage of attacks against Christians when they seek to exercise their right to live out their faith. I think Christians must rise up against this intimidation, against this attack, and assert their right to exercise Christianity as their faith,” he said.

So, returning to the Chief Justice’s call for three minutes of prayer, I asked him how it came about.

He said that while he was meditating at home on Monday, last week, he had a strong impression in his spirit about the significance of silent prayer and meditation. As he sought the Lord for further revelation, God told him that adults should never embark on meaningless exercises and that the meditation or prayer time should be clearly defined. He should tell people what they would meditate or pray about, and for how long.

God also showed him that the prescribed meditation or prayer slot was not a time to impose his faith on others but an opportunity for all to focus on major challenges currently facing the nation.

And finally, he said the Lord specifically gave him the duration of the meditation/prayer slot: three minutes, with a minute to honour each personality in the Trinity — the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Introducing the mediation/prayer time in Parliament last week, Mogoeng stressed that it was a meaningful exercise and not a ritual, and he said members should stand, sit or adopt any other position during the three minutes.

Desperate for solutions
Asked about his decision to kneel in prayer, he said: “You know, I am so desperate for solutions for South Africa, and Africa and the world, and the best way I know to appeal to the Lord and demonstrate my humility towards him is either to kneel or to lie prostrate.

“What came to mind was to kneel down and to really appeal to the Lord to intervene — to unite us as the people of South Africa, to help us reconcile with one another as black and white people because there are elements of division there, to open up our eyes to the reality that we can all prosper if only we could be united as we could be as the broader South African family.”

I asked the Chief Justice how he felt about President Ramaphosa’s positive response to his going down on his knees and praying.

“I really was humbled, because I knew that whenever a public official like me openly declares their Christianity or prays, some people respond to prayer as if it is a terrible thing to do. Some people respond to prayer worse than they do to incidents of murder and rape and corruption.

“So, it was quite encouraging that the number one citizen of the country spent quality time expressing appreciation for prayer, and he even told members of parliament — although his remarks were addressed to Honourable Groenewald — that he really wished the prayer was broadcast.

“I was humbled. I really appreciate divine intervention for causing the head of state to express that appreciation. You can just imagine what would have become of that moment of prayer had the president poured cold water on it or treated it as if it was never said.”

Mogoeng added that he was also deeply humbled by the impact that God has caused through his simple obedience to His instructions on how to administer the meditation/prayer time.

“I had messages from men of God from as far as the United States of America — at least three — who had access to the clips and some articles that were written about it and they sent me words of encouragement.

“I had a message, also, from the former vice president of Zambia. He said, you know, tears welled down his face when he saw what the Lord did through me in Parliament. So it looks like God has really used this three-minute incident in a way that none of us could ever have imagined when he instructed me to do it.”

Book of the Law
Questioned about his gift of a Bible to Ramaphosa at his presidential inauguration at Loftus Versfeld stadium last Saturday, he said before Joshua assumed his governmental duties, God gave him guidelines for success — Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful — Joshuah 1:8

“You can never oppress anybody, you can never be unjust to anybody, you can never corrupt the system, if you follow the principles in the Bible as instructed by God,” he said.

Mogoeng said he was blessed to hear that Ramaphosa had tweeted in appreciation of the Bible gift.

I asked Mogoeng what he felt about expectations being expressed in some Christian circles, that despite the absence of dramatic visible changes after the elections, the nation was entering a prophesied time in which the Church would rise and corrupt leaders would be removed.

He said: “I think people must know that a thousand years is equal to one day in the eyes of God. Christians must know that God can give birth to a new nation at once, people must never forget that all creation — the heavens, the earth, the seas and all that is in them, were created in six days. So, there is nothing too hard for God.

“And therefore, we must stop trying to answer our own prayer. We must trust God at all times and depend only on Him and not on our intellect, not on our logic. We must depend absolutely on God and hold onto His promises.

“So once God has released a prophetic word, our responsibility is to hold onto it and pray it into manifestation relentlessly. Remember the story in the book of Luke of that widow, who had to deal with an evil judge. It is an example to all of us, that you need to keep on insisting on this which the Lord says He wants to do until it manifests.

“Pray, fast, link up with other brethren so that the will of God can find practical expression in our lives. So, I am confident that God is about to do what He has always wanted to do. Christians must key into the revival that has permeated South Africa and Africa and never give up, no matter the opposition, no matter the attacks.”


  1. All the Glory

  2. Our hearts. Burst of joy for a leader take a step so bravely. Millions of us pray for our government. Thank you sir. Thank you Abba Father for your son.

  3. Really I am deeply touched
    We are blessed
    May God hear our cries

  4. Hugh G Wetmore

    Let’s not be intimidated by those who deny Christian profession in “a Secular State”, becauuse “Seclarism” is itself a philosophy that controls belief and the way we live. SECULARISM IS A RELIGION AND SUBJECT TO THE SAME REGULATIONS AS OTHER RELIGIONS. The Chief Justice opened the door for 3 minutes of Secular meditation as much as for any other religion. God bless and encourage him! And ALL of us!

  5. Gill wolfaardt

    The Chief Justice spoke to God about South Africa ,not to South Africans about God. His humility and faithfulness inspire me and so many others. I fail to see how anyone could be offended. All of us regardless of our beliefs or philosophy, desire the same thing which is good things for our country, equality ,peace love, goodness ,kindness. Against such things there is no law.

  6. Rona van Niekerk

    I thank our great God and Father for you CJ. May He bless you indeed for your obedience, and may all of us be encouraged to continue praying for all the Christians whom the Lord has placed in strategic positions throughout SA. Praise be to our mighty God!

  7. Livhuwani Mudzunga

    It’s time to celebrate the goodness of God as Christians we must follow what he did and I thank him for obeying God

  8. I thank God for this I say south Africa back to God carry on and pray for our land don’t be intimidated by them we thank God for you there my our God protect you there.

  9. Praise God for the CJ showing such outstanding Christian leadership, fearless, compassionate and honouring to God.

  10. In His Spirit says the Lord my God we will abide. All over the world the spirit is moving. Thank you

  11. I personally have been to the ALMIGHTY for a President aligned to the WILL OF GOD ,and now I got a bonus, with a Judge who is also aligned to the will of GOD. Together they set an example of how South Africans should behave. No fear no favour, they both have set the standards of life, it is the duty of all Christians to follow suit. GOD ALMIGHTY will spare us now that we have leaders who fear HIM.

  12. We serve a mighty an wonderful God. God uses people in many different ways. His word in the Bible speaks of fishers of men and Chief Justice did what our county needed,praying for our country and praying for our leaders. Thank you Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng for being obedient to the word of God.

  13. Charmaine Hensen

    If my people who were called by my name will humble themselves & pray and turn from their wicked ways I will hear from heaven and heal their land thank Could for your obedience by standing in the gap for all South Africans May God bless you let us pray without cease Thank You Abba Father

  14. Iam humbled by the boldness and faith you carry. May God continue to use you Mr Mogoeng. I salute you

  15. I am humbled by your boldness and the faith you have. We thank God for you and May God bless you Mr Mogoeng. I salute you Sir

  16. Solani Ntukwana

    We thank God for having people like CJ Mogoeng in SA.A man and a servant of God who listen,obey and act upon the instructions that God give to him.May God be with you CJ

  17. I am humble the way you stand for what you believe god continue to bless you

  18. Oh God our God, I am so humbled by your obedience and your encouragement to stop being timid as Christians. There is hope for my beautiful country!!! We will keep on praying for you Chief Justice Mogoeng and the other leaders of this country. It is time for change!

  19. God will reward the faithful believers who put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

  20. I am humble the way you stand for what you believe. May God bless you!!

  21. Baboo Parmahans

    Well done judge. We need never to compromise the truth cos it’s the only thing that will set us free. We need to rise to every occasion to proclaim the truth.This country needs JESUS more now than ever. May God give you added strength as you steer this country and all those that are in authority in the right direction. We praying for you. Keep up the good work.

  22. Cheryl van eyk

    Praise be to God the father son and holy spirit our prayers are answered THankyou for your boldness GOd is still going to use you for his purpose what an honour

  23. Neville Ross Sealy

    Truly inspirational and reminds me (Again) that God plus one is and always will be a majority… No matter what!

  24. Russell Govender

    Approaching any subject with such humility and grace is inspiring and cannot be taken likely by any South African especially a call to God for intervention. I applaud the CJ for praying for South Africa.

  25. We give God all the Glory and praise for using Justice M M. We are so encouraged. Please South African let us pray for Justice M M and our President to be the vessels of God for prosperity, peace and justice for all in our beloved country. Let’s pray every minute of the their protection and favors of God to cover them.

  26. I thank God for this season for Tata Ramaposa to become a leader for SA , and I pray more grace and huminity all the time from God who send him as our Mosses of today.

  27. Eleanor de Freitas

    The love and power of God has no bounds, whether of race or adversity. Judge you touched many hearts and shows that we find beautiful spirits in unexpected people. Thankyou judge for your demonstration of love for God.

  28. Abba Father! For Thy Kingdom Come,For Thy will be done, Thank you so much CJ. You are David of this time in era.S A belongs to God

  29. Annelize Robson

    To God be the glory.
    Thank you CJ Mogoeong for your obedience to God.Many,many people we touched and moved to tears by your humble act of obedience and love for your country. May your life and that of your family be protected by Ps.91
    We love you.

  30. Thank you chief justice

  31. I thank god for sending you to remind us of who we are and what we live for.Becouse the is nothing impossible with God .It is revealed that its gods time

  32. Bongani Mahamba

    Sibonge ndoda kaThixo

  33. Sonia Odendaal

    God is glorified by our CJ’s obedience. May this be the beginning of a great revival in our country – the fruit of which will surely be true reconciliation between black and white people! Our country needs this reconciliation!

  34. Mrs. Fiona Jenkins

    May the prayers for the nation while at Angus Buchan’s Prayer Day be fulfilled. We see it coming. Praying for Zimbabwe as well. God continue to bless Africa please

  35. All glory to God for raising up a man who speaks The Word – May we all rise as one and proclaim our God reigns, He is the Alpha and Omega and we lift His Name on high – eventually EVERY knee shall bow and EVERY tongue proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord!

  36. Sandra Nathaniel

    What an amazing God we serve. He is able to penetrate hearts with negative thoughts to positive response and thinking. I love Jesus

  37. Anna-marie Jvn

    I commend u Chief Justice. All Glory to God ofcause. Thank u Lord, it’s time, and your time is Always perfect, raising up a man not ashame to show our Country what was missing all the time. South Africans had to give this land back to God. And u Chief Justice had showed them HOW– on our Knees before our Holy God. Thank u for being a good steward of what God had untrusted to u. God will always accomplish something that He started, and He shall accomplish also in and through u Chief Justice what He had started. In Jesus Name.

  38. You are an encouragement to other believers.We are not to be afraid of being Biblically Correct as opposed to being Politically Correct when it comes to our Faith.God bless you as you carry out your duties as unto the Lord.

  39. Glory to God God bless you and give strength and wisdom

  40. Glory to God. This is indeed the answer to the cry of many. To have God fearing people in authority. God bless you Sir

  41. Thank you Chief Justice for airing your faith in God with love and boldness. May He go before you and secure you, your family and your career as per Psalm 91. Africa has triumphed !

  42. Thank you Chief Justice.

  43. Thank you Chief Justice. What a Mighty God we serve.

  44. Let us not forget in our moments with God as we pray , to also ask for deliverance to our many pastors, preachers ,evangelists and bishops who have become ‘The Word’ themselves!
    Thank you Chief.!

  45. David from the Bible

    Indeed God doesn’t forget His people, this is real brethern – lets glorify God, let Him alone shine through our generation. He answered our cry and our fervently prayers for mercy.

  46. Gpd is rebuilding our nation.. Our children will grow in a God fearing South Africa, in the promised land

  47. God is rebuilding our nation.. Our children will grow in a God fearing South Africa, in the promised land

  48. I thank God for the Chief Justice, for his obedience to the Lord. We really appreciate this as Christians and also as citizens of SA. As a youth of SA, after reading about crime scenes in some schools and much violence and all the problems youth face. The Lord said the Jesus in us has an eternal and permanent solution for all, as He can change the conscience and hearts of all through prayer and His Word. My prayer is that Christian religion class may be reinstituted in schools as a subject where children can learn at least one scripture per day and taught this kind of prayer and meditation to be able to overcome depression and also empower the conscience to be able to resist doing evil in this last days. Children in the olden days learned to adopt good behaviour from religion as their conscience was strengthened by the word & Prayer at school assemblies.

  49. S’busiso Molosi

    So impressive, new dawn has come indeed, God bless my Country, proudly South African

  50. Amanda Mkutyukelwa

    What an encouragement to us as believers, we see you as young people.Thank you for obeying God, He is at work, we must not lose hope as believers & as a country. God Bless You, God Bless Our Land & To Him Be The Glory.