One can state without any fear of contradiction that our nation has always fervently sought and received divine guidance as it pursued the course of history. The communities of faith, the clergy and religious leaders in general have always played an important role in the national life of our country.
I have a vivid memory of how, shortly after the unbanning of the ANC in the early 90s, well over 230 representatives from 80 denominations participated in a ground breaking conference in Rustenburg, resulting in what came to be known as the Rustenburg Declaration. In the declaration the religious leaders confessed the role churches and religion had played in propping up the apartheid government and giving it a veneer of spiritual legitimacy. Critically, they pledged to work for restitution, reconstruction and renewal of our society.
It is a commitment that has stayed with many of my peers in faith-based organizations though, at times, it might have appeared we were losing our relevance in making this commitment real.
It was therefore with a great sense of fulfillment and déjá vu that last week I participated in a collaborative effort involving the Motsepe Foundation and leaders from different faith-based organizations in praying for our country. The occasion provided our nation with an opportunity to reflect, recognize the source of our blessings, and to seek God’s help for the challenges we face today as a country. The most important thing here is that different church and religious leaders from different backgrounds and cultures came together in unity, one spirit and one purpose, which was to pray for our country and bring the challenges our country faced before the Almighty God.
On the day we soaked ourselves in prayer and asked God to help us heal the racial tensions that we still have as a nation. We have noticed in the past months, in particular this year, the resurfacing of radical tension in our country. We can talk about it, complain about it, even fight about it and blame our government for it, but it is God who can heal our hearts and unite us once again.
In addition, we prayed for the poor‚ unemployed and marginalised people. Our economy is going through a different time with an increasing number of our people losing their jobs. We are among nations that have the highest rate of youth unemployment and yet, the rich are getting richer. We believe the help of God's wisdom our economy will grow again. We asked for God's guidance‚ leadership and blessings for a bright future for all South Africans. We have seen challenges our country face in the area of leadership, we want God to guide and grant wisdom to all our leaders, so they will remember that the people they are leading are God's creation. The future of our country is in God's hands.
Sometimes these challenges can look insurmountable and overwhelming, but when they do, it helps to know there is another source of power we can tap into for intervention. A praying nation does not lose hope, it should always seek God and will find that He is ready to intervene on it's behalf.
I commend all the religious leaders who came together for this national initiative . Let's keep praying until something happens. In spite of the challenges we face, the national day of prayer inspired hope and emphasised the importance of focusing on the positives in our country without denying our problems. I was particularly impressed by the order and discipline displayed by the Zion Christian Church under the leadership of His Grace Bishop Barnabas Lekganyane. Many of our religious organisations can learn this trait from the ZCC. The lack of order and discipline in some of our churches is just too glaring. This is a culture we must continue.
We all know our problems and some I don’t need to repeat here. Sometimes these can look insurmountable and overwhelming but when they do, it helps to know that there is another source of power we can tap into for intervention. A praying nation does not lose hope and always finds God ready to intervene on its behalf.
Well done to all the religious leaders who came together for this national initiative. In spite of the challenges we face, the national day of prayer inspired hope and emphasized the importance of focusing on the positives in our country without denying our problems. I was particularly impressed by the order and discipline displayed by the Zion Christian Church under the leadership of His Grace Bishop Barnabas Lekganyane. Many of our religious organizations can learn this trait from the ZCC. The lack of order and discipline in some of our churches is just too glaring.
One must also single out Patrice and Precious Motsepe and the staff of the Motsepe Foundation for making the event possible. Commenting on the event during the build-up, Patrice had said:
"We want to continue in that culture where religious leaders lead and pray for us. There is so much that is dividing us‚ and the focus should be on what keeps us together. No nation has succeeded by spending too much time on things that divide them.”
We thank the Motsepes for the care they have shown for the welfare of our country. Rarely do we find people as endowed with resources as them who still have time about the spiritual condition of their country and would pray for the poor. And we know that through their foundation they are doing a lot of charity and empowering work. We would also like to thank the different media houses who covered this event. We can only succeed and win when people pull together and each person play their part.
Finally, it is my hope that through this initiative we may all be awakened to the power of prayer and how it can unlock the blessings of heaven.