One of the powerful declarations at the ‘It’s Time’ national day of prayer was “can a country be born in one day?’ and the over one million voices answering “Yes!”.
On the 22nd April 2017 Christian men, women, and children converged on a farm just outside Bloemfontein to intercede for a nation in crisis. They came in cars, busses, trains, and planes, bicycles, and even horses. They came from all over South Africa, and by the time the prayer meeting started there were well over a million believers joining hearts, minds, spirits, and voices together with one accord. We have to ask the same question the prophet Isaiah asked; ‘Who has heard of such a thing? Who has seen such things?’ (Isaiah 66:8) Nobody in South Africa has ever seen a gathering of this size before, let alone a peaceful, God-honouring gathering like this. Yet it is not just the day itself that was so remarkable.
To bring just 100,000 people together in one place usually requires many months of planning and facilitation, but the preparation for this gathering took just six weeks! The cost of a meeting of this magnitude is enormous yet there was no appeal for money and no offering taken. After much smaller open-air meetings the litter and damage is often considerable, but not this time; the location was left as it was found, clean and restored. Remarkable!
Look at this picture and ask yourself how many ushers were needed to park the cars and get the people into their assigned areas? How did the organisers manage to get so many speakers and TV screens and such a huge stage, and where did the money for this come from? How come there were no reports of major accidents before, during, or after the event? Surely, the organisation for the event was a miracle in itself?
I was not able to be there, but as I talk to those who did attend, read the accounts on social media, and meditate on this extraordinary event I come to the following conclusions:
- It was not so much what was said from the platform or who said it that was vital, but rather the fact that so many believers went to such trouble, cost and personal discomfort to be there.
- The church of the Lord Jesus Christ was represented as one people together in submission to Almighty God and this must have caused the angels to rejoice and the devils to tremble.
- The unbelieving people of the land will hear of this event. Even if the secular press downplay it and the politicians deride it, they will hear of it and be amazed. The event was a witness to the nation as a vast multitude of Christians shouted out with one voice, “We are deeply concerned for our nation yet we depend on God and we believe that He will intervene.”
- A mighty throng of people came away enthused and encouraged to spread words of hope far and wide and determined to keep praying until they see their nation reborn.
I have not even tried here to write about God’s role in all of this for surely it is obvious that He cares, that He hears the cries of His people, and that He is able to act mightily. It is equally obvious that the Holy Spirit facilitated the event in the most remarkable way and that this work of His will be recounted by future generations.
Now, in what way could we expect this mighty happening to affect our nation, and can we legitimately trust that God is already at work in the affairs of our land? Can we claim that in some inexplicable sense God answered Isaiah’s Question of “Can a land be born in one day or a nation be delivered in an instant?” (Isaiah 66:8).
This is what I see happening:
- The light of truth will shine in the darkness of our government and we will see and hear one leader after another speaking out against corruption, greed, arrogance and national theft. We have already witnessed this starting to happen within just one day of the prayer meeting.
- The ruling party will continue to polarise and fragment into competing factions before our eyes and some of its key leaders will form new alliances. Once again, we are seeing the start of this right now.
- Economic conditions will continue to deteriorate as the nation is paralysed by the political struggle gripping its throat.
- The powers of evil in our national will most likely attack the church with every available means and accuse it of siding with foreign influences in betraying the elected leadership of the nation. But, with every onslaught, the light of truth will grow more intense and glorious. Remember what Jesus said to His disciples, and to us, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.“(John 16:33).
- Churches across our nation will swell with countless numbers of people seeking truth, hope and love and very soon, we will be witnessing a genuine Holy Spirit, Jesus-centred revival of historic proportions.
OR perhaps this is not what will happen at all! Perhaps we will witness the hand of God sweeping down and removing the cancer at the heart of our society with surgical precision! Perhaps we will see our land re-born more dramatically and swiftly than we can even imagine. 1 Corinthians 2:9 “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”
Here is a point-by-point eyewitness account by Truth is The Word colleague Candice De Carvalho for those of you who, like me, were unable to attend this historic gathering:
- Worship started at 11:30 followed by a break and then another worship session at 13:00 – 13:30; at the beginning of worship we sang the national anthem together. There was an outstanding spirit-led worship leader who spoke in-between songs about Moses who asked the Lord “who am I that you should call me?” God responded by saying “I am who I am.” We were reminded that we come to Him only with what we have in our hands and that is the name of Jesus.
- Angus began speaking at 13:30 about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, a very emotional, loving, impassioned speech. He called a young boy of 12 to the stage to blow a Shofar – the sound had a huge emotional and spiritual impact.
- We were asked to take off our hats, join hands and go on our knees. He said that the word says “if my people who are called by my name…” so we must be His people gathered. We followed in a prayer of salvation and repeated that we will serve no other gods but YOU; then we were given 5 minutes of personal prayer time. Asked to pray out loud and confess our sins. He spoke after that again giving scriptures and testimonies of other meetings.
- Angus acknowledged the political leaders who were present in a tent on the grounds without mentioning any of the parties or leaders. He said, “we respect and honour you for being here”. He was at pains to state that the meeting was not political and said we don’t fight against each other or political parties, but that our fight was one of good and evil.
- Angus mentioned a number of areas we were going to pray into and said he would pray for these areas and we were to say Amen to each prayer. He reminded us that Amen means ‘let it be so’ and that shows our agreement with his prayers.
- He prayed that God would raise up a Jesus-fearing government in our country very soon; that SA would become a country that takes the word of God literally as it is written; we say no to immorality; we say no to sex before marriage; we say no to pornography, drug addiction, alcoholism; he asked that ‘racialism’ would be destroyed; that rape and senseless murder would be gone; to give our armed forces the power to bring stability back this nation; restoration in the family between mom and dad, between children and their parents; respect for all people, for underprivileged and poor people and rich people and all people in this country; we say there is NO OTHER GOD besides Jesus Christ and Him alone; we will not serve any other Gods save the Lord Jesus Christ; please forgive us for compromising our nation, our family, and our future; from today onwards we promise to stand up for truth and righteousness at all costs; that we serve no other gods; we draw a line in the sand and say, “devil, no further than this!” We come against stealing and theft; that parliament would be opened every day with the word of God and prayer. Most of the prayer is HERE. After the prayer, he said that God was pleased in with the gathering and says “thank you for making a renewed covenant with me”.
- Directly after these prayers for South Africa, he quoted scripture saying that – “if you ask for anything in my name and believe in me, you will receive what you ask for.” At that moment a mighty rushing wind swept from behind towards the stage. The wind was a sign from God to the gathering. The wind moved and ‘danced’ over the congregation in different areas at different times.
- A period of praying for individual healing followed. Angus asked us to stand up if we needed healing for different things and he prayed for healing of 1) Anxiety, stress, depression, fears; 2) Heart disease; 3) Cancer; 4) Women who can’t have children with their husbands. He reminded us that the place where we are meeting is called Wild Aloe which has medicinal properties. The Lord showed him that people would be healed.
- He drew the meeting to a close and asked us to leave respectfully and before we left he asked that we sing the song “No Longer Slaves” (“I’m no longer a slave to fear but I am a child of God”.)
Other quotes taken from what Angus said:
“People hardly have the time to pray, how could we expect change to take place? If we could pray to God for rain, just imagine what He could do with our prayers to heal the sick, to help the country, to turn hearts back to Him who is risen”
“The gathering is not a political meeting, but one of faith. Jesus is eagerly awaiting to hear from us. When people are desperate, they always pray to God for help”
“I’m not speaking to a church, I’m not speaking to a congregation, I’m speaking to a nation. And I want to ask you a question. Can a nation be born in a day?” To which the large crowd answered enthusiastically in the affirmative.
- Throughout the meeting, I personally didn’t see one person with a political party T-shirt, and I loved that people refrained from this. I was also was pleased that there was no food or drink sold – nothing commercial. It was a statement of intent and focus that the meeting be for prayer and focus on Jesus. A man selling ice creams was asked to leave by marshals.
- It was a super emotional event. I cried so many times! Oom Angus was also overcome a few times. One simply couldn’t stop the tears from slipping out!
- The crowd was not as racially mixed as I was hoping for. However, all races seemed welcomed and loved by those around them. There was a supernatural unity among us that brought into sharp focus the meaning of the miracle of the body of Christ. We are no ordinary organised crowd – we are the miraculous gathered church of living stones under the headship of Christ. I became deeply aware of what the church is.
- During the first worship session before the delayed start, the Lord showed me the Garden of Gethsemane and reminded me of how the disciples slept, despite being asked by Jesus to keep awake with Him. I was so convicted not to sleep but to watch and pray. This was later confirmed when Oom Angus opened up the meeting by preaching about this passage and calling us to be watchmen for Jesus.
- Again during the first worship session, the Lord said to me that the purpose of the event was “activation”. That we would be activated to go out again and pray more and influence where we can. This was also confirmed in the sermon.
- I was deeply touched by the symbolism that I saw in the event being initiated by a simple video message to Oom Angus. I realised the impact that one humble individual can have – I see that God orchestrated this event in this way as symbolic message to us of how we as individuals leaving the event will go out and potentially have the same impact.
- After the prayers for South Africa, a wind came up from behind me and blew my large South African flag (that was attached to my camping chair and lying still beside me) at top speedI also saw the wind in an umbrella in front of me – the umbrella was turned inside out from the gust. This was hugely impactful – I just jumped to my feet from my chair laughing hysterically with joy, happiness and excitement. Unspeakable joy!
- There was a song about the White Horse (We Will Ride), which was so special to me – I waved my SA flag during this song as a declaration of prayer for the Lord to “ride” over our precious nation. Afterwards, I heard the testimony of a woman who saw a vision of Jesus on a white horse above the gathering; she also received a sms from her daughter, who was absent, who saw the same vision. I was in awe when I heard this testimony.
- Don’t believe the reports that say thousands or hundreds of thousands gathered. There were at least 1 million people, if not more. The best way I can personally describe the mass of people that were there is through sound not sight. When we said “amen”, for almost 4 seconds you could hear the echo of people behind you saying “amen”. The flat land meant you had no vantage point to see people, but the echoing sound told the story of the gathered church.
- It was a glimpse of heaven! One day we will look around us and as far as the eye can see we will witness other worshipers in Jesus name. Will I ever see this again in my lifetime? If not, I will remember this day when I am in heaven and see it again in even more glory.
A prophetic word (I received at 5:30 am on Monday 24 April 2017):
I was reminded that we, the body of Christ are His bride. By his blood alone, He has made it possible for us to approach the throne of grace with confidence. Just as Esther entered the throne room of the King to plead for the nation of Israel, so we, as we pray, approach God now. He showed me that His scepter is stretched out to us a nation who are praying, and what we ask for our country in the name of Jesus, we will receive.
(Images: OFM News)