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Pray for the Economy  of Nelson Mandela Bay
1 March - 15 April 2017
Prayer Guidelines to pray for the Economy of the Nelson Mandela Metropole
Every year during the time of Lent we have a special prayer focus called "40 Days of Difference". For a period of 40 days, we focus on praying for various aspects of the economy in the Nelson Mandela Bay. If you are not staying in the Metropole you can also use these guidelines to pray for your own local economy during this time, or any other time. On the Christian Calendar Lent starts every year on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday. While Lent is a 40-day period of fasting and prayer, there are actually 46 days from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday.  Saturdays (originally the Sabbath) are not counted as part of the 40 day period. 
This prayer initiative started during 2009/2010. The focus is the economic recovery of the region, poverty, and unemployment in the Metropole including Uitenhage and Despatch. The negative economic trend has been continuing since 2009/2010.  
This is not a prayer chain or a prayer watch and not an effort to formulate a "stand alone" prayer initiative but the focus is mere to add specific requests to existing opportunities where people are already praying and thus creating a greater awareness of the need for prayer for the economic situation. Special initiatives nevertheless are not excluded, and you are encouraged to be creative in your approach. You are invited to participate in the prayer strategy in one of the following ways: To incorporate the prayer guidelines into existing weekly prayer meetings. To organize additional prayer meetings for this purpose, to pray on site, to prayer walk specific areas where businesses are located, to read and pray through news articles in the business section of the newspaper every day, to pray for business owners in your church, to phone or to visit businesses in your immediate area to encourage them and to pray for them. Too fast, either certain days during the 40 days or to participate in a Daniel fast.
Key components of economic growth and recovery
Economies are very complex but for any economy to grow in a specific area there are a few simple conditions. First and foremost, the flow of money into a geographical area must increase, for the economy to grow in that area. If there is no added inflow of money and certain businesses prosper, it is simply at the cost of other business, meaning that some do worse while others do better. The economy is not growing in such a scenario. It is also important to note that once money has flowed into an area, that money needs to stay in circulation in that area for as long as possible. A simple example of this is to encourage consumers to spend their money in a specific area and not to go and spend it elsewhere if they can buy the same product locally or get the same service locally.  
* Expanding capital expenditure
* Investment from outside the geographical area, allowing money to be channeled into a specific area.
Money flows into an area in one of the following ways: programs by the government. This leads to more employment and subsequently more spending.
* Easy access to credit, making credit available to private banks to individuals and small and medium enterprises as well as the informal sector.
* Tourism is a major source of money flowing into a local economy.
* The increase in Exports is another catalyst for economic growth.
The Spiritual Roots of Poverty
Poverty has spiritual roots and must be dealt with accordingly, through repentance and prayer. The dynamics of such an initiative will be different from this one. It will most probably deal with tithing, giving, corruption, greed, unrighteousness in the workplace, tax evasion, sin on the land etc. This is nevertheless not the focus of the 40 days of prayer. There were several initiatives over the past years that dealt with these dynamics. This nevertheless is also an ongoing process.
Prayer Focus Areas
This initiative is divided into 7 focus areas that can be used for each of the six weeks during the 40 days.
Week 1: Focus: The response of the Church 
Week 2: Focus: Unemployed and Retrenched
Week 3: Focus: National/Provincial/Local Government Efforts
Week 4: Focus: Tourism/ Major Sports Events
Week 5: Focus: Investment and Exports
Week 6: Focus: Small and Medium Enterprise/Informal Sector/BEE 
Week 7: Focus: God, Our Provider

  Week 1: Focus: The Response of the Church 
Verse of encouragement for the week: ‘If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you" Leviticus 25:35 (NIV)

It is estimated that there are more than 600 major churches in Nelson Mandela Bay. Just imagine the impact the church can have in the community. Fortunately, many churches are reaching out the poor in communities in and around Nelson Mandela Bay.  Check out PE Churchnet to see what Churches are doing in the Nelson Mandela Metropole. There is also noteworthy corporate initiatives like just1hour.

Pray for the Church to:
* Be more sensitive to the needs of their own members who are unemployed and retrenched as well those who are having financial difficulties.
* Find creative solutions in helping members with financial planning, debt counseling and finding employment.
* Effectively deal with the negative stigma of unemployment, retrenchments, and financial difficulties and to create an environment in which members feel free to openly discuss these problems.
* Become involved in ministry in poorer areas, or to support ministries working there already. 
* Find the sustainable solution in dealing with the poor. 
* Get involved in corporate initiatives in the city.

Week 2: Focus: Unemployed and Retrenched
Verse of encouragement for the week: "So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?" Ecclesiastes 3:22 (NIV)

Pray for:
* Employees who have been retrenched and who are now facing a lack of income. For them to deal with the disappointment and bitterness of losing a job. For men who have lost their role as a provider in their homes, for their families to be more understanding and supportive. For those who have been rejected by the community because they can not contribute to the welfare of others. 
* The unemployed who are employable, to find employment. Especially young qualified job seekers.
* Those who have been unemployed for a long time to regain their hope and faith in God.
Check out: The latest published economic performance and employment figures published by the Eastern Cape Socio-Economic Consultative Council. Visit the Website here

Week 3: Focus: National/Provincial/Local Government Efforts
Capital Expenditure Programs 

Verse of encouragement for the week: "The day for building your walls will come, the day for extending your boundaries" Micah 7:11 (NIV)
During a recession, one of the most popular ways in which Governments all over the world try to stimulate an economy is to embark on capital expenditure programs. This is also a strategy implemented by the SA Government. Provincial and Local governments are tasked to implement these programs. The Department of Roads and Public Works of the Eastern Cape Government has allocated R4 billion in the 2014/15 financial year for maintenance of infrastructure, the provincial road network and the delivery of provincial infrastructure. Roads and public works are allocated R12 billion.

Pray For:
* Political agendas not to hamper the implementation of these
* National, Provincial and Local Government to effectively identify needs for these programs, to effectively formulate the programs and the implementation thereof. Areas that have already been identified are infrastructure development and the building and maintenance of hospitals and schools. * Allocation of tenders, to be transparent and fair and in line with tender procedures. That corruption in tender procedures will be prevented and exposed. 

* An end to corruption in al spheres of society, programs, that the needs of people will be met and that money will not be wasted on unnecessary programs.

Week 4: Focus: Tourism 
Verse of encouragement for the week: " but no stranger had to spend the night in the street, for my door was always open to the traveler" Job 31:32 (NIV) 

Pray For:
* A successfully integrated tourism development strategy involving all relevant Government Departments, The Tourism 
Board and the Private Sector.
  (See the 2009 -2014 Eastern Cape Tourism Master Plan here)
* Service levels in the tourism sector to be on par with international standards.
* The unlocking of the tourism potential in Nelson Mandela Bay and the Eastern Cape.
* The informal sector to be successfully integrated into tourism ventures.

Week 5: Focus: Investment and Exports
Verse of encouragement for the week: "Ship your grain across the sea; after many days you may receive a return.  Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land. Ecclesiastes 11:1,2 (NIV)

The major role-players in presenting the Metro as an investment opportunity to the rest of the world are Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM), the Coega Development Corporation (CDC), Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) and the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber.

Pray for:
* The Metro to become a major investment destination for national and international companies and corporations.
* The efforts of the NMBM, the CDC and Chamber of Commerce to attract investment, to be successful.
* The successful implementation of the Metropolitan Spatial Development Framework of the NMBM that sets out the prospect of future industrial development across the Metro.
* The UDDI's (Uitenhage and Despatch Development Initiative's) successful implementation of planned developments and expansion of existing projects.
* Political agendas, corruption and unrighteousness not to influence decision-making processes. 
* Continuation and expansion of export contracts for motor manufacturers and related industries.
Check out: New Vehicle Sales Statistics - Get the latest NAAMSA sales figures here

Week 6:  Focus: Small and Medium Enterprise/Informal Sector/BEE 
Verse of encouragement for the week: "Then they gave money to the masons and carpenters, and gave food and drink and olive oil to the people of Sidon and Tyre, so that they would bring cedar logs by sea from Lebanon to Joppa, as authorized by Cyrus king of Persia" Ezra 4:7 NIV

It has the potential that the informal sector will, in future, become one of the most important sectors providing employment for people. This is nevertheless one of the most neglected sectors of the economy in terms of training opportunities, the availability of credit and access to bigger markets. The informal sector in townships is run almost entirely by foreigners these days. Small and Medium enterprises are also severely affected by the economic downturn with many businesses reporting a decline in business.

Pray for
* Struggling businesses all over the Bay to find creative ways of doing business. Especially for Christian Business owners and managers who are confronted on a daily basis by unethical, unrighteous, corrupt and unlawful business practices. For them not to compromise.
* Christian business owners, managers and even employees who deal with business owners, managers and employees of other faiths. For them to have wisdom and insight in working with or dealing with people of other faiths.
* The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber to be able to continue their invaluable service to large and smaller business concerns.
* The successful implementation of the Black Economic Empowerment strategy by businesses, for wisdom for business owners on how to deal with the demands of labor practice and labor law and to turn this into a win-win situation for both employers and employees.
* The development of the informal sector, for them to obtain access to credit, training opportunities and access to bigger markets.
Also, check out
* RGT Smart is the major indicator of confidence in the local economy - Find the latest index here
* RMB/BER Business Confidence Index First Quarter 2014

Week 7: Focus: God - Our Provider
Verse of encouragement for the week: “But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.” Matthew 17:27 (NIV)

It is often during times like these that common sense, business savvy, ingenuity, creativity and any other qualifications required to prosper, simply do not provide answers. Many business owners, employers, and employees are at this point. They simply do not have answers for themselves and their businesses. But it is often during such times that God does miracles so that we, as his children, can bring glory to His name.
* That unbelievers will turn towards God and that they will put their faith in Him as their Saviour,
Helper and Provider.
* That believers will seek God’s face, turn from their wicked ways and follow Christ in all that they
are doing, and to trust Him in the first place for a breakthrough in their lives.
* That believers will become more conscious of, and willing to live a simpler life; for them to be willing to share their resources with those who do not have resources so that Christ can be glorified
through it.
* For believers to put in a bigger effort to seek Gods face corporately, for the establishing of 24/7
prayer watches in every region in the Metropole in Business, Government, and Education.
Quote: "As Christians, we must learn to focus on our Farther and to trust Him for our daily bread. He promised to care for His children and the proof is that Christ paid the full price for us. Remember that your needs are not bigger than God’s ability to provide. Keep your eyes on God and not on your needs or on the people who could possibly give you a job or help you financially. God is our Farther and he will care for you.” By Bennie Mostert in Practical Prayer: Touch the world by praying God’s Word.

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