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Parliament Prayer Service 24th of November 2017

Background and Introduction

" I am honored to provide an introduction and context to what we are about this afternoon of the 24th of November 2017.

Firstly, this prayer occasion is a sort of national service we render to the men and women elected by the people of South Africa to provide leadership from this Parliament in these difficult times. As mere mortals that they are, we suspect that they do need help from the Creator of all things, the father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  So, we pray and do so not only today but on an ongoing basis.

Secondly, we have come to pray for our nation. What better place to stand when you pray for any nation than in its national Parliament?  As Christians, we believe in the future of this great country. We believe that a nation can be born from the divisions and skirmishes of our past. We believe that former enemies can be reconciled and work together to build the nation.  Indeed, this is already happening across the country, and in this room, are men and women who have struggled doggedly to undermine racial, ethnic and even class stereotypes in order to discover together what it might mean to be one in Christ.

We believe the wounds of our past lie at the root of many of the challenges we face today.  It funds the rage that burns in the hearts of many, leading to unthinkable levels of violence, rape and abuse of women and children. The racism that often erupts in our midst, the poverty of body and soul that appears to defy all government transformation efforts, are all consequences of our past.  We believe that only God can give us the grace to forgive and to work together as followers of Jesus, who has shown all of us forgiveness.

We have gathered here as part of an ongoing prayer programme for our nation. As a nation, we are blessed with many intercession groups around the country, many of whom are here with us. All of them wrestle with the challenges we face: poverty, racism, corruptions, and lack of leadership, idolatry, and everything that hinders us from entering the Promised Land that God intends for us at the dawn of our democracy.

Last year, at the 40th anniversary of the June 1976, we gathered at Orlando Stadium, Soweto. We recalled how 40 years ago, young South Africans marched to that stadium to register their disaffection with the education that apartheid was serving them. They never made it to the stadium. Many perished under a hail of gunfire. 40 years on, #FeesMustFall is reminding us that we continue to fail our young people. So as Church leaders and intercessors, we decided to complete the march that the Soweto youth could not complete and made our way to the Stadium. We offered prayers of confession and repentance. What was significant was that we were joined by the men and women with whitening hair, who were on both sides of the June 16 skirmishes. Both sides agreed that we must build a reconciled and sustainable future for all our children. This is
a work in progress.

We have come not only to pray but to covenant together in the work that lies ahead for all of us. For the Bible tells us that Faith without Work is dead. Similarly, we invite all South Africans to pray and labor along with us. Like Nehemiah of old we say: “You see the distress we are in…. come, let us build…. So that we may no longer be in reproach” Nehemiah 2:17"

Rev Moss Nthla
 

Download the whole prayer here

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