Crying for my nation

Tonight I ask you to do something a little different with me. Tonight I ask that we pray together.

Tonight I decided that it is time I call South Africa home. I wasn’t born here, but it has become my land. I have hesitated to claim it as my nation until now. I suppose as a foreigner with no ‘worldly’ roots here (no property, permanent job, etc) I haven’t felt like I have the right to a claim. It is therefore interesting that it is now – when it is facing a dark hour – that my heart won’t let me distance myself from it or its pain.

It was only because of God’s call that I first came here on the back of the 2008 xenophobic attacks and His peace remains over me now. It is not fear that I feel, but sadness and grief. I have formed friendships with people from all the racial groups that make up this beautiful rainbow nation. I also have a host of friends here who, like me, were born abroad. They are beautiful people. Most of them know God and do not judge people by their nation of descent, or the colour of their skin, or their tribe. Yet it is not only their faces that come to my mind tonight as I pray and grieve. It is a mass of faces belonging to people I’ve never met, all the people residing in this nation.

Please join with me in prayer for these people and this nation:

Father, we thank you that you are sovereign over all the nations. We thank you that your Son has died for all people. Your kingdom is not bound by international borders. All men and women were made in your image. Please speak these truths to all those throughout South Africa.

Kill the flame of violence that has been stirred. First, statues were used as an excuse to excite the masses, and now African foreigners have become the target. The heart of man is dark, but you bring light. We ask that you shine your light on this land. Free those stirring up the hatred from their captivity to darkness. Break the chains that bind them and causing them to desire to inflict pain on others.

Protect the innocent. Comfort those who mourn. Grant your peace to those who know fear.

We also lift up the leaders, politicians and police force of this nation before you. We ask that you will be the One guiding their decision making. We ask that you will give them a spirit of boldness to do what is right. We ask that they will step up regardless of what the consquence might be to their career, power, or life. We pray for leaders bowing down under the weight of your Spirit, humbling seeking you will. We pray for protection over those sent to quell the violence.

Lord, we ask that you will redeem the past of this nation and put the hatred to death. Let this land see a new era of peace and freedom with leaders walking in fear of the Lord, and who care for the people and not their status, assests or personal power.   

In the power you have granted us and in the name of your beloved Son we ask these things. Amen.

Revelation 7:9-10 After these things, I looked, and there was a crowd so large that no one was able to count it! They were from every nation, tribe, people, and language. They were standing in front of the throne and the lamb and were wearing white robes, with palm branches in their hands.They cried out in a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the lamb!”

7:13-17 “Who are these people wearing white robes,” one of the elders asked me, “and where did they come from?” I told him, “Sir, you know.” Then he told me, “These are the people who are coming out of the terrible suffering. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb.That is why: “They are in front of the throne of God and worship him night and day in his Temple. The one who sits on the throne will shelter them. They will never be hungry or thirsty again. Neither the sun nor its heat will ever beat down on them, because the lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd. He will lead them to springs filled with the water of life, and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”

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