|UNITY AND TRANSFORMATION THROUGH PRAYER|
Message delivered by Rev. Siphiwe B. Nogobo, Baptist Church, Ikageng on 27 April 2001: Prayer Day, Potchefstroom
(Read Nehemiah 1:1-11, 2:1-6). The book of Nehemiah concludes Old Testament history. It relates the history of the three returns of the Jewish exiles who were permitted to return to their homeland from captivity in Babylon and Persia.
Nehemiah, a contemporary of Ezra, was serving as a cupbearer to Artaxerxes I, king of Persia. When he received news that the exiles who returned to Judah were in trouble and the walls of Jerusalem were in shambles and ruin, he was deeply burdened for his people and Godís work. He prayed for four months, and poured out his heart to God in fasting and prayer with many tears, because of the trouble afflicting Godís people in Jerusalem and Judah.
The walls of South Africa are also in shambles and ruin. Low morals, poverty, prostitution, adultery, fornication and all manner of sin abound. There seems to be no physical or spiritual protection. Satanism and various cults are becoming dominant in our society. We are faced with crises in our national government, local government, and in our education structures. People do not seek contact with God, and everybody does as he or she deems fit.
Our task today is not just to pray for two or three hours, but we are declaring war with the Evil One who is the author and instigator of all the permissiveness and chaos prevailing in our society. As Christians we know that we can have victory through persevering prayer. We are today baptizing Potchefstroom with the power of prayer. When we come before God in unity through prayer, our selfish pride and earthly, fleshly strength disappear. Prayer is that spiritual power that penetrates our humanity and breaks the yoke of sin that enslaves us. Through prayer we become colabourers with God. Through prayer God shapes the world. Through prayer God shapes human lives. The future is shaped through the power of prayer. So let us pray! Humans are not omnipresent to fill all the space of the universe at one time, but in prayer we practise a degree of omnipresence, because we move in the spiritual realm and transcend human limitations. In prayer we are able to chase thousands of demons and set the captives free! In that manner of prayer, we are assistants of God in shaping the future of our country.
Today God calls all of us to humble ourselves, to pray, to seek His face, and to turn from our wicked ways. Then He will hear our prayers and will forgive our sins and heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:14).