A Christmas prayer for world change, from a small corner of Africa

God who flings stars and writes the future –

Something’s got to give.

This just-so-tilted planet-home is our soft snow and beach sand, red dust and hard rock – cafés, cathedrals and cobbled streets. You make masterpieces: Sweden and the Serengeti, the States and South Africa, and every child’s Christmas smile. You wrap us in damp grey and bright white and true blue skies and you fix time zones and rhinestones flicker in the dark.

You see it all, and you take your glory.

But something’s got to give because the sin stain seeps through centuries and every page of history. Every heart in every nation blackens. Corruption and climate change scream brash of thoughtless needless greed. Talk is cheap and life is cheaper in an economy of bling things and discount sex and unthinkable soul suffering.

And you haven’t ended it? You have us here still carving out your Kingdom in mud slums and fast-car cities. So if we, your people, who are called by your name will humble ourselves and pray and seek your face and turn from our wicked ways – will you hear from heaven, forgive our sins and heal our land?

Awaken us. Wake us up! Like you did those shepherds once.

Make us alive to your calling. Shock us out of conceited and complacent. Shake us out of depressed and indifferent. Ignite in us a passion for your purposes. Dissatisfy us with the status quo so that we won’t wallow and moan, but step out of the mires of poor-me and into the destiny you have for us. Help us to say the best yes. Yes to what you’re calling us to. Yes to, ‘Are you living like you’re dying?’ No to the things that distract and deter. And on the darkest nights of doubting ourselves – doubting if it’s all worth it – even doubting you – send those who will shine a light on our dreams. And show us how to do that for others.

Saviour born in a stable – keep us from measuring success on the stock exchange or storing it smug in iCloud. Keep us abidingly satisfied with the success of obedience – the kind that only you ever really see. Keep us trusting that greater is he who runs the universe than those who drive industry and the internet, that you will provide, that you will build your church, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. And remind us often, Lord, that we’re just flecks in the wave of history that rolls on deep and wide and all for your glory.

Almighty God, in these days of injustice, anger and fear, make us a people of hope and joy. Help us to get real perspective on the challenges of our lives, of our country, of the world, by magnifying above them your great Name – so that we see reality – not by the lights of Eskom – but in the sure and certain blazing light of your splendour. Give us the wisdom to understand the things we can do to make a difference – and give us the courage to get busy doing them.

Because maybe the something that’s got to give is us.

Keep us so filled up with the spilling-over life you freely gave that we can’t help but keep on spilling changing grace. Keep us counting the gifts – and using the gifts – and being the gift. Remind us that your thunder rolling blue-black across the twilight is louder than the neighbour’s generator and that from these windows on this street in this suburb at sunset we must keep on shining our Christmas lights –

Because yours is the Kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever.


. . .

Thanks for hanging out here. I’d love to hear from you. You can keep in touch on Facebook or Twitter, or sign up to get these posts by email.

And get yourself a copy of Dragons and Dirt: The truth about changing the world – and the courage it requires – plus a couple more for Christmas gifts? – on Amazon or Kalahari, or right here on dalenereyburn.com through PayPal or Postnet. Half the proceeds of every book sale will go towards Botshabelo’s Preschool Teacher Training Programme in Olievenhoutbosch and other under-resourced communities in Gauteng. Because really, we can change the world.


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