Can a prayer meeting make a nation? | Thoughts on #ItsTime

My husband, Murray, met Angus Buchan at a urinal. Murray was doing what men do at urinals and Angus came in to do the same, but offered my man the hearty greeting,

‘Isn’t it great to be doing the Lord’s work!’

Murray was my Plus One at an authors’ breakfast. So, Angus was enthusing about the authoring, not the urinating. He and I have the same publisher. Later that morning he grasped my hand warm and sincere and he has the kindest eyes. I could hardly breathe. He seemed so thrilled to meet me.

Now, I’m a total nobody and he’s a Very Big Somebody.

Except he’s not.

He’s little and old-ish and completely wonderful and there’s nothing flashy about him (except maybe his belt buckle).

I was awed smaller and drawn closer by his gentleness, his humility. Kind of how it might have been to meet, I don’t know, Jesus.

When I heard about the #ItsTime prayer meeting that happened in Bloemfontein on Saturday, I thought, how amazing that God has raised up a father figure for the church in South Africa. It seems to me no one can be jealous of Angus’s ministry because he’s so all about Jesus and so not about himself. He’s so not a threat. So inclusive of diversity. So passionate about unity.

Here’s what else I thought:

I understand people’s concern. Because big Christian events can bring out all the crazies and the charismaniacs. And because all the money spent getting a million people to a farm in the middle of the country could have gone into plumbing toilets in a township. I totally agree. That kind of money should be going towards education and infrastructure, redefining justice and rediscovering dignity.

And yet when a woman anoints Jesus’ feet with ridiculously expensive perfume and Judas is indignant – saying that the perfume could’ve been sold and given to the poor – Jesus rebukes him and explains how pleased He is with the woman’s extravagant worship.

I guess one of the mysteries of God is that He’s all about social justice and He also owns all the money and I definitely don’t understand His economic scales. Sometimes things seem unfair or stupid to us, but there’s a whole lot of wisdom and glory going on in the wings of eternity past-present-future.

And if anything’s going to save South Africa, it’s prayer.

Our country is one of the safest places on Earth when it comes to natural disasters and nuclear fallout.

What makes our country dangerous is people.

But people can change.

And the Only One who changes people is Jesus.

South Africa has 54 million people. More than a million of them were praying in Bloemfontein on Saturday and, possibly, a few million more around the country and the world.

So, what if God changed a million hearts? What if even just one million changed people take Nkosi Johnson’s advice – doing all they can with what they have in the time they have in the place they are – loving and influencing just 54 other people across ironing boards and boardroom tables in the beauty and muck of life?

I think it would add up to some kind of dazzling kaleidoscope of change and it would be glorious.

When we were getting married and the wedding plans were stressing me out, my sister said the best thing. She said, The wedding is just Day 1. Sure, it was a hugely significant day. But it was just the first day of many days. A wedding doesn’t make a marriage. Day after day after day of togetherness makes a marriage.

A prayer meeting doesn’t make a nation. Day after day after day of love, integrity, wisdom, courage, justice, generosity, selflessness and togetherness, makes a nation.

But man, I think praying for a day is a fantastic way to start.

Because, it’s time.

. . .

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  1. Thank you. This was really worth reading – I am glad I did. I think we all are still processing after Saturday’s event and this definitely helped me think of stuff I haven’t thought of yet.


  2. Wonderful article.
    The prayer meeting not only had people praying in Bloemfontein but all over the country.
    So I don’t know how many prayed but it must have been millions.
    It showed just jow much we love our country and hearts were changed many came to salvation and GOD was glorified.


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