Three minutes in Parliament that God used beyond expectations

Many Christians in South Africa and beyond were inspired when Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng called for three minutes of meditation or prayer for the nation in parliament last week and then knelt down to pray.

But some South Africans took to social media to express their disapproval of Mogoeng’s prayer before swearing in members of the sixth democratically-elected Parliament — and President Cyril Ramaphosa’s approval of his “unprecedented” prayer — which they saw as inappropriate in a secular state.

In an interview yesterday, the Chief Justice said he did what he did in obedience to God’s direction to him, that he acted strictly according to the parliamentary order of procedure for the day laid down to accommodate people of all faiths and people of no faith, and that he had not prayed for some people to be favoured above others — but for peace, national unity and prosperity, and an end to corruption — “all the good things that South Africa needs”.

“Now, how somebody gets to criticise that, I don’t understand,” he said.

Before getting back to the interesting story of how the Chief Justice’s three-minute call to prayer or meditation came about, and what followed, let me report on his answer to my asking him what practical response he would like to see from South African believers who were inspired by his example in parliament on Wednesday last week.

Stop being timid
“I say that South Africans must stop being timid when the opportunity arises for them to enjoy or exercise their constitutional right to pray,” he responded.

He said they should feel absolutely free to initiate prayer at their workplace or wherever they were, with fellow believers or with people who were willing to be in the company of praying Christians.

“I’m here at the Constitutional Court and nothing stops me from saying to a number of people who happen to be Christians, let’s come together at lunch hour and pray together. There is no law against that; on the contrary, there is law in support of that practice.

“We must stop feeling guilty for being Christians. We must stop feeling like we are committing a criminal act when we declare who we are and when we practice our faith. And that, by the way, applies to everybody. Everybody has a constitutional right to live out who they are and what they believe in.

“There has been a trend to try and intimidate Christians out of Christianity. There’s a barrage of attacks against Christians when they seek to exercise their right to live out their faith. I think Christians must rise up against this intimidation, against this attack, and assert their right to exercise Christianity as their faith,” he said.

So, returning to the Chief Justice’s call for three minutes of prayer, I asked him how it came about.

He said that while he was meditating at home on Monday, last week, he had a strong impression in his spirit about the significance of silent prayer and meditation. As he sought the Lord for further revelation, God told him that adults should never embark on meaningless exercises and that the meditation or prayer time should be clearly defined. He should tell people what they would meditate or pray about, and for how long.

God also showed him that the prescribed meditation or prayer slot was not a time to impose his faith on others but an opportunity for all to focus on major challenges currently facing the nation.

And finally, he said the Lord specifically gave him the duration of the meditation/prayer slot: three minutes, with a minute to honour each personality in the Trinity — the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Introducing the mediation/prayer time in Parliament last week, Mogoeng stressed that it was a meaningful exercise and not a ritual, and he said members should stand, sit or adopt any other position during the three minutes.

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Source: Gateway News