Thursday, September 04, 2008

durban report part 2

Five Prayer Walks 2: Durban North

This was the first of four walks forming the Cross Durban Prayer Walk. There's a very fuzzy map of the walk at Cross Connections, I'll try and get a better version posted somewhere. The idea was to walk a cross-shape over the city of Durban, marking out God's sovereignty over the city by Christ's death on the cross. We were walking from church to church, symbolically connecting the churches in Durban together by the cross, building on existing unity and forging new links. When the British first came to Durban they came to divide and conquer, we were coming to unite and serve. There was also some significance in the direction of the walks, walking from the northern, western and southern points into the centre and then from the centre out to the coast, again symbolically bringing all the churches in to the centre and then out to the rest of the world.

Ready to go...I woke on Saturday morning with that excited feeling inside like a small child on Christmas morning! We started at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Durban North. COGS have been involved with SITC in Durban since the beginning, hosting teams working with Lungisani Indlela in Amaoti. It was great to worship together at the start of the walk and to take some time to listen to God.

We walked from COGS through Durban North, praying and listening to God as we went – allowing the things we saw and heard to inspire us to pray and stopping occasionally at historically, geographically, physically or spiritually significant places along the way to pray. These places included an area in which Masonic symbols are formed by the layout of the streets, a road junction which sees many accidents, a Swiss Masonic Lodge and a shop belonging to one of the local ladies who joined us for the walk. Durban North is a particularly affluent area, with large, well guarded houses. Security in Durban is such that almost all houses are surrounded by high walls with large remote-controlled gates and many have guard dogs.

Our second stop of the day was at Living Waters Mission, a predominantly Indian Full Gospel church just off the North Coast Road. We worshipped and prayed for the local area and the church there, who do various things in their community and a nearby township. There were several words spoken there about it being a place of healing, particularly that they would see people healed of HIV and AIDS. We look forward to hearing the stories!

As we moved on from LWM, we stopped under the railway bridge to pray for the railway system in South Africa. The South African rail network is the most highly developed rail system in Africa and is nearly 100 years old. For various reasons, including the development of the roads and highways, it is hardly used, with only half of the 20,000km of track being fully used and 35% of it not seeing any activity at all. We prayed that the government would begin to use the rail systems again for transporting freight around the country, and that it would become a safe and reliable way for people to travel. The rest of the morning’s walk carried on down the North Coast Road, alongside the railway so we continued to pray for the system as we walked.

Six days later, as we were having breakfast, we heard on the radio news that a group of government officials were meeting in Johannesburg to discuss proposals to start to reuse railway transport to move freight across the country! God answers prayer!

Connaught BridgeBefore arriving at our third stop, we took some time to pray at the Connaught Bridge over the Umgeni River. It’s a busy road bridge and intersection between main roads, as well as a good viewpoint up into Durban from one side and down the river through the nature reserves to the sea on the other. The bridge also marks one corner of the triangular Masonic net I mentioned in the previous report. Here, we prayed against Masonic influences and strongholds over the city and for the lifting of this net.

Our third stop was at Morningside Vineyard in their new warehouse home. Like COGS, the Vineyard here have been very involved with the SITC delegates, hosting them in their church and working in the Cato Crest township (more about that in the next report). Here, we prayed particularly for children in Durban and South Africa and the many issues they face.

After stopping for lunch in the Burman Bush nature reserve nearby, we moved on towards our next church stop. The team questioned my route planning at this stage as we tackled several steep hills, stopping briefly at the top to worship as we caught our breath!

Church on Florida, where we were heading, also hosts delegates during SITC, this year placing them in a local school where they worked on decorating the hall. In the past, delegates here have done some street outreach on Florida Road (hence the name of the church,) which is a vibrant social area in the evenings. Florida Road is lined with various restaurants, bars and one or two clubs and the church is well situated to engage with people who are out for the evening. They’ve got some great stories of things which have happened as a result of this outreach.

The youth from Church on Florida had gathered to join with us when we arrived and we enjoyed worshipping and praying with them for the area and for young people in Durban.

We walked on to our final stop, Musgrave Methodist Church where we were welcomed by several church members and their new(ish) minister. Musgrave was the central point of the cross-walk so this was the first of four times we prayed there. I can't remember anything more specific about the prayer time here apart from miming the words to verse 2 of How Great is Our God to Steve as he led worship.... sorry! The lovely people at Musgrave Methodist then produced some amazing boerewors (sausages... only better!) and obligatory accompanying salad etc. A welcome sight at the end of the day!

Day 1 Summary:
km walked: 12.5
churches visited: 5
general prayer stuff: transport, industry, freemasonry, community

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