Prayer walk 4 - south
The next section of the cross-Durban prayer walk started here, at what is known as "The John 3:16" church in Seaview. Seaview is south of the centre of Durban, just the other side of the Umbilo River. The "John 3:16 Church", so called because they have a HUGE sign outside displaying that Bible verse, does actually have another name, which I, like most of the rest of Durban, can't remember (Sorry Hansen!). It was great to be able to join with some of the church members here, to worship with them and pray for them. The church is situated in an area with a high crime rate and lots of prostitutes working on the streets around them. It is also historically significant, placed on a group of roads known as The Ladder which is part of the masonic influence over the city. We prayed for the church, and for the leaders, that they would be encouraged and strengthened, that there would be depth of relationship and true unity between them and the other churches in the area and for the work that they are doing in their community.
We walked on, praying for the area and for the things around. Seaview is fairly close to the port so has various military connections. A little way down the hill, we had to cross the M7, a motorway-level busy road but with a pedestrian crossing! Fairly scary as the green man didn't just flash... he ran! He also gave us barely enough time to dash across the road before the huuuuge lorries began hurtling towards us at great speed again. By the grace of God...!
Alongside the road, the Umbilo river runs towards the sea. We paused for a while on the bridge to pray. Somewhere around this area marks another corner of the triangular masonic net which I mentioned in my first report.
A couple of weeks previously, Lucy and I had walked this section of the walk, checking out the area and making sure it was possible to walk this way. As we crossed the bridge that day, Lucy came close to falling down a deep manhole which had been left open on the bridge. Jean later explained that the manhole covers are often stolen as they can be sold as scrap metal. We prayed at the time that these would be covered again to make the bridge safe. Coming up onto the bridge for a second time, it was a surprise to discover the holes covered with bright yellow manhole covers! Much safer! And yet another reminder that God answers prayer - even prayers about manhole covers!
Beside the river is a small nature reserve and a park, and then a fairly typical Durban residential area, which we passed through, praying as we headed on towards our second destination of the day, the Faith Family Church.
Some of the members of Faith Family Church were there to greet us and we very quickly got down to worshipping with them. Here, we were encouraged to pray more creatively as Pastor Rudy handed out flags amongst the congregation whilst displaying a list of the different meanings for the colours on the screen. For most of the team - as British as you can imagine, the thought of flag waving in worship was a little uncomfortable. Cultural differences I suppose - I don't think any of us think there's anything wrong with flag waving at all, we just don't really go for it ourselves.
As the sung worship ended, Rudy encouraged us in small groups to use the colours of the flags to pray for Durban - the groups with the blue flags praying for God's Holy Spirit to move in the city, the green flag groups praying for life, the red flag groups declaring the power of the blood of Christ etc.
During the next section of the walk, we were able to stop in various places for specific prayer;
- by the entrance to the Umbilo Cemetery
- at a high school
- outside an old people's home
- at a road junction
- a spot from which the university was visible on the hill
It was good to be able to pray for all these, and more, aspects of Durban as we walked, using the things we could see and hear to inspire our prayers.
Our next stop on this walk was not a church, but a small grassy area just beside the road along which we were walking. There are lots of churches in the area but we chose the grassland for its clear view of the port, and also because we had hoped that people from the many churches around would join us for a picnic at this point. Unfortunately we had to reschedule this walk due to other events in the city and ended up walking this way on a weekday so people were less able to gather with us.
After a relaxing lunch (including some chill out time on the swings!) we gathered round our large map to worship and pray for the city, with the map, the outdoors, the surrounding area, the view across the port and a couple of items of 'prophetic junk' to inspire us. Prophetic junk is a term we've started using to describe the items we pick up along the way when prayer walking - anything which catches our eye (and can legally/sensibly be taken) and which God appears to be speaking through. Today's prophetic junk was an old book cover inside which had been drawn some crude cartoon pictures - symbolising the desire for relationship and intimacy, and the struggles which young people are facing, and a heart-shaped weaver bird's nest, pictured below.
We stopped less on this last section of the walk, partly maybe due to tiredness? We did take some time out on Berea Road to pray outside a large masonic lodge situated right next to the road here. The Port Natal lodge was founded in 1858 and was the first in Kwa Zulu Natal. It stands beside the busy N3, a road from Durban's port out into mainland Africa, and just below the Ridge Road ley line which we walked the Sunday previously. We prayed again that the influences of masonry over Durban would be silenced, for truth and freedom for all those concerned.
Just around the corner from the lodge was our final stop for the day - the Berea Congregational Church. Our feet had a well-earned rest as we sat around the fountain in their forecourt and prayed for all that had been part of the day.