The African Forum on Religion and Government (AFReG) calls on all Christians to increase our prayers in this era of COVID-19. This week, Tuesday, July 28, 2020, our theme is “Justice for all”.
As Christians, we love our walk with the Lord, our worship, the personal times of devotion, our evangelism and other forms of mission. In this era of COVID-19 many of us are fasting and praying for God’s intervention. However, as we pray, we have to ask ourselves the question, “Are we really living lives in consistence with everything that God values as we pray?” The one area in which we can focus such a question is God’s value for Justice for all.
In Isaiah Chapter 58, believers were doing the wonderful spiritual things, praying and fasting. But God seemed to be far away from them. So, they questioned, “Why do we fast and pray, but God does not seem to respond.” The believers were told directly, that God was displeased because while doing the right spiritual things, they were neglecting what is important to God – justice for all and ensuring that those who are oppressed would be free. Isaiah wrote:
“Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? … Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD? “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to break the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” (Isaiah 58: 5 and 6)
The Prophet Micah echoes this in Micah 6:6: “With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?…” Micah gives God answer in Micah 6:8
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To do justice and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
What God requires is Justice, mercy and walking humbly with God. Lest we think this is just an Old Testament value in an era of “works righteousness.” Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself was very emphatic on the value God places on justice. Both Matthew and Luke record what he said to the Pharisees:
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. (Matthew 23:23)
We cannot ignore injustice around us and think we are pleasing God. Racism (recently we saw what happened to George Floyd in the USA), economic injustice, the oppression of women, tribalism are some of the forms of injustice that abound in the world today. The Word of the Lord Jesus in Matthews’s Gospel and through the prophets such as Isaiah and Micah remind us that we have to pay attention to those who are suffering and be part of the movement to expose and address injustice. God’s chosen fast includes breaking the chains of injustice wherever it exists. This is part of our calling. Justice for all is not an option.
As we are fasting and praying that God will renew us day by day, and that God will have mercy on the world in this dreadful era of COVID-19, we also have to commit to justice. Otherwise we are no different from the Pharisees the Lord Jesus criticized. As we pray for healing for those impacted by COVID-19 and engage in protocols to protect ourselves and others, let us pray that things like the form of injustice that led to the killing of George Floyd, and all other forms of injustice will be eradicated. Let us pray that God will use us in that process.
Let us pray that God will renew us to be His instruments for justice for all.
The Lord reigns,
let the nations tremble;
he sits enthroned between the cherubim,
let the earth shake.
Great is the Lord in Zion;
he is exalted over all the nations.
Let them praise your great and awesome name—
he is holy.
The King is mighty, he loves justice—
you have established equity;
in Jacob you have done
what is just and right.
Exalt the Lord our God
and worship at his footstool;
he is holy.
Forgive us Lord –
- Where we have not walked humbly before you and thought of ourselves more highly than others
- Where I have been part of a system of injustice – subtly or overtly against any minority or traditionally looked down upon group of people
- Where we have not been concerned with the oppression and difficulty of others
- Where we have been silent in the face of injustices all around us because it has not directly affected us
- Where we have not so much as brought these matters to you in prayer
- Thank you that you are the only true and righteous judge and that you set the standard for true justice and righteousness because righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne. (Psalms 89:14)
- Lord God we are eternally grateful for your love for us and for giving your life for us. Thank you for taking the consequences of our sinful nature upon yourself and dying for us – for conquering death and rising from the dead. Thank you for living in us once we come to you and commit our lives to you. Thank you that your life in us makes it possible for us to live righteous lives before you, fully pleasing to you.
- Lord, thank you that when you walked on this earth, you set the example of perfect righteousness and spoke out against injustice and oppression without fear or prejudice.
- Thank you Lord that by the power and authority we have in your name and in the boldness the Spirit gives, we can speak out against injustice and oppression.
(Kenya National Anthem – first verse) – We pray over every nation.
O God of all creation,
Bless this our land and nation
Justice be our shield and defender
May we dwell in unity
Peace and liberty
Plenty be found within our borders
Lord – open our eyes to see the injustices around us and how we can make a difference for the cause of Christ.
Grant us an attitude of gratitude for everything we have and are because there is nothing we have not received from you Lord.
- an end to COVID 19 and its ravaging effects upon the people of many nations especially the vulnerable in society.
- for economic resilience and recovery during and after this pandemic.
- for the upcoming series of Webinars.
- for the speakers as they prepare – God’s leading and anointing.
- that God would superintend over every detail of each Webinar.
- that our engagement through these Webinars will be fruitful and deeply impactful.
As a people of Africa and Africans in the diaspora, we stand for Justice for all and declare:
- WE DEFEND THE CAUSE OF ALL WHO SUFFER INJUSTICE OR OPPRESSION OF ANY KIND INCLUDING THE WEAK, THE DOWNTRODDEN, THE POOR, THE HOMELESS AND THE RACIALLY OPPRESSED.
- WE WILL NOT JUDGE, STIGMATIZE OR DISCRIMINATE PEOPLE ON THE BASIS OF RACE, COLOR, GENDER, PHYSICAL STATURE, SOCIAL OR ECONOMIC STRENGTH OR LACK THEREOF, LITERACY, OR ANY OTHER HUMAN MEASURE.
- WE SEE PEOPLE OF ALL WALKS OF LIFE AS DESERVING OUR UTMOST RESPECT, HONOR AND LOVE.
- GOD’S INTERVENTION FOR THE CAUSE OF THOSE THAT SUFFER OPPRESSION OR INJUSTICE OF ANY KIND; GOD’S KINGDOM COME AND HIS WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.