Massive crowds flocked to Bloemfontein in South Africa last week to hold the largest prayer meeting ever held in the nation's history.
The gathering was led by renowned evangelist Angus Buchan, author of the book 'Faith Like Potatoes,' who called on believers to come together and pray for the country, according to IOL.
The huge turnout caught some people by surprise, particularly because the organizers only had six weeks to put the event together. The event was promoted mostly on social media and did not make use of television or other forms of advertising.
Buchan said the idea for the prayer meeting was conceived when somebody sent him a video asking him to gather the believers to pray for South Africa. When he saw the video, Buchan reportedly received the words "It's Time" and "One Million" from God.
Thus, he called on Christians all over the country to come together on April 22 for a time of prayer for the nation. The event was called "It's Time" and was held on Wilde Als Farm, owned by former Springbok rugby player Ollie le Roux and located on the outskirts of Bloemfontein.
"History is in the making today," he said at the event, IOL reported. "This gathering is a prayer meeting, it is not a gospel concert. It is not even an evangelistic outreach, it is a prayer meeting. We are going to pray together and as individuals."
"This meeting is not about black or white, males or females, young or old-but this meeting is all about good and evil," he added.
The crowd was estimated to be close to a million according to IOL, but Assist News Service gave a much bigger crowd etimate of close to two million.
Local hotels were fully booked, and farmers close to the venue opened their farms to thousands of campers who attended the event.
On the day of the gathering, the program had to be delayed for more than an hour to allow the people, who kept streaming into the place, to get settled. People were arriving from all over the country by bus. Some arrived by helicopter, and some walked a long way just to get to the venue.
A group of cyclists, including Frans Cronje, brother of former cricket captain Hansie Cronje, traveled on their bikes for six days to take part in the prayer gathering.
Buchan led the crowd in asking God to bring justice, peace and hope to the country, exhorting the people that South Africa can change through prayers.
"We are tired of people taking the law into their own hands. We are going to call upon The Lord to bring justice, peace and hope to our beloved South Africa," he said, according to Assit News Service. "He says 'If my people who are called by My name'-that is you and I, so I want to ask you to pray for us."
Aside from those who were present, people in other places around the world participated by holding simultaneous prayer gatherings. Many of them took to Facebook to express solidarity with their countrymen.
"There are many South Africans working in the UK as carers. We cannot be in Bloemfontein but a prayer chain has been formed and we will all be praying during that time," one of them wrote, IOL reported.
"We are living in Thailand and last night four South Africans on Koh Samui got together to pray for the meeting in Bloemfontein," another one posted.
"As a South African, I will be lifting my country and backing my brothers and sisters in prayer at the time of this event from Oregon, USA," another one said.
Buchan led the people in praying that South Africa will take the Bible "literally as it is written." He also prayed against immorality, pornography, drug addiction, racism, murder and rape.
"Young people-you will sleep with no one until the night of your wedding," he declared.
He spoke against bankruptcy, HIV and AIDS. He also prayed for the restoration of the country's stability, and for restoration in families.
Buchan prayed that respect "for all people" will be upheld in the country's culture.
"We say there is no other God save Jesus Christ and him alone. We will not serve any other God save the Lord Jesus Christ," he declared. "Please forgive us for compromising our nation, our family and our future. From today onwards, we promise to stand up for truth and righteousness at all costs."
He then prayed that the people of God will be obedient to His commands no matter what others think.
"We are calling sin by its name," he said. "I am not interested in your opinion. You shouldn't be interested in my opinion. The only thing you should be interested in is God's opinion. God said it. We believe it. That settles it."
After Buchan prayed, he asked the crowd to also pray among themselves and cry out to God for South Africa and for the government. He said the country does not need "political change," but a "Jesus change." He added that only God can heal the country.
"I look forward to the day when Parliament begins every morning with the reading of scripture and prayer, because that is what South Africa needs," he said.
— Angus Buchan (@angusbuchan) April 24, 2017