Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has been criticized by so many people from all walks of life because of his prayer at Tembisa Hospital yesterday. Journalists, Politicians, Christians, Atheists and legal people were amongst the fray who attacked him severely. It is fair to say that many people came to his defense as well. He thanked the frontline medical staff for their hard work and dedication, then condemned those guilty of corruption (with reference to the Personal Protective Equipment) before he prayed like this … “I lock out any vaccine that is not of you. If there be any vaccine that is of the devil, meant to infuse 666 in the lives of people, meant to corrupt their DNA … any such vaccine … may it be destroyed by fire.”
The Atheists spoke against him because he prayed “in Jesus’ name”, saying this is a secular state and any time given to one religion when fulfilling a public duty needs to be afforded to every other religion as well. They know the chief justice is an outspoken Christian. He clarified his prayer today saying he is in his rights to pray, adding there is no manual for judges. Perhaps this was not meant to come out the intended way because the legal people pulled him apart saying there is a manual for the conduct of judges … whose role as judge always supersedes any other role he or she might have in society. Again … many Christians gave their support to the Judge, saying he did well and encouraging him to preserver.
To me, a public figure like the chief justice who stands up for his faith in a secular state such as ours is to be commended. He was a lay preacher in the Pentecostal Winners Chapel. He is now a pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God. He is watched closely to see if and when he breaches any line the media have drawn for him. What is strange is that most media houses focused on his “Christian prayer”, whilst only The Sowetan remarked on him thanking the staff at the hospital and condemned the criminal activities of those who took advantage of the PPE Covid requirements to fatten their purses. They never mentioned the prayer because they most likely did have an issue with it.
For me, as said, he is to be commended for being intentionally Christian … but I do have a problem. My problem is not the same as the media houses, though. My problem lies in the actual prayer he prayed. Maybe in the church where he is a pastor, they might use such prayers … but I cannot find any directive in the Bible for Christians to pray the way he prayed. Prayer ought to be our dependency upon God … our seeking God’s intervention in certain circumstances … yet he assumes divine power by praying, “I lock out any vaccine that is not of you.” Notice … “I lock out”. Why should the chief justice pray to God if he is able to control the prevention of vaccines that are not of God? He then continues … “If there be any vaccine that is of the devil, meant to infuse 666 in the lives of people, meant to corrupt their DNA”. Wow … talk about conspiracy theories! This is so farfetched. Not one of the human authors used by the Holy Spirit to pen the various books of the Bible gets anywhere close to “infuse 666 in the lives of people”. To infuse with a vaccine meant, according to his prayer … “to corrupt their DNA”. And then he adds … “may it be destroyed by fire” … this almost sounds as though he is giving God advice on how he wants God to deal with what he perceives to be vaccines that are not “legitimate”!
Nowhere in all the Bible are Christians told or encouraged to pray like this. To assume divine power, then to raise a conspiracy theory and then to give God advice! People who read the Bible and know the Bible become very concerned when people pray like this because it gives the true, credible Church of the Lord Jesus a bad name. Scripture encourages us to “ask” God, to “plead” with God, to pray according to His will. Never does it give the pray-er divine authority to command or lock something in and through prayer! Nowhere does the Bible permit a conspiracy theory to be raised such as “infuse 666” and “corrupt their DNA”. God’s thoughts and ways are higher than man’s … how can we dare to give God advice?
As John comes to the end of 1 John he writes,
1Jn 5:13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
These three verses are actioned packed. Just to lift a few matters appertaining to prayer. The one who enjoys the assurance of salvation (know that you have eternal life) has the “confidence to approach God”. This approaching is for prayer … for the text continues … “that if we ask anything according to his will”. Wow … see that? Prayer must be according to God’s will. And His will is found within the Books of the Biblical Canon as we have it. It’s asking … not commanding (or locking). It’s according to God’s will provided in the Bible … then … “he hears us”. Verse 15 is explicit! When we ask according to God’s will found in the Bible, God hears and once God hears, we can have the assurance that we will have what we asked … because what we asked is not for selfish motives … it is according to the Word of God (God’s will). Pray for the chief justice. He is a good man, but even good men pray at times according to what their audience want to hear and not according to the will of God.
Sovereign God, thank You for the Bible which reveals Your good will to us. Thank You that when our prayers are Biblical, You hear and answer. Please help people like the chief justice to learn Your Word so that when he prays he might pray according to Your will. Please deliver him from this strange conspiracy theory. Amen.