A live episode of SAT-7 worship programme Keep on Singing became a focus for intercession for a country that was reeling from a day of bloodshed.
During the 4 June broadcast, Sudanese Pastor Philemon Hassan wiped away tears as he sang a prayer for peace in his nation, only hours after scores of protesters were killed in the violent clearing of a sit-in outside army headquarters in Khartoum.
Pastor Hassan had flown in to Cairo specially to film the episode with Egypt-based members of the popular Sudanese worship group Candlelight Choir.
“Sudan is going through a difficult time and there are unjustified deaths,” Pastor Hassan said. “We want to pray for the people. Even in their revolution they were peaceful and generous.”
Producer Andrew Gamal said the show had originally been scheduled for the previous month in response to prayer requests from the country. It had been postponed when Khartoum’s airport was closed owing to the democracy protests and turmoil in the country. But, in God’s timing, the episode went out on a day when God’s comfort and healing was needed most.
“We want to pray for our brothers and sisters there who are in the middle of conflict and danger,” he said. “We want to assure them that they are not alone in their affliction. They have brothers and sisters praying for them and God will not forsake them.”
Between songs, presenter Sylvia Fokeh talked to Pastor Hassan about the situation. He and members of Candlelight Choir led the tens of thousands across the Arab world who watch the programme in prayer for a nation that was shocked by the surge of violence against peaceful protesters.
“We will keep on singing despite the difficulties and affliction because in singing praise we receive peace,” Sylvia said.
“Lord, we come to You, praying for our country … over what is happening,” Pastor Hassan said. “The deaths, the conflicts, the sadness in many homes. Tonight, we pray that You will extend Your hand over Sudan. We have no-one else and nowhere else to go but You. No-one can stop the bloodshed but You.
“We ask for peace for Sudan. We lift this country and its rulers to You. We ask that You give wisdom to all. Only You can work a miracle and make something unique. We join others who are praying for Sudan and lift our prayers to You in faith that you hear our prayers in Jesus’ name.”
Prayer amidst the sound of gunfire
Viewers watching also called in and sent messages and prayers. Among them was a church leader who said he was praying as he heard “gunshots on the streets”.
Pastor Hafez prayed, “Lord, You are a great God capable of anything. Our tears, our souls, our songs and our hearts cry out to You in faith because You are God. You are a just God. You see those who died. We believe that You will change things for the glory of Jesus. Lord, Sudan is safe in Your hands.”
Hafez prayed specifically that Sudan’s “persecuted church will have rest, peace and blessings” and concluded, “We pray You be glorified and protect us from all evil plans against the Church and the Sudanese people. Lord, we hear gunshots on the streets, but we believe that they will become songs of praise for You in Sudan.”
A third pastor from Sudan shared how the programme had encouraged him. “This is a wonderful episode,” he said. “As long as there are people praying and giving praise, even in difficult circumstances, the Lord will answer our prayers.”
Watch Pastor Philemon and the Candlelight Choir sing a heartfelt prayer for Sudan, live on Keep on Singing, one day after the tragic events in Khartoum.