Christians are being urged to pray for South Africa after more than 300 people were killed following rioting.
Violence across the country broke out after former president Jacob Zuma began a fifteen month prison sentence following corruption allegations.
The violence has escalated into the worst unrest since the end of apartheid, prompting President Cyril Ramaphosa to describe it as “insurrection”.
Speaking to Premier, Pastor Thinus Bonus from Harvest Ministries in South Africa, says the Christian message is key to alleviating the situation :
“I keep out of politics, but for me, Jesus is our main business. And so the church have the opportunity to bring hope into hopeless situations.
“I think for the first time in South Africa, pastors realise that the church is not a Sunday event anymore. It’s about everyday life and how the church can be salt and light in the midst of a crisis, in the midst of darkness.
“How can we shine our light? I think there's not a better time than now in South Africa.”
Pastor Bonus, who has also ministered in crises in Lebanon and Syria, says Christian prayer is vital in situations of conflict and unrest :
“We've got weapons of warfare – not physical weapons, but a mighty through call to God, and through God. We can pray as a country, we can praise the nation.
“I believe that as the church, we've got to have the foresight to be able to speak, to bring solutions to problems that the community is going to need.
“Matthew 25 for me is the mandate that the church got from Jesus to be able to respond to processes like these. In Matthew 25, Jesus says : I was hungry and you gave me food to eat, I was thirsty, you gave me drink. I was a stranger in your land and he took me in. I was naked and you clothed me, I was in prison, you came to visit me.
“How should we respond to this? It's not just about preaching the gospel, it's about being the hands and feet of Jesus right now.
"And Jesus says : If you do it to the least of these, you have done it to me. And it's the least of these - the women, the children, the old people that suffer most in situations like this, and how can we, as the church mitigate this? And how can we better respond to this?
“I tell you - is this not a better time than ever to preach the gospel? We see the hand of God moving in South Africa. So we thank you so much for that.”