South Sudan Tried to imitate Yom Kippur via National Day of Prayers, but Fall Short!

Posted: March 20, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers, Reuben G. Panchol

By Reuben G. Panchol, Juba, South Sudan

March 20, 2017 (SSB) — Sincerity and Honesty are pre-requisite of attending God present through the veil of sanctuary and coming closure to the present of Heavenly father, but imitation and copycat can create a bearer between mankind and his Heavenly Father. On March 2, 2017, Mr. President Salva Kiir Mayardit declared March 10, 2017 as a National Day of Prayer which had raised and turned some people hair grey. For some doubting Thomas (me included) started to wondered of what the National Day of Prayers will presented to innocents civilian who have been hit hard by “man-man disaster” however, it turned out that the prayer was imitation of Yom Kippur and copycat of some Saint Prayer.

For those who have no idea of You Kippur, let me walk you through it briefly. Yom Kippur is fulfillment of Leviticus 16:29-33  “29This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves[c] and not do any work—whether native-born or a foreigner residing among you— 30 because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins. 31 It is a day of Sabbath rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance. 32 The priest who is anointed and ordained to succeed his father as high priest is to make atonement. He is to put on the sacred linen garments 33 and make atonement for the Most Holy Place, for the tent of meeting and the altar, and for the priests and all the members of the community.

According to Judaism 101, Yom Kippur is the most important holiday of the Jewish year. Many Jews who do not observe any other Jewish custom will refrain from work, fast and/or attend synagogue services on this day. Yom Kippur occurs on the 10th day of Tishri (Seventh month of the Jewish year). The name “Yom Kippur “means” Day of Atonement and that pretty much explains what the holiday is. It is a day set aside to “afflict the soul,” to atone for the sins of the past year. This day is, essentially, your last appeal, your last chance to change the judgment, to demonstrate your repentance and make amends.

Yom Kippur atones only for sins between man and God, not for sins against another person. To atone for sins against another person, you must first seek reconciliation with that person, righting the wrongs you committed against them if possible. That must all be done before Yom Kippur.

Yom Kippur is a complete Sabbath; no work can be performed on that day. It is well-known that you are supposed to refrain from eating and drinking (even water) on Yom Kippur. It is a complete, 25-hour fast beginning before sunset on the evening before Yom Kippur and ending after nightfall on the day of Yom Kippur.

Although it is most to fast on Yom Kippur; some restrictions can be lifted where a threat to life or health is involved. In fact, children under the age of nine and women in childbirth (from the time labor begins until three days after birth) are not permitted to fast, even if they want to. Older children and women from the third to the seventh day after childbirth are permitted to fast, but are permitted to break the fast if they feel the need to do so. People with other illnesses should consult a physician and a rabbi for advice.

In my humble opinion, here are reasons why I believe the National Day of Prayers was mirroring Yom Kippur but fall short to achieved that objectives.

First, in order to atone the sin between man and God, one must truly and completely in a repented of his or her sins through honesty and sincerity; quality which Mr. President fall short of during the National Day of Prayer. Instead of Mr. President to honestly confessed and prayed using his own words of repentance; he ended up copycat St. Thomas Aquinas’s prayer. Here are the prayers; read it yourself.

President Salva Kiir Mayardit’s prayer during National Day of Prayers (Eye Radio):

“Powerful and ever living God, I thank you, for even though I am a sinner, your unprofitable servant – not because of my worth, but in the kindness of your mercy. You have fed me with the precious body and blood of your son, our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that you may not bring condemnation and punishment, but forgiveness and salvation to the people of South Sudan. May you be a helmet of faith and a shield of good will. Holy God, on this day and all the days of my life, I entrust to your merciful heart my body and my soul. All my acts, thoughts, choices, desires, words, deeds, my entire life, so that with your assistance, all may be ordered to the good according to the will of your beloved son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Help me God to seek you always and live righteously, to act courageously and to speak from your wisdom. Give me a clear mind and an open heart, so that I may witness you in our country. Remind me God to be who you would want to be –regardless of what I am doing, or whom I am with. Grant, oh King of Heaven, that ever in my heart, I may have fear and love –alike for your most sweet son. That I may always give thanks for the many blessings bestowed upon me, not for my merit, but by your loving kindness. And what I may ever make a pure and sincere confession and do true penance for my sins, in order that I might deserve to obtain your mercy and grace. Most merciful God, through my shortcomings, I have sinned against you in thoughts, in words, and deeds by what I have done and what I have failed to do. I humbly repent and ask for your loving mercy and forgiveness. Whatever is in my power to do for the people of South Sudan, please Lord Help me to be your instrument of love, service delivery, peace, reconciliation and forgiveness. Heavenly Father, lead me safely to everlasting happiness with you. I pray that you will lead me, a sinner, to the banquet where you with your son and Holy Spirit are true and perfect live, total fulfilments, Holy Spirit, everlasting joy, gladness –without end – and perfect happiness to your saints. Grant this God, through Christ, our Lord. Amen.”

The Prayer of Saint Thomas Aquinas:

“Lord, Father all-powerful and ever-living God, I thank You, for even though I am a sinner, your unprofitable servant, not because of my worth but in the kindness of your mercy, You have fed me with the Precious Body & Blood of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that this Holy Communion may not bring me condemnation and punishment but forgiveness and salvation. May it be a helmet of faith and a shield of good will. May it purify me from evil ways and put an end to my evil passions. May it bring me charity and patience, humility and obedience, and growth in the power to do good. May it be my strong defense against all my enemies, visible and invisible, and the perfect calming of all my evil impulses, bodily and spiritual. May it unite me more closely to you, the One true God, and lead me safely through death to everlasting happiness with You. And I pray that You will lead me, a sinner, to the banquet where you,
with Your Son and holy Spirit, are true and perfect light, total fulfillment, everlasting joy, gladness without end, and perfect happiness to your saints. grant this through Christ our Lord, AMEN.

Secondly, the Heavenly Father has warned us in the book of Matthew 5:21-26 that, “21 you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother[a] will be liable to judgment; whoever insults[b] his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell[c] of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.”

It would have been a nice move for the President to seek national peace and reconciliation prior to seeking God for atones for the sins committed since the independent of the South Sudan. Thank God the Veil of the Sanctuary is accessible through the blood of Jesus Christ. Prior to coming of Jesus, it was nearly or impossible to entered to veil if you are unholy.

It is only by this veil (door) that access is possible to the Most Holy place of judgment. The tearing of the veil is symbolic of the death of the Lamb of God, which now permits the believer in His atonement immediate access to the Most Holy place of God, the place of judgment, through the new High Priest Jesus Christ, the one and only mediator between man and God, yet we; people still disobedient to Him though our daily actions.

Thirdly, it was not too long ago when Almighty delivered South Sudanese from Captive, but instead of giving Him Thanks the head of the nation (Presidency and Companies) were busy looting the national’s resources and subjecting innocent masses to fear of unknown through bad governance. I know, Our God is more merciful God, but wouldn’t it be good for at least one “foreigner” to had returned and gave thanks to Him for healing ten men with leprosy! and now the same ten men with leprosy are back to the alter in name of National Day of Prayers; asking again for the healing! I fear that the Lord will start asking; what happened and I the Lord have freed you from your brother in the North? Did I the Lord your God, just did that so you can turned around and start killing yourselves just for power struggle?

Lastly, but not least, the former USA secretary general Colin Powell, beautifully summarized that I quote, “Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.” In fact majority of the South Sudanese lost a confidence in Mr. President’s Leadership that why the spirit of the death reign in every corner of the nation. Therefore, it is a right time for Mr. President, 1st Lt. General Salva Kiir Mayardit, to thrown in a towel and gives a chance to Junubin (South Sudanese) to decide their fate once more as they have done in January 9th, 2011 during the referendum era.

In conclusion, the National Day of Prayers (NDoP) served no purpose at this hour in South Sudan; whereby many people switched political affliction for self interest on day in and day out, people are yearning for daily meal, death control all the roads and people destinations, Captives people are more than free people. For God to answer our prayer; we must first united and save our people from daily mourning, we must secure food for the hungry population; otherwise the days are gone when the manner used to fall from above to feed the Israelites. The last time manner fall from above was during Jesus’s miracle of five loaves and two fish which he fed multitudes with until some left over. Thus, without true and sincerity repentance; we might end up in long lasting suffering in face of God and we might witness the book of Isaiah 1: 15-17 whereby Lord warned us that, “When you lift your hands in prayer, I will not look at you. No matter how much you pray, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with blood. Wash yourselves clean. Stop all this evil that I see you doing. Yes, stop doing evil and learn to do right. See that justice is done — help those who are oppressed, give orphans their rights, and defend widows.”

You can reach the author, Reuben G. Panchol, at his email:

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.

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