Jacob Zuma told congregants at the eThekwini Community Church in KwaZulu-Natal that he was still being persecuted despite resigning as president last month.
Zuma was attending a Good Friday service at the church, where he urged those in attendance to "lead people in the right direction".
"I'm saying to you as Christians to not forget to lead us in the right direction; lead us toward God," he said in a video clip aired by broadcaster eNCA.
"Beg God for us to soften people's hearts, so that we don't get to a place that's not good," Zuma said.
He was speaking at the church ahead of his court appearance in the High Court in Durban next week, on Friday, April 6.
"Even now I have left, I'm not bothering anyone – but they are still after me," Zuma said of the prosecution.
Zuma's lawyer, Michael Hulley, confirmed to News24 this week that the former president received a summons to appear in court next week on 16 charges relating to 783 payments, which it is claimed he received in connection with the controversial multibillion rand arms deal.
Former head of public prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe dropped the charges in 2009 based on the "spy tapes" audio transcripts.
These were of recordings of telephone conversations between then Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy and former NPA boss Bulelani Ngcuka, which Zuma's legal team claimed showed political interference in the decision to charge him.
The charges were subsequently withdrawn, just before Zuma was sworn in for his first term as president.
News24 reported this week that the state had lined up 207 witnesses to testify against Zuma, including arms-deal critics, former SARS employees, auditors, Special Investigative Unit and Financial Intelligence Centre officials.