Editor's Comment

Prayers should cement unity

THERE has been scepticism on whether the National Day of Prayer, Fasting, Repentance and Reconciliation would today take place considering that the initiator of the event, the Patriotic Front government, is no longer in power. Mixed feelings played into the debate about the day of prayers, with some saying it needed to be scrapped because it only served a political purpose then. But it is pleasing to note that President Hakainde Hichilema has chosen unity in prayer as opposed to division in political opinions. The President’s acceptance of the day of prayers symbolises his recognition that there is unity of purpose in corporate prayer regardless of whether the stage is set by a political adversary. His previous boycotts of the day when he was in opposition should not be the basis for people to judge his genuineness in making this day possible. We believe everything happens for a reason just as it has turned out that the ones who initiated the prayer day are not the ones who have made the event possible today. We join everyone in commemorating this day believing that prayer can change any circumstance, be it sickness or political turbulence. The prayer day comes at an opportune time, especially that there has been too much negative energy in the country since the August 12 general election. There are political issues still smouldering which need prayers so that the country can heal and move forward. It is undeniable that the victory of United Party for National Development (UPND) and the loss of the Patriotic Front (PF) in the elections have brought new challenges where leaders and supporters of the rival political parties don’t see eye to eye. This has affected the general mood in the country where competition is now between the 1.8 million and the 2.8 million who voted for PF and UPND, respectively. In this regard, the Church and President Hichilema have shown wise leadership by not falling prey to political sentiments over the national day of prayer initiated by former President Edgar Lungu few years ago. Zambia is a Christian nation and citizens must not be seen to be divided over matters of Christianity to the point of refusing to pray on a day set aside by the will of God. Every leadership is mandated to make decisions, whether good or bad, but if those decisions bring people together, there is reason for citizens to unite. This year’s theme for the prayers, “Zambia seeks sustained unity for shared prosperity”, resonates well with the aspirations of the new dawn administration and calls for mindset change among citizens. We call upon everyone, regardless of religious inclination, to consider this day as a day of reflection given the COVID-19 and economic challenges. The country needs to heal in every aspect of life so that everyone can take advantage of the positive developmental initiatives the Government is putting in place. We pay tribute to Bishop Joshua Banda and the rest of the team of church leaders who made sure that the prayers went ahead despite earlier mixed feelings across the political divide. The Church should continue cementing the bond of unity and peace in the country by taking the lead in organising such events. We also urge the clergy to show unity among themselves so that such events are not blighted by misconceptions over political affiliation. It is an open secret that the Church has over the past few years taken political sides, a situation which has made most citizens to lose confidence in most men of God. Some pastors openly supported certain political parties while others watched the trust bestowed upon them by people crumble before them. The national day of prayer should also serve as a day of reflection among the clergy for losing their flock to politics. There is need for the Church to regain its lost respect from both the converted and the lost souls. The clergy should take advantage of this day to win back their flock, particularly that the Government has removed restrictions on social gatherings. Once again, we would like to thank President Hichilema and his new dawn administration for showing team spirit towards national prayers to settle speculations over the future of this day. The power is in the hands of the President to change the narrative around the concept so that in future it is not perceived as being political. We can only ask for God’s blessings upon everyone in attendance at Showgrounds in Lusaka and those praying individually in different locations around the country.

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