Citizens of many nations across the world are devastated by wars, famine and various natural disasters. They seek your face everyday praying for your intervention, praying for survival. Some have lost their land and possessions while others have lost all their beloved ones. Their nations have been fighting war and terror for centuries and decades, yet they still have hope that one day you will hear their cries and restore peace.
In Zambia, Heavenly Father, our challenges are different. We have never known war, we have never experienced terrorism. We were born in a beautiful, peaceful country full of copper, fertile land, wildlife, abundant water and numerous other natural resources which you blessed us with. But we are not the happiest nation on earth.
Our country is complicated. We have a governance system that gives power to the people, but the people have no power to govern. Periodically, we are called, as citizens, to democratically elect our political leaders. These political leaders we vote for make decisions on our behalf. They decide the course for our country and our fate as citizens. They choose for us when we can assemble to discuss governance issues, and they decide how much we can question their abuse of the political power we gave them.
Dear God, two years ago, the President of our Republic, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, decided a day when the whole nation should kneel down in prayer to you. He decided that on this day, Zambians should abstain from eating, as they pray for reconciliation and national building. He decided that October 18th every year should be a holiday; Zambians should not do any work, but dedicate their time to worshiping you. This was regardless of the fact that you Father, in your infinite wisdom, had already declared the seventh day, a Sabbath – a day when we should rest and acknowledge your presence amongst us. That is what brings us before you on this unusual worshipping day.
Lord, it is not for us to claim that our President sinned when he made this decision; after all, he told us that you spoke through him to invoke his Presidential powers and make this declaration. Our governance system could not stop him because the powers we gave him through a democratic election, permits him to do so. If he wanted, he would have declared all the seven days of the week a holiday. Our President and his fellow political leaders have the authority to make these decisions on our behalf. That is why on the Copperbelt, the Kitwe City Council has resolved to punish every employee who will not take part in this national event, but they don’t mind if the workers don’t go to Church on your chosen Sabbath.
Heavenly Father, we seek your face now because we need direction as a country, not political direction but spiritual direction. We, your people are confused. Distinguishing what is of Christ from what is of mankind in Zambia is not as easy as your apostles explained it in your Holy Book. In Mathew chapter 7 vs 16, you teach us that, “By their fruits you will recognise them. Every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit should be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
But how can we know a bad fruit when it has your name written all over it? We would love to follow your teaching and cut down the trees that bear bad fruits at the next election. But how can we know that this tree is bad if it bears the shape of your cross? Hear us oh Lord! It is complicated. Without you lending us your spiritual eyes to see what you see, we are doomed as a country. Our leaders have embedded your name in all their political decisions, virtually making it a sin for us to question their deeds. Our political leaders have given themselves the mandate to decide who can enter Zambia to spread your word, to spread the good news. They have usurped your power to decide who is holy enough to preach to your people, and which prophet we should believe.
We have nowhere else to run, Mighty God, because our politicians have commingled with your manservants. The bishops, reverends and evangelists whom you chose and tasked to speak your tongue, have chosen to speak the language of our politicians. From the body of Christ, they have formed Christians for Lungu (our President). From the Church of God, they have formed the ‘Government Church of Prayer Tabernacle’. They dine and wine with our elected leaders, but they don’t discuss, injustice, corruption, violence, tribalism and unemployment. Instead, they discuss how abundantly you have blessed them.
That is why today as we gather and watch our politicians and church leaders sit in front of us, preaching about love for one another; when they tell us to forgive and reconcile, we can only wonder why your servants are failing to challenge our President to meet with his number one political arch rival and reconcile on a special day such as this one. But we cannot rebuke these men and women of the collar, because then, we will be judged as evil an unpatriotic.
Forgive us because we, your children have become apathetic towards your calling. We have been alienated from the political governance system and the church leadership has drawn closer to the corridors of power, leaving us in the corridors of hope – looking heavenwards, expectant of the return of your Son Jesus Christ.
Finally, Heavenly Father, we pray for our friends who have completely lost hope for our country. They have been left devastated by the levels of theft of public resources in our land, and don’t believe that our prayers today are genuine. They are mocking us with jokes crafted from the rampant corruption, to remind us about the nature of leaders they are watching on television today. They believe that our preachers are hypocrites because they failed to stand up to the government leaders when our country spent extravagantly on the fire brigade.
If the preacher today shouts “FIRE!” They say we must respond: “TENDER!”
Forgive us, Mighty God, because we have all fallen short of your glory. In the name of Christ we pray. Amen!