If there is one thing Zambia desperately needs, then that is prayer. My hope is that the nation is already praying not only for salvation out of our economic troubles, but for a righteous nation. The call to national prayers by the President of the Republic of Zambia on 18th October, 2015 is therefore, a worthwhile cause. More than that, my prayer is that God will raise up a President and leaders in Parliament who fear Him and see the need for this nation to turn back to Him. The call to prayer by the President is also recognition that we have abandoned the Christian way over the years. We are a Christian nation that does not honour God. Now that we have acknowledged that we have strayed, we need now more than ever to begin again. Prayer and fasting is the way to go. However, I wish to say that prayer and fasting alone will not endear us back to the Lord. Only repentance will.
Zambia’s most loved spot is football. Our national team has won the Africa cup once and the Chipolopolo songs always remind us of our great game. Football our most loved spot has something called halftime as part of the rules of the game.
Halftime is not only a time to rest and refresh for the 2nd half of the game, but it is a time where the coach can speak to the players to help them to refocus on the goal, which is to win. It is amazing how a team can be behind on the scoreboard, but right after the halftime huddle, the team would come out charging and eventually win the game.
After 50 years of getting it wrong, is it halftime for Zambia to gain expert coaching advice from the Coach of Coaches. I want Zambia to reflect a little more about the national prayers on 18th October, 2015. Is this the kind of Fast the Lord requires?
In the words of the prophet Isaiah (Isa 58:2-9 NIV), God spoke to the Israelites in the midst of their religious fast and sacrifices and said this,
“For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’”
“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?’”
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.” (Isa 58:2-9 NIV)
As Zambia prepares to heed the call for national prayers and fasting, we need to check our motives and get our hearts in line with what God desires. A lot of times, it is easy to think that as long as we have all the external things in order (i.e. going to church, calling upon God in troubled times and doing certain things), then somehow God has to answer some of our prayers. But the reality is that God does not have to do anything for us as Zambians and as a nation.
If God does answer our prayers and even perform miracles after 18th October, 2015, it is purely out of His Sovereign grace and mercy. In some ways, this should humble us knowing that we cannot “twist” God’s arm to “do” something for us as a nation.
Now I am aware that a number of Zambians have taken this opportunity seriously, but I want to challenge all of us to rethink about our motive and re-examine our hearts as a nation.
Fasting is a spiritual discipline that has a way of bringing to the surface our selfishness and our self-centred motives. But if this fasting is just a change of diet, then we have missed the point.
If as a nation we are serious about starting afresh, we should repent and do the right fast that the Lord requires. Let us loose the chains of injustice, corruption and untie the cords of the yoke (heavy taxes), let us set the oppressed free and break every yoke of tribalism, nepotism and blatant laziness.
The Lord expects us to share our food (national wealth) with the hungry (the poor Zambians) and to provide the poor wanderers with shelter. When we see the naked (streets children and adults), to clothe them, and not to turn away from our own flesh and blood? Only then, and not until then, will Zambia’s light break forth like the dawn (Kwacha Ngwee), and Zambia’s national healing will quickly appear. At that time Zambia’s righteousness will go before us as a nation, and the glory of the LORD will be Zambia’s rear guard. Then Zambia will call, and the LORD will answer; Zambia will cry for help, and God will say: Here am I.
Let us correct the wrongs done in this nation. The name calling, the unleashing of the police on helpless Zambians should end. If we only pray and not do all these things, we waste our time. The Lord is looking for true worshipers. Will Zambia qualify to be one such faithful worshiper?
I look forward to all political parties reconciling.