CHRISTIAN NATIONAL PRAYERS IN ZAMBIA
(Christian Church and State Collaboration in the midst of Some Dissenting Cacophonies)
Another Annual Christian National Day of Prayer and Fasting in Zambia has been observed across our Republic, which has been a collaboration of the Christian Church and the State.
There is, however, a seemingly never-ending denigration of such Christian National Prayers, by some Zambian political players, and some who are even professed Christians, also by few Church Denominations and Ministries, although a good number of their affiliates continue to be part of these National Christian Prayers. Of course, we are also alive to the fact that this negative attitude towards Christian Prayers finds even more fertile soil among those who have never personally subscribed to Christian ethos in their lives, as they are not even part of regular Christian Church Life.
The debate, for or against, on the Church-State collaborated Christian National Day of Prayer and Fasting, is essentially on the efficacy, effectiveness and necessity of such National Christian Prayers.
I have deliberately characterized some of the opposing voices as “Dissenting Cacophonies” because surely some of the dissenting propositions have become so harsh, unfair, and often meaningless mixture of noises, which are hard to understand. I will elaborate on this point in my discourse.
A point of order at this juncture is appropriate, since one of the dissenting cacophonies that has persisted is the unjustified, unverified, and almost insane accusation that all of us, Christian Ministers of the Gospel, who participate in these Christian National Prayers, are PAID and HIRED guns for the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) Political party and its government. Some have even insidiously accused us, wholesale, that we are desperate for political endorsements.
In attempting to set the record straight, I will challenge the dissenters to Christian National Convocations of Prayer and Fasting, if they have irrefutable evidence to their accusations of hundreds of Bishops, Apostles, Pastors, etc. who have participated in these National Convocations of Prayer and Fasting, to make it plain, with evidence, to the nation and their social media networks, the same way they have insidiously thrown out their touts as truth, when it has just been misplaced populism, with a hidden agenda of unverified character assassination of credible and unsoiled Ministers of the Gospel, who are in the majority in this nation.
Are there some questionable characters among clergy, politicians, economists, doctors, entrepreneurs, journalists, corporate executives, etc.? Of course, a big YES! This is a fact of human depravity. But the questions is, are all clergy, politicians, economists, doctors, entrepreneurs, corporate executives, etc., questionable characters, just because of some among them who may be questionable? Definitely the answer is a resounding NO! In fact, it’s always a minority few who may be corrupted and questionable in all professions; and such professions continue to exist on the legitimacy of the majority who are unsoiled and have integrity.
So, why is it that when it comes to accusations railed against Christian Clergy, these dissenters become quite unashamedly generous in painting all clergy with one brush; as hired, corrupted and colluding participants with the Ruling PF Political Party, in their participation in Christian National Convocations of Prayer and Fasting? Wouldn’t it be equally justified if that accusation was to be turned around and railed against some Christian clergy we know, and some we don’t know, who have taken a similar stance of UPND’s boycotting of all collaborated Church-State Christian National Convocations of Prayer and Fasting, as HIRED AND PAID UPND Christian Clergy? My answer, on principle, is a resounding NO! It’s not justifiable to broad-brush dissenting Christian clergy, because some may not necessarily be corrupted and paid by UPND; but may have what they consider as valid reasons for their refusal to participate in these Christian National Convocations of Prayer and Fasting.
However, my fellows Zambians, and dissenting Christian Clergy, take note, the final arbiter and judge for both camps of collaborating and dissenting Christian Clergy in Zambia is God Almighty himself, and not His Excellence Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu (PF) or Mr. Hakainde Hichilema (UPND), as these two political parties seem to be the current plumbline of national debates. I can’t speak for nonChristians, whose hearts are not even committed to Christ Jesus, let alone expecting them to pray.
In light of the aforementioned, let me categorically state that, I personally, George Mulindwa Mbulo, the son of my late father Mr. Robert Mbulo of Mwinechipeta’s Village in Chief Lundu’s Chiefdom in Chama District, and my late mother Mrs. Esther Nsofu Mbulo of Kasungami Village in Chief Chibesakunda’s Chiefdom in Chinsali, have never been an official member of any Zambian political party; and not that it’s wrong to belong to one, as that is a constitutional right of every Zambian citizen to affiliate themselves to any political party of their choice. Also, I state, categorically that in all my personal participation in Christian National Convocations of Prayer and otherwise, I have never been hired or paid to participate in such events. I have and will continue to willingly participate in what I deem to be legitimate and important to the welfare of our Republic and the people of our nation, in collaboration with the government of the day.
Supposing UPND was in power today, wouldn’t Mr. Hakainde Hichilema like to have Christian National Prayers in collaboration with the Church and Clergy who are the leaders of Churches, and men and women of integrity and God-fearing at heart, than to supposedly be accused, whenever we may be praying with Mr. Hichilema, that he has hired and paid us to pray with him?
I am reiterating that I have personally chosen, and I am not under any coercion, but willingly, before God, to remain nonpartisan in essence and action, in my noble position as a Minister of the Gospel of Christ Jesus for now 40 years. I am a spiritual leader in this divine calling by God, over the flock of the Lord, comprising congregants from various political party affiliations, both the ruling PF and the opposition parties, including UPND. The Christian Ministry over which the Lord has given me spiritual oversight, Capital Christian Ministries International (CCMI), has never and will not be politically aligned, in essence and/or in action, with any particular political party; but will pray for and collaborate with the government of the day; and will remain open to divine and social opportunities availed to us to guide, advice, rebuke, correct, and encourage our National Leaders, both in the ruling and the opposition political parties.
Also, some unpalatable accusations have been spoken against the Christian National Convocations of Prayer and Fasting, with seemingly definitive conclusions that our Prayers will not be answered by God, because there are among us, as the accusations go, who are not sincere in heart, who are practicing injustice, etc. It’s rather unfortunate that quite intelligent perpetrators of these accusations, betray some level of either disingenuous attitudes or are not as intelligent as they appear to be.
As I indicated, I have been a Minister of the Gospel for a while now; and I have been sincerely praying with people and congregants, whenever Christian Convocations of Prayer have been called, without equivocation, because I have gone there to pray to the Almighty God for his divine intervention in our congregation and nation, whichever was the case.
At every given point, prayer meetings I have been a part of, whether at the congregational level or national level, in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, in the Lusaka Showgrounds or at our Church, whenever we have prayed, whether under the MMD government, and now the PF government, I have never boycotted such prayers on account of few people who I may have perceived were corrupt, insincere, and had meted out injustice to our citizens. And we have had some people among us from the UNIP government, MMD government, and up until today in the PF government; and some have even been convicted in the courts of law. Corrupted people, in all political parties, inclusive of PF and UPND, as long as we are here on earth, will always be among us, although we need to do better to minimize the scourge. I reaffirm an even better way to manage and limit the corruption and injustice in the nation: We should corporately, as a Nation, submit ourselves before the Lord, in prayer and repentance, as we have done now for few years, leaving the final judgment on the sincerity or insincerity of those who join us for prayer, to the Lord Almighty; as we equally allow the national laws and constitutional tenets to take their course.
To boycott Christian National Convocations of Prayer and Fasting on account of human perception that all who do participate have been corrupted and are insincere, smacks of pride and spiritual snobbishness. Only God is All-Knowing and infallible to rightly gauge the human heart.
Let me dare say, any Christian Minister of the Gospel, on both sides of this divide, on either collaboration or boycotting Christian National Convocations of Prayer and Fasting, ought to personally weigh seriously, in their hearts, if they have righteously acted in the sight of God. Some credible and respected Christian leaders may be unjustly and adversely influencing their followers on Social media and other communication platforms, when they actually are making themselves final arbiters or judges on fellow Christian Clergy who have not corruptly participated in these Christian National Convocations of Prayer and Fasting.
In conclusion, I will address the matter of the person God uses to make a degree or declaration regarding some Christian Practices in a nation, such as we have experienced here in Zambia.
Before I do that, by the way, let me share an experience. At one time my wife and I went to Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and it was the Moslem Ramadan period. Both my wife and I, and one of our Pastors, who are avowedly Christian, we were told that we could not freely sit and have a meal outside a Kentucky Fried Chicken Fast Food Restaurant. We needed to just buy our food, have it wrapped, and then go and eat it in the privacy of our Hotel Room. Otherwise, we would be arrested by the UAE Police. Of course we did the smart thing to do in a foreign land. We actually have a friend who was arrested at one time when they went to Dubai and violated this Moslem Religious/Spiritual tenet of Ramadan. Some Nations, especially Islamic States, have declared Religious Convocations, and their laws even enforce them, with the threat of prosecution.
I am so glad that in Zambia, even when 18th October 2017 has been declared our Christian National Day of Prayer and Fasting, as a democracy, we are not forced to fast or even to attend the convened gatherings. We go there, and are in attendance, as an act of willful and obedient commitment to the Lord. On 18th October 2017, those who chose to eat, even publicly, are not in jail or being prosecuted. Therefore, why can’t these dissenters leave us alone to pray and fast as we have willfully and obediently done, even before 18th October 2017 was declared as our Christian National day of Prayer? Why should they become public interpreters of spiritual acts in the nation, especially those who have never been part of the Christian Praying Community before even PF came into power?
Let me even go further, and say, in our congregations, and all Christian congregations in Zambia for that matter, if we are to be honest with ourselves, Bishop, Apostle, Pastor, Prophet, and whatever other title you may have, whenever you have called for a time of congregational Prayers and Fasting, have you had the entire congregation turn up for such prayers? Honestly, NO! WHY? But have you continued to PRAY as a congregation? I will let you answer that! Why are we so flustered at some people, who are not even God, boycotting and refusing to join us for Christian National Convocations of Prayers and Fasting?
Now I will address what I left off here above. In the Old Testament history of the people of God, Israel, which was an undeniable Theocracy in the beginning, until they transitioned into a Monarch, which was still majorly influenced by its allegiance to Jehovah through Prophets and Priests, there were National Convocations of Prayer, Repentance and Consultation with the Almighty God, for major national concerns, such as the security of the nation against their enemies, who were plentiful around them, during times of agrarian economic downturns (drought), times of national spiritual instruction, etc. Under a Theocracy, the Prophets, such as Samuel, and High Priests, such as Aaron and his sons, were the authorized individuals to declare or call for National Convocations of Prayer and Consultation with God.
When Israel transitioned into a Monarch, led by kings, such as Saul, David, Solomon, etc., some good and some bad kings, the authorized individuals who decreed or declared National Convocations of Prayer and Fasting were kings. That was the reason why whenever a bad king, one who never feared or honored Jehovah, came on the throne, in spite of the presence of Prophets and Priests, the Nation of Israel was pushed into sinning against God, with accompanying consequences they faced from the hand of God. Whenever a God-fearing king ascended to the throne, Israel was restored back to God and feared Jehovah, as such God-fearing kings rallied the Nation towards God’s will and followed tenets of Jehovah. Even if they had powerful Prophets like Elijah, those Prophets could not decree or declare National Convocations of Prayer and Fasting or Consultation with Jehovah. They could, with boldness, rebuke and declare the will of the Lord in the nation, but they could not call for a National Convocation. Remember that even when the great Prophet Elijah challenged the false prophets of Baal and Asherah, he had to depend on King Ahab to bring about such a National Convocation. No one in Israel could do it, except the king. Elijah said to Ahab, “Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table. So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel.” (1 Kings 18:19-20).
Learning something from Israel’s transition from a Theocracy to a Monarch, there are nations today, developed nations for that matter, who cannot have a politically elected National Leader make Declarations that totally impact such nations, without the express permission or consultation with the Monarch. Do your research on some nations, and you will affirm that even though such nations are touted as models of democracy in the world, the Monarch still wields great power and influence on national convocations.
Zambia is not a Monarch; but we are a Constitutional Democracy, who espouse Christianity as our national ethos, anchored in democratic values, because we are an explicitly Declared Christian Nation, not only once by the constitutionally elected Republican President, the late Dr. Fredrick JT Chiluba who originated the declaration of Zambia as a Christian Nation, but repeated again in the democratically conducted adoption of our New Constitution, assented to by the constitutionally elected Republican President, His Excellence Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu. According to our Zambian Constitution, no matter how powerful an individual might think they are, whether Christian Clergy or Political Leader, as long as they are NOT the Constitutional Republican President of Zambia, they cannot declare Zambia a Christian Nation, neither can they call for a National Convocation, without consent from the Republican President or our collective will as Zambians.
Powerful Political Leaders can have massive political rallies; and powerful influential Christian Clergy, can call for a time of Prayer and Fasting and hold large gatherings, as we have done before and will continue to do, filling Football Stadiums, even with multiple local gatherings in various places in the nation. But we all know, these are ungazetted gatherings that cannot and will not be considered as National Convocations of Zambia.
So let’s be reasonable and realistic about who has the constitutional power to call for a gazetted Christian National Day of Prayer and Fasting in Zambia. Illusory postures of thinking any political leader who may have some following in the nation can declare and command intelligent Zambians to boycott a time of National Prayer and Fasting, should be seen for who they are, it’s merely Political Posturing; and we wisely ask such to desist from further eroding their residual endowed leadership position among Zambians.
I rest my case!
Bishop George Mbulo, Dip.Th; BA, M.Div.; MBA
Capital Christian Ministries International