As the National Day of prayer approaches, several questions have crossed my mind. What does this day really meansto a religious or a nonreligious caste of mind?In order to help a non-Christian understand what the day mean, I decided to furnish to explain what the National Day of prayer means.
Let me answering the question, what is prayer? Prayer is the free utterance of what the soul’s wantfrom God the father, asking benefits in the name of our savior and interceding for the good of others also. Prayer is to the soul as breath is to the body. Prayer can be done at individual, group, family or national level.
In the old dispensation prayer was conducted in the temple and alter, by priests and prophets. But in the Christian Church Jesus Christ takes the place of the temple and alter; the priests and the prophets. He is the Chief intercessor.
One may ask why prayer? It is intended to solicit for benefits and protection from God. Isaiah 56:7 reads thus,
… these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.
God answers prayers. That is why Zambia has chosen to invoke God in matters of national interest. 2 Chronicles 7:14 states that “14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
This begs the question, how should we prepare for the national day of prayer as a nation? Given that if certain rules are neglected in prayer or if one of God’s commandments is disobeyed or the supplicant is proud and independent or if he is hypocritical or if he doubts or is double minded, God will not answer the prayers.
One of the required preparation that weighs heavily on my heart is reconciliation. Matthew 5:24 reads “23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” In other words prayer would be hindered if there is no reconciliation between worshippers.
As I examined the Greek word Katallaso, used for reconciliation, it means to cause or effect a thorough change. According to the biblical doctrine of reconciliation, in the case of God and man relationship, the change takes place in man and not in God. God reconciles the world to himself (2 Corinthians5:18). Reconciliation takes place through the cross of Christ or the death of Christ.
It is written in 2 Corinthians 5:18 that “God reconciled us to himself through Christ.” He reconciles us to himself through the death of his Son (Romans5:1). It is man that is to be reconciled to God and not the other way round. God and man are not on equal terms in relation to reconciliation. The supremacy of God over man is maintained in every respect.
Likewise in the Ruler and the ruled relationship it is the subject who must be reconciled to the ruler. The reconciled is to be active in the process.That means reconciliation is something that is done by those that are estranged.
It is not merely something which happens to those who are estranged. Where there is no active involvementin the process by the estranged, there can never be reconciliation.It is the Holy Spirit that gives the right and power to be reconciled.
Therefore,it is my to all Zambians that among all other preparations for the national Day of prayer that the opposition leadership be reconciled to the President of the Republic of Zambia. Let there be a friendly relationship not based on merit but because the two leaders have chosen to willfully make peace for the sake of mother Zambia.
Let us also bear in mind that Christian reconciliation is not reciprocal in the sense that both equally become friends where they were enemies. The President’s supremacy is to be maintained. Above all, the basis of reconciliation is love and love never fails (2 Corinthians 5:14).
In the event that the other party refuses to be reconciled, the President can exercise his prerogative by pardoning the offender. The bible states that “14 for if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15).
My personal encounter with what forgiveness is all about happened several years ago when I was on a sensitization tour in Luapula province, pleading the cause of widows, orphans and the vulnerable people in society. The program was sponsored by USAID.
For many years my grandmother had sworn never to forgive my uncle for the offence, undisclosed to us, which mu uncle had committed against her. One morning I summoned the two and other extended family members and initiated a reconciliation process.
My grandmother was adamant that she will never forgive my uncle. Knowing that my grandmother was a strong woman of God, I expressed disappointment and sought to meet her pastor. Suddenly something dramatic happened.
My uncle got up, prostrated himself on the ground and rolled in the dust in front of her mother pleading for forgiveness. Unmoved by this act of repentance my grandmother pointed at him and said “I will never forgive you.”
In my entourage was a family friend and coworker in the work of the Lord, Rev. Chabala, who witnessed what was happening. He got up and fell prostrate before my grandmother and pleaded for pardon on behalf of my uncle, while crying bitterly. This event was so dramatic and charged with emotions that, finally, my grandmother pointed at my friend who was still lying on the ground and said,
“Had it not been for this one, I would not haveforgiven you.” A week later following this incident, my grandmother prepared a meal and a white chicken which the two reconciled persons ate as a symbol of reconciliation. Years later when my grandmother died, she had already forgiven her son, and the son had been reconciled to the mother.
What a picture of the great atonement!The English word ‘atonement’ originally meant “at-one-ment”, i.e. being “at one”, in harmony, with someone.  It is used to describe the saving work that God did through Christ to reconcile the world to himself, and also of the state of a person having been reconciled to God. Therefore, as we approach the National day of prayers let us be reconciled to God, to one another and forgive each other even as Christ has forgiven us.
Rt. Rev. Dr. Paul Bupe
Presiding prelate of the Redeemed Methodist Church. (Contact 0971604439 /0964621995)