IT is a blessing that Zambia has continued observing the annual National Day of Prayer which began in 2015, exactly eight years ago.
There were fears in some quarters that with the departure from the government of President Edgar Lungu, who declared October 18 to be observed as a National Day of Prayer, Fasting, Repentance, and Reconciliation and a public holiday for this purpose, the practice might be abandoned.
Such prophets of doom have been proven wrong as the day has continued being observed in the country, in even more conducive and better environment.
It is more interesting that the way the day is observed has even been improved on in that it has been given back to the right people to lead, the interdenominational grouping of clerics.
This has added a lot of value to the commemoration!
Unlike in the past when politicians, mainly from the ruling party, were in the forefront in organising the event, that responsibility has been left to religious leaders led by the church mother bodies.
As the result, concepts like Christians for ‘X’ or ‘Z’ have become the thing of the past because there are only Christians for Jesus and not for individual leaders.
Further, the move by the New Dawn administration to depoliticise the event and the commemoration has led to a situation where everyone is free to attend, without discrimination or snubbing.
Indeed, it is because of that that the nation yesterday witnessed opposition leaders like Harry Kalaba and others turning up for the event which in the past seemed to have been a preserve of the Patriotic Front leaders and members as well as their sympathisers.
Because of the depoliticisation of the event, the political leaders from the opposition freely attend the functions without fearing harassing from cadres or being ridiculed by biased preachers.
This is as it should be because that is what God wants.
The holiday is meant to facilitate the proclaimed fast, which, in olden days, meant that people, from the greatest to the least, had to put on sackcloth and sit in ashes to demonstrate total repentance.
In those days, neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, was permitted to taste anything, nor drink water, till the fast was over.
This action in Bible times always led to God averting disaster upon those that repented, and is the reason successive presidents of Zambia have sought God’s intervention in times of difficulty.
Since independence, Zambia has not only been a peaceful country in a turbulent region, but it has also become an oasis of peace, offering refuge to people fleeing armed conflict in their own countries.
Zambia, which has been spared from war or civil strife, has on two occasions lost a sitting president; President Levy Mwanawasa on August 19, 2008, and President Michael Sata on October 28, 2014.
These unfortunate events passed peacefully, unlike in some countries where such deaths could have kindled flames of civil strife.
These are but a few reasons giving credence to the need to continue observing the National Day of Prayer.
Long live National Day of Prayer!