JANUARY 25, 09 – DAY OF PRAYER FOR
It is easy to grow numb to the
suffering in Africa. There always seems to be a famine or pestilence or war
there. Yet, this continent is the home of millions of people, people with
children, people for whom Christ died. Right now Zimbabwe is in a terrible
crisis. The All Africa Conference of Churches declared January 25 to be a
day of prayer and fasting for the land of Zimbabwe and has asked Christians
around the world to partner in seeking God's face on behalf of this country.
Zimbabwe was once the breadbasket of
Africa, a land of plenty that fed itself and its neighbors. Zimbabwe was
once a well-developed nation with advanced medical facilities. Now, this
southern African country is on the verge of complete meltdown.
The suffering in Zimbabwe is
unimaginable. The unemployment rate is over 80 percent. Malnutrition is
rampant. People are dying of anthrax after eating the decaying flesh of
infected animals. A cholera epidemic is raging through the country and an
estimated 37,000 have been infected. Schools are shut down. There are no
running public hospitals; they're closed for lack of plumbing and
sanitation. Doctors and nurses try their best to help people without running
water and few medical supplies. According to the director of one mission
"A major problem is the loss of life
and fetal wastage we are seeing with obstetric patients. They come so late,
the fetuses are already dead. We see women with eclampsia who have been
seizing for 12 hours. There is no intensive care unit here, and now there is
no intensive care in Harare. If we had intensive care, we know it would be
immediately full of critically ill patients. As it is, they just die."
Any woman who has ever been in labor
can catch a glimpse of the horror. Any father can consider the despair of
parents who watch their children die for lack of simple surgery.
The despotic and irrational rule of
Robert Mugabe has destroyed the country, yet he refuses give up his
death-hold. His supporters continue to threaten and attack people who speak
against the government. While a power-sharing agreement was made in
September, Mugabe made his true position clear when he said last month, "I
will never, never, never surrender ... Zimbabwe is mine."
The churches of Africa ask for our
help. January 25th has been set aside as a day of prayer and fasting for
the people of Zimbabwe.
AACC general secretary Dr. André
Karamaga said, "The call is to join our Zimbabwean sisters and brothers in
prayer and in fasting, in words and in deeds, in contemplation and in
He continued, explaining that the day
of prayer and fasting "is first and foremost a call for all of us to come to
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with a humble heart, in sincere love,
spending time with him to get in tune with His sovereign plans and visions
for his people and for the world. It's about allowing Him to speak and to
share His heart that bleeds for the suffering of our world."
Karamaga referred to Isaiah 58 as the
key passage for the day of prayer:
"Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
Raise your voice like a trumpet …Is not this the kind of fasting I have
chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cord 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 flesh and blood?
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 I am." -
Isaiah 58:1, 6-9.