Tendai Rupapa Senior Reporter
The quest for peace, reconciliation, economic revival and the removal of illegal sanctions hogged the limelight at the launch of the National Day of Prayer ceremony held at State House in Harare yesterday.
Spearheaded by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, the gathering was the first of its kind at State House since independence in 1980, and was attended by more than 1 000 Christians from over 300 church denominations.
The First Lady, who was wearing her Methodist Church uniform, mixed and mingled with the clergy, heads of various Christian denominations and worshippers who wore uniforms of various colours.
President Mnangagwa and his entire Cabinet cut short their meeting to attend the national prayer session before resuming their business later.
The event was marked by songs of adoration and Bible readings, exposing the emotional side of Amai Mnangagwa who openly wept as she prayed for peace, unity and development.
The non-political gathering prayed against sanctions, cultural decadence, natural disasters, violence and all forms of abuse.
They also prayed for economic revival and fruitfulness, peace, love, reconciliation and wisdom for the country’s leaders.
Sanctions have been cited as a major contributory factor to the country’s economic challenges.
Zimbabwe has also not been spared by natural disasters such as Cyclone Idai, which left a trail of destruction in Chimanimani and Chipinge in Manicaland province.
Recognising the contributions made by churches in nation building, upholding morality, fostering unity and peace, the First Lady planned the event with the assistance of a committee selected from different churches countrywide.
The First Lady implored the nation to be prayerful to unlock blessings for peace, development and unity.
She urged various religious denominations represented at the meeting and elsewhere to regularly pray for the nation, and opened scriptures to back her points.
“Matthew 18 verse 20 reads, ‘where two or more people gather in my name, there am I with them’ I am happy that today we are gathered here as one family calling to God to hear our prayers,” she said.
“As the First Lady, I have invited you to this event where we are launching this prayer event at State House. This is the first time such an event has happened at State House.
“This marks the beginning of regular such meetings every month on a date to be agreed on by the churches to pray for our country. I know you have been doing this already, but we have to do this as one family. We are calling for revival and blessings upon our country.”
The First Lady said churches had a vital role to play in fostering peace and unity through sharing burdens and standing genuinely for each other.
“Corinthians 13 verse 4-7 says ‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres’. Therefore, as highlighted in the scriptures, let us all preach love wherever we are,” she said.
“Our country is currently working to restore its place among other nations, so we should pray for the Government and the church’s leadership so that they get wisdom from God when discharging their duties.”
Bishops, pastors and church leaders took turns to preach and pray on the selected prayer points, calling on the nation to look up to the heavens for solutions to the problems Zimbabwe is facing.
Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi preached on confession and reflection, while Bishop Regina Katsande touched on peace, love and reconciliation.
Other preachers were Bishop Wutawunashe from Family of God Church, Madzimai Veronica Kwati of Johane Masowe Echishanu, Prophetess Memory Matimbira of the Daughters of Virtue, Bishop Nyambo of Zaoga, Mrs Mapuwire from Holy Apostolic Gospel and Bishop Makore.
The churches thanked the First Lady for initiating the programme.