AS has become her norm at the beginning of each year, First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa yesterday brought together various denominations in Bulawayo and Matabeleland Provinces to pray for the nation and give thanks to the Lord for abundant rainfall, success in suppressing the Covid-19 pandemic and unity in an unprecedented show of love for the citizenry.
Since inception in 2019, the interdenominational prayer, a brainchild of the First Lady, this was the first time it was being held in Bulawayo. People came in droves for the prayers, with some coming from as far as Harare, to fill the ZITF Hall to the rafters.
Religious leaders from various churches used the occasion to address thorny issues that were affecting the nation like gender-based violence, drug abuse, teenage pregnancies and immorality. They also prayed for unity, love and development in the country, restoration of Hunhu/Ubuntu, availing of resources for rebuilding Zimbabwe and protection for the country’s leaders and citizens.
Amai Mnangagwa has always been leading the nation in prayers for various causes, bringing together various churches. Yesterday, some churches which were not part of the prayer group-Prayer for Zimbabwe Network, joined in. Leaders of various denominations held their hands together and praised the First Lady for uniting them.
They promised to continue working together for the good of the communities they serve and the nation at large. Bishop Dr Rocky Moyo from Great Apostles Church, who spoke on behalf of the religious leaders, said Bulawayo was grateful for the First Lady’s love.
“We love you Amai in Bulawayo. This unity you have taught us will continue. We pledge to be united as churches in Bulawayo because everything starts with the Church. Amai, thank you for teaching us what love and unity is,” he said.
One of the choirs that performed during a prayer meeting organised by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa through Prayer for Zimbabwe Network which she launched in 2019 in Bulawayo yesterday
Addressing the gathering, the First Lady thanked all churches for coming together to support her prayer initiative.
“I am informed some came from as far as Harare just in heed of my call for prayer. I am indeed delighted to see such a big crowd gathering for one common cause, praying for our beloved country Zimbabwe.
This kind of unity is plausible as is written in the book of Psalms 133 v 1 which reads: ‘Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity’, Zimbabweans we are united and let us remain so. I wish to challenge Prayer for Zimbabwe Network (PZN) to speed up and double the effort of uniting all churches in the country for prayer,” she said.
The First Lady urged churches to put their doctrinal diversities aside to make way for a united voice before God.
As Mother of the Nation, the First Lady said she saw it fit to invite all churches to unite in prayer against many of the problems affecting the nation.
“We began to do this on 21 October, 2019 and I am glad to inform you, Bulawayo, that our God has always been faithful by responding positively to our petitions.
He gave us abundant rains when we called on Him for that, He preserved our lives even against the deadly Covid-19 virus and other natural disasters.
You will realise that many of our prayer programmes in the past, happened in Harare but we decided to open our year 2022 in Bulawayo, ndoti Bulawayo, makorokoto, mawanirwa nyasha kuvhura gore ne calendar remunamato’”.
The First Lady said it was common knowledge that problems and challenges were always part of life, hence the decision to put trust in God the creator.
Part of the more than 3 500 congregants praising and worshipping during a prayer meeting organised by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa in Bulawayo yesterday
The theme for yesterday’s meeting was “Zimbabwe! Fear Not! God will make you overcome your challenges: your enemies will be like nothing! God is holding you by His hand.”
“I hereby encourage every Zimbabwean to anchor their hope in God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Besides this prayer programme, I call on the Church to mould our society in general and our youths in particular into a God-fearing nation, for I know that the more we become like God, there will be no violence, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, ritual killings and many other ills which seem to be wiping away our usually solid and well-cultured character,” she said.
She added, “Dai vatungamiri vemakereke maramba muchikusha nekufambisa ivhangeri yeruponeso nyika yekwedu iponeswe.”
Reports of armed robberies, rap_e, and child marriages must go down to zero, the First Lady emphasised.
“Parents, guardians and everyone must show love and care for our children than preying on them for whatever reasons,” she said.
She encouraged churches to initiate income generating projects to support and empower women and youths even those from outside their denominations.
“I say so because I believe the church is there to serve communities in which they operate.”
Amai Mnangagwa hailed the Bulawayo Christian community for heeding her call for prayer.
“I thank you for coming from different churches. We are one, one family of Zimbabwe. I am glad I have entered a ‘house’ where there is everyone. May God bless us for we do not pray in vain,” she said to thunderous applause.
Among the speakers, was Pastor Isabel Machuwaire from Zaoga who spoke against gender-based violence (GBV) and all forms of violence and quoted Isiah 41:10 which reads: “So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
“God is with us Zimbabwe, this is our time, our season, God will strengthen us. He knows the plans he has for Zimbabwe because he said it in Isaiah 29:11. We say no to gender-based violence today and all other forms of violence,” she said.
Dr Bishop Isaac Silumbu from Grace Family church’s prayer point said: “We must thank God for protecting and preserving our lives. Let’s not tire in praying. No weapon formed against God’s children shall prosper when God is in control. Today we are putting a stop to Covid-19 infections and Covid-19-related deaths.”
Prophetess Felistas Sibanda from Gospel of Everlasting Christ Church spoke on the need for unity, peace and development.
“Unite Zimbabwe, let us pray for our nation for the development of our country. For social development to take place we need to change even our attitudes, looking even after the vulnerable like what our mother the First Lady does. We also need economic development in our country. As we come together, let us pray for total restoration.
By calling for this interdenominational prayer, our mother is teaching us unity because unity brings development in a country,” she said.
Pastor N Msimanga from the Seventh Day Adventist Church focused on availing of resources for rebuilding the country.
Archbishop Tsungai Vushe from Runyararo Apostolic church discussed the thorny issue of drug abuse and read from Psalms 1.
“We have rejected those who are selling drugs to children because this is destroying the future of the country since these children are our future leaders. If the future leaders are destroyed, then even the nation is destroyed.
These drugs have ruined our children and we liken them to a demon because those who take drugs behave in a manner which is not consistent with our values as the nation of Zimbabwe.
We want to thank Amai for her vision to unite the nation for one cause, which is prayer. This shows she has love for her children. As a mother she is equally troubled by the way our children have lost morals. We want them to be new creations today,” he said.
Prophetess Faith Sibanda from Voice of God focused on the restoration of Unhu/Ubuntu.
“Ubuntu is unity, love and kindness therefore, restoration cannot begin when there is no unity, love and kindness. To achieve restoration, let us join hands as Zimbabwe and as one family and love one another.”
Pastor Leonard Mutasa tackled the need for security for leaders and all Zimbabweans. People who attended the prayer meeting were thankful to the First Lady for her decision to lead her family the Christian way. Bishop Rodney Mkandla of the Congress Apostolic Church of Zion said he was thankful for the First Lady for sowing the seeds of unity.
“I want to thank Amai for coming to Bulawayo and uniting us. When churches unite, people will come together because the church has no clan. It is a church of God,” he said.
Madzimai Portia Kawadza from Johane Masowe eChishanu said she was overjoyed to have participated in an event where churches came together to pray for the nation.
“I am glad this day has made it possible for us to unite as churches and as the children of Zimbabwe without being selective on the basis of church and creed. We have come to pray for our nation which has many challenges that we cannot solve alone but through the power of prayer. Our mother the First Lady has taught us love and unity.
She was not selective and we thank her for bringing the interdenominational prayer meeting to Bulawayo. There are also others who came all the way from Harare and we prayed together as one family, this showed unity,” she said.
Mrs Kudzanayi Moyo of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe said she was grateful for what the First Lady had done for her and other residents of Bulawayo.
“Amai has started this year’s prayer meeting here in Bulawayo where we are as her children. This shows that she loves all her children. She wants the nation to unite and love one another.
She has done a good thing and we pray that God blesses her. She called all churches to pray together and this uplifts us because most people died of Covid-19, but we survived. May she continue doing this,” she said.
The gathering concurred that Zimbabwe is heading for greatness given the rewarding path of prayer it has taken.
– Sunday News