You see, since the start of 2015, the kwacha has fallen 45% in value against the U.S. dollar. This took place in the midst of a global drop in the price of copper, Zambia’s main export, and nationwide power shortages due to drought conditions hitting Zambia’s hydroelectric power plants hard.
You can read all about it in these articles:
- Zambia prepares for national prayer day to save currency – Daily Nation
- This country’s answer for its meltdown: Prayer? By Dawn Kissi, Yahoo Finance
As part of the day of prayer, sporting events would be postponed to another day, and bars would be closed until 6:00 PM.
But not everyone in Zambia was gung-ho about the idea . . .
Prayer, or a distraction?
Opponents of President Lungu say the day of prayer is just a distraction. “Stop the policy inconsistencies, put all economic fundamentals in place, and then maybe you can pray,” said financial analyst Mambo Hamaundu.
In other words, Lungu’s critics believe that the solution to Zambia’s economic woes lie right here on earth: it involves taking the steps required to put Zambia’s economy on a sound—and more diversified—footing.
Prayer and action go together
But is there really a contradiction between the two?
It is possible both to call on God for help and take the practical steps necessary to face the problem.
In fact, the main purpose of prayer is not to change God’s mind and get God to take action. Rather, it’s to put us in the right frame of mind to accept help and inspiration from God within our mind and heart, and then take the practical steps necessary to overcome our adversities.
Think about it. God is already perfectly aware of our situation here on earth. God is ready and willing to do everything possible to improve our situation, and especially to provide for our eternal wellbeing.
If things are messed up here on earth—currencies failing, economies faltering—is it really because God isn’t doing enough?
Of course, there are natural disasters that we can’t do anything about; we just have to deal with them. But let’s face it, most of the major social and economic problems we face, we created ourselves. And if things are going to get better, we are the ones who are going to have to change, not God.
So what does prayer accomplish?
Prayer is a wonderful tool to enrich our lives. If it is effective prayer, it helps open our minds and hearts to see things in a new way, in a clearer light. It shows us where we have been getting off track so that we can get back on track.
Think of prayer as a meditative communication with God, not as submitting a request to some divine suggestion box. God is not going to magically fix our problems if we all just stop and pray about it—especially if prayer is the only action we take.
However, perhaps if we all stop for a moment and pray about it, God will inspire us to make the hard decisions and take the difficult steps that will, in time, solve the massive problems we humans face here on earth.
And yes, sometimes through prayer we do open up new channels for God to bring healing to a sick person or comfort to someone in emotional distress.
Pray for the kwacha?
Perhaps Zambia’s national day of prayer and fasting will bring about some good for the kwacha, and for Zambia’s economy.
But that’s not going to happen by God miraculously intervening in Zambian politics and finance.
If the day of prayer does have an effect, it will be to help put the leaders and people of Zambia into a mindset in which they will take the steps needed to face and overcome the difficulties facing their economy. This includes having the political will to take the hard steps necessary to put Zambia’s economy on a more solid and stable footing.
The same goes for the rest of us, too—no matter what we are praying for.
Prayer is not about getting God to rescue us and fix our problems for us. Instead, effective prayer involves listening to God as we pray. And if we listen deeply enough, and are willing to let God into our hearts and minds in a new way, God will give us the strength and wisdom to deal constructively with the issues we face.
And so we’re back to the old adage:
Pray to God, but row away from the rocks.
For further reading: