Churches urged to pray for justice and hope in Zimbabwe

By agency reporter
20 Jan 2009

More prayer is needed for Zimbabwe, according to Christian relief agency Tearfund who are supporting local churches to meet the desperate needs of thousands of families in Zimbabwe.

As Zimbabwe’s president and opposition leader begin make or break talks in Harare to resolve the political deadlock Tearfund is urging Christians in the UK to pray.

Tearfund’s International Director, Peter Grant said, “We can pray for a new hope around many urgent issues, especially as a new US president steps up to multiple challenges. Zimbabwe is one of these and we know that prayer can overcome injustice. The need is urgent. As Christians and churches pray for Zimbabwe there remains the ‘audacity of hope’ for those whose single challenge this week is to survive.”

This weekend the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC’s) is calling for churches around the world to pray for Zimbabwe.

Robert Mugabe has said that talks about a proposed government of national unity would end if the opposition failed to accept the terms of his ruling party Zanu PF. The government has been unprepared to make concessions. Opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, who returned to Zimbabwe last weekend after two months absence, refuses to accept a proposal that leaves Mugabe in control of key ministries including responsibility for the police and ruthless security forces.

As the talks led by regional leaders, including South Africa, continue, so does the intense suffering for the majority of Zimbabweans.

The cholera death toll is now at over 2000 with thousands more people sick with the disease and unable to get basic treatment.

Tearfund staff visited recently and found rural hospital staff struggling to cope with practically no medical supplies and makeshift equipment. Acute hunger is widespread as the poorest families search anywhere for anything they can eat. Tearfund has reported stories of people surviving on wild birds and leaves - and even boiling the leather hide of livestock when there was nothing else to eat.

However, many families are getting the help they need. Churches often know who is most in need of help and they respond bringing food or water, or by helping to fix a water pipe system. But church pastors in the thick of this relief effort suggest prayer enables provision of a 'higher power', says Tearfund.

“We must pray. You must pray in these days," says Pastor Promise, who works with one of Tearfund’s partner agencies. “More than ever these are critical times for Zimbabwe. Please pray with us for justice and spiritual transformation – that the strangle-hold on the poorest people would be released. The people are needlessly suffering and dying.”

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