Chanda Kasolo says Edgar Lungu did “a lot of praying” and a little bit of fasting during his just-ended holiday in Mfuwe.
“We have a president who is a God fearing man and believes greatly in prayer and fasting and all that. Some people don’t realise, he has just been on holiday [in Mfuwe] but that wasn’t the holiday of going to eat and what; there was a little bit of fasting there and he did a lot of praying as well,” claimed Kasolo.
Kasolo and his like can try fool themselves, lie to themselves about Edgar being God-fearing, but they can’t fool God, they can’t lie to God about who this man truly is. Edgar is the devil incarnate – the epitome of evil in this country. Look at Edgar’s deeds: what is God-fearing about this clearly evil man who is everyday threatening to fall on others “like a tonne of bricks”? What is God-fearing about this evil man who lies about others and things? What is God-fearing about this ruthless tinpot dictator who locks up political opponents on trumped up treason charges? What is God-fearing about this tyrant who abuses state institutions like the Zambia Revenue Authority, the courts and the police to destroy the businesses of his perceived enemies?
Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Jose Marti, outstanding hero and forerunner of Cuba’s liberation, said “doing is the best way of saying”. For Christians, living is the best way of believing. Faith without deeds is worthless (James 2:14 – 17). What are Edgar’s deeds? Being in charge of the most corrupt, intolerant and violent regime in our independent history! Accumulating so much wealth from unearned income in the shortest time! Being inseparable with alcohol and all the other things that go with it! Mahatma Gandhi said, “If physical fasting is not accompanied by mental fasting, it is bound to end in hypocrisy and disaster.”
And David Livingstone said, “Fastings and vigils without a special object in view are time run to waste.” The greatest saint in the world is not he who prays most or fasts most; it is not he who gives alms, or is most eminent for temperance, chastity or justice. It is he who is most thankful to God. How does one thank God? It’s through deeds. It’s our fellow human beings, and especially those who lack life and need justice, in whom God wishes to be served, loved and thanked. They are the ones with whom Jesus identified. “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25: 37-40).
Prayer is reaching out after the unseen; fasting is letting go of all that is seen and temporal. Fasting helps express, deepen, confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves, to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.
If the solemnities of our fasting, though frequent, long, and severe, do not serve to put an edge upon devout affections, to quicken prayer, to increase Godly sorrow, and to alter the temper of our minds, and the course of our lives, for the better, they do not at all answer the intention, and God will not accept them as performed to Him. By fasting, the body learns to obey the soul; by praying, the soul learns to command the body.
The purpose of fasting is to loosen to some degree the ties which bind us to the world of material things and our surroundings as a whole, in order that we may concentrate all our spiritual powers upon the unseen and eternal things.
The abstinence is not to be an end in itself but rather for the purpose of being separated to the Lord and to concentrate on godliness. This kind of fasting reduces the influence of our self-will and invites the Holy Spirit to do more intense work in us. Fasting in the biblical sense is choosing not to partake of food because your spiritual hunger is so deep, your determination in intercession so intense, or your spiritual warfare so demanding that you have temporarily set aside even fleshly needs to give yourself to prayer and meditation. Fasting from any nourishment, activity, involvement or pursuit – for any season – sets the stage for God to appear. Fasting is not a tool to pry wisdom out of God’s hands or to force needed insight about a decision. Fasting is not a tool for gaining discipline or developing piety – whatever that might be. Instead, fasting is the bulimic act of ridding ourselves of our fullness to attune our senses to the mysteries that swirl in and around us. Fasting is meant to take you, temporarily, out of the realm of the physical and focus your attention heavenward; as one Jewish guide to fasting puts it, ‘at the heart of this practice is a desire to shift our attention away from our immediate needs and to focus on more spiritual concerns’. Prayer and fasting is what every Christian needs because prayer empowers you while fasting humbles you to be a better child of God. A fast is not necessarily something we offer God, but it assists us in offering ourselves.