GOVERNMENT has called on Zambians to observe this year’s day of national prayer, fasting, repentance and reconciliation on 18th October to petition God to intervene in the country’s affairs. Secretary to the Cabinet Roland Msiska says this year’s event, which will be held under the theme, “Promoting reconciliation and healing, cerebrating unity and diversity,” will be held at Woodlands Forest Reserve in Lusaka while inter-denomination meetings will be held to commemorate the day at provincial and district levels and will run from 09:00hrs to 18:00hrs. Dr. Msiska said President Edgar Lungu is expected to lay a foundation stone to mark the commencement of construction works of the National House of Prayer, adding that activities of entertainment in nature should be suspended during the commemoration. “This year, 18th October will fall on Tuesday. The nation therefore is called to observe the fast and participate in prayers to seek the face of God for our nation from 06:00hrs to 18:00hrs and all activities of an entertainment nature should therefore be suspended during this time. ‘‘History has demonstrated what happens when nations turn to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, in fasting and prayer. The Bible declares that blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord and Pope Benedict is quoted to have stated that a society that is not at all concerned with God destroys itself. “In this regard, the advisory board on the National House of Prayer has guided that the theme for this year’s commemoration is “Promoting reconciliation and healing, cerebrating unity and diversity”. The advisory board has also indicated that at the national level, this year’s commemoration will take place at Woodlands Forest Reserve, from 09:00hrs to 18:00hrs. The official programme will start at 09:00hrs and end at 12:00hrs but prayers will continue until 18:00hrs at the same venue,” Dr. Msiska said. He instructed the provincial and district leadership to ensure that they worked with the church inter-denomination prayer networks organized by the National House of Prayers in commemorating the event. “On this same occasion, President Lungu will lay the foundation stone to mark the commencement of construction works for the National House of Prayer. At provincial and district levels, the commemoration will be facilitated by inter-denominational prayer networks organied by the National House of Prayer, pastors’ fellowships and the church at large,” he said. Last year, President Lungu declared October 18th as the day for repentance, prayer and fasting throughout the country. The declaration followed overwhelming requests that ordinary citizens and the clergy from all denominations made for a special day to petition God to address the challenges the country faced. In his declaration, President Lungu said the requests were justified as the country’s founding fathers found it fit to commit the nation’s destiny to God’s providence. He explained that this was evidenced by their placing of the national flag at the high altar of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, on the 25th of October, in 1964. He added that the decision inevitable in view of the many challenges the country faced.