NIGERIANS NEED A REVOLUTION IN THEIR PRAYERS
I was reading one of Pastor Chris Oyakhilome's piece in the recent edition of Christ Embassy's Rhapsody of Realities titled: “Continue in Prayer for Nigeria” and I felt I needed to say one or two things about Nigerians' erroneous religious approach to critical national matters, especially as Nigeria clocks 50.
The piece was introduced by 1 Timothy 2: 1 - 2, which says I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
No doubt, I totally agree that every one of us needs to continue in prayer for the country, but I objectively disagree that we have to continue religiously, as we have always done blindly. To be religious is to maintain status quo, while to be a Christian is to be never satisfied with status quo and to always call for positive changes. In other words, religion is death and Christianity is life, improvement, new ideas and approaches. I must say our attitude in Nigeria over the past 50 years has been characterized by the former rather than the later – a situation where, we do not think it is appropriate to change the status quo, especially our positive approach to prayers, even in the face of its ineffectiveness. Pastor Chris, in his piece, says for us to change things in our country through prayers, we have to pray the kind of the prayer Elijah prayed: “Earnest, heartfelt and Continued Prayer,” through which he caused the rain to seize for three and half years. The question is, has Nigerians not been praying the earnest, heartfelt and continued prayer? The answer is that Nigerians have done this for 50 years and have done so to a fault, owing to their religious beliefs, yet their religiosity has been nonchalantly disrespected and seen as a sign of weakness on their past by their leaders. What Nigerians need, in my own opinion, is a revolution in their prayers - that is to turn that religious weakness to strengthen? After all, Elijah did the same thing, when he caused the rain to seize, because he felt there was no need for it and also called for it, when the need arose - this means Elijah's prayers were guided by certain factors – positive or negative actions, to which he reacted accordingly. But in Nigeria, our approach has always been one way. It has always been that religious positive reaction, which has made us to be taken for granted for 50 years. We've never thought that, that much desired socio-economic and political system, we dreamt of could be achieved by just a little negative prayer against those, who have brought this country to this inexcusable stage. Nigerians are known worldwide, as the most religious people, yet they are the most suspicious race in the world. The question that readily comes to mind is why is this so? I have said this before and I will continue to say it as long as it takes to sink into our religious mental faculty that as long as the so called socio-economic and political realities no longer complement the relative religious beliefs or teachings, it would be very difficult for Nigerians to be godly. Better still, without a guaranteed basic social amenities or basic elements of life that could ensure an average Nigerian a life above poverty line, there cannot be peaceable, godly and honest Nigeria. Take or leave it, there cannot be a physical revolution in Nigeria, if not for anything, at least, the country's size and perhaps, the people's extreme adoration for life regardless of nothing makes it impossible. And if by adventure, it happens, it cannot be a planned revolt. It must be a spontaneous reaction. But then, the Bible says the power of life and death are in the tongue. It is not by happenstance that God made it so. God does not make mistake. Our problem in Nigeria is that we have never taken time out of our religious life style to imagine, what a camp full of Nigerians raining curses on those leaders, who turned Nigeria to what it is today, would do for us and the country. If we have prayed earnestly, religiously and positively for our corrupt leaders in 50 years and the much desired change is not forthcoming, it is only appropriate that we try the negative prayers, perhaps the much desired leadership, transformation and revolution may come. After all, Elijah called lions out of the forest to devour the children, who were merely making fun of him. Our leaders, I must confess, have made fun of us for 50 years, and calling lions out of the forest to devour them may just be a solution. Nigerians have for 50 years said to their leaders please don't destroy our country, now it is high time they said to the leaders you are on your own.
Again, Pastor Chris also urged Nigerians to pray that the Lord should grant our leaders the required ideas and wisdom to do what's right and necessary to revamp our energy sector. I must say the issue is not lack of ideas or wisdom, but that of a heart that is desperately wicked and greedy. And we all know what the Bible says about the heart that is desperately wicked. Take or leave it, our leaders know what to do. They have the ideas and wisdom to perform, but they just would not perform, because their hearts belong to the devil. And the Bible did say, if the foundation is destroyed what can the righteous do. The righteous can pray, so they say, but then, the same scripture says the kingdom of God suffers violence and the violent takes it by force. The truth is that what we need in Nigeria is a revolution in our prayers. Our prayers owing to our religious backgrounds, has been too soft, not radical, not threatening or deadly. I must say we cannot be on a battle field and be ceremonial in attitude. We need a change of approach - if not for anything, at least, the Bible says we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers. If truly the power of life and death are in the tongue, then let's cause life to return to Nigeria and death on every leader that has stole from this country to his/her fourth generation. No doubt, some religious-suffering and smiling Nigerians or perhaps, some have never seen sufferings before may see things differently, but I asked how best can we return fear into the hearts of the present crops of public office seekers, who seem not to have any iota of fear or respect for the Bible or the Quran any longer, if not by the power of the tongue. God gave us this weapon for a purpose, in case we've forgotten.
Georges Macnobson-Idowu, News Editor
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