BY Obinna Akukwe
IN Nigeria, it is prayer everywhere. The churches, mosques, shrines, forests, mountains, rivers, trees and every available space, have been turned to prayer centres and yet the most insensitive form of governance is hoisted on the nation.
Armed robbery, ritual killings, kidnapping, rape and injustice abound everywhere.
Poverty, sickness, despair, frustration and attendant mediocrity and negative tendencies are the results of all our prayers.
Now, we have the newest addition, suicide bombing and reckless waste of human lives. A lot of people have asked the question: Where is God when all these things are happening?
Nigerians pray all manner of prayers, 70-day fasting, 70-day deliverance, 40-day sallat, Ramadan fast, pilgrimage to Jerusalem, pilgrimage to Mecca and other dedicated sites of worship, and yet you cannot entrust an adherent with your spouse for 24 hours.
During Gen. Sani Abacha’s regime, marabouts were imported from Mali, Sierra-Leone and Senegal, when their Nigerian counterparts failed to kill the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO)chieftains with prayers.
These professional prayer warriors couldn’t tell Abacha that Nigerians were tired of his dictatorship.
During Olusegun Obasanjo’s presidency, a lot of prayer warriors in the Villa were allegedly busy impregnating NYSC members serving in the Villa in the guise of securing permanent employment for them while the tenure elongation crisis was on the verge of ruining the country.
Obasanjo saw so much hypocrisy that he had to resort to a combination of Africanism and his faith to survive.
Another group of prayer warriors have held President Goodluck Jonathan hostage in the Villa. They frighten him every time with gory prophesies, while they smile to the bank.
Everywhere, people are praying. All these prayers are hypocritical prayers. The Bible says in 2 Chronicles, chapter 7, vs. 14, ‘If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.’
The prerequisite for God to answer prayers and heal Nigeria is repentance. In the Bible, King David humbled himself when Prophet Nathan told him that he had sinned.
He tore his clothes and wept for many days until God had compassion. His Nigerian counterpart will do the opposite.
Our leaders travel to Jerusalem and Mecca and, in the midst of the solemn ceremonies, co-ordinate how the next round of looting of government treasury will be clinically executed, and then they go back to finish the ceremonies.
Once the pilgrimage is over the Nigerian prayer warrior comes back to his church or mosque with the aura of answered prayers.
Then the poverty-stricken congregation will hang around him to receive favours (after nights of fasting and days of sallat for God to touch his heart).
God must be seriously solicited to touch the heart of the looter of public funds or else his church or mosque members will not receive any crumbs from the loot.
The impoverished parishioner or mosque member knows that he was one of the people who directly or indirectly put him in a state of poverty, insecurity, hopelessness and helplessness and, therefore, he equally begs God to give him the opportunity to partake of the looting of the national wealth, since the congregational leaders have not cared to query the thieving but important looter on the source of his wealth.
The prayer warrior in Nigerian church or mosque is a hypocrite. Let his pastor or imam sermonise against sin, corruption, greed, inhumanity to man and disrespect for the feelings of others and he will get offended and leave the congregation, withdrawing his much needed funds.
However, call for prayer that all his enemies should die, including members of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and justices about to reverse stolen electoral mandates and you will see all sorts of acrobatics, gymnastics, incantations, invocations and madness all in the name of prayer.
There is no doubt that he that comes to equity must come with clean hands.
A thousand noisemakers may be in a church but God hears only the 10 who have decided in their heart not to follow the crowd if given the opportunity.
If the combined prayers of these 10 men cannot move God or ward off the impending evil, then calamity is visited on everybody.
That is the problem the nation is having with Boko Haram and other conflicts plaguing the nation.
The dynamics of prayer is such that if your prayer is for personal or family matters, you could easily connect into the remote sites where the angels will attend to you on behalf of God.
However, if your prayer were of general application, corporate in nature and of concern to the masses of people in your territory then other dynamics will apply.
You must be sufficiently qualified before you can represent a state, region or nation in a prayer bouquet.
A hypocrite could pray personal prayers and God will still answer because he is stirring personal spiritual space; however, you must have enough locus standi before you stir a communal spiritual space in a prayer session.
You must be potentially better than those you are praying against.
Let the Nigerian prayer warrior decide to live by the tenets of his faith which is: ‘do unto others as you wish others do unto you,’ and before you raise your voice louder (even in a bush or atop a tree) the Almighty God will answer and drive off those evil rulers who refuse to change for the better, out of our political space on their way to perdition.