Nigeria’s attitude to prayer can be summed up in two words: prayer abuse. I’m sure this term would have taken some of you aback because this isn’t a familiar form of abuse. We’re used to terms like drug abuse, sexual abuse, child abuse and the likes but when it comes to prayer, the idea that it can be abused sounds so outlandish, doesn’t it? I mean prayer is the master key to all things, according to that popular Christian song. But before I proceed I’ll like to give us a meaning of the word ‘Abuse’ from the Merriam – Webster dictionary:
Abuse (noun) – Improper or excessive use or treatment: misuse
Abuse (verb) – a) To put to a wrong or improper use b) To use excessively
While there are other meanings of the word, I’ve singled these ones out because they are the only ones relevant to this write-up. Now, back to the issue at hand, can prayer be abused? To that I answer an emphatic yes! Why? Because here in Nigeria there’s nothing we don’t use prayer for, including the things that require just a pinch of common sense. It’s in this Nigeria that someone will have an large wound and decide to pray and rub anointing oil on it, instead of going to the hospital, till the wound becomes infected and gangrenous, and then when such a person dies from the infection due to late presentation, they say Nigerian doctors are incompetent. It’s in this Nigeria that a person who spends all his money on alcohol and bet9ja daily, without thinking of saving any of it, will decide to go for 7 days power-packed service on achieving financial prosperity. It’s still in this same Nigeria that a person who is owing his landlord 2 years rent will decide to take his landlord to God in prayer for God to “silence all his enemies” simply because the landlord is agitating for his rent to be paid. I can go on and on with examples but by now you should get the point. Religion has made us very lazy as a people such that we now use prayer as “gbogbonise”(you know, all those supposed drugs they sell in molues and danfos that they claim can cure malaria, typhoid, gonorrhea, cancer, ebola and so on). Contrary to popular opinion though, I’ll like to tell you that prayer doesn’t solve everything! Yes, I said it!
Recently, one of our dear senators who has the antidotes to corruption (because he himself is untouched by corruption) went on a prophesying spree on twitter and in one of his tweets he said “I decree every seed of poverty in your life, die, in the mighty name of Jesus” and while many Nigerians contributed the all too important “Amen!” in response to the tweet, some sensible Nigerians also called him out on his BS. One of the best responses said “They know religion is our weakest point. Instead of working as a senator towards poverty eradication, he’s praying against it”. And at that moment I was like “Wordddd!!! Somebody give that man extra dodo with his jollof rice”. I mean, imagine a Nigerian senator, whose salary as well as that of his colleagues consumes a sizeable chunk of our national budget yearly (let’s not even add embezzled funds), praying that poverty should die. This is a classic example of an abuse of prayer and sadly it’s not limited to the likes of Oga Dino.
Also recently a Facebook user, Joy Bewaji, made a controversial post using the viral #HalleluyahChallenge as an example of how Nigerians are so quick to participate in religious activities while ignoring more important aspects of nation building but as expected, majority of Nigerians chose to see it as a demonic attack against the things of God while ignoring the vital message in the post. “You cannot pray Nigeria to greatness”, she said and I agree with her completely. Why? Because I believe prayer is only useful in solving spiritual problems and THE PROBLEMS OF NIGERIA ARE NOT SPIRITUAL! There is no demon anywhere standing against the progress of Nigeria. In fact, since statistics show that the more developed a country is, the less religious they are, demons should be supporting our progress as a nation not hindering it. You can’t tell me our problem is spiritual when “godless” countries like China and Sweden are making progress at the speed of light.
I know some people will reply saying “Who says we can’t do both?” Let me ask, is there anybody who when they’re pressed will go to the toilet and say just before peeing “Father Lord, as I’m about to piss this piss, I come against every spirit against my bladder and I rebuke them. Let my bladder and urethra obey your voice Lord and let this piss come out effortlessly in Jesus name”? Of course not! Why? Because we all know that all that it takes to piss is to relax your urethral sphincters and let it all out. Same with washing clothes, doing the dishes and so many other of our daily tasks. We don’t think prayer is key when it’s time to prepare eba and egusi and I believe it’s the same with many issues in this country. Honestly I believe the moment we stop praying for Nigeria, that’s the moment Nigeria will start to get better.
Am I dismissing the power of prayer? No, sirs and mas, rather, I’m defining its purpose because as the saying goes “When the purpose of a thing is not known, abuse is inevitable”. Don’t pray through what you can think through. Even the holy books tell us severally that God isn’t deaf to the prayers of his children and since we’ve been praying as a nation for decades and still there’s no improvement then it’s either God is a liar OR prayer is actually not the solution to the problem. I’ll leave you to decide.
So guys, what do you think? Can we abuse prayer? Let me know what you think in the comments!!!
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