We start most meetings with a prayer in this country, in this vein, I should start my debut on this respected hub with a prayer. There is a joke that I know, that our politicians start a meeting with prayer and lie throughout, then end with a prayer.
I also heard that robbers and kidnappers pray before they go for an operation. Our football teams pray before they start any game. They pray and the opposing team also pray. Each praying for victory, whose prayer does God answer?
Prayer is what we use to deal with things that surpasses our understanding. We commit our human weakness, needs, emotions to a higher power hoping that it comes to our aid. This is a beautiful part of religion – the knowledge that some things exceed our sphere of control.
We are a praying country.
Once a driver passes through a bad pothole on the road, he shouts Jesus!
Once a market woman is harassed by market area boys and taskforce, she mutters “God epp me”.
When you are owed salary for months, you pray for your money to be released soon.
When you can’t help yourself and people don’t want to help you, you pray. Prayer has become our number one coping mechanism. It keeps us sane. You pray that PHCN restores light long enough for you to watch Big Brother Naija.
You pray that herdsmen don’t kill your husband when he travels on a work trip.
You pray for an extended deadline in order to children’ school fees. The intensity and frequency of prayer in any given society show the level of helplessness in that society. A friend gisted me how he relocated his mother to the UK and the intense “per minute prayer warrior” woman had calmed down. After 6 months, he was moved to ask her what was different and she said something which resonated with him “when things go right and are smooth, it is easy to forget God.”
My favorite prayer in literature is found in The Famished Road by Ben Okri titled A Blessing for the Road.
The road will never swallow you.
The river of your destiny will always overcome evil.
May you understand your fate.
Suffering will never destroy but will make you stronger.
Success will never confuse or scatter you but will make you fly higher into the good sunlight.
Your life will always surprise you.
These words were professed by Madam Koto on Azaro the Abiku.
I love these words and for a long time, I memorized and said them daily. They keep me calm and in Zen mode. Let me analyze the prayer the way I feel it.
The road will never swallow you. I will not encounter any accident today that will cost me my life. Especially, in this our country where our roads are death traps. The river of your destiny will always overcome evil. I will overcome any evil plot in my life today.
May you understand your fate. I will understand my purpose in life and live it.
Suffering will never destroy but will make you stronger. I overcome all the tests of life thrown my way today. I will be an overcomer.
Success will never confuse or scatter you but will make you fly higher into the good sunlight. I will stay humble and grounded at all times especially when things go my way. And finally, your life will always surprise you.
This is how I want to start this column, with one of the most powerful and apt prayers I have encountered in my reading life. This is my gift to you dear reader. I intend to always surprise you with my thoughts. Cheers!