We love God in Nigeria. The evidence is seen on almost every street (residential or not) where one church or mosque can be found. It’s common to be woken by the Muslim call to prayer on any day and to have participated in a vigil the night before either willingly or because of the neighbourhood church. The most populous country in sub-Saharan Africa has a high church/mosque density that may well be the highest in the region.
We turn out in droves for church and mosque services, conventions, prayer meetings and other special programmes. Recently and more frequently this has made us more vulnerable as certain elements have capitalised on it to cause devastation to life and property. Thankfully this hasn’t stopped our people from believing in God, worshipping and other religious activities…anyway, I digress. It’s quite normal for people to say, ‘pray for me’ when they know you’re off to church for a mid-week service or on Sunday when you’re all dressed up (guess that’s why it’s called Sunday best!) and obviously on your way there.
I guess church or other places of worship readily bring God to mind and so happen to be the licensed place to converse with Him. So, when someone says they’re attending we make the connection and ask for prayers. Ironically we spend more time at work and doing other things and not within the church premises…except if you happen to be a full time priest, pastor or other church official. In some instances some vicars have their residence just a stone’s throw from the church building. So ‘officially’ a church (or mosque) happens to be the bona fide place to pray and ask for God’s intervention.
God, the Almighty and only one that can make sense of the mess, challenges and other situations we face. We are not ashamed to seek help from Him and religion is simply trying to make sense of the world by consulting a Supernatural being. It may be opium when thought and corresponding action isn’t brought to bear on higher laws that should be part of our lives. Thus, many things can be substituted rather than giving religion a bad name. Association is very powerful and is found in various aspects of life, unconsciously we do this daily and are unaware about it!
Prayer is simply chatting with God and it can be as highfaluting, simple or as real as you want it to be…the choice is yours. The most important thing is that you go beyond religious rhetoric and find the gold. So as you visit your regular place of worship, remember that when your neighbour says, ‘pray for me’ they’re simply letting on that they have made the connection of that visit to a God that has the power to help, understand and intervene when they don’t and has done so for them more times than they can count.