The ruth about abundant life: A shift from prayer only to prayer and faith in action

June 22nd, 2018

Date: July 7Th, 2018

Title Of The Book: Pathway To Abundance

Reviewer: Dr. Henry Okawve, Lib

Publisher: One Touch Grafix

Nigerians are among the most religious people on earth. We find churches and mosques everywhere, even in the remotest village. People pray everywhere, in offices, market places, political gatherings, schools, shops, to men­tion a few. Every Sunday the streets are filled with people either going or returning from the church. Even those who are at home either be­cause they are not Christians or not healthy enough to attend the Sunday mass or service are not spared as the sound from the sound system used by these churches is so good and loud enough to reach residential homes. With this, nobody is actually ignorant of any day that is a Sun­day. Same applies to Fridays. Most roads are blocked. Vehicular move­ments are hindered all for the sake of prayers. From the hour of 1-2:30pm on Fridays, only visitors to Nigeria travelling along some routes will ask which day is this. In the mosques and roads along the mosques Mus­lims gather to pray to Allah in a very ordered and beautiful way.

Apart from these days, Christians still have series of prayer meetings, programs of fasting and prayers within the week from Monday to Saturday as well as spiritual retreats, seminars and conferences that come up at some regular intervals. Mus­lims also visit the mosques within some regular moments within the day throughout the week days and still do some prayers at nights in their homes. An average Muslim prays 5 times in just one day that is 35 times in a week. Some Muslims make it a point of duty to even stop to pray on the road once the time of prayer has come which could either be Fajr-the prayer that starts off the day with remembrance of God, performed before sunrise; Dhuhr-the prayer before the day’s work has begun in which one breaks shortly after noon to again remember God and seek his guidance; Asr-the prayer done at late afternoon to remember God and the greater meaning of their lives; Maghrib-the prayer done just after the sun goes down in which Mus­lims remember God again as the day draws to a close; or Isha-the prayer before retiring to bed for the night in which muslims remember again the presence of God, his mercies, guid­ance, forgiveness and providence. This is truly a remarkable thing to do. It shows how obedient human beings could be to the call for prayers.

It is astonishing however to realize that some Christians in order to be more ‘closer to God’ spend the whole day in the church praying and ask­ing God for one thing or the other as well as praying against perceived en­emies. Sometimes, people are found morning, afternoon, evening, nights and even mid-nights in the church praying to God. They struggle to en­sure that they give God no rest un­til he answers them according their longings. This they do believing that as children of God they are to be in constant romance with him who loves them beyond every imagina­tion (Jn.3:16).

There is no doubt that other reli­gions exist in this country. But these two have so dominated them that even some of their adherents cling to either of these majority religions. But the question now is why the country is not pure since there’s no true reli­gion that practice impurity? Which religion has corruption as its tenet? Which religion has injustice has one of its beliefs? I am yet to know which among all the true religions advo­cates embezzlement of public fund. There have not been any established fact that there is a religion whose teaching sees lies and deception as a virtue to be pursued by members.

Surprisingly, even though we are very religious, one wonders where we got what most us practice in real life. It is a fact that most Nigerians like to be in religious places for reli­gious purposes but not for spiritual purposes. We go to these places as often as possible but very far we are from the tenets of our religion. We live on self-beliefs and what we think about the God we claim to serve. We go to church to see our pastors and church building but not necessarily to see God. We pray to God end­lessly not for his will to be done but for want we want. Where has this led us to?

Is it not true that all those who have been leading us from indepen­dence till now are either Christian or Muslims? Is it not a fact that if these people have put into prac­tice the tenet of these religions, our country could have been greater than it is now? Where can we find true followers of God in the world’s religions? Where can we find God among Christians and Muslims? It seems that all we have are Godless religious people who showcase their affiliation but not their devotion to truth.

No matter the name of the crime been committed today in the land, the perpetrators carry either Chris­tian or Muslim names. Check the names of looters, robbers, killers, burglars, thieves, assassins, politi­cal manipulators, election riggers, thugs, and their likes. All of them subscribe not to any unpopular re­ligion. They are either Christians or Muslims. Where is the God we serve!!! Is something wrong some­where? Yes. Faith, belief, ‘churchian­ity,’ and ‘mosquianity’ is nothing but fairy tales if there is no correspond­ing action. Adherence to faith calls for commitment to faith inspired action. Whatever is one’s affiliation, faith inspired action is what makes a Christian or Muslim different from somebody who atheist. God is seen, loved and known through action. That is spirituality. Going to church every day by day does not matter at all. Following all the programs also does not matter at all. What mat­ters is acting according to tenet of Christianity. Having your daily 5 times prayers as a Muslim does not really matter but what really count is whether you doing what Allah expects you to be doing. It is the ex­ternalization of your belief system that determines your eternal des­tiny. The advertisement of your af­filiation only gives you membership. What counts is faith inspired action. It is this action that brings about the change that we seek.

Prayer is power. It is like the bull­dozer that bulldozes mountains making our way to God smooth and free of hindrances. Nothing on earth can truly take the place of prayer. Faith is the language of God. This faith is expressed in prayers.

That is why prayer can rightly be said to be the romance that unites heaven and earth which makes heaven to re­spond to the demands of the earth. Amazingly a lot of people know this and are ready to pray until something happens. Both young and old are seen either in the mosque or church praying daily apart from prayers done secretly. It is really something wonderful and commendable. But is that all we need? Is there something missing? Yes. There is a need for a shift from idealistic prayer to prag­matic prayer. Idealist prayer involves the prayer that has to be said because it is a duty and a belief that through it God will intervene in the affairs of human beings in a magical way. It involves total reliance on God who does everything without necessarily requiring any human commitment. All is God. All human beings need to do is to just pray and watch God do it all. It is all about human commitment to prayer and nothing more. This kind of prayer is common among many persons in this country today. They pray but do nothing expecting change to come from above even when God has done it through Christ Jesus (Jn. 3:16). Instead of using their God-given talents and gifts to work for prosperity, they rather choose to replace work with prayer. Doing this makes them to become prayer war­riors without garments and weap­ons of war. They replace work with eternal fellowships and slothfulness in obsession for miracles. They are more conscious of heaven and dream of manna falling down from heaven and the miracle of turning water into wine as well as the destruction of per­ceived witches. They tend to know more about God but lack knowledge about how to be truly human and holy. Everything must not be prayer point. Some things are reason point.

Pragmatic prayer however is a kind of prayer that involves the recogni­tion and appreciation of God for all He is and all He has given to man to use to better life. It is a graceful prayer which takes into account hu­man commitment in collaborating with God who establishes all plan but leaves its execution to man. God cre­ated all things but expects human be­ings to sustain the beauty of creation by being co-creators. Consequently, the human person becomes for God co-workers. Being co-workers our relationship with him becomes that of prayer and action. In prayer we receive the strength to do his will. In action his will is done. Doing God’s will involves prayer backed up with productive action. No battle is ever won without action. That is why those who do this kind of prayer are often people who works very hard as compared to those who do hard work. Pragmatic people believe in self-im­provement, determination, planning, risk-taking, diligent work and expert knowledge. In prayer they gain the wisdom that these are necessary for success.

A time has come for us as a nation to begin to think, pray and act until change happens. Nothing changes until something causes it to change. Prayer alone changes a little. But prayer and action changes much. Every hu­man person exists to showcase the glory of God. There is no one who can live fully as a human person without the maximization of the potential that is within. Within everyone is the seed for greatness but only those who dare to pray, see, think, and act differently to be great. No one achieves something great without taking great risk to try. We have to take steps that will better our lives and take full responsibility for our lives. Let’s let go of blames and take the responsibility for being where we are today. A lot of people point accus­ing fingers at leaders, ancestors, neigh­bours, relatives, witches and wizards as being responsible for the problems and troubles that they face. While they are actually the one who refused to: build-up themselves, up-grade their skills and levels, work well, take risk to do something new and give their best to whatever task they have to do. Prayer alone cannot be a substitute to action. They go together if anything worth­while is to be achieved.

Why turn everything to God when God has given you common sense and reason to handle some things on your own. Why call on God to change things for you when he has given you the power to do it. Whatever one has the capacity to do become a responsi­bility put on such person. In a democ­racy, you can’t change the government without voting. In a case of poverty, the situation can never change until a decision is made to break-free through productive action. Success does not come with wishing, desiring, fasting, sowing seeds of faith, doing mid-night prayers and claiming prophetic declarations. It comes with faith backed action. Dreamers cannot go anywhere except when dreams are put into action, because dreaming without waking up makes everything to end in the dream. But when one wakes up to reality, dream external­izes. God will not do for you what you can do for yourself. He has given you sense and the ability to reason. Human beings are not robots who need to be helped by the divine in all things. We carry in us something di­vine. God’s image is divine and that is what we are. Let us tap into the re­sources that we are. You are the natu­ral resources for excellent life. Tap and enjoy.

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