ames, the Pastor of the Church in Jerusalem, in the book, which he wrote, explained why on occasions, we do not have answer to our prayers.
This is the second sermon, I will be preaching on this topic "Praying Wrongly, Without Understanding.
Let us pray.
Praying Wrongly, without Understanding
James, the younger brother of our Lord, the first Pastor of the Church in Jerusalem, explained why a number of times our prayers are not answered.
In his book, James 4: 3, he wrote
"Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts" (James 4:3)
I explained in the first part that in spite of the uncountable number of high and low prayer mountains, several night vigils in Churches, several Lagos-Ibadan express way prayers and at other high ways scattered all over the country, poverty still pervades. Unemployment is still high. Graduates in all fields still roam about the streets. Workers are being laid off. Those that are retained are not paid their monthly wages on time. Retired government workers who have served the nation meritoriously are not paid their entitlements. Artisans are only watching the time pass bye, they are unable to operate because the electricity is off for the largest part of the day.
I said in the first part that there have not been many positive changes in the lives of the people because the prayers are not offered correctly. What to be requested for, are not.
The situation remains the same for most of them because the prayers are wrongly presented. They are not answered because they are not praying for the real thing they ought to pray for. They are not answered because the requesters do not allow or request the Holy Spirit to give them the understanding of the problems, which they are dealing with.
The requesters do not allow or request the Holy Spirit to give them the understanding of why they are not able to break through, and so are not able to pray accordingly, and so they are just beating about the bush.
I reminded us of the time past when the praying mountain tops were very few and not so popular, when night vigils were not the common practice of Churches except the indigenous founded ones and when there was not even a single prayer camp on the high ways, yet two, three or more jobs were readily waiting for University under-graduates before they even finished writing their final examination papers. Employment was waiting for graduating grade 3 and grade 2 teachers as well as High School graduating students.
In the years past in this country, every category of school leavers had employment, the moment they finished their studies, there were jobs for University students during summer vacation. Student Nurses, student Pharmacists, student Medical Laboratory Scientists were receiving salaries, rather than paying school fees.
I then challenged us to prayerfully inquire why all those are no longer possible today and prayerfully take actions to restore those good old days.
I reminded us of the good old days, when every government ministries had 'work department', which provided jobs for all kinds of artisans; carpenters, plumbers, mechanics, bricklayers, painters, grass cutters etc?
I reminded us of the days when prescribed medications in the government hospitals were free, when government hospitals provided free food for patients who were hospitalized?
With all these benefits in place, everyone was put to work and was happy because everyone had food on his table. So there were no tensions, no rancor i.e bitterness against the government or anyone. So the idea of kidnapping human fellows for ransom was not dreamt of.
Those things were so in those good old days because the government was abreast of the number of citizens who would be graduating in the primary Schools, the number of citizens who would be graduating in High Schools, in the Universities and other tertiary institutions and have made provision in the budget to give them jobs.
The government of those good old days had the statistics of the number of students who would seek admission to the Universities and had made provision in the budget to give them scholarships.
The governments of those good old days were always monitoring the areas of manpower needs and each region was sponsoring their people to acquire the required education, technology and the know-how in those fields.
The Federal government of those good old days did all these in spite the fact that the yearly budgets were merely in thousands of pounds, not in millions or trillions as we have them today, as there was no oil revenue as of then.
Other than the accomplishments, which I just listed, they were still able to provide free boarding, free food, monthly pocket money, transport allowance, free books and stationaries and uniforms to students in the Government run High Schools, talk less of the situation in the Tertiary institutions and Universities.
Today, the budget is in trillions of Naira and the World Bank has said that 80% of it is used to service only 1% of the population of over180 million people. 82% of the yearly budget is also said to be used for re-current expenditures.
Members, House of Assembly in the Northern Region government earned 60pounds a month, which was the basic salary of a University graduate. That was just fair enough. So each regional government had money to develop their individual region, create jobs, take care of the students in the schools, which they ran, offer scholarships, provided free medication and food for patients on admission.
As I write, I paused to Google the internet to be informed of the salaries of Nigeria Law makers.
Every site I checked including the "Economics" published it that our law makers receive the highest salaries and allowances compared with other nations of the world, including the United States of America, which is the richest country in the world. This is extremely dangerous in my opinion.
American Legislators are widely known to be up and doing, working round the clock for the welfare of their citizens, unlike our own who we see often on the TV screen sleep off during sessions. The seats are empty many times even. Some have gone the way of their private businesses while others are busy caressing their play girls in their offices.
So after the Executive and the Law makers have swallowed 80% of the wealth, where is the money again to create employments as it was in the good old days? Where is the money again to provide for health, education, good roads, electricity and water etc? Where is the money to pay the salaries of the remnants who remain in employment and the pension of the retirees?
The British colonial masters certainly were kind people, it was not as bad as this when we were under them. We fared a million better.
Citizens of the world craze for democracy because it is the only system of government that affords every citizen the right to their wealth. Unfortunately we are worse off with our own type of democratic government. It has pauperized the largest group of the population.
You will want to ask if ours is democracy or colonization by the politicians cum Law makers.
The Yorubas are quick to say "E jawo lowo apon ti ko yo, e gbe omi ila kana" meaning that if one trade does not profit you, run away from it and start another one.
The way democracy is practiced in Nigeria has become a curse to most people; something which ought to be a blessing.
Can anyone imagine the number of people who have died of hunger since the start of this democracy?
Can anyone imagine the number of people whose business have collapsed?
Can anyone imagine the number of marriages that have collapsed?
What about thousands of graduates roaming about the streets?
Can anyone imagine the number of women who have been thrown into prostitution?
Is it possible that they (legislators) are sharing some of their legalized robbery with a number of important dignitaries and party stalwarts? But what about millions who do not belong to any political party? Should they continue to die?
Please let me warn people who ever receives money from the legislators as gift to stop it because it is blood money, so that you do not share in the punishment awaiting them because the blood of those who died as a result of bad governance are crying for vengeance.
God will require from the legislators, executives and others who have access to the common wealth, the blood of those who have died due to hunger or due to lack of money to take care of their health and if you share the money with them, you all are in danger of hell except you all repent.
I advise men of God on both sides of the isles to run away from their envelopes, or any of their enticements and sponsorship to Holy lands; it is the money that is supposed to do everyone good and not for personal use or purposes to visit the Holy lands. Run from hell, I warn.
Your royal Highnesses and Chiefs, may you reign long and may your reign continue into heaven, but for your reign to continue into heaven, for God sake, run away from the envelopes of the law makers and any of their enticements. It is dangerous bait. It is blood money.
Priests on both sides of the isles, who have them in your house of worship, do not just pray for them but tell them to take salaries and allowances like those in the first republic, if they do not want to go hell. If however you romance with them, because of the envelope, which they will give you and you refuse to warn them of their evil, you will go to hell with them.
I find it difficult and not only me as I have heard many truthful people also commented that they too do not understand the basis for one kind of bad money, which each law maker receives called 'Constituency allowance"
Why should they be made billionaires with the commonwealth, suddenly, the moment they win election?
Those who made such a provision are evil people.
Can anyone see why winning of election is a do or die affair?
This is the reason for bloodletting among contestants and the cause of ritual killings.
They are supposed to make laws for the benefits of the citizens. And what is making the laws got to do with developmental projects of their constituency?
And what visible significant developmental project do we see them do for the benefits of the society?
They use the money to trot the globe. Some build personal hotels in every city while others assemble all kinds of posh automobiles in their garage. They use the rest to service their play girls.
This is the money, which the government of those good days used for creating jobs, fund education, award scholarships, provide for free health etc
Who is even monitoring the fund they collect to maintain their offices?
In the US, the staffs of the Law makers are just like any other Federal staff. Their staffs are not for domestic purposes and so cannot be abused or kept in the other room.
The United States has what is called Congressional Management Foundation (CMF), which conducts surveys on Congressional Salaries from time to time.
The foundation makes sure that the Law makers actually employ the staff, which their office is allowed and for which money is drawn from the Federal purse. With this, the public is certain that the staffs of the Law makers are not just fake but really do exist.
And anyone can Google the internet to see the list of their staff and what much each of them takes.
What frustrates me is that among our law makers are those who are educated and had lived in the US and who know how the Presidential system of Government works but after they pick the office in Nigeria, they behave otherwise.
In those good old days, those in government were ashamed of ostentatious life style. They did not want to be seen to live beyond their legitimate earnings. I then asked, what word do we use to define their lifestyle? "Godliness"
I believe that if those big congregations on the Ibadan-Lagos express way and other congregations throughout the country; Christians and Moslems, will mobilize ourselves to conspire against 'ungodliness' but commit ourselves to live a life of godliness in all our ways, then the good old days are at our door when there were employment opportunities for every category of School leavers and artisans.
If we men of God in both religions in Nigeria are committed to the return of those good old days, we will be convinced that the only option to achieve it, is for everyone to tread the path of godliness, particularly when the rule of law is not effective as it ought to be.
Pastors and Imams meet citizens in hundreds and thousands every day, if we truly want everyone to be fed and happy, which is the only way to attain peace in the country, then we should henceforth challenge our members to abandon acts of cheating, unkindness and other evils but do unto others as they would like it done unto them.
If we are able to revert the present scenario, where everyone does whatever he likes, which has led us into the hardship, which we are passing through and we allow a return to the previous era when the government was responsible, when they allowed the wealth of the nation to reach everyone, then what those praying high and low hills, all the night vigil houses and all the camps along Lagos-Ibadan express way and others, scattered throughout the country ought to concentrate on and mobilize the congregation for, is a life of godliness, not the hope of someone going to buy a car, a house or going to America tomorrow.
Possessing a car or owing a house is not a big deal in the countries, which the governments are responsible; in the countries, which allow free flow of their wealth to their citizens, in the countries which the executive and the law makers do not corner all the wealth of their countries. Messengers and High School Students have automobiles in those countries. Same is equally possible here if only we will be committed to what 'am saying here.
I am preaching on the topic "Praying wrongly; without understanding"
The pattern, by which the government of the good old days ran its business, as I have narrated is what the prosperous nations of the world continue to follow and which made every of their citizens to be happy and only those who are lazy and those who discriminate against certain jobs, can be hungry because if you do not discriminate and you are not lazy you will always get jobs of whatever kind.
I believe this is the question, which those praying high and low mountains, the conductors of ceaseless night vigils and those on Ibadan-Lagos express way and others round the country, ought to address.
Rightful appropriation of our wealth is what all the praying mountains, night vigils upon vigils and the gatherings along Ibadan-Lagos express way and others scattered throughout the country, ought to direct their prayers towards.
And this is why God asked me to be organizing Inter-Religious Solemn Assembly in cities, towns and villages round Nigeria because in order to revert to the good old days, both Christians and Moslems must work together because the difficulties, which we are facing excludes no one except the Executives, their surrogates, members of the Legislation and their surrogates and Civil Servants in vantage positions.
And rightful appropriation of our wealth calls for godliness. Godliness is what those praying hills and gatherings along Ibadan-Lagos express way and all other camps scattered throughout the country should emphasize and re-emphasize and pay less attention to miracles.
Let us pray
Sam Aweda, Pastor, Jesus for the World Revival Mission (Peoples' Church)