FROM THE PREACHER'S LENSES
|Friday, March 6, 2020|
igeria is a nation of prayers, no doubt but unfortunately with scanty results as it relates to the living condition of the common people in the community.
The reason for this is what I want to examine today and explain what we must do so that the common people can have a better life.
So today, the topic of my sermon is "A Nation not Short in Prayers yet with no Significant Improvement in the living Condition of the Common People"
Meanwhile let us pray.
Blasts of sound of prayers oozing from the loud speakers of religious houses from far and near, night and day are never in want.
I wonder if there is any nation on the globe that her people spend longer time in prayer than Nigeria.
In the same way, all hills and mountains are full of prayer warriors of all religions, particularly, Christians and Moslems day and night.
The wealthy ones do not believe that they have completed their building until they have attached a Mosque or Chapel to it. I am not against prayer. I myself do not joke with it. But how I wish that the prayers are made with knowledge i.e how I wish that those prayers are properly targeted to the real source of the problems confronting them.
Of course, Nigeria has always been a very religious nation but to be spending all days and nights in the prayer houses and on the mountains as we have been having it in recent years was not so in the past.
The spending of days and nights in Churches and Mosques and mountains started when life became difficult for the majority of the citizens.
The spending of days and nights in Churches, Mosques and mountains was absent in the days when High School leavers got jobs promptly.
It was not like this when Grade three teachers, not to talk of Grade two teachers were posted to Schools where they would teach and earn money promptly before they even left their training institutions.
It was not like this when students who attended the Government sponsored Secondary Schools and Colleges ate free food, given monthly pocket money, free clothing, free books, tea at break times, when their prescription glasses were paid for, when female students were issued with sanitary pads every month etc.
The spending of days and nights in Churches, Mosques and mountains was absent in the days when every University undergraduate ate three course meals, three times a day, had their clothes laundered by the University and got two or more jobs before they even finished writing their final examination papers.
The spending of days and nights in Churches, Mosques and mountains was absent in the days when we went to the hospital and the Doctors gave us prescriptions to the Pharmacy and the medications were dispensed free of charge.
It was not so in the days when my uncles who worked as laborers in the Government General Hospitals and Railway Stations, yet with their meager pay, sponsored my cousins and friends in the high schools.
We can deduce that when life was calm, citizens went to the house of worship purely as a religious obligation. Certainly this is no longer the case. Today, one problem or the other is the major reason, why many people attend the weekly prayer sessions.
Today, increased life problems; joblessness, search for husband, none thriving business, illnesses, which can be easily taken care of, had our hospitals been functioning properly etc are partly, the reasons, which make the citizens to seek solution to their various problems in those prayer houses and mountains. I actually consider it wise of them that they considered houses of worship for solution. But how I wish that they seek the face of God to know the cause of the affliction, which confront them, thereby know what to pray for and the actions that are needed to be taken.
Said in other words, in spite the 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, round the clock prayers, why have things remained the same for them?
Why are things still stagnant or even in retardation mode? Why is there still mass unemployment?
The prayers are not answered because they pray wrongly and I will address this later. The greater reason I believe is that God is annoyed with Nigeria. It was like the case in the days of prophet Habakuk when God refused to hear his cry. Hear him in 1:2 "O Lord, how long must I call for help before you will listen? I shout to you in vain; there is no answer. "Help! Murder!" I cry, but no one comes to save.
God has prospered us in this nation very much more above many other nations of the world. And our forbearers sustained the prosperity through Godly living but we messed it up after we abandoned the Godliness of the forefathers. But can we say that all Nigerians at the time when most Nigerians enjoyed the prosperity were all saintly? No. But the number of the Godly by far outnumbered the ungodly.
Remember how Abraham pleaded with God not to destroy the city of Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of the righteous. Had God found only ten righteous people, He would have spared the cities. But unfortunately ten righteous could not be found (Gen.18: 16-33).
I can confirm that majority of Nigerians of today are evil, self centered, murderers, selfish, greedy, dupes, who do not consider the plight of other people but themselves alone. Consider the enormous kidnapping for ransom and uncountable numbers of ritual killings pervading our nation! So we are receiving a deserved punishment.
I can also confirm that the Godless and the crude people who grab the commonwealth and decimate all others will also receive their judgement at the due time.
The truth is that the sins of the present Nigerians have risen to the high heavens.
We oppress ourselves. Men in government uniform oppress citizens. Every person dupes the other person.
People in vantage positions use their positions to amass wealth for themselves, they do not implement what their desks are supposed to provide for the benefit of the citizens.
There is too much spilling of the blood of the innocent.
Get rich quick syndrome is the order of the day including the operations of the so called yahoo yahoo rogues.
The people care for only what they can benefit at any moment.
They sell their birthright for a piece of meal.
The Politicians are aware of the evil mind of the populace and they cash on it and tramp on them, stripping them naked.
Dubious people, they promote religion above the need of the people and they use religion to divert the attention of the people to the real needs.
They gave sophisticated weapons to ignorant people to kill in the name of religion and kidnap for ransom.
They build Mosques and Churches for the people as if those will bring food to their tables, as if those will install roofs on their head as if they will provide jobs for their unemployed graduate children, give access to good health facility. And the ignorant people applaud them.
Hear what God told Prophet Micah in chapter seven of his book:
The good men have disappeared from the earth; not one fair-minded man is left. They are all murderers, turning against even their own brothers.
3 They go at their evil deeds with both hands, and how skilled they are in using them! The governor and judge alike demand bribes. The rich man pays them off and tells them whom to ruin. Justice is twisted between them. 4 Even the best of them are prickly as briars; the straightest is more crooked than a hedge of thorns. But your judgment day is coming swiftly now; your time of punishment is almost here; confusion, destruction, and terror will be yours.
5 Don't trust anyone, not your best friend-not even your wife! 6 For the son despises his father; the daughter defies her mother; the bride curses her mother-in-law. Yes, a man's enemies will be found in his own home.
Do these not represent and describe all that we are witnessing today in Nigeria?
Prophet Habakuk lamented for the sins of the people of his days.
O Lord, how long must I call for help before you will listen? I shout to you in vain; there is no answer. "Help! Murder!" I cry, but no one comes to save. 3 Must I forever see this sin and sadness all around me?
Wherever I look, I see oppression and bribery and men who love to argue and to fight. 4 The law is not enforced, and there is no justice given in the courts, for the wicked far outnumber the righteous, and bribes and trickery prevail.
5 The Lord replied: "Look, and be amazed! You will be astounded at what I am about to do! For I am going to do something in your own lifetime that you will have to see to believe.
Here we have the answer again why the blasts of prayers in the Churches and Mosques and hills and mountains have caused no improvement in the lives of the prayer warriors; sins, oppression, bribery, non enforcement of the law, lack of justice in our courts and more importantly, the wicked people by far outnumber the righteous and trickery prevail.
So God promised prophet Habakuk that he was going to punish the people and unfortunately, the righteous will share in the punishment. And this is precisely what is happening today why the righteous in Nigeria are partaking in the suffering.
God told prophet Isaiah in chapter 58
Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast; tell my people of their sins! 2 Yet they act so pious! They come to the Temple every day and are so delighted to hear the reading of my laws-just as though they would obey them-just as though they don't despise the commandments of their God! How anxious they are to worship correctly; oh, how they love the Temple services!
3 "We have fasted before you," they say. "Why aren't you impressed? Why don't you see our sacrifices? Why don't you hear our prayers? We have done much penance, and you don't even notice it!" I'll tell you why! Because you are living in evil pleasure even while you are fasting, and you keep right on oppressing your workers. 4 Look, what good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarreling? This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me. 5 Is this what I want-this doing of penance and bowing like reeds in the wind, putting on sackcloth and covering yourselves with ashes? Is this what you call fasting?
6 No, the kind of fast I want is that you stop oppressing those who work for you and treat them fairly and give them what they earn. 7 I want you to share your food with the hungry and bring right into your own homes those who are helpless, poor, and destitute. Clothe those who are cold, and don't hide from relatives who need your help.
8 If you do these things, God will shed his own glorious light upon you. He will heal you; your godliness will lead you forward, goodness will be a shield before you, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind. 9 Then, when you call, the Lord will answer. "Yes, I am here," he will quickly reply. All you need to do is to stop oppressing the weak and stop making false accusations and spreading vicious rumors!
Prophet Samuel told king Saul
"Has the Lord as much pleasure in your burnt offerings and sacrifices as in your obedience? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. He is much more interested in your listening to him than in your offering the fat of rams to him (1Samuel 15:22)
The interpretation of this is that God delights pleasure in us to do the right thing rather than any prayers and any other religious services.
Prophet Isaiah said in Chapter 1: 19 "If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good of the land" We want to eat the good of the land but unfortunately, we refuse to do what God requires of us in order to eat it.
When things went smoothly in the past, when Students were well taken care of, whether High School students or University Students, when they looked very robust, when there were generous scholarship for University students and free tuitions for other tertiary institutions and when jobs were available for every graduate student at whatever level, when cost of living was bearable, when people who went to school abroad returned home promptly, when there was no do or die to relocate abroad, when young people married at the appropriate time, when citizens had no fear of travel whether day or night, when there were no kidnappings or banditry or rampant ritual killings and so on and so forth, it was because the word of God had place in the hearts of the majority of the populace, particularly the people who ran the affairs of the country. The Godly people by far outnumbered the ungodly. There was no religious bigotry and sentiments. Chief politicians, public officers and Civil servants were committed to the development of the country.
My believe is that we can bring those days back. All that is required is to mobilize ourselves to the path of Godliness, which the fathers walked, which made the nation livable in the past. It can be done if those who God charges with the responsibility will act. Those who control large pulpits on both sides of the isles can do it if they have the understanding and are willing and are prepared to let go some of the benefits they now enjoy as priests of large congregations.
Every citizen must be involved in the call to Godly living. All, which those owners of the big pulpits on both sides of the isles need to do is to liaise among themselves to call a solemn assembly in every State and Local Government of the Federation. The real source of our different problems is ungodliness and this is what must be addressed and what ought to be the prayer focus on the mountains, hills and prayer houses. After Godliness returns, when the number of the Godly in the population by far outnumbers the number of the ungodly, one will be amazed how the various problems for which solutions are sought for in prayer houses and mountains will disappear because looting of public fund will cease or at least minimize. The country has money to make everyone happy but the money are cornered by the ungodly people. We read everyday in the newspapers how the commonwealth is looted, right, left and centre.
Prayer that Priests who have large followers on both sides of the isles, mobilize the nation to Godliness ought to be the prominent prayer, which should be uppermost on the lips of the people who gather on the hills and mountains and other prayer houses.
Let us pray.