I am about to raise a matter that could rub some people the wrong way and bring controversy. I think it is a needed convo sha so I will raise the matter. Church people, it is us I am coming for. I use the word us because I am a church girl and I have been guilty of the ‘crime’ before.
Here is a story. Amaka and Henry give birth and their house suddenly has a never-ending stream of visitors. One guest comes at 7a.m, stays for 15 minutes and before s/he leaves says “let us pray” and goes ahead to fire some hot, spirit-filled prayers. By 7. 30a.m, Mr and Mrs Oboh show up, coo at the baby, rejoice with the family and as they are leaving decide to drop some highly sought after words of prayers. Fast forward to 8. 30a.m and a group of friends/colleagues come visiting and after 30 minutes of laughs and advice, they decide to take their leave and of course before they do have to shower most needful prayer on the baby and mother. Aunty Nneka bustles in her happy self by 10a.m and she spends 30 minutes interceding for the family and dropping nuggets of wisdom everywhere. Deacon Tope comes by 11a.m and utters grave words of advice and wisdom and fights spiritual battles for the child in prayer before he leaves by 11.45a.m. This ends Cycle 1. The new parents get a 15-minute break and then the cycle repeats itself and keeps repeating itself over and over till days and maybe weeks after the naming ceremony.
Another story, a shorter one. Tunde just lost his father after a brief illness. For the next weeks, their house is full of guests commiserating with the family and praying for him, his mom and siblings. No guest comes and leaves without labouring in prayer for the bereaved family sha.
Now, here are some questions.
- Every time we go to rejoice or commiserate with people and we pray, are those prayers truly from our heart or are they merely religious/traditional activities?
- Are we saying God is deaf so he needs 100 people to pray for one family before he can do anything for them
- Did God really lead us to pray for them?
- Have we ever prayed for the person(s) on our own in our houses?
- Have we considered that our prayers sometimes might be inconvenient?
It has become more of a religious activity now for us to go somewhere and before we leave we pray. We pray not because God has asked us to pray but because we think it must be done because that it what we have always done. We do not consider the fact that a hundred other people have probably shown up in the person(s) house to make the same prayers we are making. We take up their time and comfort with our prayers. Now, I am not saying not to pray for people when you go to greet them, I am merely saying let God lead you. Do not make it a religious activity for crying out loud.
How about before you visit someone, spend some quality time in your closet praying for them? Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how best to pray for them and ask him to make you a channel to them. Do you know how much more gladdened and refreshed people will be when you show up in their houses and instead of routine prayer, you tell them “Hey sis, God told me so, so, so…. about you and wants you to so, so, so….” or “God said I should give you this xxxx, he told me you would be needing it soon” You are providing a word in season to them or equipping them with resources they need for the future. At other times, what people need is just our company and not prayers. God may want you to just go and sit with someone, not saying much but just reassuring them with your presence but then you go and open your big mouth to pray and ruin what God intended. Let people be excited, refreshed and strengthened with your visit because you delivered to them what they needed at the moment. If God then leads you to pray for them there and then, please open your mouth wide and do so.
If not will you keep kwayet! Pray for them when you get home if you truly want to do so.