I bring you the warmest greetings from the Nigeria Prays Organisation whose vision and mission is to mobilise all Nigerians to offer regular, fervent and result-oriented payers for the healing and transformation of the nation; this it has done for the past 22 years. By the grace of God, Nigerian prays has been able to mobilise all faithful of all denominations to pray in unity through prayer rallies and intercessory prayers and activities presenting to every Nigerian, irrespective of denominational affiliation the opportunity to be involved in the efforts of rebuilding the nation; promoting the virtues of patriotism, transparency, incorruptibility in the leadership and the citizenry. I salute and welcome you all in the precious name our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Today, we stand together in unity under one God to raise an altar of prayer unto Him. Let me simply use this opportunity to remind us of God’s admonition that: “If my people which are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land (II Chronicles 7:14).”
God’s word speaks so eloquently to the situation of Nigeria today and I believe at all times. For this reason, the church must provide a moral compass for the nation and cause darkness to recede and warn people to heed to truth, imbibe the fear of God and to follow righteousness.
Brethren, it is important to remind us that the church is God’s house of prayer. With the general election looming ahead, it is natural for people to become anxious and fearful of what the future holds for Nigeria in light of the wanton killings in the land, be these politically-motivated or executed by the dark agents of insurgency, Boko Haram or by armed cattle herdsmen and rustlers. Aside the challenges of politics, there is also the problem of economic hardship that has not only made the poor poorer but drastically reduced the quality of life of even the rich or politically-influential. More than ever before, therefore, there is great need for us – children of God; men and women of faith; young and old – to come together to pray and intercede for our dear nation and its people. So whatsoever the provocation, whatever the threat, for the sake of the country – Nigerian Christians should never resort to a retaliation that would lead to a religious war. Let the authority provide the necessary physical protection for all while your prayers and Christian love and charity provide the ultimate peace and accord.
Praise must rise to God in unity from every corner of the Nigerian church to combat the forces that militate against the progress of our nation. God’s solution to the problem of this country is not to be found only in guns, retaliation or physical weapons but in Holy Spirit-directed, believing and prevailing prayer from His people (the church) who are willing to confess and forsake sins and embrace righteousness. As the psalmist says in Psalms 133 vs 1-2, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity…”
May I urge the Church and the people of Nigeria to embrace the spirit of love, patriotism and commitment to the good of our nation irrespective of political party or religious affiliations or tribal differences. As citizens of this great nation, we all have important roles to play in the development of our nation. We must seek to live in peace with all men and deliberately work at achieving reconciliation amongst our peoples.
I say this mindful of the concerns that have been raised by Christians across the country over the growing spate of the killing of our brethren that have been recorded and reported nationwide. Truth be told, these are genuine concerns. Should this lead us to contemplating retaliations or reprisal attacks? The Scriptures are clear: vengeance is of the Lord. We must steer clear of any semblance of encouraging religious warfare in the guise of self-defence. But we must continually demand that government be seriously alive to its primary responsibility of the protection of life and property of all citizens. Whilst government is encouraged to do the needful, people of faith also must be encouraged to win over unnecessarily angry and violent people with force of love.
Permit me to end this brief remark by once more thanking everyone here present for honouring the invitation to join the quest for national transformation and healing. The quality of attendance has convinced me that we all agree and are prepared to encourage God on behalf of Nigeria. May the Lord guide us in path of love, peace, truth, righteousness and justice. I also pray that the land Nigeria shall receive God’s divine visitation and healing in the exalted name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. ‘Lord heal us and heal our land! Hear our prayer, O Lord.
May the blessings of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with us all, now and always. Amen.
Being text of a remark by Yakubu Gowon, a general and former head of state, at the special national prayer service hosted by the Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Gbagada, Lagos, on Sunday, November 25,2018.