Saturday, November 9, 2013

Praying for political rulers

I missed the many ‘interesting photographs and comments’ on our President’s trip to Israel. The reason is simple. I am a dinosaur when it comes to the latest developments in IT and the social media.
Perhaps I reflect my generation when I say I find most of them to be very intrusive and wonder why any sane person would want face book, instagram, U tube, blog and twitter at the same time.
Perhaps not. But why would you want your life and thoughts to be an open book to complete strangers?
The down side of course, if you are the type, is that you miss out on the light and trivial side of life. The many creative adaptations of ‘Oga at the top’ for example, were inaccessible to me and it took a daughter in far-away Europe to show me what inventive things Nigerian youths had done with that seemingly innocuous episode.
So it’s no wonder that I missed those ‘interesting photographs and comments’ on our President’s pilgrimage to Israel. But like most writers, I have a very fertile imagination. I can therefore imagine our President in the midst of Pentecostal pastors in their designer suits and flowing agbada.
I can imagine them doing what they know how to do best; speaking in tongues or impeccable English as they rain curses on the enemies of the President. I can imagine their agitated gesticulations as they command the Lord to come down immediately to put the enemies to shame. The prayers must be well couched and must be authoritative.
The tone must also be urgent as if God is too slow and must be hurried up or asleep and must be woken up; very much like King Ahab’s prophets in the Old Testament. They forget that effective prayers are simple prayers that come from the heart. They also forget how perilous it can be to pray for Kings whose hearts have been turned away by other gods. I can cite at least three prophets in the Old Testament who suffered as a result of such intercessory prayers.
But this is just my imagination running away with me. I was not lucky enough to be in Israel. Neither do I have access to the social media where these photographs are said to be. So I really do not know what was prayed for and what was prayed against. The only picture I saw was on Channels Television, and it was a chaste and decent one—if you can call a public display of a private worship chaste and decent. What happened by the way,to God’s injunction that we should pray in private so that our God will reward us in public? Or the Psalmist’s injunction that we should pray silently on our beds and be still?
I did not see the picture long enough to identify those men of God who surrounded the kneeling President. But the face I saw which made me uncomfortable was that of the current President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). How did Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor get into that mix? Was it merely coincidental that he was in Israel at the same time? Or was he in fact, part of the President’s unwieldy entourage? How can he acquiesce to the way the presidency is spending tax payer’s money when, by its own admission, the country is cash strapped? You see, you can not speak the truth to government if you fraternise with it.
One thing you learn as a self respecting Editor or Media Owner is how to keep your distance from the powers that be if you really have a passion for your work. To do other wise is to risk being compromised. It is nice, intoxicating even, to have direct contacts with governors and presidents. But your job as a moral watch dog will suffer. The first casualty is your credibility with your principal constituency and back bone— the public.
I believe, very strongly, that those who wield moral authority must not fraternise with those who wield political authority because the worst thing that can happen to a country is to have its moral guidelines compromised by political expediencies.
How do you preach against profligacy, corruption and injustice when you have lost your moral voice by participating in the largesse of government? We know the stories of Moses, Elijah, Jeremiah, John the Baptist and even Jesus in the Bible.
These were prophets who spoke the truth to the rulers of their day. They were conscious of their moral voices and they used them. As we are seeing all too clearly in our dear country, *there can be no moral direction in a society if nobody is holding a moral compass aloft.
Men of God who pray for leaders randomly for perks without first ascertaining the will of God must be careful lest they receive double punishment because they are mocking God and calling His name in vain.
What God wants is not a Christian leader or a Muslim leader because he sees the heart of every man. What He wants is a humble leader who fears the Lord and does His will by rooting out injustice and immorality wherever they lurk while promoting the interests of the poor and defenceless in the society. A man who seeks to reduce the gap between the very rich and very poor, not widen it.
One thing is certain; the cries of the unemployed and disadvantaged will always drown the prayers of these ‘men of God’ who ignore the will of God.
God can never be mocked or commanded to do what He does not want to do. He definitely can not be bribed.
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Source: Vanguard