Definition of prayer is said to be, at least within linguistic consideration: A solemn call for help, or a thanksgiving to God. After a silent divorce from each other, a friend of a friend called and requested that I should intervene. He argued that given that I knew the couple and as a believer and priest, it is important to offer counselling to this wonderful American couple. Although I studied psychology and psychological theory for years, I am not a therapist. But the call was from people I knew. Therefore, I decided as a brother in Christ to talk to the couple.
I decided to start with the man since they could not sit together in the same room (they did not like each other anymore). We talked for hours over a cup of coffee. He told me stuff that no one else knew and argued that the marriage ended years before they went to court. He disclosed that he and his wife slept in different bedrooms for over 3 years! He presented his case with facts that could only be confirmed by his now divorced wife. After several conversations over a period of over six months, I decided to call the wife for coffee.
She is a wonderful woman, a believer, and a friend. She agreed to meet for coffee and she also gave me her side of the story. She expressed concerns that her husband was a workaholic and though they had money they never agreed on almost anything. “We have never agreed on anything including our children. We were not on the same page from the beginning.” She said in sadness. She confirmed events that her husband narrated on disagreements even during their honey moon. She said that she tuned off and that meant she could not stand his touch.
I remember the husband narrating how she always dared him to leave the marriage. He had expressed the fact that when the heated “fellowship” was going on, her solution was to tell him to leave. “I could not leave man, we had children together and I was committed to this marriage man.” He told me passionately. “I provided for my family. What else did she want? I had to work.” He argued. Then he had made a very interesting argument. He said that after being told to leave his home for years, he decided to act on that request. His wife confirmed that she did request him to leave. “I was tired of him asking me whether I want a divorce. Therefore, I told him to go ahead and leave.” She expressed in a matter of fact way.
The case took a spiritual turn when he narrated what happened one winter night! He called the whole family together and after a short conversation he said he will be leaving the next morning and he will not come back. His wife was shocked and asked that they should pray before he leaves. He asked her, “pray for what?” He said to me. “My brother what were we praying for? We had lived without a family prayer, now we pray? For what?”. I was silent!
If prayers are a solemn request or thanks giving to God, there has to be a specific request or a specific thanksgiving reason. The Biblical definition of prayer is more of a fellowship with God. This fellowship is entered into within very specific processes. Christ told humanity that “no one comes to the father but by me.” This means that the prayers (fellowship) must be done under the umbrella of salvation. For those who come to the father must first believe in Christ. Paul used this to advice the believer to Pray without ceasing: Constant fellowship with God through Christ. 1st Thessalonians 5:16ff. The couple did their human activities all this time without prayer, now they were to pray?
Then there is the other definition of prayer within biblical reference which is begging. “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.” Mathew 9: 38. The Greek word used here means, Beg the Lord of the Harvest. And in this regard there is a specific reference to what is being begged for.
Kenya has turned religion into a political theory. Politicians who are known not to believe in Christ are frequent preachers in churches. The Church as a sacred body of Christ has become a political baraza. The national prayer breakfast within political realms has nothing to do with the revelation of God and his call to fellowship, rather, it is a means to win the congregants to a political affiliation!
When the nation is called to prayer and the church leaders are consulted and they agree, it is important to ask the question, “What are we praying for. And to whom are we praying?” The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God the father of Christ is a jealous God! He is not political and does not play political games.
Like my friend’s question to his wife who knew that the marriage is over, we as believers must remember that all these politicians were at one point married to each other! Before we pray and make a mockery of biblical call to prayer, we must seek to know what happened in the bedroom. Apparently there was dinner at Jimi Wanjigi’s home. We cannot pray in the darkness of political hyperbole! And if we as believers have not been praying for our leaders, its all lost!
Solve political problems within the constitutional frame works: The Kingdom of Man!
Teddy Njoroge Kamau (PhD)
Diaspora messenger senior columnist