Man’s inability to live beyond limitations has no nexus with fate or other self concocted philosophies; it lies in his failure to channel his effort towards the proper cause. Success is one of the cheapest commodities anyone can afford. It only demands two factors- the right negotiating skills and dealings with the right person. 

This piece seeks to address a ‘perceived’ anomaly in a very sensitive aspect of our lives as Nigerians. I am aware that when ‘religion’ comes to any forum for a critical evaluation, the dogma carefully woven into the fabric of our thoughts tells us we are either challenging God or fanning the embers of war. Here, I don’t want to do either. If you, however, believe that it is impossible, you could go read the latest gossip on Linda Ikeji’s blog or check Seun Osewa’s Nairaland for Tonto Dikeh’s new tattoo. God bless you as you leave this congregation for ‘us’, the sinners.

Before we continue, Brother Samuel should please lead us in the opening prayer. ‘Almighty God, we thank you for giving us this day, you are the God of our pastor, Prophet Samson…’
‘Hey! Stop there. As the general overseer of this Assembly of God’s people, please shall we all recite the Lord’s prayer? Our father who art in heaven.. ‘
Alright! The topic for today will revolve around that sentence. I won’t mention any church or mosque neither will I directly accuse anyone. This piece has the natural potential to connect itself with your experience(s) to yield examples.

On Thursday, I was invited to a famous church by a neighbour. The reason for her invitation made little sense, in my opinion, yet l went with the aim of worshipping my God or better still, our God. After I had seen all styles of ‘shoki’ and ‘sekem’ dances modified to go along with the praise and worship songs, we were all told to rise for prayer. Then, the pastor gave us the first prayer point and told us to pray, but before then he emphasized that we should pray to God in the name of the late founder of the church. It sounded like “God of late pastor somebody, let this year be fruitful.” Immediately, others started praying and emphasising the phrase “God of pastor somebody…” I did not obey the instruction. I knew, and am still convinced that, God is for all of us and not a particular person. So, I silently prayed to my God.

There were up to 12 prayer points that night and the strict instruction all through was that we should pray in the name of the pastor.  To my amazement, I got to work the following morning and observed a sticker on the windscreen of a member of staff’s vehicle. It read “The Lord of pastor …. lives.” The strangest thing was that this church was different from the one I had been invited to. Then, it got me thinking, do we need to mention the names of these pastors to achieve our spiritual goals? In the Bible, God specifically said He will be our God and we shall be His people. How come we are creating the distance that is not there? The Lord’s Prayer is so famous and it makes it apparent that He is our father. In fact, the Lord’s Prayer is the biblical authority upon which direct communication with God is based.

Then it crossed my mind how Badmos once wrote on a prayer organized by an Islamic society. To his amazement, the old imam blew a torrent of heavy air in the microphone and confidently said – “Ask God for anything in my name.” He narrated how the congregation conceded without reluctance. As insignificant as this observation might look to you, it is important to note that failure to pay attention to details has led to global misfortunes in the past. It is dangerous. The deception of people by some of our religious leader is caused by putting them on the pedestal, treating them like God Himself. When a man feels God should be addressed through him and people concede to that, it has a way of making them overlook his inexcusable flaws.

I took time out to do some findings and to my amazement, only very few of our churches and mosques today understand that only God, and not the keepers of faith and religion, deserves to be served. God did not direct that we must mention the name of a pastor or imam before he can hear us, He demands a heart ready to communicate with Him. He is your God, talk to him as your God and not another person’s God. Talking to God is easy, the ready mindset is the skill required and knowing that there is no need to go through anybody shows you know the right person to talk to. As for me, I will either address Him as my God or our God, anything short of that is not Biblical. Christians and Muslims must understand that being called to lead people does not make God less accessible to the followers. We have not been to heaven, but simple logic demands that one can only get what he desires if his referee has a good credential before the third party. What if the man you think mentioning his name should do magic has no positive credential before God? Make yourself fit to talk to God and just go straight to the point. It is only an illegitimate child that lacks the courage to talk to their purported father. We are all legitimate in God’s presence.

For joining us today in this ministry, I pray that our God will grant your modest desires. Alfa Ibrahim, please lead us in the closing prayer.
‘We thank Allah, our God for everything… ‘

The author’s identity? Not necessary.

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