For what exactly are we praying?

Posted by By at 25 March, at 11 : 27 AM Print

For what exactly are we praying?

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For what exactly are we praying?


Oh, my body, make me a man that ask questions.” – Frantz Fanon.


president mahama with priests

So, once again, the president assembled some Christian priests and together they prayed for the nation. At the end of the jamboree, they declared a 7-day prayer for the country.


Are we ever going to learn in this country?

Readers will agree that this column has consistently maintained the principled stance that prayers are no substitutes for thinking and planning.

My younger brother’s favorite saying is: ‘Prayer is not a strategy,’ and I fully subscribe to it.

It is difficult to know for what exactly we in Africa continue to pray.

Why do people forget that Modern China is just eight (8) years older than Modern Ghana?

Today, it is to the Chinese we look up to for assistance – technical as well as financial.

The simple question we ought to ask ourselves is: would the Chinese be in a position to render help to if they have wasted their own time in supplications to gods like we do in Africa?

Malaysia became independent in 1957, the same year as our blessed republic. But, today, Malaysia is so far ahead technologically that there is no more basis for comparison between the two countries.

We do not pretend to know everything or have answers to all that ails us; all we do is to interrogate our brains and ask ourselves questions.

Were I to be a god or the Jesus to whom the Christians pray, my questions to African Christians would be simple and direct: What exactly is it that you pray for?

In many articles, we refer to the title of the classic by Nigerian writer, Ola Rotimi, “The gods are not to blame.”

We have had our fair share of travel around the world, and we dare say that few places, in the wide world, is as blessed as our continent, Africa.

From Cape to Cairo, from Asmara to Casablanca, our continent is well-endowed with every mineral that should make us immensely wealthy indeed.

In our own dear republic, from Tarkwa to Wa, our land drips with one precious metal or the other. Recently, we discovered commercial-quantity oil and gas.

So, please let us ask our president and the Christian leaders what exactly more they want Jesus or the gods to do for us?.

For what exactly do they pray?

If without any effort on our part, the gods endow us with all the fabulous mineral riches we see in our land, they certainly have done their best for us.

If, out of laziness, greediness, stupidity, or combination of the three, we sold our birthrights for a pittance, should we continue to disturb the gods with our uber stupid entreaties and adjurations?

If out of selfishness, our paid officials signed away our mineral riches to foreigners, settled for 3-6% (for gold) and 10% (for oil) and gave foreigners the right to export our oil in crude form for twenty years, what can Jesus do for us?

And when we bear witness to how those we paid to rule us sold us for a song and we did nothing, do we want Jesus to come and fight our battle for us?

Just as the president and the assemblage rose from their bended knees, there was a huge whoosh like the flapping of the wings of a giant, angry bird. The whoosh was followed by a long, thin din. The building shook with the vibration of invisible forces. A huge heat wave was closely followed by a surge of an arctic chill; it was simultaneously cold and hot. Bodyguards rallied around their commander, as priests utter prayers in all the languages they knew. The women vociferated loudly in glossolalia. The huge chandeliers swayed and their light dimmed. A magnificent rainbow arc illuminated the room. People cowered in fright.

The voice of Jesus came from everywhere.

Jesus: What is it that you pray for, my people?

A priest found his voice: Mighty Jesus, we pray to glorify your name…

Jesus: I am sorry to cut you short, my Noble Priest. My Father and I have listened to all your prayers. We have witnessed all your inspired sermons. We saw all the offerings, and we listened to all the melody of your gospels songs. But the question that agitates our minds remain: what exactly are you Africans praying for?

Priest: We pray to sanctify your name, and to glorify the hallowed name of your Father, our God.

Jesus: Ha! I remain eternally grateful and flattered that you thought so highly of me to glorify my name. I speak for my father when I say that we are grateful. I also speak for him when I say that few things would have brought joy to our hearts than to see that my efforts and those of my Father were not wasted on you. If I look down and see that you people have managed to use the resources that my Father gave you to improve your conditions, my heart would have been filled with immense joy. If I look down and see that your children are happily fed, decently clothed, I would have been a very happy Man, indeed. If I see that you have used the immense power of the glorious sun to light up your houses and enjoy life’s comforts, like other people do, my father and I would have been proud of you. If you have used the fertile land, plus the mighty rivers my Father gave to you, to grow food and feed yourself, our hearts would have been filled with enormous happiness. From Tarkwa in your Western Region to Wa, in the Upper West, my Father made your land drip with gold. What did you do with the gold? Not much, if the truth be told. Instead of building the factories to process them into useful products, you sold them off. In itself, that is not a bad idea if only you had got a good deal. But, my Father’s anger was kindled when he saw that you accepted only three to six percent for the gold he gave to you. I interceded on your behalf. I pleaded with my Father to forgive you, because I thought you knew not what you were doing. With the hope that you have learnt your lessons, he gave you immense oil and gas deposit in your Western Region. Sadly for those of us that pleaded your case, you did not learn a thing. You continue in your wanton ways. Rather than husband your precious oil and gas and build the capacity to use them productively, you signed away the rights like you did the gold that my Father gave to you. You accepted to receive a paltry ten percent. And you signed away the rights for twenty years. Your actions displeased me greatly. It also made my Father very, very angry. That explains why it appear that my Father has closed his ears to your entreaties. Like the Prodigal Son, you blew your riches away. But unlike him, you learnt absolutely no lesson from your misfortunes. Nothing would have gladden my heart and that of my Father, than for you to have shown some appreciation, for the immense blessings he has showered on you, without any effort on your part. But when we look down and see the utter mess you have made of your lives, I am not pleased at all. Pardon us, if it seems that your prayers today are falling on deaf ears; we have simply had enough. It is true that my Father is quick to anger, but my own immeasurable patience has been taxed beyond the threshold of tolerance, by your wanton and crass selfishness, utter greediness and unfathomable stupidity. Sorry, my people, but try to understand the dilemma My Father and I face: we simply do not understand for what you people pray. Let us take your sleeping in darkness as an example. It is a shame and an affront to both God and Man that you continue to sleep in darkness, despite the fact that you get the majestic sun all year round. The secrets of electricity is in the public domain. It does not require the intervention of either myself or my father to generate and distribute electricity for domestic and industrial use. Again, if we take food as another example: most of your staple food can very easily be grown in the fertile land my Father gave to you. With very little effort, you can be very self-sufficient in the production of everything that you eat. But, my people, what displeases my Father and I the most is the hypocrisy of you rulers in Africa. While most of your people live in the most grinding, abject poverty imaginable, you have absolutely no compunction whatever to lavish the commonwealth on yourself and your family members and your cronies. Many of you have one, two, ten planes whereas your nation has none. You have no qualm in buying the most expensive jeeps and building the most expensive palaces. Yet, you lead your people to pray for what, with little effort on your part, you could very easily provide for your people. It is your sanctimonious hypocrisy that irk my Father and myself so much. Sorry folks, you have greatly tasked the patience of my Father and I. You are not the only creations we brought into being. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I am to tell you that my Father and I have decided to spend some quality time with the other people, who have shown us, through solid their achievements, that they are appreciative of what my Father and I did for them. My people, go in peace. Go and read the admonition in 1 Samuel 12:55 – “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”

The vibration ended, the din stopped, the rainbow arc disappeared. President and his people look at one another and they knew not what to do.


About the Author

Femi Akomolafe is a passionate Pan-Africanist. A columnist for the Accra-based Daily Dispatch newspaper and Correspondent for the New African magazine. Femi lives in both Europe and Africa and writes regularly on Africa-related issues for various newspapers and magazines.

Femi was the producer of the FOCUS ON AFRICANS TV Interview programme for the MultiTV Station.

He is also the CEO of Alaye Dot Biz Limited Dot Biz, a Kasoa-based Multimedia organization that specializes in Audio and Video Production. He loves to shoot and edit video documentaries.

His highly-acclaimed books (“Africa: Destroyed by the gods,” “Africa: It shall be well,” “18 African Fables & Moonlight Stories” and “Ghana: Basic Facts + More”) are now available for sales at the following bookshops/offices:

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Femi Akomolafe



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