Random thoughts on worship and prayer

I’m an amateur keyboard player and in this capacity I end up playing or attending a wide variety of Christian worship events. Whilst I try not to engage in religious comparisons, certain events hit me smack in the face that make such comparisons inevitable.

In the past 12 hours I have had to attend two such events. One was the biannual Festival of Life (FOL) at the Excel Centre in London and the second was at a more fiery gathering about 4 miles west of Excel. I have come away from these events with a slightly better understanding of things wrong with the Nigerian brand of Christianity. My pastor friends and “employers” will have to bear with me here.

At the FOL, a certain Christian Conservative Baroness was asked to pray and in the five or so minutes she prayed, I was privileged to see what it means to pray. There was absolutely no repetition. She articulated her points, prayed for the Queen and for the first time in my life I saw Mama Charlie as a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, who is subject to the same maternal emotions all women share. She prayed for the Government, that God should help David Cameron and his cabinet not to take decisions in folly, pride and fatigue. She prayed for Ed Milliband, the Labour Party, the Judiciary and asked that God should not let us take our privileges for granted. That was part one.

Part two, a Nigerian pastor then mounted the rostrum and the macabre display started. “I want you to shout at the top of your voice, Faaaaada, I want fresh hoil”. (The hoil is not a spelling mistake). There the emotive drama started, hoarse, sweaty shouting and demands that were barely articulate, interspersed with Bible verses supporting the “demands”. I had to leave somewhere in the middle of this call and response litany so I could prepare for the second church where I had a keyboard engagement.

Part three, an even more fiery liturgy in another church. Prayer comprised a ferocious scream for mercy, killing ancestral enemies, roasting contemporary ones, burning Satanic lists, killing star-killers, “killing” poison deposited in our belly-buttons, parting our Red Seas and killing our Pharaohs.

In a surreal moment of reflection, I realised if all of the Baroness’ prayers are answered by God, Britain would be a better country and we all will be better for it. Imagine for one, MPs passing legislation based on their personal biases without any regard for equity? All half-legal immigration cases will find themselves in Lagos very quickly, ancestral enemy or not.

I also realised, all the incoherent shouts demanding “hoil”, killing enemies and poisons, even if granted, will not result in a better society (read Nigerian society). Without an improved society, we will be back in 6 months from now to ask for Fresh Anointing – not to say “Thank You God” – and we will be back next week to kill more enemies.

I simply concluded, the problems we face as a people are deep. Very deep. In our thought process.

I have always been suspicious of vain repetitions, my resolve to avoid wasting time in vain repetitions has now hardened even more.

Henceforth my prayer life must change, by faya!!!! O ya, every power making me say vain prayers, somersault and dieeee!!!!!